8 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, February 8, 2006
Courtesy OT ne Weinstein Company
"You're weird looking."
Frilly comedy bares
all, mildly entertains
By Christina Choi
For the Daily
While tactfully bypassing the
potential trauma of a disrobed Judi
Henderson Mrs. Henderson
Presents" is a Presents
on nudity in At the Showcase
high society, The Weinstein Company
welcome fluffiness into the otherwise-
dismal World War II era.
The film's namesake (Judi Dench,
"Pride & Prejudice," who recently
earned an Oscar nod for her role) is
a not-so-mournful widow searching
for a hobby to complement her newly
single life. She stumbles upon the
rundown Windmill Theatre and hires
astute gentleman Vivian Van Damm
(Bob Hoskins, "Beyond the Sea") to
transform it into a stage for continuous
musicals, the likes of which were previ-
ously unheard of in European society.
A clever publicity stunt - the inclu-
sion of nude female actors into the
show - comes as a sudden revelation
to Mrs. Henderson, though she offers a
flimsy rationale for it later. Whatever
the case, "Revudeville" becomes a hit
with hormone-driven soldiers while
skillfully providing a backdrop for the
film's unexpected relationships.
The catch: The theater is forbid-
den from having naked bits running
amuck on the stage and must instead
find ways to showcase them "artisti-
cally," meaning without movement.
Aside from the obligatory scene
involving old men and their titter-
inducing willies, the British film-
makers handle nudity well, and the
resulting musical numbers are both
charming and charismatic. The songs
effortlessly smooth the transitions
from stage to reality with an infec-
Despite the profligate nudity, the
film's unusual relationships are at its
core. As an immature socialite, Mrs.
Henderson is a formidable match for
the gruff Mr. Van Damm. While her
wit is best appreciated by an older
audience, their cheeky interactions
are reminiscent of third-grade antics
without the hairpulling, which is for-
tunate for the aging Dench.
Their name-calling lends cre-
dence to the scene where Mr. Van
Damm strands Mrs. Henderson atop
a high cabinet in his office with no
way down. It's absurd, yes, but also
strangely fitting for a woman who
delights in shocking court officials by
calling a woman's "midlands" by their
less euphemistic name.
Another novel relationship in the
film originally appears to be a love
story between a beautiful actress,
Maureen (Kelly Reilly, "Pride &
Prejudice"), and a sweet-faced sol-
dier. But appearances prove deceiv-
ing when he sleeps with her and then
announces he has a girlfriend. The
audience will get a dark satisfaction
from perfect Maureen's decidedly
While the film connects with the
ongoing war in some respects, its
main focus (as well as "Revudeville"
itself) is entertainment. The use of
archival footage of the London bomb-
ings seems too-contrived and out of
sync. The effect is jarring in an oth-
erwise lighthearted film that shows
pleasure as a universal and transcen-
dent human need, even in the dreariest
moments of war.
Is it strange that we hear R. Kelly when we see this?
JUST A BIT OUTSIDE
FIRST-EVER NCAA BASEBALL GAME MOST REALISTIC TO DATE
By H. Jose Bosch
Daily Arts Writer
Sports is an industry, a seemingly omnipres-
ent fact of life - even when it comes to sports
video games. After EA Sports was shut out of
the Major League Baseball game market by 2K
Sports, the video-game giant refused to sit out
a season. Instead, EA Sports released the very
first NCAA baseball game, "MVP 06 NCAA
Baseball." Gainers will have plenty of time to
pave their own road to Omaha before Opening
Day at the Fish.
The highlights of the release are the new
throwing and hitting systems introduced by EA
Sports. The unique load-and-fire hitting sys-
tem will likely raise the bar for baseball games.
Much like the swing system in "Tiger Woods
Golf," a player must push the right analog stick
down to make the batter load, then push the
stick up to swing the bat. Players can also use
the right analog stick for throwing the ball. All
you have to do is press and hold the stick in the
direction of their desired throw, and then release
to let the ball fly.
Both new systems make the game much more
realistic than previous baseball titles. The load-
and-swing system forces players not only to time
pitches like a real hitter does, but also to identify
whether a pitch is going to be inside or outside.
The throwing system makes players concentrate
more on throws to first base than they did in the
past when they only had to press a button.
The two new features are a welcome change
for hardcore baseball realists, but they can be
incredibly frustrating for the casual gamer. Even
after a month in dynasty mode, it's possible to
be stuck in a 1-0 pitchers' duel against the worst
teams. The good news is that MVP allows you to
change the settings and revert back to last sea-
son's precision-swing system and the good old-
fashioned button-pushing for all throws.
Along with the NCAA title, MVP will also
feature the exhilarating chase to Rosenblatt Sta-'
dium in Omaha. The dynasty mode - like most
college-sports titles - allows gamers to become
the head coach at any of the featured colleges
and guide their team through a grueling regular-
season and conference-tournament schedule.
Along the way you can collect upgrades for your
school by completing various challenges, such
as hitting over a certain batting average during
a series or committing zero errors in a weekend.
Upgrades like a new practice field might mean
the difference between signing that blue-chip
recruit and the biochem major who just hap-
pened to play ball in high school.
The in-season recruiting isn't as in-depth as
EA's NCAA Football, but it's very realistic.
Prospects aren't available for recruitment unless
team coaches are at certain level. The more
wins, the higher the coaches' level becomes and
the better recruiting classes will be.
Once again, EA came through in the actual
game play. The company obviously knows a
good thing when it sees it, since graphics have
hardly changed since last season's MVP title.
But with plenty of new player mannerisms, from
the way a hitter overzealously takes a pitch to
the way a pitcher shrugs his shoulders before
he sets, EA Sports is only one crotch-grab away
from capturing a true ballplayer.
Among the game's missteps is its commen-
tary: ESPN announcer Mike Patrick and color
man Kyle Peterson's play-by-play turns into
a repetitive conversation reminiscent of pro-
longed interaction with your grandparents. It'll
make you want to tear your eyes out.
And as anyone who's been at a Sunday after-
noon game at the Fish knows, the game's atmo-
sphere is often unrealistic. There's rarely more
than a couple thousand at a typical game, whereas
in NCAA's stadium, regardless of whether it's at a
cornfield or a Big 12 school, sounds like a major
league stadium. Rosenblatt Stadium in June has
that feel. Northwestern in February doesn't.
Still, while MVP 06 NCAA Baseball might not
be the big leagues, it plays well, just as good as
last season's MVP 05. For those who prefer the
ping of an aluminum bat to the crack of wood,
EA's latest is one for the majors.
I I I
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Department of Recreational Sports
Intramural Sports Program
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$5.00 - individual
Table Tennis S & D
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Entries also Sat, 2/18-Sun, 219
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