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January 28, 2009 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2009-01-28

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Wednesday, January 28, 2009 - 5A

An album too
cool for you to
understand

COURTESY OF DREAMWORKS
The original Enzyte ad.
A tedio Revolutio

By SARAH CHAVEY
Daily Arts Writer
Buying single tracks for only 99
cents on iTunes
is a temptation
that gets the best
of us all from Franz
time to time, but
Tonight: Franz Ferdinand
Ferdinand is a Tonight: Franz
shining example Ferdinand
of an album best
listened to from Domino
start to finish.
As a whole, it paints a picture of
love lost, loss remorsed, revenge
relished and love re-discovered,
carving out a complete thematic
circle. The songs aren't as singu-
lar as past material like "Take Me
Out" or "Do You Want To," and the
album takes Franz in a fresh direc-
tion, updating their familiar pulse
of sonic energy with a coolly sin-
ister edge.
Leadoffsingle and album-open-
er "Ulysses" introduces the deca-
dently gritty sound that prevails
throughout the disc. Its heavy
beat and minor chords mix with
Alex Kapranos's vocals - a blend
of arrogance, aggression and cool
-as he snarls lyrics like, "So sin-
ister but last night was wild." Gut-
tural "ha ha ha"-packed choruses
create a perfect barroom ambi-
ance. The song is straight from
a '90s neo-noir movie, evoking
imagesofmysterious andtortured
characters in smoky, impious bars
slamming down beverages resem-
bling gasoline.
"Send Him Away" grooves with
Stevie Wonder-esque keyboard
vamps and pulses with not-so-
subtle sexual undertones. "Live
Alone" keeps the energy high with
icy, computerized ornamenta-
tion that comes off as more Talk-
ing Heads than "Mario Kart." But
the lyrics are a bit of a buzz-kill as
Kapranos whines, "Wherever you
are / you know that I'll be here
wishing I could be there." At this
point in the movie, cool boy is sit-
ting at the bar wallowing in love-
sick sorrow.
The mushy solemnity doesn't
last long. By "Bite Hard," the
denial phase is but a lingering
memory and Tonight's hero is
out for revenge. A balladic begin-
ning gives way to resolute drum
kicks that beg the listener to
find someone to get angry with.
And what better way to follow
the vengeful pump-up song than
spiteful I'm-better-off-without-
you anthem "What She Came
For"? The venting session warns
of a man-eating, hard-ass chick

that's out for blood, culminat-
ing in a mosh pit-inducing finale
of manic drums, cymbal crashes
and power chords.
"Lucid Dreams" lowers the
intensity level, numbing the anger
with a quality "trip-out" session
and doing away with Kapranos's
usual clipped and cool vocal style
for a more legato feel. The eight-
minute acid trip peaks with an
instrumental break at the five-
minute mark. A raw vibe oozes
from the entire track, perpetuated
by abrasive distortion.
The seductively sinister
album winds down to a chill
and dreamy end with the last
two tracks, "Dream Again" and
A story of lost
love, angst and
bitterness.
"Katherine Kiss Me." The clos-
ers document the ride home after
a well-rounded night of liquor
and heartache. "Dream Again"
rocks gently, echoing in and out
of focus like the blurred lights on
a dark, wet New York City street.
The haunting tune with a hope-
ful message leads seamlessly
into the stripped-down love song
"Katherine Kiss Me." It features
a much more personal Franz
Ferdinand than ever before. The
simple, honest combo of acous-
tic guitar, occasional piano and
vocals presents a crack in the
armor of cool that most Franz
material shrouds itself in.
Tonight gives you the feeling
that the Brit boys of Franz Ferdi-
nand are way cooler than you are.
To put it simply, they definitely
wouldn't sit with just anybody in
the dining hall. In fact, they prob-
ably wouldn't be there at all, opting
instead to slink in an anonymous
doorway, smoking cigarettes
with faces that read clearly, "you
wouldn't understand."

Even Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet
can't make a film about everyday life exciting
By Emily Boudreau Daily Arts Writer

Who wants to pay $7 to watch
a couple yell at each other? Well,
apparently the Academy does; con-
sidering "Revo-
lutionary Road"
has received
three Oscar Revolutionary
nominations. It
also won a Gold- Road
en Globe. But At Showcase
whether or not and Quality 16
the movie actu-
ally deserves
these accolades
is another matter.
"Revolutionary Road" is the
story of Frank Wheeler (Leon-
ardo DiCaprio, "Body of Lies")
and his wife April (Kate Winslet,
"The Reader"). The couple has
just moved into a quaint suburban
house during the 1950s suburbia
rush. Frank works in New York

City and April raises their two
children and does chores around
the house.
Despite its superficial sheen, life
really isn't so great for the Wheel-
ers: Frank hates his job, the mar-
riage has fizzled and both Frank
and April feel "hopeless empti-
ness" in their existences. Trying
to make their lives special again,
April and Frank make plans for the
family to move to Paris, and, for a
brief moment, their lives are reju-
venated. But, as expected, all their
dreams fall apart in a depressing
downward spiral.
The scenes in "Revolutionary
Road" are as neat and tidy as the
Wheeler's manicured suburban
lawn. Unfortunately, like the sup-
posed lives of those who landscape
so meticulously, the movie is a bit
empty.

Essentially, almost nothing hap-
pens in "Revolutionary Road."
Frank and April get up, go to work,
take out the trash and fight in
scene after scene to tedious effect.
It's also a bit too convenient that
the Wheeler children are out of the
house for the majority of the movie
and none of the neighbors seem
to take notice of the Wheelers'
extreme marital problems. Nobody
ever hears the sound of breaking
glass or impassioned yelling. And
this is supposed to be suburbia -
where everybody knows his or her
neighbor's business.
The only person who does take
notice is John Givings (Michael
Shannon, "Before the Devil Knows
You're Dead"), a neighbor's son
recently released from a mental
institution. He's the only charac-
ter who doesn't blend in with the
film's mass of gray wool suits. He
has an uncanny knack for picking
out the truth and turning it into
something funny. He's unique, -
something that can't be said for
any other character.

DiCaprio and Winslet turn in
excellent performances as immor-
al, boring people. Despite each
actor's on-screen prowess, their
chemistry seems to have faded
since they appeared together in
"Titanic." The few scenes of each
of them on their own, like April
gazing out a window or Frank at a
train station, are the only moments
with real resonance. Neither Frank
nor April is a particularly appealing
character - they are certainly not
the couple anyone would want to
invite over for a dinner party and a
game of bridge - but it's hard not to
feel sorry for them.
"Revolutionary Road" may
be well-crafted and delicate,
but it leaves a bitter aftertaste.
The material is nothing new for
director Sam Mendes ("American
Beauty") and the decaying subur-
ban landscape is far from original.
All the same, there is something
about the harsh "Revolutionary
Road" that manages to captivate
with its brutal portrait of the real-
ities of life.

ARTS IN BRIEF
Film Review
Staining the screen
"Inkheart"
New Line
At Showcase and Quality 16
Seeing memorable fantasy char-
acters like the Flying Monkeys from
"The Wonderful Wizard of Oz"
leap out of the pages of a book and
into reality is a compelling concept.
Unless, of course, it's at the expense
of the audience's intelligence. Such
is the case with "Inkheart," a movie
inspired by a best-selling children's
novel about the quest of Mortimer
Flochart (Brendan Fraser, "The
Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon
Emperor") to find the rare book
"Inkheart," using his unique power
to bring the book's characters to life
with his voice.
The movie's problem is that it
assumes everyone in the theater
lacks basic reasoning skills. Mortim-
er and friends go to the home of the
author of "Inkheart" to obtain a copy
of the original manuscript - why
Mortimer didn't go to the author
earlier in his decade-long search for
the book is a mystery that viewers
are expected to ignore. And in the
film's finale, all the audience discov-
ers is that the entire movie up to that
point was a huge waste of time.
Theonlyslightlyredeemingqual-
ity of the film is its use of CGI. It's
entertaining to see swirling fire and
crazy cyclones, but even the orgy of
special effects featured can't possi-
bly make up for the rest of the films
shortcomings. "Inkheart" is yet
another perfect example of a movie
that should have never left the pages
of a book.
,HANS YADAV

Art & Design puts professors' work on display

By SARA SCHNEIDER
DailyArts Writer
At the School of Art & Design's 5th
Annual Faculty Exhibition, artists stepped
outside their boundaries

to connect with the new
vision and direction of
School of Art & Design
Dean, Bryan Rogers.
"Young faculty inspired
and pushed the old to
approach new ways of
thinking, creating a unique
synergy unlike any other
faculty show," said Mark
Nielsen, director of exhibi-
tions at the Slusser Gallery.

A&D5th
Annual
Faculty
Exhibition
Through
Jan.30
At the Slusser
Galley

The exhibition runs until Jan. 30 in the
Slusser Gallery in the Art and Architecture
Building on North Campus and features 3S
faculty artists and designers. It provides stu-
dent audiences a chance to take a closer look
at the personal work of their professors.
From Jim Cogswell's eight-panel shelf
paper wall display to Heidi Kumao's digital
interpretations of everyday objects to Louis
Marinaro's powerful metaphors displayed
in painted bronze, a single peek inside the
gallery doors reveals a variety of mesmeriz-
ing works that challenge traditional art.
"The artists really pushed themselves into
new spaces this year," Nielsen said.
Cogswell's piece, O Reader, stemmed
from a passage in Italo Calvino's novel "If
On a Winter's Night a Traveler" and past
work with dancer Peter Sparling. The work
transforms each letter into a unique artistic
creation that challenges the idea of textual
reading while using everyday materials like
adhesive shelf paper. The use of common
office items in the piece invites those who
don't normally identify with art into the
creative magic.
Kuiao's Correspondence also uses an

everyday object to create its magic. Through
her digital work, a simple white envelope
enclosed in a glass bell jar acts as multiple
settings and transforms the ordinary into
something remarkable.
Marinaro's Woman with Two Rocks is a
painted bronze sculpture depicting a nude
woman with a brown sack over her head hold-
ing a rock in each hand. The work transcends
the literal interpretations usually associated
with sculpture and manages to express an
inexpressible emotion.
"You know what he is saying but can't
quite articulate it," Neilsen said.
With these three works among a host of
others, the exhibition promises to astound.
Nielsen partially attributes the show's inno-
vative display to the new curriculum and out-
look adopted recently by the School of Art &
Design.
"People reflect the state of the institu-
tion they are a part of," he said. "And with
Bryan Roger's new focus on bringing cre-
ative thinking to every walk of life, the fac-
ulty's works are reflecting this change just
as much as the students."
Teaching since 1990, Jim Cogswell agrees
that the changes within the program are
directly affecting the faculty.
"I think it is impossible to be part of a staff
and not be influenced by the transformations
Aspiring artists can
use this exhibition
as a resource.
occurring within it," Cogswell said. "Art-
ists are like sponges. Whether consciously
or unconsciously, the huge diversity, part
of what the chool is about right now, has

Associate Prof. Heidi Kumaa ouses an envelope to set many scenes in her piece Correspondence

brought a new energy to the show this year."
Even with the show's energy, Cogswell is
not fully convinced that students are taking
advantage of the opportunity.
"I sometimes worry students aren't terri-
bly interested in what we are doing. Not many
students have come up to me to comment on
my piece or any other professor's work," Cog-
swell said. "It is not that I am upset by it, I just
want my students to understand that you are
never doing this alone in the art world. It is
always a conversation."
For growing artists, perhaps it's not always
clear that the work of other artists can direct-
ly and positively influence their work. When
artists emerge into their own projects, it's
often difficult to see the importance gained
from conversing about them with other art-
ists, especially those who are directing their
education.

Despite the perceived lack of student
enthusiasm toward the show, Cogswell loves
the opportunity to see his colleagues' work.
Nielsen also sees the merit in the show as
something special for the staff themselves.
"The show allows faculty to learn from
each other and gain a view into who people
are outside of their A&D teaching world,"
Nielsen said.
Following the program's current empha-
sis on diversity, the 5th Annual Faculty Art
Exhibition offers something for every viewer.
It's a collection of works that show the true
meaning of art, according to Nielsen.
"The best artwork is the stuff that makes
you want to keep looking," Nielsen said.
"Anything can come into it and play a role.
There are no rules. It's all OK and the world
of art, and this year's exhibition shows there
are no boundaries."

41

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