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September 05, 2007 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2007-09-05

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8A - Wednesday, September S, 2007

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Daily Arts Writer
There isn't anything in "Death
Sentence," a mindless, swerv-
ing action flick by James Wan
("Saw"), that
would sug-
gest even the + 'k
faintest pos-
sibility of the Death
film being well Sentence
received. It's
exactly what it At Qualityl16
looks like - a and Showcase
loud, relentless
shootout with 20th Century Fox
little room for
ties like coherence or continu-
ity. It's tempting to ask why such
a completely meaningless film
was ever made, but an even more
damning one might just well be
why a well-known actor like
Kevin Bacon would take the lead
role better suited for a straight-
to-video regular.
Bacon ("Mystic River") plays
Nick Hume, a compassionate
father who seems to have his
family ship set straight for the
promised land: he's a big-shot
executive, his wife tends lovingly
to their mansion, his eldestson is a
hockey stud who just walked into
a college scholarship, etc. But this
perfect picture of white subur-
ban affluence is suddenly undone
when his hockey-star son is killed
at a gas station in "the city" while
returning from a game.
Justice having the drawbacks
of deliberation and consideration,
Nick decides he's going to kill the
kid that murdered his son. In a
dark alley in "the city," he finds
and murders him but soon has
more problems on his hand.
Apparently these "city" kids
tend to be in gangs. And these


Virtual infidelity? Great album.

Art rockers
S make the leap
second album

Don't worry - the blood is as fake as the plot.

gangs apparently start wars
involving gigantic guns. And so it
goes that the big, bad gang from
"the city" is after our vigilante
"hero." This leads to two hours
of shooting, exploding body parts
and ridiculous attempts at poetic
the form of random breaks into
slow-motion or way-out-of-place
soundtrack diversions.
As if the fact the film shoots
first and asks questions later (or

Among the new tropes oftsocial anxiety
in Hollywood this fall is the possibility of
vigilante justice. Besides "Death Sentence,"
Jodie Foster stars in Neil Jordan's "The Brave
One," due Sept.14, about a woman who
begins to kill on the streets of New York City
after her boyfriend is murdered."The new
movies signal a resurgence of interest in a
genre that had its last heyday in the 1970s
and'80s" wrote David M.Halbfinger of the
New York Times on the films.


city youth have no choice but to
turn to violence and so on and so
- ~l forth. It's possible that the novel
es S violence the film is based on explored
1 these issues and b ad something
ia search of a to add to the conversation. But -
what with ringing gunshots, con-
message. stant leaps in reason and a script
that sounds about as authentic
as Bacon looks while beating up
20-year-old hoodlums twice his
) wasn't enough to leave size - the film has little time to
udience grimacing and con- explain anything.
, it also insists on throwing Come to think of it, I'm still
nintelligible socio-political unsure what actually happens in
ers. It wants to say some- the end. And I really don't care.
about how the rich white How unbecoming for a film about
'banites let big cities and entire families being brutally
people decay, how inner- gunned down.

Daily Music Editor
"It's time we woke these dumb
fucks up."
Such is the sentiment behind the
haunting "Sailing to Byzantium"
on Liars' new self-titled effort.
Hearing it, you
feel deceived **gg
- wasn't this
a band pigeon- Uars
holed as the next
great art-rock Liars
group? There's Mute
a divergence on
the track that
would have
been unthinkable on Liars' earlier
two releases, given their seeming-
ly narrowing musical scope. It's
tough when you find your assump-
tions tobe false. But Liars has shed
its previous musical skin in favor
of rock music's staples: monolithic
song writing, catchy hooks and
warm melodies.
This shouldn't come as a sur-
prise. Following their 2006 mas-
terpiece Drum's Not Dead, Liars
had a decision to make: continue
along the path that made the
album so successful, attempting to
recreate the sonic unity on Drum,
or further the group's trend of con-
stant reinvention. Most fans would
have found the former to be the
suitable and obviously safer choice,

but Liars smartly chose to change
- a virtual infidelity they can't be
held accountable for.
From Liars' lead single and
opener "Plaster Casts of Every-
thing," the band's new direction'
is clear. Riding incessant, pound-
ing percussion and punk guitars
- harping back to their debut
They Threw Us All In a Trend
and Stuck a Monument on To'?
- Angus Andrew cries in a shril
falsetto, "I wanna run away, I
wanna run away." Instantly sepc-
rating Liars from earlier materid,
the group seems more passional,
vulnerable and open. Liars is wlat
the New York trio is at their cee
- this is the importance of a sdf-
titled album.
As Liars stands as a reflectrn
of the band as a whole, the grys
are required to morph and mild
throughout the disc. "Leafier
Prowler" recalls the disorient-
ing, distorted drum circles of
Drum's Not Dead while treks
like "Houseclouds" (boasing
electronic melodies and keybsard
flashes) and "Freak Out" (the :urf
classic "Wipeout" on steroids) ake
the group in a direction it's n'ver
But the true heart of Liarslies
in the aforementioned "Sailirg to
Byzantium." Carried by brezy
keyboard drones and the eqdiva-
lent of rhythmic hail, the tack

simultaneously warms and sends
chills down your spine. Andrew's
possessed lines create an ethereal
platform for the phasing guitar
flares and upbeat drum lines. It's
a song so disturbingly beautiful
and captivating it assures all those
in doubt that Liars have forever
found their calling. But if their his-
tory is any indication, "Sailing to
Byzantium" is simply a building
block for another yet unimagined
There's only one real complaint,
however oxymoronic, against
Liars: It's not Drum's Not Dead. As
an album near perfection, Drum
was too overwhelming and inspir-
ing to be left as it was. It needed a
proper sequel, an accompanying
album of similar tracks to compli-
ment its undeniable genius. Liars
shouldbe that album but isn't. But
it's something far greater than
Drum 2.0 ever could've been.
As the album closes with "Pro-
tection," Andrew tells of child-
hood stories. "Do you remember
when we'd go on out for lifeguards
/ Snuck into the caves where / All
the kids were smuggled." He later
comforts, "Darkness falls away,"
placing the group in plain sight,
though you can only assume they'll
be heading for higher ground on
their next release.
Maybe they are Liars. But they
are for our own good.

the at
out u

bOO'S Offi

Mass meeting. Thursday at 8 p.m.420 Maynard St.


Qo GtiS, .r
" S s1 3 F tx .w' i
Most Imacies Only 7 Sand 9


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