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February 21, 2006 - Image 5

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2006-02-21

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Tuesday
February 21, 2006
arts.michigandaily. com
artspage@michigandaily.com

Ri TScbigan 1ailg

5

. . ... .. ..... . . . . . . . ... .. .. .. .... ... .. .. .. .. .. . . . . . . . . .. . .. . ............ ........... . .......

Demanding change

With "The Sopranos" rapidly
approaching its triumphant
return after a seemingly
endless hiatus, I thought I could use
a refresher on the trials and tribula-
tions of Tony and both of his fami-
lies. Fortunately, HBO has given me
the chance to catch up on the show
from its superb beginnings through
its pedestrian middle seasons. The
best part of all, I am no
longer a slave to the TV
schedule; I can watch
these episodes whenever
it's most convenient for
me thanks to HBO on
Demand.
Television as we know
it is rapidly changing.
Between TiVo, video
iPods and TV on DVD,
viewers can basically AD
watch almost anything ROTTE
they want, however and
whenever they want. But one technology
seems to signal this transformation more
than any other - Video on Demand.
VOD is a digital cable service in
which the viewer has access to hundreds
of movies and shows in a constantly
rotating library via the cable company's
digital-video servers. With the click of a
button, you can watch almost anything.
What makes VOD so different from
other technological innovations lies in
the fact that all of the other TV revolu-
tions require much more agency on the
part of the consumer.
VOD is nothing new; it's already been
around for a few years. It started as a
premium-channel movie house, offering
all of the subscription networks' monthly
movies to their subscribers at their conve-
nience. But its content is quickly evolving
to a veritable choose-your-own program-
ming box. Viewers can access more than
just movies - it now includes TV shows,
music videos, even karaoke. But what
does this mean for the future of televi-
sion? This technology is still undergoing
massive changes as the number of digital
cable boxes in homes across America
continues to increase. And that's why the
available content keeps skyrocketing.
What is truly changing the face of
television is VOD's growing relationship
with TV networks. Cable stations like
MTV and Comedy Central offer selec-
tions from their respective schedules.
Even broadcast stations like NBC and
'Anatomy'
DVD just a
fix for fans
By Mark Schultz
For the Daily
"Grey's Anatomy" the latest show
capturing the hearts of soccer moms and
14-year-old girls everywhere, has made
its way to release as a highly anticipated
but spars. DVD set.
Essentially an "ER"-meets-"90210"
drama, "Grey's" follows young hospital
interns as they try
to sort out their Grey's
tangled love lives
while diving into Anatomy:
the nerve-wrack- Season One
ing last step of their Buena Vista
medical training.
Ellen Pompeo ("Old School") is Mere-
dith Grey, a young surgical intern whose
inner monologue becomes the glue that
holds the series together. Grey faces the
usual workplace problems with the exag-
gerated TV spin: She's disrespected by
colleagues, who believe she has only
earned her spot through her famed doc-

tor/mother, and she's haunted by former
hookup (and new surgical advisor) Derek
Shepard (Patrick Dempsey, "Sweet
Home Alabama").
She's surrounded by fellow interns
Izzy Stevens (Katherine Heigl, "The
Ringer") and George O'Malley (T.R.
Knight, "C.S.I"), both of whom even-
tually become her annoying, but perky
housemates. Also supporting Meredith
are authoritarian chief resident Miran-
da Bailey (Chandra Wilson, "Law &
Order") and jaded fellow intern Cristina
Yang (Sandra Oh, "Sideways"). Surpris-
ingly, none of these characters are par-
ticularly likeable, which might be part of
the show's unusual appeal.
This isn't the glamorous, skilled sur-
gery of "General Hospital." Viewers
might not be used to the image of doc-
tors accidentally leaving a towel inside a
patient or chugging tequila on their night
off, but moments of imperfection allow
the show's writers to make annoying

CBS are getting in on the action, as Win-
ter Olympic highlights and recently aired
"CSI" episodes are available at any given
time, though these generally cost a few
extra dollars to access.
Why would anyone need to watch any
programming live when it's all avail-
able on demand? Who needs a TiVo if
the cable company is already storing
all the new shows for you? And that's
exactly why on-demand
technology, if it continues
developing at its current rate,
figures to alter the way we
watch television. It's not so
hard to imagine a future in
which you access your entire
viewing experience through
a service like VOD. It seems
almost inevitable.
So far, I love having the
.M extra programming at my
BERG fingertips. With all the

A
N

movies, I don't know why
anyone would ever bother going to
Blockbuster again.
That's not to say that VOD is
without its faults. Choices are still
severely limited as the service finds
its footing.
Networks seem hesitant to flood VOD
with most of their programming, and
even charge viewers to access some of it.
This apprehension is understandable as
television is still an ad-based medium,
and On Demand programming (you can
fast forward through it) lacks ads. Paying
for that content is one way to gain rev-
enue on its rebroadcast.
Also, it can still be prohibitively
expensive to fully use VOD with all of
the premium channels. And consider-
ing that HBO is the poster child for on
demand users, offering the most com-
plete programming package, premium
channels are a must.
Regardless, TV viewership is
changing - and VOD is one of the
shifting media's leading purveyors.
We're no longer stuck to the strict
guidelines of the TV schedule. Who
knows what the ultimate technologi-
cal development will be? At the very
least, we can start to see that television
viewing is on the cusp of becoming
something completely different.
- Rottenberg prays for "Grey's
Anatomy" on VOD. E-mail him
at arotten@umich.edu.

DAVID TUMA N/Daily
Law School Assistant Dean of International Programs Virginia Gordon views artwork in the Law School's basement yesterday.

4

ART IN THE COURTROOM

LAW STUDENTS SHOW ARTISTIC SIDE

By Andrew Klein
Daily Fine Arts Editor
F NEA TS EV w
In a letter to a friend, famous U.S. Supreme Court
Justice Felix Frankfurter wrote, "No one can be a
truly competent lawyer unless
he is a cultivated man." This Term in Arts
short phrase encompasses .the
philosophy behind the Law Now through
School's second annual "Term March 16
in Arts," an exhibit of art pro- At the Hutchins Hall
duced by the Law students, fac- Basement Gallery
ulty and staff, on display in the
Hutchins Hall Basement Gallery of the Law School
through March 16.
The exhibit's curator, Law student Jay Surdu-
kowski, understands full well the perceived void
between the law school and the art sphere. "The
Law School can be cut-throat and philistine, but it
doesn't have to be that way," he said.
According to Surdukowski, the "Term in Arts"
exhibit's first purpose is "(to maintain) some connec-

tion to the arts." The pressures of law school can have
a smothering effect on artistic expression, Surdukows-
ki sees the exhibit as "very healthy for the Law School
... It is a continuation of culture."
The second purpose of bringing together such a
large body of student art is providing financial sup-
port for public-interest law scholarships. Many of
the works will be auctioned off the final night of the
exhibit in order to raise money for law students with
public-interest jobs, which include public defending,
legal aid work and government counseling. Jobs in the
sector typically don't pay nearly as well as a position
in a firm - the goal of most law students - but are
still a vital part of the judicial system.
Though the exhibit accepted almost all submis-
sions, there's a surprising degree of skill in the work
presented. "Law students are notoriously self-selec-
tive," Surdukowski said in regard to the lack of ama-
teurish art in the gallery.
He described the various artists on display as a
"diverse group of people coming from all different
backgrounds."
"I like to be more inclusive than not - we kind of
lucked out," he explained.

The exhibit opened on Saturday night to a large
and eager crowd. The ambiance was energetic and
sophisticated. A pianist and a violinist provided
a soothing backdrop to the sounds of the exhibit's
many visitors. "People have a real hunger for this
sort of thing," Surdukowski said.
Photography is the most prominent feature of the
exhibit. The portraits submitted by Julie Saltman
and Zachariah Oak Lindsey are balanced and pro-
fessional, as well as Damon Marcus Lewis's stills of
animals in urban environments.
Of the paintings on display, the minimalist compo-
sitions of Rachael Shenkman and Surdukowski him-
self drew much attention during Saturday's opening.
Vandana Nakka's portrait of a woman - and her
first attempt at painting - first greets viewers as the
cover of the event's program. The real version, resid-
ing in the middle of the long exhibit, would not look
out of place in a small-time gallery.
Although the world of law students is primarily
hidden within the rusticated walls of the Law Quad,
the year's "Term in Arts" exhibit is a brief but intrigu-
ing look into the belief that those who study law are
not inherently dull and artistically talentless.

flick M42MT Even Moore can't get 'Free

By Christina Chol
Daily Arts Writer

He has a nice, full-body tan, too, not bad for being cooped
up in the Antarctic so long, but this resolve in the face of
the harshest conditions is what audiences will look for in the
hero of a film the advertising touts as
"the most amazing story of survival, Eight Below
friendship, and adventure ever told.
"Eight Below" is a lot of nice things, but At the Showcase
it's definitely not that. and Quality 16
The film is a whimpery-puppy-dog Disney
heartbreaker first, a pulse-quickener
second and a Walker pageant third (in a selection of mostly
outdoor apparel - bright colors and fun, goose-down poof-
iness). And it might spawn some appreciation for a compa-
rably meek Michigan winter.
Antarctica is not for the average bespectacled field scien-
tist. This is why Jerry Sheperd (Walker), explorer extraordi-
naire, must play the role of expedition guide. With some ice
patches too questionable for travel by snowmobile, Jerry and
his latest geologist client Doc (Bruce Greenwood, "Capo-
te"), are forced to take a team of dogs out into the white
expanse to search for a recently fallen meteorite. They're
successful, but on the way back, Doc falls into the ice. He's
rescued by the dogs, but the mission is cut short because of
approaching storms. Their evacuation goes smoothly, but

Courtesy of Disney
Paul Walker's career: The picture pretty much says it all.
the dogs must be left behind. The rest of the film follows the
dogs' survival story while a supposedly exasperated Jerry
runs around trying to fund a rescue mission.
As riled as the writers may have intended his character
to be, Walker's virility is unshakable. Just as in all his other
movies, he walks with a not-so-subtle swagger, and his tone
is still that of a quarterback telling his tight ends to run
post-patterns. He's playing the same character in this Dis-
ney movie as he played in "Varsity Blues." Someone needs
to suggest taking the jockstrap off for a few minutes.
Let it breathe, Paul. Let it breathe.
While he may be easy on the eyes, Walker just doesn't have
the flexibility to step outside of the action-movie universe. It's
painful to see him cry - but not for the normal reasons.
The dogs, on the other hand, give spectacular performances.
Their exactitude in conveying a sense of family and determina-
tion is what-carries the movie.
The film itself is befuddling. Is this "Fast and the Furious 3?"
They still have Walker. They still have fast-moving vehicles.
They still have shirtlessness. But they've replaced all the hot
bitches with cold ones. What an odd way to end a trilogy.

The truth in "Freedomland" isn't
hiding - it's just lost somewhere in the
acting disaster that is Julianne Moore
("The Forgotten").
Moore plays Brenda Martin, a dis-
turbed woman whose apparent carjack-
ing turns into a
frenzied, city-wide Freedomland
search for her miss-
ing son. His disap- At the Showcase
pearance, though, and Quality 16
is merely a lens Columbia
through which the
film explores the seething racial under-
belly of the Armstrong Projects - the
African-American neighborhood that
erupts when the white-bread town of
Gannon, N.J., suspects that the projects
have taken one of their own.
The trope of racial conflict is ambi-
tious, but the film's slack plot fails to do it
justice. The audience is given too much to
infer with little motivation to do so.
One example of its many loose ends
is Brenda's brother (Ron Eldard, "Black
Hawk Down"),,ahotheaded Gannon police
officer. His unexplored hatred for the
community positively emanates from the
tips of his fake mustache. In a tense scene,
he discovers: the identity of his nephew's
kidnapper and lurks off, presumably out

for vigilante justice. The resulting scene
isn't bad or upsetting - it's nonexistent.
His character simply fades away without
another word throughout the film.
If only that were the case with Brenda.
Casting Moore to play a slightly delu-
sional New Jersey woman is like asking
Richard Gere to reprise the role of Tupac
in "Thug Angel."
While Moore's attempts at a Jer-
sey accent are painful to hear and her
washed-out appearance may look the
part, it's clear that her perfectly dishev-
eled, dirty-blonde hair still has that faint
aroma of A-list class.
The lone savior of the decaying film is
predictably Samuel L. Jackson ("Coach
Carter") as Lorenzo Council, a savvy
detective from the projects. Yet even Jack-
son can't convincingly sell the superhu-
man feats performed by his character. A
normal day for Lorenzo involves a blow
to the head, smashing into an interroga-
tion-room window, and his own death,
complete with fire and blurred vision.
But of course, death is not an option for
our hero, who comes back to work the
next day as if he'd been island-hopping
in Barbados.
These artificial scenes, coupled with
Moore's forced hysterics, detract atten-
tion from the film's highly marketed
racial tension. The nod at social relevance
is refreshing for a mid-February release,
but ultimately "Freedomland" finds itself
imprisoned in mediocrity.

Wh I\ortbwest ern?
We're Passionate About
Future in Natura.I Health Care!,
w "The high quality of the professors at Northwestern is a
huge strength! The professors are very straightforward
V about the amount of work that is required, but I know
I will look back and realize that I learned from the best

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