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November 22, 2005 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2005-11-22

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Tuesday
November 22, 2005
arts. michigandaily. com
artspage@michigandaily.com

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5

ThE HOTTEST PICKS IN ENTERTAINMENT
FROM A DAILY ARTS WRITER

S

'The Boondocks' - Adult Swim's "The Boondocks" is the most
promising animated show since "Family Guy." It's had eight peo-
ple rolling around on my living room floor for two weeks straight
now. The ninth guy is a little upset, though, because we wake him
up. Check it out even if you have never read the comic strip.

'Match Point' - Woody Allen has certainly derailed from his
jj signature style with "Match Point," which is due out next month.
Either he's gotten off drugs or taken some. Something is cer-
tainly different, and, in my all-important opinion, better. Scarlett
Johansson's presence doesn't exactly hurt things either.

3

Not Seeing 'Harry Potter' - I'm upset with this new Dumb-
ledore and therefore am boycotting the "Harry Potter" series until
they either re-replace the late Richard Harris or rouse him from
the dead. Michael Gambon makes Dumb-
ledore seem less like a wise, aging wiz-
ard and more like an over-caffeinated
basketball coach. What a ham. I'm glad
he dies soon.

Courtesy of Fox Searcnlight
"Ok, one more time. I'm a Buddhist, playing a Jew."

SPELLBOUND
'BEE SEASON' FAR FROM A CHAMPION

'In the Mix' - Usher has a new movie
coming out over Thanksgiving weekend.
Apparently he gets involved with a mob boss's
daughter. There are going to be babes and guns
and some horrible acting. This movie has a
real chance. U-S-H-E-R, someone better get
served or I am going to be pissed.

By Zach Borden
Daily Arts Writer

The breakdown of families is a pretty familiar
genre, a subsection of films that often features end-
ings meant to warm the heart.
Yet "Bee Season," which follows Bee Season
a father who can't quite connect At the Michigan
with his family, deviates from Theater
the norm. Too distant and cold,
the movie has no effect on the Fox Searchlight
heartstrings whatsoever.
Based on Myla Goldberg's novel, "Bee Sea-
son" focuses on the Naumann family. While they
might seem comfortable on the surface, there's
plenty going on under the surface. Daughter Eliza
(Flora Cross) finally captures the attention of her
father, Saul (Richard Gere); once she becomes a
spelling-bee champion, he shuns the rest of his
family. It couldn't come at a worse time; his emo-
tionally scarred wife Miriam (Juliette Binoche,
"Chocolat") hides a dark secret, and his frus-

trated son Aaron (Max Minghella) joins the Hare
Krishnas. As Eliza makes her way through major
spelling championships, the family's secrets are
revealed.
"Bee Season" has many ambitious ideas, so it's
unfortunate that directors Scott McGehee and
David Siegel ("The Deep End") don't handle them
with more care. While they capture the emotional
isolation of the characters, the film's theological
elements never quite mesh. Religious beliefs are
a driving background force in the story, but their
ultimate meanings to the characters are covered
too broadly.
Visually, the film is quite stylized, particu-
larly the spelling sequences. When Eliza closes
her eyes and opens her mouth, her imagination
- or, arguably, something spiritual - takes
over. Pollen floats around her when she spells the
word "dandelion"; later, a bird turns into folded
paper when she spells "origami." While cute, the
computer-animated wizardry feels out of place in
what's primarily a human story.
Also problematic is the grand finale. While
it gives some closure for its young protagonist,

it's too open-ended as far the rest of the family
is concerned. This might be intentional, but it's
also frustrating; much of the conflict comes to
a head in the final 30 minutes. The film's book-
end - Eliza's narration - comes off equal parts
cheesy and manipulative.
Still, the young actors do a fantastic job and
run circles around their seasoned adult counter-
parts. Newcomer Cross is the real find; while
she lacks the wide-eyed precociousness of con-
temporary Dakota Fanning, Cross hones in on
her character's complex emotions well. Ming-
hella also does a superb job, capturing religious
confusion mixed with the usual teen angst.
When it comes to the veterans, though, Gere is
bland and fairly one note, and Binoche doesn't
really say much of anything.
Given the promise that directors McGehee and
Siegel have shown in the past, "Bee Season" is a
letdown. If the conflicts and underlying religious
themes had been artfully balanced, this might
have been a more emotionally welcoming movie.
Clearly, there's one season that this film is bound
to miss: Oscar season.

Basement Arts - For those of you who
may have neglected seeing "Big Love"
in the Frieze last weekend, this is what
you missed: three screaming girls in lin-
gerie rolling around in tomato shrapnel,
mass murder, slow dancing, a cake fight,
poignant tear-jerking observations about
love and sex in a bathtub. This is one
of the best seasons for the Basement in
years. The kicker? It's always free.

courtesy of Sony

Clientele
stay with
middling
formula
By Kimberly Chou
Daily Arts Writer
Recently, major indie-rock players
have been singing the praises of the
Clientele, a Lon-_
don-based outfit The Clientele
stuck in the mel-
low, marijuana- Strange Geometry
heady fog of the Merge
'60s. It's not
often that a band's collective sound
- multi-layered strings and acoustic
guitar, airy vocals, random chimes
and ringing bells - puts them under
suspicion of owning numerous cop-
ies of Forever Changes by iconic
psych-group Love. Strange Geom-
etry is not some remastered LP from
40 years ago, although, at times, it
may feel that way.
Though Merge label-mate Britt
Daniel has openly professed his love
for this band (Spoon chose the them to
open on their tour this year), truth be
told, they're kind of boring. Despite
crystalline folk melodies and metic-
ulously honed instrumentals, the
majority of Strange Geometry comes
off as a poor man's version of similar
bands' work. Considering technical-

Comedian outlines rocky rise to fame
By Megan Jacobs
Daily Arts Writer

Almost as hot as Patty Hearst. Almost.

ity and musical ability, the group is
running on all eight cylinders; it's
obvious the members make up for
anything they lack talent-wise with
hours in the production studio. But,
ultimately, in looking toward their
predecessors, The Clientele draw too
much from their influences and fail to
establish their own identity.
Strange Geometry ultimately
founders in the past, never quite
become more than a plain imitation.
A lot of kids that listen to so-called
"indie music" will probably snatch
up this album because The Clien-
tele fit into the mold of indie-cool.
It's difficult to picture an especially
stimulating Clientele show - maybe
lead singer Alasdair Maclean stage-
diving into the lethargic crowd after
an over-the-top cover of folk stan-
dard "Scarborough Fair" would liven
things up. Not every band needs to
whip hipster kids into a frenzy, but
it's a bad sign when imagining a rau-
cous Clientele show involves pars-

ley, sage, rosemary and thyme.
Strange Geometry does have its
stellar moments, however brief they
might be. The Clientele have a way
of ensnaring song introductions,
even if they eventually lose the lis-
tener's attention by the two-minute
mark. "Since K Got Over Me" is a
gem of an opening with an operatic
vocal sample - ethereal and open
- until distortion and fuzz blends it
into the rest of the song.
Another standout is the strangely
compelling spoken-word piece "Los-
ing Haringey," a tale mixing the nar-
rator's shitty day with photograph
flashbacks and familial revelations.
Though it's hard to make sense of
the lyrics with the musical structure,
the song is a welcome departure
from the already-been-there feel of
Strange Geometry. More moments
like "Losing Haringey" would raise
the voltage of the album, but as it
stands, throwing on an old copy of
Forever Changes should suffice.

He may have a Friday night slot on Comedy Central, but he's
no Dave Attell. He loves getting laughs out of lewd jokes, but
Dave Chappelle, he's not. Comedy Central's newest late-night
stand-up and comedic go-to guy is New York's Greg Giraldo.
Giraldo fell into comedy through a series of professional mis-
haps, most notably his less-than-burgeoning law career.
"I was a very bad lawyer," Giraldo said. "I basically wanted a
job where you can drink for free and sleep all day."
Though this behavior was not conducive to the courtroom,
Giraldo found ways to integrate his background ("My comedy
is the sum of all my parts," he said) into his first foray into enter-
tainment through the criminally short-lived comedy "Common
Law Show."
"It's in production in Singapore right now, if that's any indica-
tion of its success," Giraldo said.
Despite his rocky start, and due in part to his self-deprecating
wit and ability to let criticism roll off him, Giraldo exploded onto
the comedy scene. He's suddenly landed a recurring rant role
on "Last Call with Carson Daly," frequent guest spots on "Late
Night with Conan O'Brien," joined the Comedy Central line-up
with his own two-and-a-half-hour segment, "Comedy Central
Presents...Greg Giraldo" and a key player in the "Dave Attell
Insomniac Tour" trio with Attell and Dane Cook.
Though praised by many for his razor-sharp, often bawdy,
quips, "Crack cocaine is the best way to prepare for nights when
I don't feel funny - then everything I say is hilarious," Giraldo
has also had criticism for his portrayal of women, particularly
his wife; his frequent references to women as "bitches" and his
wife's shortcomings lead some to question his taste.
"The things about my wife ... those are more about me not
being original enough to come up with a new angle," Giraldo
said. "Any reasonable woman is going to destroy a guy for living
the way I do."
Giraldo has continued to blossom in the entertainment scene
since his induction a decade ago, amid several failed sitcom
pilots (ever heard of "Drive" on CBS?) aided by yet another
unintentional publicity stunt, "The Underpants Song." Giraldo
describe it as his life's work distilled into music, courtesy of '90s
one-hit-wonder "Barbie Girl" band, Aqua.
"I was drunk at the Comedy Cellar ... they basically raped me

Courtesy of Comedy Central
The five o'clock shadow is like his comedy - abrasive.
at their hotel's portable recording studio. It went Gold in Austra-
lia; it's playing at frat houses all over the country, and I haven't
seen a penny yet," Giraldo said.
Whatever the case, his continued popularity has opened
forums better than skeevy nightclub basements to showcase his
talent and broad range of comedic discourse.
"I like to dabble," Giraldo said. "Sometimes I like to talk
about bitches, sometimes NAFTA."
His versatility led him to comedy giant and one of Giraldo's
personal favorites, Dave Attell, who selected him to be part of the
"Insomniac Tour" triumvirate, in spite of Giraldo's public disre-
gard for Dane Cook. Tour-mate Cook publicly roasted Giraldo
with a startling sharpness, surprising many, including Giraldo.
"Bottom line: I really don't give that much of a shit about other
comedians. There's a reason he's as popular as he his, so I'll be
friendly," he said.
Giraldo sees his current place as one of Comedy Central's
golden boys as favorable, but temporary. His past failures, fre-
quent intoxication and inherent laziness have set him up to have
fun now and not worry about the future.
"I don't do goals," he said. "If I were the kind of guy that had
goals, I wouldn't be doing stand-up in bars. My goals are just not
to suck. Worst-case scenario, I'll be on cruise ships. And hey,
that's not too bad of a life."

Stories illuminate Chinese cultural rift after the revolution

By Gillian Quian
For the Daily

Set amidst the China's moderniza-

consequences of misunderstandings
between generations of families.
At the end of each story, Li doesn't
reconcile any problems among char-
acters nor does she define any solu-
tions for them.

The plights of Li's characters allow
the stories to unfold more realistical-
ly, as intimately portrayed affairs. In
"Love in a Marketplace," a woman is
forever changed by a broken promise,
illustrating how a person's struggles

with the heaviness of struggles; Such
feelings reveal the frailty of human
emotions.
In "Immortality," a man with a
face like the dictator's pretends to
live like one but soon realizes how

less use of metaphors to reinforce
her themes.
Events run parallel to each other,
but all illustrate the same idea. For
example, in "Son," a man discuss-
es the fate of someone else while

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