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March 19, 2007 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2007-03-19

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Monday, March 19, 2007 - 5A

"Honey, I have a bad feeling about my career."

Forecast: surreal,
bland melodrama
By BLAKE GOBLE Doesn't make sense? Don't worry:
Daily Arts Writer it's not supposed to. Linda finds
herself in a bizarre series of events,
I remember it like it was yester- leading her from one different day
day. It was 1994. "Speed" had just to the next in non-sequential order
been released. A nation watched and with surrealistic overtones.
as Keanu dis- This is where "Premonition" finds
armed dangerous its only strengths.
red countdown ** Breezy, gray suburban land-
clocks with a scapes make for a dreamy atmo-
reckless, cheer- Premonition sphere reminiscent of "Blow-Up"
fully outrageous or "Discrete Charm of Bourgeoi-
zeal. At Quality 16 sie." "Premonition" is respectful
But I had my and Showcase of its surrealist roots, offering few
eyes on someone TriStar answers, much to the perplexed
else. Sandra Bull- delight of viewers. The film suc-
ock was a filmic ceeds in making this far-fetched
premiere of time-traveler story interesting. A
strength, humility and natural tal- shame it suffers so much from the
ent. She was good looking, yes, but terrible melodrama.
also had heart and acting chops odd that in a film that needs
that could complete even the most strong emotional weight to carry
established lead actors. the subject matter, everyone's per-
It's been more than 10 years, formances are stiff and wooden as
and we're left with just one ques- if that's the point. Bullock becomes
tion: What the hell happened? a case study in dreary, lifeless act-

into gold
Daily Arts Writer
As 2004 wound down and the indie buzz
about The Arcade Fire was cooling off, a new
band became the must-hear
on the blogs and web-zines:
LCD Soundsystem. Fronted
by DFA Records label head
James Murphy, the group's LCD Sound-
blend of disco, punk and system
kitsch-pop was a breath of
fresh air in a music scene that Sound of Silver
was dominated by plodding, DFA
melancholy instrumenta-
tion and cryptic lyrics. When
album tracks began to leak, news of the new
indie savior became more widespread and LCD
Soundsystemseemed to have made asignificant
mark on the music community.
But when the epic, self-titled two-disc debut
finally hit the streets, it hardly lived up to the
hype, if at all. Scatterbrained compositions and
drastically different styles created a disconnect
between each song on the disc. It was driven
by discontinuity, and seldom did Murphy's sig-
nature sing-speak lyrics and quirky keyboards
sound like anything more than New Wave
derivatives. There was no focus. There was no
confidence. There was no savior.
Nearly two years after LCD Soundsystem
first disappointed fans, Murphy returns with

"LSD Soundsystem? Wait, different band."
more direction, swagger and overall talent on
the triumphant follow-up Sound of Silver - a
disc remarkably evolved from the band's ran-
dom and lackluster debut.
From the record's opener, "Get Innocuous,"
it's obvious Murphy has found his own style,
avoiding much of the parroting that plagued
his first album. The song, and more notably the
album, begins with a two-minute crescendo of
staccato keyboards, electronic splashes and the
titter-tat of a digitized hi-hatbeforehis phasing
vocals tear through the electronic soundscape.
The track sears for its entire seven minutes
and stands as the springboard from which the
album will hurdle.
"Someone Great" is a release from Murphy's
spoken-word lyrics as he finally displays his
vocal prowess and ability to write melodies.
The lyrics may be fairly typical ("The worst
is all the lovely weather / I'm stunned it's not
raining"), but their singability remedies this
problem. Similarly, "All My Friends" rides a
perpetually hammered piano and Murphy's
smooth vocals.
Although he improves, Murphy doesn't side-
step all of the issues he encountered on his

Courtesy ofmDF
first album. On "Time to Get Away," Murphy
tries to push his vocal boundaries, creating a
painful melody and an obnoxious chorus fur-
ther depressed by stagnant instrumentation.
"North American Scum" falters by its lyrics in
similar fashion. Murphy's constant cries of"We
are North Americans" is more nagging than
catchy, and when the chorus finally explodes,
the song's initial energy is quickly destroyed by
his bland verses.
Sound of Silver's closer, "New York I Love
You," seems to be Murphy's curtain call. The
cut finds Murphy behind a piano, pounding
out a downbeat tempo and crooning to the city
that's formed his image and record label. But as
he cries "New York I love you, butyou're bring-
ing me down," it's impossible not to think of
Murphy bowing out, throwing in the towel and
passing the torch.
When guitars rip through the humble piano/
vocal duo, Murphyseemstriumphant.Heseems
happy. And maybe it's because he's finally made
the album he's be trying to make for the past
four years. Whatever the case, here's to hoping
this isn't the last we'll hear from Murphy and

"Premonition," the exceptionally
mediocre new thriller, is the latest
wayward star vehicle for Bullock,
yet another misstep in a long line
of bad movies for her.
At least in "Miss Congeniality"
and "Forces of Nature" Bullock
played a human being. Not here.
She is on zombified autopilot,
playing the wife of a man who has
died. In this style, she muddles all
the emotions needed to give this
weirdfilm the proper excitement..
It's a particular bummer since
buried in this misbegotten film is
an interesting story.
Linda (Bullock) is a normal
housewife, minding two cute
daughters and an attractive hus-
band (Julian McMahon, TV's
"Nip/Tuck"). But things aren't so
normal when Linda finds that her
husband has died. She stays very
internal about whole thing. She
doesn't cry at the news, and she
seems more upset over his death
disabling her from reaching hard
to get items. She's just awkward,
Waking up the following day on
a Monday morning, Linda finds her
husband alive. Equally strange,
she fell asleep on Thursday night.

Lurking in the
shadows, the
mystery of Sandra
Bullock's career.
ing. She can't shed a tear as she
half-heartedly tries to solve the
mystery of her day-hopping.
To be fair, it's not just Bullock at
fault here. It's as if everybody took
Lifetime acting classes on how to
seem like slightly upset wealthy
people. And there's really no get-
ting around the deeply flawed
screenplay by Bill Kelly ("Blast
from the Past"), in which a good
idea is obliterated by bad dialogue
and absent motivation.
You'd hope Bullock would solve
things before the audience does.
But no. This movie just goes to
show that Bullock's career is in
desperate need of life support. She
can act. She can entertain. She
does neither in "Premonition."

'What is the What' pair draws A2 fans

For the Daily
With such formidable guests as
author Dave Eggers and Sudanese
Lost Boy (and subject of Eggers's
latest . novel)
Valentino Achak Dave
Deng, it was no
surprise that Eggers and
the Ann Arbor Valentino
District Library
welcomed more Deng
than 200 people
for the pair's talk Friday
Friday night. At the Ann Arbor
Eggers and District Library
Deng were in
town to promote
"What is the What." Released last
fall, the book is a finalist for this
year's National Book Critics Circle
The event was so crowded that
latecomers had to pack into an
separate room to watch the lecture
on a projector as it was being filmed

for a local television network.
Eggers and Deng showcased a
charming, affable chemistry, evi-
dent from the unlikely pair's first
moments on stage as they com-
mented on their tardiness and
discussed how theyareaeyrapnuc-
tual whentogether. Eggers recalled
an incident when they were lost in
a small town and forced to ask for
directions at an adult bookstore. He
took on the role of protective older
brother toward Deng - he had him
stay in the car. Deng, grinning, told
the audience that he thought the
store simply sold books written by
Only 6 years old when his vil-
lage was invaded and burned to the
ground, Deng became part of the
group of Sudanese youth known
as the Lost Boys who walked 800
miles to Ethiopia to seek refuge
from genocide. The Lost Boys
Foundation placed the boys in U.S.
cities where they spoke at college
and church functions. But Deng

tired of condensing his life into a
half an hour. He wanted to tell his
whole story. The foundation con-
tacted Eggers to put Deng's words
on paper, and the author obliged.
Eggers confessed it was difficult
to ask.deeply personal .Agatiooc.
But he found inspiration when the
two visited one of his writing work-
shops and saw a romance develop-
ing between two 8 year olds. Eggers
asked Deng if there were girlsinhis
life at the refugee camp. "Oh yeah,
there were girls," Deng replied.
Deng related the excitement of
the day girls visited his all-boys
school, and anecdotes like this
added an extra dimension to the
novel, allowing readers to see Deng
as more than just a refugee but as a
person. Eggers admitted that many
aspects of the novel are fictional-
ized or reordered, but overall it is
Deng's story.
Both speakers made numerous
references to the conflict in Darfur
and the similarities between the

suffering occurring there and in
Deng's village. Before the book was
published, the two set up a founda-
tion to rebuild Deng's village and
build a library. Deng envisioned a
newvillage in which aclassroomof
cildrenwillAot Ayto, copygit Pf
Giving tragedy
a personal
the same book.
Friday's event was short - the
hosts actually had to cut off the
duo in order to close the library and
still have time for the book signing.
Although this left no time for ques-
tions, the thought-provoking dis-
course piqued the curiosity of both
fans and non-fans alike.

. '
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