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December 06, 2005 - Image 8

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2005-12-06

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

U~l1E 1Atrdigatn tadl
RTrS

8

- --I

THE HOTTEST PICKS IN ENTERTAINMENT
FROM A DAILY ARTS WRITER

S

Terrence Howard - This guy is in every movie these days and I still
can't get enough of him. He can be the gang member who just couldn't
keep his cool in "Get Rich Or Die Tryin'." He can be the struggling Dirty
South rapper who has to drag himself to the top in "Hustle & Flow."
He can even be the black man who just can't seem to take it anymore
in "Crash." Now he's set to be in the new Outkast movie and probably
nine others.

Christmas-themed TV Episodes - You only get to see them once a year;
enjoy them while you can. I can't remember the titles, but who can forget the
ones where some guy sells his hat to buy his girlfriend shoe polish, and his
girlfriend sells her shoes to buy him a hat rack, you gotta love the irony. It's
been done, it'll be done again and I hope it never changes.
Natasha Bedingfield - Neo-soul just keeps developing and this girl
is a definite asset. She has a smooth and soulful voice with a style almost
impossible to duplicate. And she's different from Joss Stone, so people
shouldn't even try the comparison. The music is great, the single is hot
and of course, she is mad sexy.
Big Boi's Mixtape - Big Boi, always the visionary, has started his
own label, Purple Ribbon, with an incredible roster: Killer Mike, Bubba
Sparxxx, Sleepy Brown and the Goodie Mob as well as newcomers
such as Scar and Janelle Monae. The mixtape Got Purp? Vol. 2 is hotter
than fish grease and is selling like hot shorts in the summer. Now, with
his movie "My Life in Idlewild" in the works, he's quickly becoming a
crossover star and the stronger member of Outkast.
XBox 360 - With Christmas right around the corner, kids are
looking for the next video game consoles to rot their brains into
the new year. The Playstation 3 isn't coming anytime soon, and
XBox 360 displays are in video-game stores everywhere. Because
it has the most realis-
tic graphics I've ever-
seen, nothing is look- -' -
ing as good as the
XBox 360. With
the new "Call of -
Duty" and "Peter l
Jackson's King
Kong" as the first
games, I have a
even more rea-
son to hate Bill
Gates."
Courtesy of Microsoft
British teen brings rap
down to her height

Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

Too bad they don't know this G.I. Joe is a sex offender. After all, knowing is half the battle. ZING!
ALL IN THE AMILY
ONCE-CANCELLED CARTOON RETURNS TO DVD

By Evan McGarvey
Daily Music Editor

Seth MacFarlane just doesn't get it sometimes.
"Family Guy" (and its creator) has ingrained itself
into our generation's conscious-
ness by picking on the carrion
of "The Simpsons," whatever Family Guy:
reality show happens to be near Volume 3
the peak of the Nielsens, and, 20th Century Fox
of course, a slew of forgettable
'80s TV shows. The comedic
Lazarus of the Buffy generation, even cancellation
couldn't keep the show down after its suddenly zeal-
ous fans demanded its return to TV.
Even after two sizeable "collections" of episodes
("Family Guy" doesn't really believe in plot) have
already been released on DVD, the third volume of
the show still effectively juxtaposes its strong points:
an unholy number of pop culture allusions, manic
cutaways and pop culture, and a general "fuck you"
to reality.
But like Brian the Dog's drinking or Stewie's love-
able, Stalin-in-diapers plans the show gets lost in its

own qualities, spiraling out of control and plummet-
ing into an abyss of nonexistent plot, irony saturated
dialogue and blunt, unsubtle sight gags.
You can't entirely blame this collection of episodes.
"Breaking Out If Hard To Do" not only has Chris
Griffin being pulled into the infamous music video
A-Ha's "Take On Me" (probably the best meth-esque
frantic cutaway), but also a clean, tidy plot where
Lois gets thrown in prison for her newfound klep-
tomania.
That's it. Nothing too insane, no anthropomor-
phized religious figures, nothing that completely dis-
tracts the viewer from the plot.
Sadly, most of the other episodes disintegrate into
MacFarlane trying to one-up himself, tossing refer-
ence upon reference, stretching the viewer's tolerance
for Hall & Oates, retard jokes and Glen Quagmire's
penchant for date rape. Much of the time it feels as if
stuff isn't being tossed at the wall to see if it sticks so
much as something is perpetually hitting a fan. The
stink gets everywhere.
"Brian The Bachelor" gets lost in a poorly execut-
ed jibe against reality television and the slobs who
love it. Packing the standard slew of manic allusions
and crude dialogue into a loose bundle of "social
commentary" is as ineffective as it sounds. When

"Family Guy" shoots for the stars and misses (it hap-
pens more than fans would like to admit), the show
crashes hard and even their self-destructive moments
drag on.
The commentary that's bundled with the DVD set
is unimpressive. Entertaining for a small lark, it's
clearly a side dish.
In many ways, this DVD set is a fair appraisal of
the show's strengths - comedy drawn outside the
lines, offensive to anyone who listens - and its pro-
found weaknesses - hit-or-miss jokes of the highest
order, grating gags that run on for minutes of excess.
But the show is never truly bad in the slow parts;
a frantic meta-pop gag always breaks the tension
before too long. "Family Guy" really is worth at least
one shot for anyone with an appetite for the absurd
and foul; just don't be surprised if you wish McFar-
lane had another visionary by his side to keep him
in check. While the show is sometimes a highlight
reel of its creator's wild, imaginative satire, there's
plenty in between that sounds like someone spinning
their wheels.
Show: ***
Picture/Sound: ***-
Features: ***

0i

Guns and glamour keep 'Smith' fun

By Imran Syed
Daily Arts Writer
It has long been a Hollywood specialty to reflect on

By Chris Gaerig
Daily Arts Writer
It's official: The rap scene has com-
pletely lost its mind. First, Jay-Z retires
and Eminem becomes a responsible
parent. Then there's 50 Cent and The
Game's "Will & Grace"-esque bicker-
ing. Irv Gotti once again shows how sub-
urban the Murder Inc. crew is by getting
acquitted of his charges. All the while,
Lil' Kim is the most hood of them all by
being imprisoned
for perjury - ____________
white-collar crime Lady
anyone? To make Sovereign
things stranger, V
the aforemen- Vertically
tioned Jigga signed Challenged
a white, female, Chocolate Industries
pixie-sized rapper
from the U.K. to his Def Jam Records.
Lady Sovereign is the latest artist
to cross the Atlantic from the thriving
grime scene - a blend of electronic,
dancehall beats and toothy flows. Led
by Dizzee Rascal, grime is slowly but
surely forcing its way into the main-
stream - Sri Lankan MC M.I.A. had
a guest appearance on Missy Elliot's
latest, The Cookbook. But while the
musical styles of American rappers and
our British friends may be different, the
grime artists fit perfectly into hip-hop
history.
Imagine Dizzee is the late Notorious

B.I.G. with his aggressive street style
and breakthrough talent. Kano is proph-
esized to bring grime to the mainstream
like Jay-Z. M.I.A. is the enigmatic,
spastic Missy Elliot and Wiley is Snoop
Dogg - showing promising talent but
ultimately watered-down and hanging
on to the coattails of his peers. If all
of this is true then Lady Sovereign is
almost certainly Lil' Kim, and she lets
her moxie show on her first U.S. release,
Vertically Challenged.
Lady Sov may not be content being
compared to her American counter-
parts. She mocks top-40 rap on the fiery
"Random" - making fun of everyone
from Ludacris to J-Kwon. Her adoles-
cent voice tears through the rumbling
bass and her verbal attacks drive the
song: "Well I'm right thurr / Naw tell it
right / I'm right there / Right hurr / Naw
right here / Now get off of your churr / I
mean chair."
Lady Sov isn't always concerned with
the United States on Vertically Chal-
lenged. Her schizophrenic but complex
rhyming style is displayed on "Fiddle
With the Volume." While the processed
guitar pluckings give way to a disturb-
ingly dark bassline, Lady Sov spits
flowing lines: "Country and western /
I've got a suggestion / The music can
question / Caving you chest in."
Similarly, the string section on "The
Battle" creates a gloomy atmosphere
despite the syncopated hi-hat taps. At
just less than eight minutes, the opus
gives not only Lady Sov but also sev-

the everyday experiences of ordinary
Americans - reflect, that is, in its
own special and at times comically
exaggerated way. Few films bank on
this theme as much as "Mr. and Mrs.
Smith," a star vehicle to say the least,
but one that floats without the tower-

Mr. and
Mrs. Smith
20th Century Fox

eral other less-known grime MCs (Frost
P, Zuz Rock and Shystie) a chance to
stretch their legs.
Ironically, the worst material on
Vertically Challenged is done by
American and Canadian artists. Poor
judgment led to a remix of Lady Sov's
"A Little Bit of Shhh" by Adrock of
the Beastie Boys. Her flows interact
and weave throughout the beat in the
original, making the remix sound dis-
jointed and her lines clumsy. The Mon-
treal native Ghislain Poirier delivers an
equally disappointing remix of "Fid-
dle With the Volume." Although the
glitchy electronic beat adds new depth
to the track, it fails to do the original
justice.
So what happens now? Does Lady
Sov open for Juelz Santana to a crowd
of hipsters and suburbanites? Just how
many times is Jay-Z going to appear on
her next U.S. release? Can 50 Cent legit-
imately start beef with a white girl from
the U.K.? Lady Sov is threatening to
throw a glass of nitro into the rap scene
and give it the kick-start it needs. But
really, with Eminem more concerned
about his daughter and choosing the
right sheets from Bed Bath & Beyond
than killing ICP, what could be better?

ing presence of "Brangelina" because of its sharp wit
and explosive action sequences.
Mr. and Mrs. Smith - John and Jane (Brad Pitt and
Angelina Jolie) - are just your average suburban cou-
ple. Both too busy to even speak to each other for more
than a few moments every day, neither really knows
the details of the other's occupation. But theirs isn't an
insignificant detail like assistant manager vs. assistant
to the manager: The secrets they keep are enough to
literally end each other's lives.
In its first half, the movie plays up the story of the
two, lethal assassins unknowingly married to each other.
With exceptional expertise, it handles the underlying
theme of the turbulence and superficiality of Ameri-
can marriage with masterful subtlety. Even with their
schedules booked solid with assassination missions, the
Smiths still find time to argue about curtains and seek
marriage counseling.
An unexpected though pleasant surprise is the astute
satire of traditional marital roles. Being the average sub-
urban, John naturally hides his secret cach6 of weapons
in the storehouse of his manly endeavors, the toolshed.
Similarly, where else would Jane hide her weapons other
than the kitchen - the humble workspace of the tradi-
tional housewife?
As insightful as the wit and satire are, the audience
comes for bangs, and they will not be disappointed.
By this time the plot is in shambles, held down by the
inane need for show over substance. The last of third

courtesy of 20th century Fox

Do not.

of the film is non-stop, all-out escapist action. Perhaps
the film should be reprimanded for falling so fast and
inexplicably into a run-of-the-mill Hollywood racket,
but the sequences are well executed and crowd-pleasers
at the least.
The deleted scenes provide an extended cut of the
film's most thrilling sequence, just in case 10 minutes
of perpetual gunshots just didn't cut it. The other deleted
scenes are insignificant, featuring little more than failed
attempts at comic relief from the inexplicable, though
persistently enjoyable Vince Vaughn. The short "Making
the Scene" featurette is bearable but adds nothing to the
overall package.
Any given summer, a multitude of films come out
that resemble "Mr. and Mrs. Smith," and their audience
will find this film better than most. Though it feels over-
extended and depends on a thinly crafted storyline, those
looking for a smart film will be pleasantly surprised.
Everyone else, of course, will be too busy ogling at the
two stars and continuous action to fail to be entertained.
Film: ***
Picture/Sound: ***
Special Features: ***

Santana's rhymes, charm only half 'Missing'

By Anthony Baber
Daily Arts Writer
Rappers come with songs, albums
and mixtapes
.C. I1I C - I ....,.

like they'd hoped. Not letting the
higher powers kill them, they cre-
ated Diplomat Records off of Roc-
A-Fella Records and have pushed
more gutter-funk freestyles and
mixtapes than official albums. The
group's standout, Juelz Santana, has
rt nafr m La* c ('-a 'n'e rt

he says, "I might've sold the least /
But I still manage to be most feared /
By most MCs."
Though the album is a bit long,
weighing in at 22 songs, it's stronger E
than most could've been predicted for
Santana. He grows as an MC while still

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