8A - Monday, December 1, 2008
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
COMING TO A
Award season is almost here, and a number of unreleased films
have already joined the Oscar race. To sort out the season's best,
Daily Arts is taking a look at the trailers for the year's most
"We've been watching this tree die for three day
From Page 5A
Live In," Flowers croons "This is the
world we live in / We can't go back."
On the album's lead single, "Human,"
Flowers attempts to shed new mean-
ing on Hunter S. Thompson's complaint
that the complacent youth of his time
are "a generation of dancers." The song,
though, contains a driving backbeat
questioning whether it's really that bad
to be a "dancer" in the first place.
Even with signs of new lyrical direc-
tion, it's painfully clear that Flow-
ers can't completely divorce himself
from the dusty street themes of Bruce
Springsteen. His Boss obsession is
never more apparent than on "A Dust-
It's a slower, more serious ballad
with Cinderella as protagonist and it
features a familiar we-gotta-get-out-
ta-this-town-babe aesthetic. Flowers's
From Page 5A
problem-asimple conflict ofhowthey see
their future together - and Witherspoon
and Vaughn do an admirable job balancing
the slapstick with the substantive.
While their characters are enjoy-
able to watch, Vaughn and Witherspoon
hardly branch out from their go-to per-
sonalities. Vaughn's Brad is fast-talking
and sarcastic and Witherspoon's Kate
is sweet but slightly uptight. It's really
the supporting cast, essentially a "who's
who" of character actors, that steals the
movie and generates the laughs. Kristin
attempt at epic songwriting contin-
ues with "Goodnight, Travel Well,"
with a hushed lost-in-space sympho-
ny supporting floppy lyrics like "The
universe is standing still / There's
nothing I can say / There's nothing we
The Killers stay
in tune with
their flamboyant .
can do now."
Despite these stale regressions, the
band still proves it can have some fun.
The band is at its best with tales of alien
abduction on "Spacemen." It moves
from lighthearted beckoning to "Make
some noise" on MGMT-inspired album
Chenoweth (TV's "Pushing Daisies")
is especially entertaining as Courtney,
Kate's baby factory of an older sister.
Courtney's tendency to embarrass Kate
seems cruel (she shows Brad pictures of
'Tis the season for
Kate during her stint in fat camp), but
with a smile and an adjustment of her
push-up bra, Chenoweth wins the audi-
ence over every time.
standout "Neon Tiger."
With the album's unrestrained use of
super-sized synths that buzz and hum
behind pounding, flamboyant disco
beats, it almost seems like The Killers
were attempting some kind of tongue-
in-cheek parody of epic movie sound-
tracks. But if Flowers has made one
thing clear over the years, it's that he
takes The Killers' dance-rock incred-
ibly seriously and implores you to do the
same. Behind the flamboyant fur capes
and feathers adorning Flowers in the
"Human" music video lies the undeni-
able desire for the band's music to reso-
nate deeply with its audience.
The Killers' attraction to unabashed
musical excess shows in how they satu-
rates the new album's songs with over-
the-top saccharine-sweet production.
The adventurous strokes of Day & Age
do much to advance the band's desire
to create "epic" music, and, just as the
'80s attempted to prove, sometimes too
much can be a good thing.
The one family visit that fails comedi-
cally is the couple's visit to Brad's father.
Brad's Ultimate Fighting Champion-
ship brothers ("Iron Man" director Jon
Favreau and country music singer Tim
McGraw) are a one-note joke and Brad's
father (Oscar winner Robert Duvall,
"Thank You For Smoking") is just too
sad, lonely and cranky to be funny.
While romantic comedies of late
have been less funny and more cloying,
"Christmases" proves the genre isn't yet
dead. The film is unlikely to become a
staple of holiday-themed rentals, but in
a movie season devoted to drama-heavy
Oscar bait, "Four Christmases" is some
THE WEINSTEIN CO.
Kate Winsletis most certainly the
best actress working today without
an Academy Award to show for it.
But judging by the magnificent
brief moments of raw emotion seen
in the trailer for "The Reader," this
could be her year.
Though the trailer initially
seems to promise a tragic tale of
a young man and an older female
lover, it abruptly switches tone
and becomes a courtroom drama...
about Nazis. Anyone see her mock
this material on TV's "Extras?"
The mystery lies in the identity
of this enigmatic older woman and
the nature of the horrific act she
committed. The trailer is careful
to give almost nothing away, but it
still provides enough to whet our
If so much suspense can be sum-
moned in only two-and-a-half min-
utes, just imagine what the rest of
the film holds. With no big-budget
special effects and a seemingly
unhappy ending, it could be the
holiday fare typically released this
time of year. For those who've been
waiting for meaty material to sink
their teeth into, the film's release
date can't come soon enough.
Take Your Career In A
Try a health care career in
The University of Michigan Museum of Art presents
DaWty ihout) Art
A reading and talk by
MONDAY, DECEMBER 1, 5PM
Hussey Room, Michigan League, 11 N. University, Ann Arbor
Renowned American poet, memoirist, biographer, and
playwright Honor Moore will read from her work to mark
this year's Day With(out) Art. Since the first Day With(out) Art
on December t 1989, this national day of action and mourning
has commemorated the devastating toll that HIV and AIDS have taken on the worldwide arts
communities. This program is cosponsored by UMMA and the Creative Writing Program of
the UM Department of English and is part of the Zell Visiting Writers Series 2008-2009.
LmI" I rlrThe University of Michigan Museum of Art WWW.UMMA.UM1CIhDU 1 734.763.UMMA
From Grassroots Films of Brooklyn, New York
THE HUMAN EXPERIENCE
Tuesday, December 2nd at 7 p.m. at the Michigan Theater.
The real story of a band of brothers who travel the world in search of the
answers to the burning questions: Who am I? Who is Man? Why do we
searchfor meaning? Their journey brings them into the middle of the
lives of the homeless on the streets of New York City, the orphans and
disabled children of Peru, and the abandoned lepers in the forests of
Ghana, Africa. What the young men discover changes them forever.
Through one-on-one interviews and real life encounters, the brothers are
awakened to the beauty of the human person and the resilience of the
Winner "Best Humanitarian Film 2008" at the Sedona Film Festival and
"Best Documentary Feature 2008" at the Maui Film Festival.
Tickets are $9 for adults, $7 for students/seniors/US Veterans, and $6.50 for
Michigan Theater Members. Tickets can be purchased in advance through
www.ticketweb.com and at the Michigan Theater the day of the screening,
and from Transfiguration Parish at 734-482-6240
View the trailer at www.grassrootsfilms.com