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March 13, 2009 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2009-03-13

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Friday, March 13, 2009 - 5

A poignant love triangle

Phoenix shines in his
best role since
'Walk the Line'
By EMILY BOUDREAU
DailyArts Writer
"Two Lovers" opens with a
shot of Leonard Kraditor (Joaquin
Phoenix, "Walk the Line") walking
down a boardwalk in slow motion
before taking a
suicidal plunge *
into an icy bay.
Since his fian- Two LOVers
cee left him,
Leonard has At the
struggled with Michigan
depression. He 2929
lives with his
parents who, in an attempt to help
both their retirement plans and
their son, introduce him to Sandra
(Vinessa Shaw, "3:10 to Yuma"), the
daughter of a business partner who
obviously likes him more than he
likes her.
It's not until he meets Michelle
(Gwyneth Paltrow, "The Good
Night"), however, that he begins to
start feeling emotions again. Unfor-
tunately, Michelle is the mistress of
a married lawyer and sees Leonard
as a brotherly best friend. Leonard
soon finds himself tangled between
the unattainable girl he loves and
the girl who loves him.
But "Two Lovers" does not come
across as a typical romantic movie.
While the film plays with the idea of
love, it carries an unexpected emp-

see Leonard's struggle as he waits
for Michelle under the disapprov-
ing eyes in the black and white pho-
tos of his relatives.
Despite Phoenix's new "career"
in the hip-hop industry and antics
on "The Late Show," he gives a great
showing. It's not at all the sort of
thing someone would expect from
an actor-turned-rapper. And Pal-
trow and Shaw are solid as doomed,
trapped girls in love with men who
don't love them back.
Leonard's mother Ruth (Isabella
Rossellini, "Infamous") is one of the
most compelling characters in the
film; she is overbearing but manages
to attract empathy as she presses her
ear to walls and peeks under doors
to listen in on her son.
Director James Gray ("The,
Yards") seeks to extricate the
masked emotions of the characters
through subtleties in the camera
work. He incorporates a shot of a.
single eye turned to a blank wall
as Leonard makes the choice that
will seal his destiny. Shots like this
are contrasted with disgustingly
humorous images of the food at an
awkward dinner party. Gray is able
to insinuate that perhaps love does
not truly exist at times in the film.
When Sandra presents Leonard
with a pair of gloves while they're at
a restaurant, Leonard simply nods
to the waiter and asks for the check.
While the basic schematic ele-
ments of the plot are the same over-
used formula found in any other
romantic movie, the romantic trian-
gle works in "Two Lovers" to create
something fresh and poignant.

Witnessing
Jimmy Fallon
grow up on TV

By DAVE REAP
Daily TV/New Media Editor
"A smart man would leaveonow."
That's how Jimmy Fallon, the new
host of NBC's "Late Night," began
the monologue of his first show.
But smart television connoisseurs

would never
dream of leav-
ing their couch-
es when Fallon's
on - watching
him develop
into a lovable
late night com-
panion is just
too darn fun to
miss.
You'll laugh
as he playfully

Late Night
with Jimmy
Fallon
Weeknights
at12:35 a.m.
NBC

"Maybe I can get you inone of my hip-hop videos, baby."

tiness. The characters never truly
find what they are seeking. Despite
Leonard's constant meetings with
Michelle, the fact that she can't give
him what he wants is obvious in the
scenes of their rooftop meetings.
His desperation echoes in the shots
of the gray, wintry background.
The actors all deliver impres-
sive performances, and Phoenix

is cast in his best role since "Walk
the Line." He manages to por-
tray his character's high and low
points without making the transi-
tion overdramatic or ridiculous.
He moves between witty happiness
and utter lifelessness as he strug-
gles with the desire to break free
from his family and the duties that
come with them. The audience can

'Grr.. is friendlier than its biting title lets on

By RHIANNON HALLER
Daily Arts Writer
Comprised of two Harvard grads
and an ever-changing mix of col-
laborators, Bishop
Allen has been
creating addictive **
indie-folk since
its formation in BISOP Alln
2003, The band's 6w..
success seems DedOen
to increase with Dead Oceans
every release,
and with its music appearing in TV
shows like ABC's "Greek" and in the
2008 film"Nick and Norah's Infinite
Playlist," the band has seen a major
boost recently.
Bishop Allen's latest studio effort
Grr... is the band's third studio
release. on the whole, it's a quiet,
relaxing LP more suited for passive
than active listening, but the band
throws in a few punchy songs that
give the record variety and praise-
worthiness.
"Don't Hide Away" is the most
fetching song on the album, which is
quite a feat considering the record's
consistent level of addictiveness. It

begins with piano and, compellingly
enough, maracas. The piano chords
are unusually rhythmic, keeping
perfect time with the drumbeat as
a tape organ-sounding keyboard
plays in the background. During the
chorus, vocalist Justin Rice sings,
"Don't hide away / too high or low
/ I'd really like to see you / don't
you know" to a background of beat-
matching, syllabic chanting.
"Cue the Elephants" showcases
Grr...'s more rambunctious side.
Guitarist Christian Rudder uses
a tremolo technique at the begin-
ning of the song before diving into
rapid strumming during the verse.
The drumming sounds like a tick-
ing clock awaiting the cue for the
impending elephants the title prom-
ises. Then the song breaks into a
smooth, flowing chorus and it's as if
the cue sounded. The song's inten-
sity climbs with a powerful drum-
fill near its close before the track
finishes abruptly.
Most of the songs on Grr... are
charismatic compositions, but
"Shanghaied" is by far the most
intriguing. Although its title con-
jures stereotypical images of kung-

fu or Ch
more of
country
As the v
take on
Bisl
ne
drums s
upon co
is incred
singing-
upbeatn
"True
deviation
if only f
friend I

ina, the song itself embodies majority of the song. Rice's vocals,
an Old-West feel with its while fitting to Bishop Allen's indie-
-western influenced guitars. folk-rock sound, aren't always the
erse gets going, the guitars most intriguing, and the female
a Spanish flavor, and the voice is a welcome change. Rudder's
use of arpeggios and damping on an
acoustic guitar, along with excited
horns, creates a slightly tropical feel
hop Allen has that hints of summer and beaches,
teasing any Michigan college stu-
ver been this dent who might hear the track.
"The Magpie," the final song on
the album, is an eerie lullaby, and
Rice's use of end rhyme contrib-
utes to the nursery-song feeling. He
ound like hooves pounding whispers rather than sings, but the
mpacting sand. The chorus instrumentation - a quiet accordion
dibly twee-poppy, with Rice and xylophone in the background
"la" after "la" in a bouncy, of more standard guitar sounds -
nanner. prevents the listener from falling
e or False" is the strongest asleep, lulling them instead into a
n from the rest of the album, state of blissful relaxation. It's the
for the fact that the band's perfect end to an album chock-full
Darbie Nowatka sings the of delightful tunes.

dances, you'll cringe at the occa-
sional line-botching and you'll
breathe a sigh of relief after he
clears each hurdle. In short, tak-
ing in Fallon on a nightly basis is
truly like raising a child in fast-
motion.
Right before our eyes, Fallon,
after a somewhat shaky start, is
maturing into a competent and
extremely likable host. He has
mounted an impressive campaign
to win America's affection since
taking over the reigns of "Late
Night" from Conan O'Brien.
To describe Fallon, and by
extension, his show, just one word
is needed: fresh. His face is fresh,
his attitude is fresh, his studio is
fresh, the way he interacts with
his audience is fresh and, hell, his
house band (The Roots) is as fresh
as it goddamn gets. For a late night
scene that has remained relatively
stagnant in recent memory, Fallon
brings a much-needed jolt of
youthful vigor.
Accordingly, Fallon channels
his technological prowess to con-
nect with the younger, hipper
crowd - a demographic that's up
to its ears in iPhones and other
digital-age doohickeys. On air, he
has framed audience members'
heads in phony Facebook profiles,
asked celebrity guests questions
he received from fans via Twit-
ter and started a segment called
"Online Video of the Week."
Fallon unquestionably owns the
title of late night techie. (Big
money says Jay Leno can't even
send an e-mail.)
And that's not the only ele-
ment differentiating Fallon's
"Late Night" from his compe-
tition. He's obsessed with get-

ting people to share in his fun,
whether that entails challenging
celebrity guests like Cameron
Diaz to dance-offs, coaxing audi-
ence members to lick random
objects (like lawnmowers) for $10
or picking one lucky person from
the peanut gallery to serenade Jon
Bon Jovi.
The name of Fallon's game is
participation - everyone from the
guest's chair to the cheap seats
must feel the love. His interactive
intent is even perceptible in the
setup he uses for musical guests'
performances: Audience mem-
bers can shuffle onto two porches
overlooking the stage, where they
can tap, clap or dance along with
the action below.
Still, praising Fallon so early
might seem odd to some - his pal-
pable rawness and inexperience
can't be easily overlooked and
his magnetic boyish charm isn't
An unexpected
rising star of
late-night talk.
enough tonullifyall hisshortcom-
ings. It's true that Fallonrarelyhits
one out of the park during opening
monologues, despite all his years
of "SNL Weekend Update" expe-
rience. It's also true that Fallon's
interviewing skills aren't yet up
to par - his first interview fell
just short of a train wreck (though
that's partially Robert De Niro's
fault, who is an abysmal intervie-
wee). But it's hard to fault Fallon
for not being perfect right out of
the gate. In fact, it's almost better
that he's not.
In times when Americans pre-
fer to knock back culture as a
shot rather than slowly relishing
it like a fine wine, it's easy to dis-
miss Fallon because he has a lot to
learn as a host. It's also easy, for
the same reason, to fly into the
open arms of one of Fallon's more
proven competitors, like Craig
Ferguson or Jimmy Kimmel. Yet
sticking with Fallon in his earliest
of days promises to afford quite a
view; here is a man coming into
his own; here is the next big thing.
Here is the genesis of Jimmy
Fallon. Now that's something you
don't see every night.

- UARTS 250 -
"CREATIVE PROCES"
AN INTERDISCIPLINARY STUDIO-LECTURE COURSE
In residency at the Abbey of Pontlevoy,
May 18 - June 12, 2009
FourWeeks/Four Credits
Satisfies the LSA Creative Expression Requirement
you are in rested, please contact Mary Schmidt, maryanna@umich.edu, for more information
aking creativity an integral part of students' lives and work.
Learn more now: www.artsonearth.orglstudents
This course is supported by the Unversity of Michigans
Multidisciplinary Learning andTeanTeaching Initiative

Medical School
Information Fair
Wednesday, March 18th
3-6pm at The Michigan Union
Meet informally with M.D. and D.O.
medical school representatives
Lear about MD-Ph.D programs
Explore post-baccalaureate and special
masters programs
Visit our website for a list of schools
scheduled to attend
Because...one day can make all the difference!

For more information convactaseat:
32[X3 SAD
(734)764-740
swvkcaxerer ete nicf . d

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maion of vstaemvt '-

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