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September 06, 2005 - Image 8

Resource type:
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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2005-09-06

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September 6, 2005
arts. michigandaily. com
artspage@michigandaily.com

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Welcome back to Arts

Courtesy of 20th
Century Fox
"Wow! How
did you
get him
to look so
life-like?"

Wecome back.
As you are flipping through
your first Daily this year,
you'll probably notice a few changes
within the Arts section. These changes
grew out of a desire to make the Arts
section better - well, as good as we can
get without copying Rolling :
Stone again.
First and foremost, look
for the brand-spankin' new
Arts columns. On Mondays,
Jeffrey Bloomer will rant
about film and television or
Amanda Andrade will ana-
lyze the latest in pop culture. n
Wednesdays will feature the
voices of Evan McGarvey on
the popular music world and A
the team of Victoria Edwards ROTT
and Bernie Nguyen on the
latest in campus events. These columns
will enable individual writers to tackle
some of the greater issues facing the arts
and entertainment world in ways that
we can't normally do in reviews or other
features.
We'll also be placing an increased
emphasis on news and feature-based sto-
ries. Books editor Bernie Nguyen will be
overseeing a new news-oriented section
of Arts, focusing on the campus happen-
ing that we sometimes let fall through the
cracks. As part of this new division, we
will increase coverage of the University
and its programs that are relevant to the
section.
A new feature will also be introduced
to the section starting Friday, the Ann
Arbor Spotlight, a weekly Q&A session
with a local person or group involved in

[D
TE

the arts world. This means that you and
your band should contact us so that we
know you exist - even if you've only
practiced together twice.
Along those same lines, we are com-
mitted to increasing awareness of the
Ann Arbor and University scenes in all
of the Arts subsections.
Involved with an innovative
concert performance? Con-
tact us. Putting on a show
in your dorm room for your
hall? Probably not.
Additionally, Weekend
Magazine is no more.
Well, at least not the
same as it used to be.
The Statement, as it will
)AM henceforth be called, is
taking a new approach.
NBERG It will be a news-based
features magazine. Some old favor-
ites like "Random Student Interview"
will still be there for all you Week-
end fans. Be sure to check out the
first issue on Thursday, Sept. 15. It
will definitely not suck - at least
that's the plan.
Don't fret tough; not everything is
changing. Wewill still be bringing you
all the intervisws, reviews and previews
you have con toenjoy reading when
you should b listening in lecture. But
we have the uiique ability to focus on
the Ann Arbor and University arts scene,
and we are cenmitted to bringing that
to you.
- As alwas, tell us when we suck. How
else are w supposed to know? Contact
Rottaberg at arotten@umich.edu.

6

TRANSPORTING INANITY
ONLY STATHAM KEEPS CHARM IN BIZARRE ACTION SEQUEL

By Amanda Andrade
Daily Arts Writer
Fitm REVIW * * .
Some action movies hinge on nonsensical plot
developments and are called preposterous; some
never sufficiently establish char- _
acter dynamics and are called Transporter 2
mindless. But "Transporter 2"
blows past such minor infrac- At the Showcase
tions, insistent on defying logic, and Quality 16
every last law of physics and 20th Century Fox
the basic tenets of respectable
filmmaking. But with a charismatic lead and cheeky
awareness in its own silliness, there's something a
little lovable about the whole ride.
The budding franchise is built around a gruff Brit
named Frank Martin (Jason Statham, "The Italian
Job"), an ex-Special Forces agent who drives a sweet
sports car and engages in a lot of improbable stunts. In
this installment, he's sent to rescue an adorable little
boy from the hands of cartoonishly maniacal kidnap-
per/terrorist/mercenaries. The aim of these baddies is
to infect the child's father,.a powerful politician, with

a highly contagious disease.
If the plot sounds cliche, it's the villains who
seem to wallow in prosaicism. The leader, Gianni
(Italian actor Alessandro Gassman), is a slick
sociopath with a predictable mix of psychosis
and bravado, not to mention an endless supply of
lame one-liners. His girlfriend, Lola (model Kate
Nauta), tramps around in lingerie and stilettos,
wielding machine guns and looking vaguely like
an anorexic transvestite. The dialogue is ludicrous
enough, but first-time-actress Nauta's tepid deliv-
ery makes it painful.
Screenwriter Luc Besson ("The Fifth Element") is
no stranger to outlandish characters or absurd plots.
This time around, however, he makes do without
canny scenery-chewer Gary Oldman or any idea
of how to structure an engaging film. "Transporter
2" proceeds in three distinct acts: the search for the
boy, the search for the antidote and the search for the
supervillain. All three make little sense alone and less
together.
Luckily, director Louis Leterrier knows Besson's
script is fancifully stupid, and the movie proceeds
accordingly. No credence is given to reality as Frank
launches his loaded supercar from building to build-

ing, jet skis across pavement and takes down a dozen
bad guys with a firehose. Before you can think, "Isn't
it considerate of them to take him on one at a time?"
Leterrier beats reason into submission with breath-
taking action sequences and a sense of the ridiculous
woven through the stunts.
The real savior of the film is Statham, who proves
to be a refreshingly nuanced and commanding lead-
ing man. His steely eyes, hard jaw and gravelly voice
give the unmistakable impression of a toughened
James Bond - no martinis, no gadgets - just a
whole lot of effortless cool and impressive ass-kick-
ing skills. Statham does seem a little short, though
that's hardly surprising being paired with super-
models (Nauta and the ever-classy Amber Valletta
("Hitch")), but he brings great screen presence and
subdued humor, anchoring the film nicely.
But no amount of charisma, no quantity of nifty
fight scenes can dazzle enough to hide a simple fact:
This is a really dumb movie. It can be fun to revel
in its B-movie cheesiness, but even director Leter-
rier was quoted saying, "Without Jason Statham,
this movie would be a straight-to-video, dumb-ass,
horrible film." With Statham, however, it still basi-
cally is.

MUSIC DEAN
continued from page 1A
Performing Arts Center), and (now)
the structure (of the Walgreen Per-
forming Arts Center) is beginning to
rise out of the ground," he said. "So
it's really familiar. ... When con-
struction is going on, there are lots of
issues and decisions that have to be
made, and I'm certainly going to be
very involved."
While administrative tasks make
up the bulk of a dean's duties, Kendall
wants to be a part of the School of
Music's daily activities. "I hope to have

time for at last a little involvement
in the actua music-making that goes
on around hre. (Prof.) Ken Kiesler
has been vey generous, giving me
time to wor. with the orchestra right
away, just a: a way of saying hello," he
explained. 'i think my role is to try to
translate this distinctive and sometimes
arcane langvge of the performing
arts to the restof the institution in a
way that's meningful. I think at this
institution, theleans have an obliga-
tion to intersecwith the deans of the
other discipline to find ways to create
opportunities tht cross disciplinary
boundaries. I'm -ally looking forward
to that part of thgob."

i

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