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April 14, 2008 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2008-04-14

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Monday, April 14, 2008 -5A

Lil Wayne only takes mug shots.

Big ego, Lii Wayne
on new mixtape

cOURTESY OF FOX SEARCHLIGHT

"Whoa."

Bigger and bloodier

'Street Kings' falls in line
with typical shoot-'em-up
action films, but brings
bigger guns
By IMRAN SYED
DailyArts Writer
There have been a lot of movies featur-
ing the LAPD, police corruption, racial ten-
sion and one rogue, heroic
super-cop with the arrogant
insistence on beating the
system. You might think . :
"Street Kings" - a crime Street Kigs
caper featuring all of these At Quality16
things from the writer of and Showcase
"L.A. Confidential" - is Fox Searchlight
just another ho-hum police
drama, with all the ingenu-
ity of a random episode of
"24" circa Season 4. You'd
be mostly right, but the film does manage to
entertain despite its tired premise thanks to
a few decent performances and a hell of a lot
of shooting.
Keanu Reeves plays Tom Ludlow, an under-
cover LAPD detective who's going through a
tough time because of the recent passing of his
wife. He's still a very talented agent though,
so his superior, Capt. Wander (Forest Whita-
ker, "The Last King of Scotland"), covers up
for Ludlow's missteps, which include drink-

ing on the job, shooting criminals instead of
handcuffing them and (possibly) being a rac-
ist.
Ludlow's old partner, however, is troubled
by his transgressions and calls on internal
affairs to investigate Wander's whole unit.
And then the partner ends up dead - really,
really dead. Like, 17-rounds-from-a-machine-
gun dead. While Ludlow never liked the guy,
his death presents a problem: Ludlow was at
the scene of the crime and really doesn't have
an explanation as to why he couldn't inter-
vene. With the entire system bearing down
on him, Ludlow decides the only solution is
to find the true murderers, even if it means
going beyond the law.
The dark, troubled-hero vibes Reeves gives
off are perfect for a film that explores the
nature of good and bad in situations where
such clear-cut distinctions are impossible.
Still, it wouldn't be Keanu Reeves without
stilted motions and incessant mumbling, both
of which are very frustrating in an action
hero. Luckily, Reeves has a superb supporting
cast, all of whom are as good as you've ever
known them to be.
The two stars are Whitaker as Wander
and Chris Evans ("Fantastic Four") as Detec-
tive Diskant, Ludlow's unlikely partner on
the murder investigation. Evans - who was
entirely responsible for the only 90 seconds of
decent material in both "Fantastic Four" films
combined - plays a clean-cut, emotionally
stable cop and is a welcome diversion from
the film's mostly grim and often asininely
hard-boiled characters. (Even comedians Jay

Mohr and Cedric the Entertainer are given
roles that involve something other than comic
relief).
The Capt. Wander character, while stock
and uninspired in conception, becomes some-
thing truly memorable thanks to Whitaker's
underhanded ferocity. The man who won an
Oscar for his portrayal of crazed Ugandan
dictator Idi Amin, Whitaker proves once
again that he can exude emotional hyperbole
more masterfully and convincingly than just
about any other actor.
His talent is for taking the extreme and
presenting it in such a creepily calm way that
viewers are left entranced. That's exactly
what he does here, adding levels of depth and
context to Wander that won't be soon for-
gotten by those who pay attention. Wander's
simple line, "We're all bad, Tom" is the film's
thematic climax and delivers a poignant blow
in a narrative that, though stocked with plen-
ty of guns and action, otherwise lacks sub-
stance.
At some point while watching "Street
Kings," you have to wonder why it goes so far
overboard on the gruesome, detailed gun vio-
lence. While manyviewers jump at the chance
to see some of their favorite actors wield some
of the biggest guns imaginable, it can eas-
ily get disturbing (The Game with a machine
gun? That could get ugly). We could sit back
and demand a smarter crime caper, but real-
istically, it's probably time we just accept that
no one is going to redefine this genre. Guns,
guns and bigger guns - this is what we've got,
and "Street Kings" does it better than most.

By CHRIS GAERIG
ManagingArts Editor
it seems like every other week
someone is writing another review
of yet another
Lil Wayne mix-
tape. Hopefully,
this'll be the end Lil Wayne
of it - at leastD
for a while. Da DaODrog
Drought Is Over 5
appears to be the Self-released
last in a seeming-
ly endless stream
of mixtapes in preparation for his
upcoming studio release Tha Cart-
er III. In danger of becoming hip-
hop's Chinese Democracy, Wayne's
third Carter installment is undeni-
ably the most anticipated release
since Jay-Z or Nas's latest albums
- whether ornotyou regard Weezy
in the same category as these leg-
endary MCs. But unlike Wayne's
recent mixtapes, Da Drought Is
Over 5 is a collection of awkward
beats, forced or recycled rhymes
and cannabis-born jams.
Early returns on Tha Carter
III were relatively positive. The
previously released David-Ban-
ner-produced "La La La" is an
incredible example of Weezy's
Southern drawl laid perfectly over
high-powered beats, and the more
recent "Gossip" features his signa-
ture wordplay and violent swagger
- both tracks rumored to appear
on Tha Carter III. But the album's
latest single "Lollipop" - the only
of the aforementioned tracks to
appear on Da Drought Is Over 5
- shines a significantly dimmer
light on what is supposed to be
the proper come out party for hip-

hop's second-coming.
Da Drought Is Over 5 is mainly
plagued by Wayne's studio ram-
blings. Videos that were once
YouTube fodder of Weezy sitting
around the studio, drinking siz-
zurp and getting baked out of his
mind now find their way onto his
releases. They range from the
inane ("Carter 3 Is Coming") to
the unfortunate counterargument
to his freestyling abilities ("I'm a
Dog Ya"). The latter of which car-
rying gems like, "Welcome to the
Carter / Little shop of horror /
Bloody like a period /After D R-a/
Doctor I'm a dog."
The rest of the mixtape suffers
The latest in an
endless series of
recent Lil Wayne
mixtapes
from the beat selection, which
is drab at best when juxtaposed
against the rest of the Drought
series. On the prolific Drought 3,
Wayne chose top shelf beats from
artists like T.I. and Young Jeezy.
But now, he settles for b-rate beats
that are not only less recognizable
and memorable but also noticeably
less polished.
This decision points toward
something significantly more dis-
turbing about Lil Wayne as of late:
He's starting to let his own "I'm
See LIL WAYNE, Page 9A

ARTS IN BRIEF

Film
High school slasher
flick recycles genre
traditions
**
"Prom Night"
Screen Gems

are the standard elements of the
film. But maybe that's just the
fun of it.
Of course we've all seen this
before. That's why if you think
of "Prom Night" as an enjoyably
repetitive drinking game, it's not
half bad (a perk of being older).
Plus, the very notion of seeing
Brittany Snow, the villainess from
"Hairspray," terrorized might be
more than enough to amuse. This

mission leaving his daughter
alone. Gee, wonder if something
bad is going to happen? Nim is
momentarily distracted by her
dancing animal friends, but even-
tually gets around to noticing
that maybe the heavy storm that
wrecked her tree house may have
had an effect on her father's trav-
els as well.
Thankfully, this island also
comes equipped with Internet
access, so Nim is able to ask her
favorite action hero, Alex Rover,
for help finding her dad. Unfortu-
nately, Alex Rover is really Alex-
andra Rover (Jodie Foster, "The
Brave One"), woman writer and
closet agoraphobic. Nothing new

here: Alex overcomes her fears,
Nim is scared but resourceful
and her dad is... saved by a really
smart pelican? OK, so maybe the
film's plot has some original ele-
ments, but the actors can hardly
be bothered to play into the fan-
tastical nature of the story. Bre-
slin is adorable as always, but
Foster and Butler are just going
through the motions. Just about
the only interesting part of the
film is watching Rover attempt to
navigate the hell we call airport
security. A neurotic, hand-sani-
tizer-obsessed writer or the peo-
ple with guns - who wins? Now
that's a story worth telling.
ANNIE LEVENE

When seeing "Prom Night" film would be
amid aswarmof13 to 1S-year-olds Saturday nigh
(prime meat for any slasher film),
it feels good to be a little older.
Teens freaking over soundtrack Film
string-pulls and prom dress .e c
choices is what the filmmakers eWCgl
attempt to achieve.
In this remake of the 1980 ses star
Jamie Lee Curtis cult classic, devices a
a, group of twentysomething
"teens" are terrorized by one
oblivious blonde's ex-stalker on
that magic high school evening. "Nim's Island"
And it's only slightly less painful Fox-Walden
than actually going to senior
prom. "Nim's
Ostensibly, this a child
is one crappy hor- story
ror flick. It's yet exerci
another PG-13 reckl
remake guilty of fathe
the most hack- ler,
neyed trappings secr
of the genre. dau
Dumb cops, gal
dumber teens and
one mirac-
ulous .
killer's ;
ability to
never get M .
noticed 's
in tiny
rooms

great on a boring
t.
BLAKE GOBLE
[dren's film
idard plot
nd twists

Island" is less
ren's adventure
and more an
se in extremely
ess parenting. A
er (Gerard But-
"300") lives on a
'et island with his
aghter, Nim (Abi-
il Breslin, "Little
Miss Sunshine").
Being the
responsi-
ble father
that he is,
Dad goes
on some
sort of
research
ESY OF SCREEN GEMS

YOU COULD
BE DESIGNING
THESE ADS.

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