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March 06, 2009 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2009-03-06

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Friday, March 6, 2009 - 5

A lineup of
mixed merit

Celibacy: all the rage.

Tween pop trainwreck

Even star power can't rescue
the Jonas Brothers in this
worthless concert film
Daily Arts Writer
In many profound ways, "Jonas Brothers:
The 3D Concert Experience"
is emblematic of the most sig-
nificant flaws of moviegoing
mass culture. ,ongs
For those unfamiliar with
the phenomenon that is the Bracers
Jonas Brothers, they are a The 3D
musical group comprised of
siblings Kevin, Joe and Nick
Jonas. Having worked their Experience
way up the Disney adder 16
through their associations atQuality
with Miley Cyrus (aka Han- and Showcase
nah Montana) and tween Disney
pop star Demi Lovalo, the
Jonas Brothers have exploded from the family-
friendly mold into superstardom.

Their movie, which is presumptuously
labeled a "Concert Experience," is more or
less a standard concert film shot in 3D. It goes
without saying that to compare the Jonas's film
to Scorsese's "The Last Waltz" or Jonathan
Demme's "Stop Making Sense" would be like
comparing a tricycle to a Jaguar. The brothers
perform their hit songs with high energy and
elaborate production, but the band's enthusi-
asm is pretty much all there is to speak of. The
music written for them has been played a few
too many times to still sound fresh.
Infrequent cutaways to documentary foot-
age show snippets of the brothers' individual
personalities. It's hard to say whether these
segments are real or staged, which further
speaks to the overwhelming degree to which
the whole ball of wax is contrived, constructed
and sold.
True to their manufactured family-friendly
image, the Jonas Brothers outwardly promote
positive values. A family of evangelical Chris-
tians, each member wears a chastity ring on
his left hand, signifying their promise to God
to abstain from premarital sex as well as drug
and alcohol use. Knowing this, it was confus-
ing (or rather mind-blowing) to see overt sex-

ual imagery pervade the movie. At one point,
the Jonas boys put down their instruments
and pick up foam guns, blasting a whiteish
substance at an audience of screaming ado-
lescent girls. It's pretty appalling, especially
as a gesture allegedly in the name of positive
Another unintentionally nocuous element
of the movie is the presence of the boys' body-
guard Big Rob. He comes out on stage for one
song as a hype man, but then is quickly dis-
missed backstage. In the documented footage,
he is the comic relief, though the laughs are
sometimes uneasy. As the black, obese giant
paired with the three cute pop stars, there is
the sense that Rob is not so much a bodyguard
as he is an accessory.
In addition to the Big Rob uneasiness, fans
standing in line make a blatantly racist joke,
and it didn't go over well with the man who
was the butt of the joke or this reviewer.
"Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experi-
ence" will likely entertain and satisfy far more
than it should. However, its slim 76-minute
runtime can't keep the movie and the idea
behind the Jonas Brothers from feelingly over-
ly manufactured and extremely bland.

DailyArts Writer
MTV's new "See You Sunday"
lineup, composed of four new
ably filled with See You
cursing, sopho-
moric humor, unday
stunts and shaky 9p.m. Sundays
camerawork. MTV
One thing it does
not have, how-
ever, is music videos (which, ironi-
cally, has become the norm with
MTV). And that's too bad, because
the lineup doesn't really break
away from anything MTV has
done lately. The last show, "How's
Your News?," seems poised to veer
off to greener pastures, but other-
wise, it's the same old shindig.
First up is "Rob Dyrdek's Fan-
tasy Factory," which features Rob
from MTV's "Rob & Big" and, you
guessed it, his fantasy factory: a
25,000 square-foot warehouse that
has been converted into a concrete
skateboarding paradise. Doting on
Rob is his cousin and new personal
assistant, Drama. Drama works at
the skateboarding headquarters
alongwiththelawyer, manager and
graphic artist of Rob's skateboard-
ing empire, Dyrdek Enterprises.
Rob definitely has a blast mak-
ing his fantasy a reality, whether
he's driving his Campagna T-Rex
(a three-wheeled racecar) or
wearing stilts for a one-on-one
game of basketball against pro-
fessional basketball player Lamar
Odom. The real star of the show,
however, is the fantasy factory
itself, which is filled with skate-
board ramps, foam pits and even a
blob (a massive partially-inflated
balloon intended to launch a per-
son into the air). But the novelty
will soon wear off, and there's a
limit to how many contraptions
Rob can wheel out. An episode of
"Cribs" dedicated to Rob's. play-
ground would've sufficed.
Next on the lineup is "The Col-
legeHumor Show," a sitcom about
the professional lives of those
responsible for the popular Inter-
net comedy site CollegeHumor.
com. The show was written and
shot by the CollegeHumor team,
who are also the show's stars.
Contained within each episode
are short videos straight from the
website, which are usually played
right before commercial breaks.
While the show maintains an

authentic CollegeHumor feel, the
staff's poor acting doesn't cut it
for the half-hour show. There are,
however, moments of extreme
hilarity - the team, after all, is
made up of the geniuses behind
the "Fresh Prince Theme: Gang-
sta Version."
Filling the third slot in the line-
up is "Nitro Circus." Produced by
"Jackass" star Johnny Knoxville
and "Jackass" executive produc-
er Jeff Tremaine, it is basically
"Jackass" on wheels. Professional
motocross rider Travis Pastrana
and several other lesser-known
extreme sportsmen (and sports-
woman) performdangerousstunts
on whatever rolling object they
can get their hands on. Motorcy-
MTV sticks
with its old,
boring antics.
cles, bicycles and tricycles are the
most common. When they can't
find anything with wheels, they
get out the old Slip 'N Slide or go
skydiving without parachutes.
The problem is that Travis Pas-
tranaandfriendslack the anarchic
enthusiasm of the "Jackass" crew.
Their objective is to do a back flip
on a Big Wheel tricycle or to get as
much air from a Slip 'N Slide jump
as possible, not to piss people off.
Finally, "How's Your News?"
features a team of reporters with
It's difficult to say whether or not
the show's premise is condescend-
ing to its reporters, but it's clear
that the "How's Your News?"
team is having a great time, so
what does it matter?
The reporters talk to people
right on the sidewalk about any-
thing and everything,-but their
interviews with celebrities are the
highlight of the show. They inter-
view Miley Cyrus, Jimmy Kim-
mel, Sarah Silverman and many
others. John Stamos even volun-
teers to give one of the reporters a
lesson in picking up women, then
plays the reporter's wingman for
the day. "How's Your News" is the
most promising of the entire MTV
Sunday lineup.
"See You Sunday"? Maybe.

A Cyclone' of western sounds

Daily Arts Writer
Three years have passed since
Neko Case's soph-
Fox Confessor Neko Case
Brings the Flood
introduced thou- Middle Cyclone
sands to her fiery ANTI-
strain of alt-coun-
try songcraft.
the syrupy twang of mainstream
country artists like Garth Brooks,
her sun-bleached guitar solos and
fills still lend a sense of western
ambiance to her work. Rife with
striking imagery and vocal pyro-
technics, Middle Cyclone is a wor-
thy addition to Case's accomplished
musical catalogue, even if it's one of
her least consistent efforts.
"This Tornado Loves You" starts
the album with a creative master
stroke that narrates an unrequited
romance between a natural disas-
ter and a human being. Case's lyr-


ics are charming: "I have waited /
with a glacier's patience / Smashed
every transformer / with every
trailer /'till nothing was standing."
A brisk palm-muted acoustic guitar
strum drivesthetrack forward with
appropriategale force, and pizzicato
splashes add color to the mix.
Case's penchant for personi-
fication extends into first single,
"People Got A Lotta Nerve," which
includes references to elephants,
sharks and killer whales. Playfully,
she chides a broken-hearted dupe:
"I'm a man eater / but you're still
surprised when I eat ya." Tambou-
rine shakes and major scale guitar
riffs paint cheery scenery for Case's
boyish alto.
Her vocals are granted more
room for play in "Vengeance Is
Sleeping." Quiet piano taps dot the
simple acoustic guitar progressions,
and Case coos and caws between the
folds. She manages some impres-
sive dynamic and tonal leaps with
her aching voice, and even handles
her cracks with grace. Fittingly, the
final words refer back to her some-
named Candy (Keshia Knight Pul-
liam, "Beauty Shop") that he knew
in college. And with these amaz-
ing plot tools of his, Tyler Perry
makes a whopping $42 million on
opening weekend for what may be
his crappiest film to date.
A depressing drama as well as
cheap comedy, "Madea" throws
everything but the kitchen sink onto
the screen. The film goes through
manipulative depictions of sex and
drug abuse, then mixes in misguid-
ed Christianity. "Meet the Browns"
and "Why Did I Get Married?" were
at least sincere in their sappiness.
Perry doesn't deserve all the low
ratings he musters on IMDB, but
"Madea Goes to Jail" is a wreck.
Positive values are just that much
harder to impart when Derek Luke
is bawling his eyes out and Rudy
from "The Cosby Show" is playing
a tangerine-haired hooker. Maybe
Perry's 43rd movie in the next 10
years will be an outstanding and
all-appealing masterwork. Without

what an
not then
in tone,
sickly s
The gui
vocal ha
a slower
with con
est mot

drogynous character: "I'm Girls." For Case, the song is unusu-
man you think I am." al, spanning more than five min-
r" marks a curious change utes. Its western-noir vibe is also
with a lively 3/4 beat and unique, with scale-descending
waths of guitar reverb. melodies and smokey femme-fatale
tar lines' sour notes and vocals. Her storytelling is at its
intervals provide a twisted most ambitious, filling the mind
point to Case's overdubbed with vivid passages like "Awakened
by a droning voice / I love your long
shadows and your gunpowder eyes
/ Is it a lady or is it a man?" Unfor-
inconsistent tunately, the track degenerates
from an intriguing mood piece to
it endearing a plodding dirge due to its bloated
running time.
collection. On first listen, Middle Cyclone
could discourage listeners with its
subtlety. Admittedly, a few songs
fade into the background ("Polar
:rmonies. In another shift, Nettles" and "I'm an Animal"
to the Morning" embraces are such culprits). But further -
pace and warmer timbre. encounters reveal a songwriter
double bass notes give with a rich inner world and the
to the gossamer guitar eloquence needed to invite others
but Case's voice is charged, into it. If anything, the "cyclone"
into her highest register motif describes her voice: It's a
eviction. force of nature in its own right,
atically, the album's dark- equally expressive as a breeze or a
ment arrives on "Prison hurricane.

for more information call 734/615-6449
The University of Michigan College of Literature,
Science, and the Arts presents a
public lecture and reception

Madea' is barely
better than prison
"Madea Goes To Jail"
At Quality 16 and Showcase
Madea, that broad-shouldered,
big-mouthed grandma from Geor-
gia, is back. Again. And as always,
she's the showboat in Tyler Perry's
("Meet the Browns") latest work,
"Madea Goes To Jail." While the
Madea movies may be Perry's big-
gest commercial successes, this
installment is still the same old
Perry doing the same old thing.
There are really only two things
to say about the film. First: Madea
(Perry in drag) is sentenced to
prison, only to preach to people
about taking responsibility for
their actions. Second: Joshua
(Derek Luke, "Notorious") is an
attorney protecting a prostitute

Monday, March 9, 2009
Alumni Center, Founders Room


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