10A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, September 26, 2005
By Jeffrey Bloomer
Daily Film Editor
In the midst of what has become the worst box-
office slump since the emergence of home video in
the '80s, many filmgoers have turned away from the
theatrical experience of the movies. But the opening
of the new Briarwood Dollar Movies 4 last Friday
aims to change that - if only on the local scale. The
new theater, located near Briarwood Mall lots 26-
28 (in place of the former Madstone Theater), adds
a fifth venue to Ann Arbor's four existing theaters
- but is the only one to offer second-run films for as
low as 50 cents at select showings.
Alan Teicher, owner of the new theater, said that
the cost alone offers a strong incentive for theater
patrons, particularly University students.
"I hope that we get a lot of students because of our
price. I'm sure a lot of students are on budgets and
cannot afford $9.50 (per ticket)," Teicher said.
He added that in the coming months, the theater
will likely begin another program aimed directly at
student audiences: midnight movies.
"We're thinking about, after football season, hav-
ing midnight movies on maybe Friday night ... Now-
adays, I don't know how much stuff there is to do
after midnight on a Friday night. Kids don't want to
go to bed at the midnight hour."
Comparing his theater to the defunct Madstone,
Teicher said the venue offers second-run features
nearing the end of their theatrical run, which is
unique to Ann Arbor.
"What people don't know (is that) ... Ann Arbor is
a very, very, very good movie town. The grosses that
come out of this town are very strong. And we find
from experience ... if there's a strong first-run base,
then second-run theaters are very good. And it's a
Foster propels tense
Patrons stand outside the brand-new Briarwood Dollar Movies 4, which opened Friday.
beautiful mall, so how can you go wrong?" he said.
Still, Teicher said, the former theater's legacy also
worked to his advantage.
"This theater is so beautiful ... because of
Madstone. They put down tile floors; we have an
overkill of bathrooms - I've been in business 50
years, (and) never have I seen a woman's bath-
room with 18 stalls."
For patrons who came to see movies during the
theater's debut weekend, the bargain price seemed to
be the primary incentive.
"It's worth waiting to see the movie to keep the
price down," said Sue Bergum, a resident of nearby
Pinckney. David of Ypsilanti agreed: "It's a good,
inexpensive Saturday night to get the kids out of the
house. I don't avoid (paying full price); I just don't
go out of my way to go to movies (at the major the-
Elizabeth, an Ann Arbor resident who came to
the theater to see "Mr. & Mrs. Smith," said the new
venue also offers a selection of movies that are no
longer playing in other theaters.
"This is the only place that's showing it, and it's not
really expensive like all the other big theaters, like Qual-
ity 16," she said. Still, Saline residents David and Anne
Turrentine said the theater's second-run features, not the
price, is what most attracted them to the theaters.
"(We're here) because we've been loyal dollar
movie fans for years. A lot of faces around here are
the same from the people who worked at the Village
Theater ... We pay the normal prices, (then) come
here and watch it a second time," Anne said.
As of the theater's opening on Friday night, Tei-
cher said the community response has far exceeded
"(The turnout) has been way better than I ever
thought ... To set a good theater up, it really takes
three years. There are people who don't read the
papers, people who haven't been to the show in years
because they can't afford it, so we have to get those
people. (But) if this keeps building for three years, I
don't know what I'm going to do," he said.
"Take me to your leader."
By Imran Syed
Daily Arts Writer
Learning to read by age three, mas-
tering French by 14, winning her first
Academy Award at 26 and backing
it up with another at 29, Jodie Foster
really can do it all. ............_
But can she save Flightplan
a grim, shadowy
airplane thriller At the Showcase
with shades of and Quality 16
Hitchcock from Touchstone
the unholy clutch-
es of predictable plot twists, moronic
villains and mostly mediocre support-
ing performances? The answer is an
emphatic yes: "Flightplan" soars above
its flaws thanks to the grit, skill and
grace of its star.
Kyle Pratt (Foster) is an aeronau-
tical engineer stationed in Berlin.
Through flashbacks, we learn that
she has recently lost her husband to a
tragic "accident," and along with her
daughter, she boards a plane to escort
her husband's body back to the United
States to be buried. Oh, but this isn't
just any aircraft. It's the huge, new
Big Bertha of a plane that Kyle helped
design - with two floors, a bar and
about 600 flat-screen TVs (kind of like
a GameWorks with wings). But aboard
this Titanic of the sky, a sinister plot
involving the disappearance of Kyle's
daughter is only the beginning.
"Flightplan" has probably the most
intriguing first 40 minutes of any film this
year; the gray, melancholy, understated
tone is set from the first scene. Despite
the release of its equally well-made sis-
ter film ("Red Eye") earlier this year, the
movie proves to be just as thrilling and
even more rewarding than its predecessor.
The confined-space setting is also simi-
lar to the one Foster dominated in 2002's
"Panic Room," but despite the loss of
visual magician David Fincher ("Se7en"),
the film distinguishes itself nicely from
that movie as well.
Never at any point in the film is the
audience left in a lull. The action is
absolutely nonstop, though not wildly
overdone as in other recent thrillers.
Contrary to what this film's poorly
made trailer suggests, Kyle does not
spend the whole flight simply run-
ning around like a maniac; she actu-
ally portrays a sense of forced calm
and more alertness than despair, and
this makes her situation feel genuinely
The film's predictability should be
expected by now, but Foster infuses so
much flair and charisma into the story
that we forget how impossibly pathetic
the villainous plot of the film really is.
Despite its drawbacks, young director
Robert Schwentke deserves credit for
setting a tone that is perfect for his story
and character - understated, with just
the right amount old-fashioned charm
(complete with the classic German dia-
logue at the beginning).
As far as Foster goes in saving the
film, it still could not have been done
without the brilliantly subtle perfor-
mance of supporting-actor extraor-
dinaire Sean Bean ("The Island").
After bigger roles like Mr. Carson the
air marshal and Stephanie the flight
attendant collapse miserably under the
weight of their over-the-top perfor-
mances, Bean's Captain Rich steps up
and gives instant credibility to the fast-
The film ends the only way it possi-
bly could, and though it's predictable,
the stark imagery of the finale is pow-
erful, even touching. Playing only her
second major role in the past six years,
Foster proves she has not lost a beat
and has grown even more as an actress.
She became a queen of horror with her
Oscar-winning performance in "Silence
of the Lambs," and with this compel-
ling performance, she has conquered the
thriller genre as well.
Rosie Thomas brings experimental style to A2
By Lloyd Cargo
Daily Arts Writer
For Rosie Thomas, every live per-
formance is a gam-
ble, but it's a gamble
she's grateful she
has the opportunity
to make. "Life is
about taking risks
and seeing what
Tonight at 8 p.m.
At The Ark
is best known for her live perfor-
mances. Often mixing in a stand-up
comedy routine centered on a pizza
delivery girl named Sheila with her
introspective song, Thomas leaves
herself vulnerable to the mood of
the crowd, something she's become
quite comfortable with.
"It's hard to be confident in who
you are to a level of being humble
and recognizing your flaws and
failures as a writer and as a human
being," she explained. "If you can be
confident in all those complexities of
what makes you a person, then how
do you choose to voice that to peo-
ple? I've chosen music as my expres-
sion," Thomas explained.
That form of expression has been con-
stantly expanding for Thomas as she's
incorporated additional influences into
her already eclectic sound.
"Being in Seattle around so many
talented people has been great for
me. I have the luxury of being around
people who are working on such dif-
ferent projects that it gets my wheels
spinning," she said. "I've thought
about doing everything from dance
remixes to stripping my songs down
completely. I haven't nailed down
my official sound yet, and I think its
going to take a lot of experimenting
to get there."
Monday night at The Ark will be
the perfect opportunity to see Thom-
as doing what she does best - exper-
imenting and having fun with her
happens," Thomas said.
Rosie's recently released third
album, If Songs Could Be Held, has
garnered rave reviews for its unique
take on the oft-hackneyed role of
the singer/songwriter. Still, Thomas
Courtesy of Sub Pop
Thomas will perform tonight at 8 p.m.
music. If you're willing to take a risk
with Rosie, she's willing to take a
risk with you.
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