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March 24, 2008 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2008-03-24

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com h

Monday, March 24, 2008 - 5A

"Vince Vaughn doesn't have to put up with this shit."

Revenge of the
nerds,.,008

Like Vinnie Chase, but drunker.

iterary rock returns

Canadian indie rockers
return with impressive,
mature seventh
full-length LP
By SASHA RESENDE
DailyArts Writer
Most independent artists are known
for their free-floating pretension, but
few deliver it as ele-
gantly and effortlessly
as Destroyer frontman
Daniel Bejar. The Van- Destroyer
couver-native has risen
to indie-star promi- Trouble In
nenqe oyer the past few Dream
years, thanks in large Merge
part to hls astonishing
grasp of literary prose
and an ability to craft delicate lyrics to
frame his epic songs. His song-writing
genius is so pronounced that it has even
spawned its own drinking game, encour-
aging participants to take a pull anytime
he mentions religion, the sea, the way a
women moves or any other of his con-
sistent lyrical themes. But thankfully,
Bejar's main musical endeavor offers far
more than regurgitated metaphors ooz-
ing with pretentious irony.
A part-time member of The New
Pornographers, Bejar has recently lent
his talent to fellow Canadian virtuoso
Spencer Krug's super-group Swan Lake,
proving that he is an indispensable force
in the independent music community.

After a decade spent on the Canadian
indie-rock circuit and producing a cor-
nucopia of pop records, Bejar achieved
much-deserved critical acclaim in 2006
with Destroyer's sixth LP Destroyer's
Rubies. Moving past the four-track
recordings and MIDI-experimentation,
which defined his past efforts, the slick
album is a delightful venture through an
indie-pop wonderland, guided by Bejar's
distinct Bowie-esque vocals. Destroyer's
latest effort, Trouble In Dreams, expands
upon his previous work, while tighten-
ing his songs into carefully orchestrated
pieces of pop bliss.
The album opens with a simple gui-
tar-strummed ode to infidelity ("Blue
Flower/Blue Flame") before progressing
into the fuller pop-rock arrangements
that permeate the complex collection.
While undeniably quirky throughout,
Trouble In Dreams cannot be pigeon-
holed into one category. Each cut is dis-
tinctive and captures a different side of
the band's multifaceted character. On the
amped-up, pop-rock "Dark Leaves Form
a Thread," the band creates a gorgeous
soundscape caught between tight guitar
riffs and distinct piano melodies. Bejar's
unique vocals carry "The State," taking
the song from its playful beginnings to
an all-encompassing scream toward the
end in which he boldly exclaims, "Loose
lips sink the lives of disgusting women."
"Introducing Angels" is playful pop per-
fection, carried by Bejar's repeated dec-
laration that "common scars brought us
together." This proves all too true figu-
ratively, although no literal "scars" can
be found throughout the entire track,

which is wrought with allusions to Chi-
nese poets and unorthodox wedding
parties.
On "My Favorite Year," one of the
album's most luscious and complex
tracks, Bejar and company create ten-
sion between reverb guitar strings,
tight percussion and a chorus of airy
vocals to back Bejar's more distinctive
singing. Clocking in as the second-lon-
gest track on the album, the song uses
every moment and can hardly be consid-
ered filler. The band fails in this regard
though, with "Shooting Rockets (from
the Desk of Night's Ape)," an eight-min-
ute attempt at epic grandeur. The song,
which also appears on Swan Lake's debut
Beast Moans, is unable to move beyond
its repetitive notes, ultimately dragging
the listener along for a ride that lasts far
too long. However, this track proves to
be the noticeable exception for Trouble
In Dreams, and is all the more negligible
when it is taken into consideration that
the track was originally recorded for an
entirely different album.
Destroyer's seventh full-length LP
contains all the quirks of the band's pre-
vious works, including Bejar's famous
"la da la la da la la las" which help to
carry some of his song's choruses. The
album is more produced than some of
Destroyer's previous lo-fi efforts, creat-
ing a slicker feel that allows each instru-
ment to shine. While the album lacks the
tremendously epic tracks that carried
the band's previous releases, Trouble
In Dreams proves Destroyer's ability to
mature without compromising its quint-
essential spirit.

By ANDREW LAPIN
DailyArts Writer
It's hard not to grin the first time Owen
Wilson appears on screen in "Drillbit
Taylor." The perpetually good-natured
goof plays Drillbit, a
homeless man who may
or may not have been
in the Army but now W
showers nude on the
beach and has friendly Taylor
chats with the passing A
motorists who throw AtQualityl6
him change. He harbors and Showcase
a dream to run away to Paramount
Canada, but with such
an easygoing attitude,
he doesn't seem to care whether he gets
there or not.
Wilson has been avoiding the public
eye since his suicide attempt last fall (this
movie was filmed prior to the incident),
but there's no evidence of depression or
trouble in his performance. Instead, he's
perfected his trademark persona from
films like "Wedding Crashers" and "Star-
sky and Hutch" to the point of slacker
Zen, and the result is a breezy, low-key
comedy with just enough giggles to make
it worthwhile.
Here,- though, Wilson plays second
fiddle to two nerds who have just entered
high school. Wade (Nate Hartley, TV's
"iCarly") and Ryan (Troy Gentile, "Nacho
Libre") want nothing more than to be
accepted by their peers and land some
girls along the way. But, as the law of high
school dictates what must happen to all
nerds, they immediately meet the anger of
the nastiest bully in school, who decides
to make their lives a living nightmare. As
played by Alex Frost ("Elephant") with
murderous glee, Filkins is not an ordinary
neighborhood tough. He is so savage and
relentless with his torment - at one point
attempting to run over the kids with his
car - that he becomes a high-school aged
Anton Chigurh, the unstoppable killer in

last year's "No Country for Old Men." Plus
he's a legal adult, emancipated from his
parents, which makes him, as one victim
puts it, "above the law."
Drillbit is hired by Wade and Ryan as
a bodyguard. At first he just takes the job
for easy money, teaching the guys bogus
techniques like the "Bear Hug," but soon
he grows to respect the kids and makes
it his mission to help them. He disguises
himself as a substitute teacher and infil-
trates the high school, where he is free
to exact revenge on Filkins and get cozy
with the hot English teacher, Lisa (Les-
lie Mann, "Knocked Up"). Does it make
sense that Drillbit could transition so eas-
ily from being a bum to a fake sub? Not at
all, but this fact only partially diminishes
the satisfaction of seeing him stick-it to
the bullies.
The film pulls no punches about the
survival-of-the-fittest world of high
school, and allows its heroes to get beaten
Bodyguards, hot
teachers and nerd
revenge - just like
your rgh school
up worse than most movie nerds (black
eyes and fat lips replace wedgies and
swirlies). This shouldn't be too surprising
since the script was co-written by John
Hughes, the creator behind the brilliant
'80s teen satires "Sixteen Candles" and
"The Breakfast Club." However, consider-
ing that one of the other credited writers
is Seth Rogan ("Superbad"), a few more
laughs should have been in order. Still,
"Drillbit Taylor" coasts by on Wilson's
pure charm and the thrill of watching the
nerds get their revenge.

ARTS IN BRIEF

File
Most recent Asian horror
remake falters like its genre
brethren
"Shutter"
At Quality 16 and Showcase
20th Century Fox
After seeing "Shutter," yet another Asian horror
remake, I couldn't help but wonder, "Why aren't
there more montages in horror flicks to skip all
the unnecessary schlock?" Then it occurred to me:
without it, there would be no movie at all - just a
crappy montage.
"Shutter" is as full of plot holes and cheap thrills
as any mediocre movie you're likely to see. Imme-
diately and clumsily the audience is hurled into the
plot with Jane (Rachael Taylor, "Transformers")
and her photographer husband Ben (Joshua Jack-
son, "Bobby"). The two are newlyweds in Japan
who crash their rental car, ostensibly hitting a
mysterious young woman in the process. When
they come to, however, she is gone. Heard this one
before?
Jane and Ben soon reach their destination of
Tokyo, where Ben reunites with old pals and takes
on a photography job. Traumatized beyond conso-
lation, Jane is sure that she killed a woman, though
Ben is quick to dismiss her antics as overly dramat-
ic. A series of photographs that turn up with white,
wispy blemishes lead Jane to inquire about the
Japanese fascination with "spirit photos," pictures
where ghosts loom translucently in the frame.
The idea is that the woman Jane and Ben struck
with the car is haunting them through their pic-
tures. It seems the conflict's only link to photogra-
phy is meant to echo the original film, though here
its implementation is flimsy and anticlimactic. At
the film's end, there is an attempt at moral preach-
ing, but the only commandment to take heed of is
this: Don't see this movie.
NOAHDEANSTAHL

More than
0
just a
storybook
ByANNIE LEVENE
DailyArts Writer
Children's literature is a big deal. Timeless life les-
sons, great illustrations - all really precious stuff.
Unfortunately, kiddy lit is also a big money maker,
which is why movie studios so
often play fast and furious with
classic stories, bastardizing our
treasured childhood memories
in the process. The downfall of Horton
these films is usually attributed to Hears a
one thing: "hipping up" the story.
These books are favorites for a Who
reason. No amount of modern day At Quality16
slang, political asides or creepy and Showcase
stage makeup (I'm looking at you, 20th Centuty Fox
JohnnyDepp) can hope to improve
what was already there. Neverthe-
less, every once in a while Holly-
wood gets it right, and the latest film adapted from
the genius Dr. Seuss, "Horton Hears a Who!" man-
ages to make for a pretty decent trip down memory
lane.
The film, like Seuss's book, is the story of Horton
(voiced by Jim Carrey), a dim-witted, yet well-inten-
tioned elephant who discovers an entire city, small
enough to fit on a speck of dust, inhabited by the mys-
terious Whos. Sadly, the film declines to answer any
of those burning Who-related questions: is Whoville
really the only city they have? Why are they so happy
all of the time? What exactly are they? They don't
really have anything to do with the plot, but still. It's
of little concern for Whoville Mayor Ned O'Malley
(Steve Carell, TV's "The Office") as he's a little pre-

The return of the People's Eyebrow.
occupied with the earthquakes, random changes
in weather and other disasters caused by the city's
unstable position perched upon, you know, a speck
of dust. Horton promises to find a safe place for the
Whos, even though there's a cranky kangaroo and an
Finally, a film based on a
children's book that
manages to be both
faithful and worthwhile
angry mob out to get them.
One of the main draws of big budget animated
films is the cast, and "Horton" doesn't disappoint:

Amy Poehler ("Mean Girls"), Isla Fisher ("Wedding
Crashers") and the seemingly inescapable combo of
Jonah Hill ("Superbad") and Seth Rogan ("Knocked
Up"), are just a few of the recognizable voices coming
out of those adorably vibrant creatures. Surprisingly,
Carrey, who can be an exasperating on-screen pres-
ence, is considerably more bearable when you only
have to listen to him. It's unclear who he had to bribe
in order to slip in a few of those "Mask"-esque voice
impressions, but luckily, they're kept to a minimum.
The only real disappointment is the usually excel-
lent Will Arnett (TV's "Arrested Development") as a
typically inept villain, Vlad. Arnett uses a weird and
often incomprehensible accent for Vlad, which just
seems like a little too much (and that's saying some-
thing considering Arnett is acting against Mr. Ace
Venture himself).
With so many famous voices, the most surprising
star of the film is the animation. We've come a long
way since Dr. Seuss's pen-and-ink, sparsely colored
illustrations. Inexplicably, there's a bizarre, anime-
See HORTON, Page SA

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