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March 07, 2008 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2008-03-07

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e MFriday, March 7, 2008 - 5

The Michigan Daily - michiganclaily.com

COURTESY OF MUTE

She's like Madonna, only less successful and innovative.

Taken at face.value

Still better than Michigan basketball.

COURTESYOF NEW LINE

FILM RtEVIEWs
Bac Co teR Sn r

Ferrell returns in his
latest tepid,
stock comedy
By IMRAN SYED
Daily Arts Writer
Will Ferrell has reached aremarkable
plateau. At the apex of his career, his
name has turned otherwise mundane
comedies into event films ("Talladega
Nights"). We all know the celebrated
"Saturday Night Live"
alum could hilari-
ously ad-lib his way
in and out of any situ-
ation, but the clueless Semi-Pro
absurdist routine that At Quality16
worked so well for a
time simply couldn't and Showcase
keep working for the New Lie
course of a full-length
film forever. At this point, Ferrell's
trademark shtick has run its course.
In "Semi-Pro," his latest over-hyped
efrort, errell plays Jackie Moon, play-
er/coach/owner of the Flint (Michigan)
Tropics of the American Basketball
Associatid'. The year is 197 a'nd as
the ABA considers a merger with the
National Basketball Association, Moon
is informed that the Tropics will have
to fold at season's end. Outraged, Moon

bursts into the classic Ferrell tantrum
(see "Talladega Nights," "Blades of
Glory" or basically any other Ferrell
film), but manages to convince the com-
missioner to give the Tropics a chance
to prove themselves over the course of
the season.
The Tropics are, predictably, a hope-
less disaster. Moon spends his time
choreographing halftime shows and
promoting ridiculous giveaways while
his team has no plays to run or even
a vague game plan. Knowing he has
to make improvements if the Tropics
are to survive, Moon trades the team's
washing machine for Monix (Woody
Harrelson, "No Country for Old Men"),
a washed-up ex-NBA player who at least
understands the game. As Monix brings
the hapless Tropics together to make
a push for glory, "Semi-Pro" makes
the usual stops for an underdog sports
comedy and finishes up adequately. But
that's not good enough.
For all the promotional hoopla sur-
rounding its release (including the
very prominent Old Spice ad cam-
paign), "Semiro' is, quite simily,a
bust. Featuring only a shoddy plot and
Ferrell's well-known exuberant dead-
pan, the Imlm' has nothing in the way
of coherence, a story or even a theme
that would sustain anything beyond
a two-minute "SNL" sketch. Fans of
"Arrested Development," "The Daily

Show," "SNL" or "The Office" may
see some of their favorite TV come-
dians in this film, (Will Arnett, Andy
Richter, Rob Corddry, Jason Sudeikis,
Ed Helms, Kristen Wiig, etc.), but it's
painfully obvious how vapid all of their
roles are.
It's impressive that Ferrell has a fan
base so strong that he can turn a film as
pedestrian and dull as "Semi-Pro" into
the most talked-about film of the year
so far. However, his fans have surely
noticed by now that these movies are
gettingless and less funny- "Semi-Pro"
certainly makes it painfully obvious.
By sticking to this popular but limiting
genre and persona, Ferrell is quickly
burning through his reputation as an
eccentric genius whose best work is still
ahead of him.
Adam Sandler, another comedian
who could have done more than gag
comedy but never did, was a casualty
of a similar dilemma a few years back.
Perhaps Ferrell can learn from his mis-
takes and right the ship while there is
still time. We have seen Ferrell do so
4cil bietter in slightlr d eer lomedic
roles (see "Stranger Than Fictiov," "The
Producers" or "Elf"), and it's sjI to see
him churn out another-shallow slapstick
comedy.
It would be a shame if the pathetic
antics of Jackie Moon or Ricky Bobby
were the highlights of Ferrell's career.

By CAITLIN COWAN
DailyArts Writer
What does the new Goldfrapp album sound
like? Look at the cover of Seventh Tree and
you'll have your answer.
Theband has some of the mosttellingcover
art around. The duo of singer/keyboardist Ali-
son Goldfrapp and composer Will Gregory has
released four full-length albums to date, and
each has its own eerie art.
Felt Mountain is as dramat-
ic and eccentric as the mir-
ror image of Alison's face Goldfrapp
- eyelashes heavy with
thick, black mascara - that Seventh Tree
graces its cover.Black Cher- Mute
ry and Supernature, the
band's glam albums, both
use similar aesthetics. On the former, Alison
wears a Clockwork Orange-like bowler, sur-
rounded by multicolored spangles. On the lat-
ter, she appears naked and turned coyly to the
side in front of a glittery black curtain.
Goldfrapp's latest release, Seventh Tree, is
much different. Alison appears on the cover
wearing a feathered pirate hat and a peasant
blouse, and the blurred gold and green back-
ground gives the artwork a dreamy, outdoor-
sy feel. At the angle she is photographed from,
she looks a bit like child star-turned-Bohemi-
an-celebutante Mary Kate Olsen.
Accordingly, the album delivers everything
it promises on its face. Goldfrapp moves away
from the dirty, sexy beats of Supernature and
Black Cherry to create a disc full of low-key,
wistful music that's suited more to the back-
ground than the foreground.
A"si and mellow, setting
the tone for the album. Alison's voice sounds,
pure and sweet over the undulating acoustic
strums, but the dullness that pervades the
album sets in too soon, invading even the first
track. Along with "Little Bird" and "Hap-
piness," the first part of the album hovers
tenuously above a sleepy state. Its beautiful,

atmospheric melodies are bogged down in
the same too-slow tempo track after track.
The middle is the strongest section of Sev-
enth Tree. "A & E" is the jewel of the album.
Though the structure is fairly conventional,
what goes on behind Goldfrapp's lilting voice
is magic: The blend of keyboard, acoustic
strums and bass blips creates an otherworldy
ambiance far more sophisticated than its
simplistic lyrics. "Caravan Girl," the only
up-tempo track on the album, is bouncy
and bright, though its '80s feel comes out of
nowhere on an album filled with ethereal,'60s
sounds. "Cologne Cerrone Houdini" encapsu-
lates the mood of the disc as a whole, and its
lush composition complements Alison's voice
as it soars over the highest notes.
When the glamor
of album art doesn't
translate to its sound
Alison's voice has always been the main
feature on Goldfrapp's albums. But without
the quirkiness of the electronic distortions
and manipulations often made to her voice on
other albums, her raw vocal ability is under
more scrutiny here. And although she sings
beautifully, she comes through as more medi-
ocre than ever on Seventh Tree.
If Goldfrapp had made another glam elec-
tronica album, they would have flopped. Now,
t nade a new and different alburnand
still.it.seems thatthey've stumbled. The duo's
talent is not in question, even on this less-
than-stellar album. At its best, Seventh Tree is
rich and gorgeous, but at its worst, it sounds
like airy, space-age Muzak. There are simply
too many dead branches on Goldfrapp's Sev-
enth Tree to put it in a league with their other
striking albums.

ARTS IN BRIEF
Television Love." Domenico's appeal - which
won him his own love show "That's
Spin-offrealy Amore" - lies mostly in his child-
sho er ish enthusiasm and tendency to
show Wsufers ftom spout Borat-esque phrases like "I'm
same old formula excited in the pubic area!" Now,
Domenico finally gets his chance
to find love. Maybe. But more than
likely, he's just shopping for a hook-
"That's Amore" up before next season starts film-
Sundays at 10 p.m. ing.
MTV As per usual on a "reality" show
like this where the drama seems
Who's that cute little guy in the as planned as the spaghetti-eating
Speedo? It's Domenico Nesci, the stunts, the girls bitch at each other
Italian Casanova who wooed Tila and spout such malapropisms as,
Tequila and won the hearts of "You're trying to seclude yourself
couch potato females across the from people." Kim, an especially
country on "A Shot at badass bambina (as Domenico
calls the women, in his native
language) asks Hunter why she
doesn't shave her vagina. "Why
don't you shave your mustache?"
Hunter fires back. Oh, snap.
Unfortunately, the girls - most
of whom, as one girl describes, real-
ly do resemble "Playmate rejects"
- are too blond and homogeneous
to be anything other than eye
candy. Their attempts at creating
rifts between each other come off
as contrived, even for the vapidity
of the current reality dating show.
If you have to watch one of these
things, watch "Rock of Love 2
with Bret Michaels" where at least
the chicks are at their authentic
worst, not their camera-ready
best.
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PERFOttng h esCE PREVIEW
Lettiong the perCUSSIOon take the lead

By MARKEN GREENWOOD
For theDaily
On Sunday, percussionists will
take center stage in an exciting
showcase pound-
ing and ringing M
with the sounds CatCh Me
of marimbas, If YOU Can'
xylophones,
chimes, timpani sian
and gongs. The Ensemble
School of Music,
Theatre and Sundayat
Dance's Percus- 2np.m.
sion Ensemble, Atithe E.V. Moore
under the direc- Building, Mcn-
tion of Coordina- tosh Theatre
tor of Percussion Free
Joseph Gramley,
hosts "Catch Me
If You Can," a concert centered on
instruments you hit with a mallet.
Search percussion ensembles on
YouTube and an endless supply of
impressive "Super Mario Medleys"
will pop up. While these plucky
tunes can offer long stretches of
entertainment, the repertoire for

modern percussion ensembles does
not consist solely of bouncy video
game themes. Sunday's concert
hopes to prove this point.
Instrumentalists tend to be
attracted to this type of percussion
performance because it sits so eas-
ily on the human psyche. Percus-
sionist Jeffrey Barudin, a Rackham
student, explained why.
"The two oldest instruments
since the beginning of time are
the human voice and percussion
instruments," Barudin said. "There
is something about percussion
instruments and percussion music
that speaks to us as humans at a
very primal level."
Following their conception in the
1950s, percussion ensembles had a
very limited selection of pieces to
play. However, an ever-expanding
number of compositions exist
today, and some have been writ-
tenspecificallyforpercussionists,
including arrangements of clas-
sical music, popular music and
movie themes. Most ensembles
provide a heart-pounding pro-

gram, an
"Thec
orized n
elements
audience
Dodds, a
Music.'
sphere is
"Catcl
a large s

d this one is no different. tralia.
combination,groove, mem- "The music spans many genres
nusic and improvisational and has many influences, held
s really connect with the together by the unifying bond of
e," said percussionist Peter the use of percussion as the prima-
freshman in the School of ry instruments," Dodds said.
Also, the laid-back atmo- The incredible variation and
always fun." interesting combinations of per-
h Me If You Can" will offer cussion instruments deserve to be
ampling of modern pieces explored. Percussion instrumental-
ists rarely hold the primary position
in an orchestra or band. Instead,
aking music they are usually found - with
their large keyboards or drum sets
ith mallets -squeezedintothebackorontothe
side of the seated wind, string and
brass players. The percussionists of
the Ensemble intend to make full
in the last 20 years from use of their short stint as the main
the globe. Composers hail attraction at Sunday's performance.
e United States, Mexico, "It's nice to be in the front once
pain, Argentina and Aus- in a while," Dodds said.

w

written
aroundt
from th
Japan, S

Teacher s of Color
Job Fair
Learn Meet Discover
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KX0XX0 Inspire 00X)X0
March 9 2 -4:30 pm
http://tocjf.greenhillsschool.org
Sponsored by the Assn. of Independent Michigan Schools
Hosted by Greenhills School, 850 Greenhills Dr., Ann Arbor

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