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September 06, 2006 - Image 10

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The Michigan Daily, 2006-09-06

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10 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, September 6, 2006

Courtesy of


By Kimberly Chou
Associate Arts Editor
Beyonc6 Knowles might have an
"Amen!"-inspiring voice
and a booty you could sit
a cup on, but on B'Day BeyonCe
(available now to stream B'Day
on AOL), she can't quite Columbia
carry a kick-ass jam when
she's not shaking her ass.
Actually, let's make that a general rule.
The surefire bet for making a successful
Beyonc6 record is to guarantee it sounds
a hell of a lot like her other work. Direct
the drums to kick with Art Blakey-style
precision, fill the air with the brass-happy
enthusiasm of overblown horns, make sure
to throw a guest rap in there. Self-refer-
encing is always good; Jay-Z will always
talk about how dominant he is as a rapper
and girlfriend Beyoncd's sheer hotness.
Obviously there's a reason why Beyon-
cd's stomping opener "DdjA Vu" - featur-
ing Jay-Z - sounds so much like her first
breakout solo single, "Crazy In Love." In
the studio, Beyonc6 sticks to what works,
and she (and her producers) do make great
dance music. "Check On It," with Bun-B

and Slim Thug, made for a ridiculously While slow jam "Irreplaceable" is cer-
saucy summer song when first released on tainly anything but, it's catchy and pre-
soundtrack for "The Pink Panther." Though cious in a mid-'90s Whitney Houston
the film - a starring vehicle for Beyonce, kind of way. The ballad "Resentment" is a
opposite Steve Martin - was a goofy cin- little more successful if you link its pres-
ematic misfire, they were certainly lucky ence with Beyonc6's recent film role in
to have Ms. Knowles on board. Beyonc6 "Dreamgirls."
vocally struts her stuff over sparse, drum- Beyonc6's solo catalogue is strange
ming-on-a-trashcan / strumming-on-a- in the sense that it may sound uninven-
streetlight percussion tive and muddled for the
and a spry, playground most part, but it eventually
rhythm. It's the aural The surefire grows on you. Her music
equivalent of some- betf making can't be classified as guilty
one shaking her ass in f pleasure like, say, the
your face. a successful Pussycat Dolls' "Buttons"
"Check On It" and is, but there are certain
"Dejli Vu" are sur- Beyonce record tracks you'd refuse to lis-
rounded by other .rten to in public. Like Des-
quasi-familiar party isto0guarantee tiny's Child's weepy cover
tracks on the sopho- . of the BeeGees "Emo-
more solo release: it SOUnds a hell tion," or, well, "Freakum
"Green Light," "Ring of a lot like her Dress." Yet if Beyoncd ever
the Alarm" and _- releases "Suga Mama" as a
bearing the best title other work. single, be damned if you
of a mediocre bunch don't find yourself nod-
-"Freakum Dress." ding your head as Beyonc6
More trumpets, escalating choruses and a declares "I'ma be like a jolly rancher that
few electronic bleeps accompany Beyon- you get from the corner store / I'ma be like
c6 as she tells ladies to go in the back of a waffle cone dripping all over the floor"
that closet and put that freakum dress on, as you drive. Just try not to purr "Come sit
'cause every woman's got one. on mama's lap" at a passerby.

"Life is an illusion of rationaly. That's why I'm a magician!"
Magical Iiusionist'
By Imran Syed remain skeptical of the pomp and
Daily Arts Writer grandeur it takes as its lifeblood.
Something seems to be missing.
Perhaps it's simply the fact that
even if a lot of the film works, it's
Every year, seemingly at about inherently bizarre. Though it's set in
this time, a film comes out that has a another time and place, the film cre-
wavelength all ates an additional barrier by mak-
itsown.Though The ing the world even more foreign. Its
the year is old Illusionist insistence upon magic as a given, a
enough for its fact that Eisenheim's audience con-
films to have At the Showcase siders indisputable,makes it difficult
an established and Quality 16 to experience the film first hand; it
language, vibe Yari Film Group remains aloof, to be watched, not
and feel that's experienced. Or perhaps there's just
uniquely 2006, we're not yet i something in Jessica Biel's dismal
Oscar season,whenyearly doldrun attempt at an Eastern European
are smashed in favor of award-cal accent that suggests a screenplay
ber fare. At this cusp emerges a fili based on a shoddy video game, as
no one quite knows what to make opposed to a polished shortstory, as
"The Illusionist." this one is.
Set at the dawn of the 20th ca- Only Norton appears consistent-
tury, in the primary inklings of se ly comfortable with the role and
Austro-Hungarian empire, "'ie environment. He's quiet, elusive
Illusionist" centers on the whn- and mystical, yet remains within
sical fashionings of the magisn our grasp of what his character
Eisenheim (Edward Norton, "Fght should be. Of the others, Biel is a
Club"). Unfortunately, he remins glaring casting misstep; she has a
forever the son of a peasant, ;av- unique brand of beauty, charm and
ing his beloved noblewoman Sohie attitude, but none of them belong
Von Teschen (Jessica Biel, TV"7 in this story. Even Giamatti, Mr.
Heaven") far out of his reach. Versatile himself, struggles most
But a chance encounterwith of the time to sell his ridiculous
Sophie leads to a socially unacept- half-beard and whiskers. His char-
able relationship and the moral ire acter is nearly as interesting as
of Sophie's fianc6 Crown ?risce Eisenheim himself, but unneces-
Leopold (Rufus Sewell, " lristan sary complications make him a bit
and Isolde"). Even as a wantid nan, of a parody, even at the very end as
Eisenheits's grasp of the nysteries he amazingly resolves Eisenheim's
of life an4 death may yet trancend ultimate illusion.
the barrier separating himfrom "TheIllusionist"isthemostunex-
Sophie. At the brink of arrst, he pectedly charming yet somehow
attempts hs greatest illusies yet, incredulously realized film of the
leaving his pursuers - Prince year. It's entertaining and at times
Leopold ano Chief Inspecpr Uhl astonishing in what it accomplishes
(Paul Giamati, "CinderellMan") in a genre where the boundaries of
- gaping in owe as a mn fades toolittle andtoomuch are sorestric-
into thin air. tive. And though something about it
Is it just me or do al of these justdoesn'tsitright(at least notuntil
fancy names reei of tryirg just a lit- the very last scene),it is a film worth
tle too hard? Thefilm dies nothing seeing, for there won't be too many
to deserve it, butwe ca't help but like this one.

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All clinics are held at the
Intramural Sports Building.
SPORTS Please contact Nicole Green at
INTRAMURALS 764-0515 for more information.

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