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September 25, 2006 - Image 9

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2006-09-25

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Monday, September 25, 2006 - The Michigan Daily - 9A
Tool takes Palace 'King'
with more than rockca'ho
B canu.

ay T revor Campbell
Daily Arts Writer
Concertgoers got a slice of visu-
al euphoria to match their noise
hunger at the Palace of Auburn
Hills last Friday when progressive-
metal act
Tool brought TOOL
their com-
plex rock to oAuburn Hills
the masses.
Over-
looked by mainstream media in
favor of rap and indie rock, Tool
has meanwhile been pushing
metal from the rack and screw
with studio tinkering and free-
wheeling song structures. Their
fans are keeping in step - they
sold out their May performance
at the Fox Theatre in minutes, and
nearly filled the Palace of Auburn
Hills on this night. Tool is the
front-runner of today's progres-
sive metal, and they're making
their mark city by city.
After taking five years to
write and record their latest
release, 10,000 Days, the group
stuck to their newer material for
a large portion of the set. New
tracks like "The Pot" gave the set
intriguing rhythmic breakdowns
and let the band roar out of low
moments with percussive force
- with difficult-to-perform time
signatures and unnatural chord
progressions, there's very little
room for error.
Guitarist Adam Jones and bass-
ist Justin Chancellor maintain
their musical composure even
during the intricately complex
solos of "Jambi." Frontman May-
nard James Keenan's synthesized
keyboard work, along with effects
coating the distorted guitar and
bass, gave the group a distinct and
recognizable sound. Drummer
Danny Carey's digital drum pads
change from song to song and
mimick percussion from around
the world. Tool is as electric as
they are metal.
A wide, white, square stage
was positioned at one end of the
arena and suddenly went from a
bland structure to media canvas
when the band took the stage. Six
large LCD panels lined the back
and 12 projectors hung above the

Uh, rock on?
stage using the white floor as a
screen. Clips from their warped,
biologically-inhuman video art-
work reflected down onto the
stage along with swirling and con-
verging lines reminiscent of M.C.
Escher.
It's odd that a band with such
creative and passionate sound
would be as static as they are on
stage. Jones and Chancellor stayed
on their respective sides of the
stage, barely moving from a ten-
foot area. The only kinetic mem-
ber of the band is vocalist Keenan,
but he holed himself up on a plat-
form in the back of the stage.
During the song "10,000 Days,
an ode to Keenan's mother's
battle with paralysis, lasers fired
out from behind Carey as well as
from the sound board shooting
throughout the arena, bouncing
off strategically placed mirrors
hung on rafters and all around the
stage. Colors morphed as the song
changed and designs twisted and
contorted throughout the 10-min-
ute-plus epic.
Following the song's finish, the
band silently sat down on Keen-
an's platform in silence letting
the crowds building roar fill the
arena. The members sat motion-
less ingesting the crowds' appre-
ciation.
For a night filled with more sen-
sory feeling than any drug could
produce, it was only fitting. Some-
times silence shows more affec-
tion than words ever could.

throne
By Imran Syod
Daily Arts Writer
I'd say Willie Stark is one of American liter-
ature's most profound creations, but he's a little
too non-fictional for that. The hero - if you can
call him that - of Robert Penn Warren's timeless
political novel "All the King's Men" bears striking
resemblance to the real-
life Louisiana demagogue
Huey Long, a man who
took his state and nation by
storm in the mid-'30s. Wil-
lie is a creation embody-
ing the best and worst of
human nature, both in the
novel and in its first film
adaptation, which received
seven Oscar nominations
in 1950. ***
Now,more than50 later All the
comes Steve Zaillian's
(writer of "Schindler's King's Men
List" and "Gangs of New At the Showtime
York") version, with the and Quality 16
incomparable Sean Penn Columbia
in the leading role. Join-
ing him is perhaps one
of the most accomplished casts in film history,
filled out from top to bottom with A-level tal-
ent: Jude Law, Kate Winslet, Anthony Hop-
kins, Mark Ruffalo, Patricia Clarkson, Kathy
Baker and James Gandolfini.
'"All the King's Men" follows a young, wide-
eyed populist by the name of Willie Stark (Sean
Penn), a man battling rampant government cor-
ruption in rural Mason County. When Willie's
accusations prove tragically correct, he's brought
into the limelight as a man of the people and
asked to run for governor of the state.

Fuck turkey legs. This king's a hambone.
At first he's an honest man, drawing up sta-
tistics on taxes, expenditures and budgets. He
stands on street corners with a pencil and paper
to explain to everyone how he'd build new high-
ways and schools without raising taxes on the
poor. But in politics, an honest man is never
a winner. When Willie finds out he was only
talked into running in order to split the rural
vote and deliver victory to a corrupt man, he
unleashes the full fury of his populist roots.
He attacks the political establishment on every
point, encourages the masses to get better edu-
cated so they can't be duped like he was and is
finally swept into office by the largest margin in
state history. In his success, subsequent corrup-
tion and final bid for redemption lies the quintes-
sential tale of American democracy that echoes
true even 60 years after the novel was written.
Penn's take on Stark is uncompromising and
expertly grave. He becomes the raging, boister-
ous hellraiser that lived within America's foremost
demagogue so seamlessly that it is impossible to
imagine another side of Penn afterseeing this film.
Stark was an honest man who wanted to do good
but who was sure that good could only come from
bad. His greatest tragedy was that for everything he
gave the state, a piece of himself was lost forever.
The film hints at its impending tragedy with
an unabashed heavy-handedness worthy of
Stark. A periodically raucous score book-ends
deceptively calm sequences, leaving no doubt
as to Stark's ultimate fate. The story is not what
happened, but how.

The "how" is where Law's Jack Burden comes
in, as Willie's friend and the story's narrator. Bur-
den is a reporter when he discovers the young poli-
tician, and their union is both the best and worst
thing that could have happened to either. One
came from aristocracy, the other a self-proclaimed
hick. As Burden, Law brings an interesting take
to that distinction, adding subtlety to a film that
sorely misses it. But he is ultimately too meek to
command any attention in the presence of the rav-
ing Penn. Perhaps he was miscast, but the fault
for the lack of focus in his flashbacks and inner
struggles lies squarely with the direction.
Faithful to the novel like no other adap-
tation in memory, Zaillain's film probably
assumes too much background knowledge.
The distinction between what Stark stood for
and what is right is never explained and only
sophomorically alluded to in the final scene.
The film attempts to make Stark a hero but
leaves out the all-important reasoning behind
his actions. And because the film inevitably
simplifies the novel's philosophical lyrics, its
political implications are simplistically trans-
lated and many viewers will find the whole
thing insubstantial.
But such is the fate of singular creations
- they are too exemplary to be widely under-
stood and must compromise to reach anyone.
Like Stark himself, the classics must walk the
line of compromise, and because Zaillian's
version of "All the King's Men" refuses to do
so, it'll be largely overlooked.

Courtesy of Columbia

r

Classic 'Manhattan' comes to the Michigan

By Caroline Hartmann aged TV writer whose wife (Meryl
Daily Arts Writer Streep)_
leaves him
In typical Woody Allen fashion, for another Manhattan
"Manhattan" is a labyrinth of rela- woman, then Tonight at
tionship mishaps, Freudian slips decides to the Michigan
and intellectual witticism - none write a book Theater
of which feel outdated in this 1979 recounting 7 p.m.
romantic comedy. their failed
Isaac (Woody Allen) is a middle- relationship. Then it gets really inter-

esting.
On the rebound, Isaac has a casual
fling with 17-year-old Tracy (Mariel
Hemingway) but complicates the
dalliance when he falls for Mary
(Diane Keaton), his best friend's ex-
mistress.
The storyline weaves itself into an
even more baffling tangle of court-
ships and miscalculated feelings,

culminating in Isaac's honest exami-
nation of his life.
Whether it's the cinematographic
genius behind the impeccably com-
posed shots of the Big Apple, an all-
star cast nearing its prime or Allen's
wistful yet caustic humor, "Manhat-
tan" is a classic that leaves you with
sentimental vibrations and a good
old fashioned stitch in the side.

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