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January 05, 2005 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2005-01-05

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Wednesday
January 5, 2005
arts. michigandaily.com
artspage@michigandaily.com

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1'IIRIOIIS'

jIVE

ThE HOTTEST PICKS IN ENTERTAINMENT
FROM A DAILY ARTS WRITER
Paris Hilton's new video - For those now yawning from "One Night in
Paris," a new tape has emerged online. In the Vincent Gallo-directed short,
she doesn't get quite as naked as in her previous work. Instead, the bent
over, lingerie-clad celebutante spins around on something (a lazy susan?)
as it moves toward the camera. As a finale, a giant stuffed bunny appears,
for an unknown reason. Fortunately it's only the first week of classes, and I
will have the time necessary for this thorough analysis.
"Love is in the Heir" - E! Entertainment, which has brought us
such classics as "Wild On!" and "Dr. 90210," has branched out into
4Christopher Guest's territory. Its new faux-reality show, a smart satire
of "Newlyweds" and "The Osbournes," follows the life of an Iranian
princess trying to make it as a country-singing star in LA. Although
completely staged, each episode manages to seem entirely possible, as
we follow Princess Anne's absurd journey away from the strict values
of her royal family.

Can I draw you naked?

3

M.I.A. - Rap? Dancehall? I'm not quite sure how to explain the music
of the British Sri Lankan M.C. M.I.A. With her offbeat rapping, frenetic
pace and samples ranging from Annie Lennox to
Salt-n-Pepa, M.I.A's limited release mix tape
Piracy Funds Terrorism Vol. 1 already has
people buzzing about her first full release,
due in February.

MILD

TURBULENCE

DiCAPRIO SHINES AS TYCOON, BUT SCORSESE'S DIRECTION FALTERS

By Zach Borden
Daily Arts Writer

,z

"2

"Harold and Kumar go to White Cas-
tle" - Released this week on DVD, the
film scores points for giving an Indi-
an actor more than two seconds of
screen time. Throw in already clas-
sic quotes and scenes, and you've
got a film that's sure to be played
on a loop across college campuses
nationwide. .|

Revered for his talent and legendary for the films
he has made, director Martin
Scorsese is no stranger to crafting
complex and ambitious films. Yet The Aviator
despite making a mark on Ameri- At the Showcase
can cinema with his early charac- and Quality 16
ter-driven narratives, Scorsese has Warner Bros.
recently become indebted to the
big-budget, Hollywood studio system that helped bring
to life the director's muddled "Gangs of New York."
"The Aviator" chronicles 20 years in the life of avia-
tion pioneer and filmmaker Howard Hughes (Leonardo
DiCaprio). As an oil magnate with unlimited capital,
Hughes broke into the film industry in 1927 with his
movie "Hell's Angels." From there, the paranoid pio-
neer began a romance with actress Katharine Hepburn
(Cate Blanchett), invested his time and money into
building airplanes and eventually became an indomi-
table icon of the American spirit.

It was a wise choice for screenwriter John Logan to
only focus on a small portion of Hughes's life, as the
years the film covers are arguably his most interesting.
Logan establishes Hughes as a powerful force dealing
with his own insecurities as well as the haunting memo-
ries of his childhood.
Scorsese wonderfully juxtaposes the flashy glitz and
glamour of 1930s and 1940s Hollywood with the dark-
ness of Hughes's troubled life. The special effects - one
crash sequence in particular - are dazzling and appro-
priate. More importantly, Scorsese frames the essence
of Hughes: who he was, his revolutionary ideas and just
how driven he could be. The film depicts Hughes as
a true visionary, a man who changed the world before
ultimately being toppled by obsession and fear.
But with a running time of three hours, "The Avia-
tor" could certainly stand to have its wings clipped.
Several sequences drag on; Scorsese confounds much
of the film's subtlety with extraneous, boring scenes.
The movie also tends to be repetitive, especially when
it comes to Hughes and his relationships with famous
Hollywood starlets. In its final hour the film slows to a
crawl, and the final 30 minutes may leave many audi-
ence members looking for an emergency exit.

Although much of the film's buzz has focused on
Scorsese and his chances at an Oscar win, much of
the film's success belongs to Leonardo DiCaprio. As
Hughes, DiCaprio proves that he's the real deal, not just
the pretty-boy teen idol of "Titanic" fame. With a Texas
drawl, the actor completely loses himself in the role,
making Hughes a passionate, charismatic and intense
individual who pushed the limits in order to succeed.
Yet DiCaprio brings to life the seedier and more guard-
ed Hughes incredibly well, particularly when the avia-
tion genius becomes agoraphobic. His performance is
flawless and should be a lock for an Oscar nomination.
The supporting cast is just as solid, holding their own
with the powerful Dicaprio. Blanchett channels the
late Katherine Hepburn, perfectly capturing the iconic
actress's speech and manner. Kate Beckinsale makes a
fine Ava Gardner and John C. Reilly shines as Hughes's
right-hand man, Noah Dietrich.
Despite a career-defining performance by DiCaprio,
"The Aviator" is at best a flawed and frustrating account
of one man's impact on America. It's too bad Scorsese
didn't trim the film down - there certainly is some
irony to be hadin that a man who lived larger than life
really deserved a smaller and shorter movie.

1

Scarlett Johansson - A pair
of Scarlett-heavy, critically
acclaimed features are coming
out in the next month, and both
serve as good chances to stare
openmouthed at one of the most
beautiful women the world has ever
known. I know I'll be sure to keep

',
ft

my eyes peeled for another pair of
excellent features ...
Stier and
Vaughn hit
the mark
By Amanda McAllister
Daily Arts Writer

Courtesy of Columbia/Tristar

MF Doom serves up 'Mm..Food?'

By Cyril Cordor
Daily Arts Writer

MF Doom has released more mate-
rial in the last two years than some
artists release during their entire
careers. Nonetheless, the quantity
of his releases have not affected
their quality. MM..Food?, his third
major album of 2004 and follow-up

Even if the wrench, the car and the ball
have been mastered, one thing that can't
be dodged is the humor of "Dodgeball: A
True Underdog Story."
This DVD offers great
features to comple- DOdgeball
ment the film. 20th
Vince Vaughn C
stars as Peter LaFleur, Century Fox
owner of the aptly
titled Average Joe's gym, which caters to
a number of misfits including Justin Long
("Galaxy Quest") as a gawky, would-be
cheerleader and Stephen Root ("Office
Space") as an obscure- sports nut. The
men of Average Joe's must stop White
Goodman (Ben Stiller), owner of a rival
gym, from buying the financially doomed
gym and set their sights on a dodgeball
competition to win the money needed

Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

I can Dere-lick my own balls.
to save it. Further complicating matters
is loan officer and potential love interest
Kate Veatch (Christine Taylor, "Zoolan-
der"), the woman in charge of the foreclo-
sure on Average Joe's.
Like many of Stiller and Vaughn's pre-
vious projects, "Dodgeball" evokes either
laughter or disdainful head-shaking.
Vaughn and Taylor play the straight-man
role well, which is needed to balance the
over-the-top characters surrounding them.
Much of the film's humor comes from
cheap physical comedy (like a montage
of people getting hit with dodgeballs) and
cameos, notably, Lance Armstrong and
Chuck Norris.
The extras on the disc play up the
cheap laughs with features like "Ham
and Cheese," a montage of Justin Long's

incessant physical abuse on the set, and
"The Anatomy of a Hit," in which cast
and crew explain why getting hit with a
dogeball is funny. The commentary, fea-
turing Stiller, Vaughn and director-writer
Rawson Marshall Thurber, lags at times
but is still fun to hear. The best feature on
the disc is the alternate ending, which, if
allowed to remain as the stars and director
wanted, would have abandoned the feel-
good endings common in most comedies,
surprising audiences. Although the alter-
nate ending may be reason enough to buy
"Dodgeball" on DVD, the film and the rest
of the features are also worth watching.
Movie: ***9
Picture/Sound: ****
Features: ***I

to the indie classic,
Operation: Dooms-
day, was one of the
most anticipated
hip-hop albums of
2004. Clocking in
at under 50 min-

MF Doom
Mm..Food?
Rhymesayers

is the perfect referencing point to
start this album. On the battle track,
"Beef Rapp," he chastises playboy
rappers as he tells them to "keep
your shirt on or at least a button up."
He gives one of the more interest-
ing entendres with "Kookies." The
occasional "Coooookie!" clip from
the Cookie Monster humorously tie
together the sampling of the xylo-
phone and guitar melody from the
"Sesame Street" theme song. Doom
shines as his lyrics interweave Oreos
and strawberry wafers with the type
of cookies downloaded onto a com-
puter from porn sites.
MF Doom is among those chosen
few who can drop classics without
using hooks. It is his lyrics that attract
his fanbase. His stream of conscious-
ness rhymes serve both as a type of
poetry and humorous prose. The lyri-
cal content and ingenuity alone make
this one of the better albums of 2004.
Nevertheless, coupled with his lyri-
cal prowess, Doom composes some of
his most interesting beats as he puts
oldie funk and soul samples over old-
school drum breaks. For example he
takes from Ronnie Laws' "Friends
and Strangers," a smooth jazz favor-
ite, over the drums of the Whodini

classic, "Friends," form the music for
"Deep Fried Frenz." And then, there is
"Hoecakes." Its classy piano, bass and
cymbal crashes intro to Anita Baker's
"Sweet Love" unpredictably make
a nice backdrop for Doom's kicking
beatbox. It is definitely a treat of pure
hip-hop sound.
The skits and interludes on the
album have been a point of conten-
tion among critics and fans alike. The
four consecutive skits in the middle
of the album hinder its overall flow.
Nevertheless, the kooky excerpts
from a cooking program about "edi-
ble (w)rappers" make the interludes
worthwhile. On "Fig Leaf Bi Car-
bonate," Doom shows off his musical
skills with a sinister and thumping
beat full of horns and 1970's cartoon
sound effects. Rhymes could only mar
this display of production.
As Doom continues to experiment with
his music, he will transcend barriers and
shed light on the numerous possibilities of
what hip hop can sound like. The songs
and skits could have been woven together
more tightly, which is what made his pre-
vious release, Madvillainy, a cut-and-dry
classic. At any rate, Doom's understated
charisma and humility make the Food?
total package artistic craftsmanship.

utes, Food? teases fans with the type
of originality and innovation that lis-
teners now expect from the hip-hop
supervillain.
The most obvious display of cre-
ativity is the theme of food. Food?
begins with an excerpt from 1982's
nostalgic, hip-hop movie, "Wild
Style," in which the main character
is trying to go get some food. In the
context of Doom's contributions to
hip hop - pushing the boundaries of
what a rap artist can create - this

U *

University Musical Society
Half-Price Student Ticket Sale

Saturday
January 8

For one day only at the beginning of each semester, UMS offers HALF-PRICE TICKETS to
students. This extremely popular event draws hundreds of students every year - last year,
students saved over $104,000 by purchasing tickets at the Half-Price Student Ticket Sales.
Some perfomances have a limited number of tickets available, so get there early!
How does the Half-Price Sale work? It's easy! Just make your way to Hill Auditorium that
Saturday morning and wait in line to receive a sequentially numbered order form. Fill it out
by 1 pm with the number of tickets you and your friends would like to purchase for each
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