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September 20, 2005 - Image 10

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The Michigan Daily, 2005-09-20

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10 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, September 20, 2005

ARTS

Ensemble cast shows heart and honesty

By Zach Borden
Daily Arts Writer
Getting to know the in-laws has become a staple
among today's situational comedies. The mega-hit

"Meet the Parents" franchise is
the pinnacle of the genre's new
wave, and last spring "Mon-
ster-In-Law" and "Guess Who"
proved to be modest hits. Yet
for all those broad strokes,
Phil Morrison's quirky indie
"Junebug" takes a totally differ-

Junebog
At the
Michigan Theater
Sony Pictures Classics

Courtesy of Rogue

"Wow, so that is what a naked Bea Arthur looks like ... "

Horror flick doesn't
slice up new scares

By David R. Eicke
For the Daily
Somewhere in Hollywood, someone
filled out another Mad Lib.
Name of the new kid in school:
His accent:
Isolated setting:
Recent morbid tragedy: _____
Name of hot girl #1:
Name of hot girl #2:
Name of Asian girl w/ pigtails:
Name of black guy:
A Cute prank turned "deadly seri-
ous:"
Compute.
If this game continues, we're in
for as many "Scary Movie" sequels

prank when the group convinces the
rest of the student body that the recent
murder was actually the doing of a
serial killer. Their so-called invention,
dubbed "The Wolf," is a hunting-gear-
clad monster in an orange mask who
goes from campus to campus doing
what serial killers do.
But then Owen starts receiving mys-
terious instant messages from someone
named "The Wolf" and realizes that
maybe the actual murderer has seen
the mass e-mail he sent out. Among
the suspects is journalism instructor
Rich Walker (Jon Bon Jovi).
The fact that instant messaging
takes such a salient role in this movie
makes it very difficult to take seri-
ously. The little bleep-chirp sound just
doesn't have the same punch as a shrill
telephone ring or a mural in cat blood.
A pale-faced, whispery divulgence of
"I got another IM today" simply does
not work as chilling dialogue. Besides,
there's just something inherently and
intangibly wrong with using AIM for
dramatic tension.
The dialogue also feels a little too
scripted - the most memorable and
the deepest line is Dodger's: "It's like
you guys are playing checkers ... and
I'm playing chess."
That said, "CryWolf" will keep
genre fans alert and entertained. The
twist ending is difficult to call (This
might be because it takes a third of
the movie to unfold.), and the camera
work isn't horrible. Basically, lovers
of this genre can get their fix, but
others might search for an off-the-
box recipe.

ent approach. While it's laced with a sly wit, it also
brings much more depth to its characters than your
typical studio comedy.
After meeting at a benefit, Chicago-based art
dealer Madeline (Embeth Davidtz, "Bridget Jones's
Diary") and George (Alessandro Nivola, "Jurassic
Park III") quickly marry. Six months later, they
travel to North Carolina where Madeline seeks
to recruit an eccentric local artist; coincidentally,
George's family lives near the painter, so they
decide to visit them as well.
Not everybody reacts.to Madeline in a similar
way. George's mom (Celia Watson, "The Village")
and brother (Benjamin McKenzie, TV's "The O.C.")
show distance; his aloof father (Scott Wilson, ""The
Last Samurai") is somewhat ambivalent and his
brother's pregnant wife (Amy Adams, "Catch Me If
You Can") acts star struck to the point of obsession.
The movie could have easily used cliched proto-
types for its characters based on their geographi-
cal backgrounds, instead it makes them real people
with their own flaws and needs. Bucking the recent
trend, George's family does not consist of poor,
uneducated hicks, and Madeline has her own agen-
da. Each character is seeking some form of emo-
tional satisfaction, even if it is through hopes of the
future through loved ones.
Like everyday life, the story is content to focus
on the smaller moments that make up people's
worlds. Madeline has an important choice to make
that she barely considers, and Johnny - in what is

Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

"Hey weren't you in "Face Off?"'

probably the film's most powerful scene - shows
his true love for his wife by becoming convulsively
incensed over a VCR. It's moments like these that
endow "Junebug" with a deeper undercurrent of
symbolism, one that is not afraid to be heavy on
subtlety and subtext.
Morrison clearly understands the intricacies of
Angus MacLachlan's script and captures small-
town life through dutiful exterior shots of places
and people. His style here evokes famed director
Robert Altman, who is best known for tight char-
acter dramas and his knack for realism and all its
random occurrences.

The film also assembles one of the finest ensem-
ble casts in years. In particular, McKenzie proves
he can do a lot more than shoot brooding looks in
California high society: He gives a remarkable per-
formance that shows real range as a frustrated and
intense young husband. But it's Adams, with her
wide eyes and childlike naivete, who really steals
the show; her turn radiates with a generous sweet-
ness and unexpected insight that's at the heart of
the movie.
Morrison has skillfully crafted a richly rewarding
and even poetic film about the endless complexities
of relationships and family.

Star-studded 'Life' plot lags behind acting talent

as there are scary
movies. "Cry_
Wolf" is simply
all those other
teen horror mov-
ies chewed up and
regurgitated into a
different reel with

CryWof
At Showcase
and Quality 16
Rogue

By Christopher Lechner
Daily Arts Writer
FiL~M REVIEW
"An Unfinished Life," one of the
few remaining movies produced by

some changed names and a little twist
at the end.
Protagonist Owen (Julian Morris)
has just transferred into yet another
private school where he meets the sly
redhead, Dodger, a girl fond of talking
out the side of her mouth and sneak-
ing out with her friends to play a real-
ly "intense" fibbing game. But their
game evolves into a campus-wide

the Weinstein-led
Miramax Films,
was filmed in
2003 and sat on
the shelf at the
studio for more
than two years
amid rabid media

An Unfinished
Life
At the Showcase
and the Quality 16
Miramax

portrayal of a dysfunctional fam-
ily living on a ranch in Wyoming.
It opens as Jean Gilkyson (Jennifer
Lopez) finally has had enough of her
abusive boyfriend and escapes with
her daughter Griff (newcomer Becca
Gardner).
With nowhere else to go, Jean
arrives in Wyoming on the doorstep
of her estranged and bitter father-
in-law Einar Gilkyson (Robert
Redford). Living with Einar is his
compassionate best friend, Mitch
(Morgan Freeman), who has been
mauled by a bear. Einar blames Jean
for the death of his only son, and so
the movie ultimately becomes a tale
of forgiveness and acceptance.
With a cast this distinguished, the
film's performances are as strong as
one might expect.
Gardner turns in a solid debut as
Griff, and though it's hard to picture

a Puerto Rican goddess growing up
in rural Wyoming, a post-Bennifer
Lopez tries her best to make us for-
get her work in "Gigli" and tries to
regain the aclaim that she garnered
with "Selena."
Breathtaking scenery and skillfully
subtle cinematography complement
the performances in "Life." Filmed
in Canada and set in Wyoming, the
movie succeeds in capturing the stark
beauty and rugged features of the
American West. This is due in part
to Hallstrom who, after a four-year
hiatus, proves that he can still create
visual magic behind the camera.
That said, the film still fails to
find a solid direction and pace. With
a storyline that begs for tragedy and
heartbreak, Hallstrom contrives a
happy ending. The movie sets a tone
of melancholy and intrigue from the
get-go, but there are no twists, and

we are left merely to wait for the
inevitable Einar and Jean reconcili-
ation. It's a formulaic and ordinary
story to the bone; "Life" plays like
a movie that we've already seen one
too many times.
There's no better example of this
than the sentimental casting of Free-
man as the wise older sidekick to
the troubled leading man. It's a role
that we've all seen him play many
times before alongside Clint East-
wood's "Million.Dollar Baby" and
most famously in "The Shawshank
Redemption." This is also the case
with Hallstrom, who has already
directed a film about isolation and
family life in small-town America,
the superior "What's Eating Gilbert
Grape." And despite its stellar pro-
duction, the sheer lack of ingenuity
ultimately makes "Life" a forget-
table experience.

4

speculation.
The movie really wasn't worth
all of the hype. This film, the latest
from heralded Swiss director Lasse
Hallstrom ("Chocolat"), is a stark

11. WWI

a

REC
SPORTS
INTRAMURALS

The University of Michigan
Department of Recreational Sports
Intramural Sports Program
www.recsports.umich.edu

REC
SPORTS
INTRAMURALS

734-763-3562

Entries due:
Tues, 10/04
4:30 PM
M Building
Entry Fee:
$35 per team
$5 per individual
Manager's Meeting:
MANDATORY
Tues, 10/04
6:00 PM
IM Building
Entries also Meet Date:
taken online Thurs, 10/06
UM Indoor Track
Track & Field

/

Entries due:
Wed, 10/05
4:30 PM
IM Building
Entry Fee:
$85 per team

(includes course fees)
Entries also
taken online

Meet Date:
Sun, 10/09
UM Golf Course

.1

Golf Meet

Kii. :
t f

Entries due:
Wed, 09/21
4:30 PM
IM Building

Entry Fee:
$35 per team
Manager's Meeting:
MANDATORY
Thurs, 09/22
7:15 PM
IM Building
Tournament Dates:
09/24, & 09/25
Elbel Field

Entries due:
Wed, 09/21
4:30 PM
IM Building
Entry Fee:
$35 per team
Manager's Meeting:
MANDATORY
Thurs, 09/22
6:00 PM
IM Building
Tournament Dates:
Sat 09/24 & Sun 09/25
Mitchell Field

0

Entries also
taken online

Entries alsoL
taken online

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