The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Wednesday, March 24, 2010 - 5A
The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Wednesday, March 24, 2010 - 5A
A 'Bounty' of mediocrity
Aniston and Butler have W
'U' student talks
in unexceptional, sexy
By BEN VERDI
For the Daily
This is not Sparta, but it's not terrible
either. "The Bounty Hunter," a sexy action
flick, is perfectly average in every way. You
sit down, watch it, laugh a few times and are
reminded of traditional
plot conventions used in
cop movies and romantic
comedies. It isn't awful. It Th Bounty
isn't all that great. It's pre-
dictable, uncomplicated, Hunter
but in a way, comfortable. AtQuality16
It's a movie, which is all and Showcase
you should expect it to be.
Hunter" feels like put-
ting on new socks in the morning. Yes, put-
ting on clean(er) socks is something you do
every day, but the moment you do it, you feel
a tad happier thanyou were previously. Then
you continue living your life as if nothing
The film borders on "buddy-cop," except
this time the duo is comprised of the sub-
tly seductive Jennifer Aniston ("Love Hap-
pens"), and the awkwardly Scottish Gerard
Butler ("300"/every Michigan State pre-
game montage). An unlikely pair, you say?
Well, while that may be true, don't underes-
timate the unintentional comedy that comes
from watching King Leonidas shove Rachel
from "Friends" into the trunk of a car so lux-
urious it's unclear how his bounty hunter's
salary can afford it.
The stars of this movie forge an on-
screen chemistry by virtue of the fact that
they probably will never speak to each other
after the movie. premieres. Nor did they
"Awwwww. Five more minutes! Pleeeeeeeeeease?"
have any knowledge of the other's existence
before they began filming. Butler and Anis-
ton play off one another the way two extro-
verts awkwardly converse in an elevator,
showing vulnerability and openness only
because they know their floor is coming up
While the comedy is mostly unintention-
al, there are some genuine laughs to be had.
Jason Sudeikis ("Saturday Night Live") is
a surprise, and he (justly) has enough lines
throughout the' entire film to satisfy the.
comedic urges of most audiences. Aniston's
drunken, sex-obsessed single mother char-
acter is off-putting enough to be funny, but
not detailed enough to be nasty.
There aren't enough ways to refer to how
average this film is, nor to how OK with it
you'll be afterward. People often use the
word "average" to denote something that
(subconsciously) they have deemed below-
By BRAD SANDERS
Daily Arts Writer
The dining hall can be a very dull
place to eat lunch, but never fear, the
University of Michi-
gan Museum of Art Andrea
has a solution. As
part of the museum- MCDonnell
themed year at the T
University, students Tomorrow
in the Museum atl2 p.m.
Studies Program UMMA multi-
are invited to speak
about their work in
the "Brown Bag Series," during which
listeners can eat their lunches while
they listen and learn.
Tomorrow, Andrea McDonnell, a
Rackham graduate student in com-
munication studies and museum stud-
ies, will be discussing the role of a
non-collecting art institute in society.
McDonnell originally studied
American culture at Vassar College
in New York and worked at an art
museum during and after her studies.
Realizing she wanted to teach art and
popular culture, she came to the Uni-
versity in order to fulfill her goal.
"I just completed my Museum
Studies Certificate Program, and as
part of this program you're required
to do a practicum, which is basically
an internship at an arts institution,"
McDonnell said. "Last summer I was
an intern at The Gallery Project in
downtown Ann Arbor. They're a non-
collecting arts institute, so they don't
own any works of art. Everything is
contributed based on what particular
show is happening at the time."
Her lecture, "The Empty Ves-
sel Makes the Loudest Sound: New
Museology and the Promise of the
Non-Collecting Art Institution,"
speaks to her experiences during her
internship and what she has learned
from The Gallery Project.
"The Gallery Project is an empty
vessel in that it doesn't have its own
collection. It doesn't bring any par-
ticular artist or artworks to the table
so to speak," McDonnell explained. "I
would like to argue that it's a positive
thing, as it helps the gallery to make
meaningful exhibits and be more flex-
ible and innovative than they would
be able to if they had a permanent col-
Aside from explaining the impor-
tance of this museum, McDonnell will
also reveal the other functions of The
"I'm going to be talking about how
the gallery works with other organi-
zations to hold fund-raising events,
such as The Cupcake Station and a
local band called the Chris Canas
more fun with art
Connection," McDonnell said. "This
was actually supposed to be their last
month in operation, but they were
able to raise enough money to stay in
operation for two more years."
McDonnell hopes to attract a large
variety of people to her lecture, and
also to promote The Gallery Proj-
ect's next fund-raising event, its sixth
birthday party, so it can continue to
serve its purpose in the city.
average. Here, the word "average" is meantto
signify the perfect middle-ground between
"The Shawshank Redemption" and "Corky
Let's face it. Walking into the theater to
see "Bounty Hunter," you know what you're
getting into. It delivers on its promised plot
that involves a male ex-cop hunting down
his ex-wife, which, on paper, should create
situations allowing for comedy, romance and
action scenes. The movie does what it can
with all three, but doesn't go deeper into its
characters. And perhaps this is the way all
films should be viewed: Not everything you
watch should be held in comparison to the
best thing you've ever seen.
Take someone special to this movie.
Soak in the humor and the romance, take a
moment to appreciate that King Leonidas's
career isn't over yet. Then pack up, leave the
theater and continue living your life.
ARTS IN BRIEF
modern world of
Tomorrow at 5:10 p.m.
From YouTube to avant-garde
cinema, previously shot footage
has become increasingly inte-
grated in diverse forms of media.
Matthias Miller's films embrace
this popularized use of "found
Tomorrow, Muller will add
himself to the long list of note-
worthy and cross-disciplinary
lecturers as part of the Penny W.
Stamps Distinguished Speakers
Series. His lecture will surround
the history and use of found foot-
Peter Wispelwey and
Tonight and tomorrow at 8 p.m.
Tickets from $20
This Wednesday and Thurs-
day, two prominent string musi-
cians will be making their UMS
age in his own work and other
The wide-ranging uses of
found footage are as diverse as
its sources. Accordjng to Mller,
found footage can include educa-
tional films, propaganda footage
As part of his'lecture, Miller
plans to discuss the ambiguity
between duplication and origi-
nality associated with the use of
"In film, the question about
what constitutes an original and
what makes a copy is a rather
delicate one, for the medium is
based on the very idea of repro-
duction," Muller wrote in a first
draft of his speech he provided
to the Daily.
In addition to this controver-
sy, Miller will discuss the mul-
tiple purposes of found footage
as its use becomes increasingly
"Over the years, in music
videos and commercials, on
debuts, both with solo concerts
Dutch cellist Pieter Wispelwey
will perform a program consist-
ing of four suites, two by Bach
and two by Benjamin Britten, an
English composer most famous
for his work "Hymn to St. Cecilia."
Throughout his career, Wispelwey
has performed all over the world,
from Buenos Aires, Argentina to
The next night, violinist Jen-
nifer Koh, who has been consis-
tently praised for her work - she
bouTube and even in big-budget-
box-coffice-hits, found footage
has become a well-established
aesthetic standard, something
global TV-audiences are quite
familiar with," Mller wrote.
"The terminologies applied to
this practice range from collage
and compilation film to mash-up
and recycled cinema," he added.
Miller has won several inter-
national awards including the
Golden Gate Award at the San
Francisco International Film
Festival and a special mention
at the 59th Berlin International
Film Festival. He has also orga-
nized and served as a curator
for the Found Footage Film Fes-
In addition to his lecture, a
series of Miller's films, includ-
ing "The Memo Book (Aus Der
Ferne)" and "Alpsee," will be
shown at the Michigan Theater
on Saturday as part of the Ann
Arbor Film Festival.
is referred to as a "superb soloist"
in a review by the Telegraph -
will perform a concert of two of
Bach's partitas, as well as works
by composers Eugene Ysaye, Kaija
Saariaho, Elliott Carter and Esa-
Despite this being a UMS debut
for Wispelwey and Koh, both art-
ists have already made names for
themselves throughout the world
music community, performing
internationally and releasing sever-
al criticallyacclaimed recordings.
No waste on 'Plastic Beach'.
By SHARON JACOBS
How cool is Damon Albarn? This
cool: He helped invent Britpop
as Blur's lead singer; he released
The Good, The
Bad ft The Queen,
with a four-man
supergroup that Plastic Beach
didn't even have EMI
a name; he wrote
the music for a
Chinese opera about a monkey king
("Monkey: Journey to the West");
and he fronts the world's first vir-
tual band, the hand-drawn Goril-
laz, whose latest album Plastic
Beach uses digital instruments to
comment on artificiality. You really
can't get much cooler than Damon
Albarn - enterprising musicians,
With Plastic Beach, the charac-
ters (in every sense) of Gorillaz find
their virtual identities mirrored in
the music. Listeners have become
used to the idea of a cartoon band.
What's new on Plastic Beach is that
the songs mimic real life, too.
The imitation is apparent from
the intro track, as recorded sounds
of seagulls and crashing waves are
overlaid and then overcome by an
equally swelling orchestral approx-
imation of an ocean. In "Superfast
Jellyfish," squeaky, super-high
vocals play like island steel drums.
Guest artists Gruff Rhys (Super
Furry Animals) and the members
of De La Soul 'trade 'cutesy lines
praising the latest prepackaged
Mos Def's stream-of-conscious-
ness delivery on "Sweepstakes" is
likewise framed by ambient noises.
Rhythmic slot-machine beeps help
power the track into a brash cel-
ebration of risk-taking, before it
fades out in a whistled chorus.
Plastic Beach is loosely a con-
cept album about consumerism
and waste. But if Gorillaz is judg-
ing the fake, combustible culture
to which it belongs, it's only doing
so implicitly. Lou Reed sums up
the general attitude of the album
on "Some Kind Of Nature," as he
wryly intones: "Well me, I like plas-
tics / And digital foils." The disc is
a mixed bag, serving as both "some
kind of majesty" and "chemical
Despite its conceit, Plastic Beach
doesn't preach the issues. Its
poppy hooks and arcing melodies
speak for themselves. The album is
catchy-cool from start (Snoop Dogg
lackadaisically welcoming us to the
"plastic beach") to finish (Albarn
- or animated vocalist 2D - brag-
ging: "We left the taps / Running
/ For a hundred years"). With
Albarn's slick, conniving voice and
steadily marching music under-
neath, frankly, pollution has never
seemed so enticing.
Of course, the album has some
shortcomings - "Empire Ants"
drifts a bit longer than it should
and "Cloud of Unknowing" feels
lost at sea - but nothing seriously
interrupts the album's flow. And
its highlights are nothing short of
beautiful: "On Melancholy Hill"
finds Albarn crooning a dreamy
melody over electronic distortion,
while atmospheric love song "To
Binge" rolls along like a gentle frol-
ic in the waves.
Generally, the album is calmer
and softer than Gorillaz's earlier
work. Nothing even approaches
the crazed energy of "Feel Good
Inc." or "Dare," but "White Flag"
matches their quirkiness. Fun and
all-out digital on
funny, the song's delicate Middle
Eastern instrumental opening runs
smack into a mouthful of British
rap backed by arcade-game beeps.
Plastic Beach is a fresh commen-
tary on disposable industry - both
the physical industry polluting the
oceans and the music industry, in
which artists often seem like noth-
ing but cartoon faces singing other
people's songs. Maybe the two-
dimensional members of Goril-
laz are a sign for the future of pop
music - virtual art made by virtual
artists. It's a disconcerting idea, but
with Damon Albarn's kooky hip-
ness, it's one we should probably
get used to.
Comedy Central succeeds with monstrous new comedy
By ROBERT SOAVE
Daily Arts Writer
Transitioning to life in the city
can be tough. Everyone is in a
hurry, the neigh-
seem friendly and
it's easy to get Ugly
lost. "Ugly Amer-
icans" is about AmdCans
trying to survive Wednesday at
in a city as vast 10:30 p.m.
as New York - a (sedy Central
task made even
more difficult in the world of Com-
edy Central's latest cartoon series,
in which the Big Apple is crawling
"Ugly Americans" takes place in
an alternate New York City where
monsters from vampires and were-
wolves to aliens and zombies (and
land whales, too!) spend their time
trying to make ends meet, just like
their human counterparts. Blending
real-life issues like fitting into city
life and the plight of immigrants in
America with the hilarity of ran-
dom monsters, "Ugly Americans" is
a coarse, yet thoroughly enjoyable
A smart move was balancing out
the crazy, fiendish inhabitants of
New York City with a main char-
acter who is basically just a random
guy. Meet Mark Lilly (Matt Oberg,
"30 Rock"), a good-natured and
completely human social worker
at the Department of Integration.
Lilly is described by his boss - a
demonic overlord named Callie
Maggotbone (Natasha Leggero,
"Aqua Teen Hunger Force") - as
the office's "token bleeding heart."
He wants to help the monsters of
Manhattan become fully function-
ing members of society.
Unfortunately, his co-workers
are largely apathetic or even hostile
to immigrant monsters. His partner,
a lazy wizard named Leonard Pow-
ers, would rather transform office
paperwork into alcohol. In addition
to looking out for underprivileged
monsters, Lilly has to try to survive ing to survive in an often unfriendly
his secret and dangerous affair with world. "Ugly Americans" isn't just
his evil boss, Callie. "Pissing where outrageously funny television, it's
you mix the potion, eh?," observes also a fairly convincing lesson about
Leonard. "Been there. Good times." what native-born Americans and
"Ugly Americans" succeeds by immigrants have in common.
combining monsters with the mun- Even so, the gross-out humor
dane. When Lilly asks his room- will likely earn the series some com-
mate, Randall (Kurt Metzger,"The parisons with the former Comedy
Best Girlfriend Ever") - who is per- Central cartoon "Drawn Together."
Though this series had its moments,
the over-the-top crudeness really
prevented it from becoming a must-
Satire, but w ith watch cartoon. But aside from that
zo bis less-than-desirable simiarity, "Ugly
more zombies. Americans" has more in common
with the unforgettable "Futurama."
The challenge now is for Comedy
petually unemployed and recently Central to head its new series in the
zombified -- about his plans for the direction of the latter rather than
day, he replies:, "Thought I'd stare the former.
blankly out of cold dead eyes for To do this, "Ugly Americans"
a while how I do. Then check out needs to flesh out (ha!) its world.
'Kung Fu Panda."' "Futurama" had its characters
Sure, zombies want to eat brains, exploring new planets and encoun-
but they also want to find steady tering different alien creatures in
jobs. Even the scariest and most every episode. Lilly and his friends
disgusting monsters are only try- will exhaust their funny lines and
COURTESY OF COMEDY CENTRAL
"If you eat my Cadaver-O's one more time, I will eat your brain."
mannerisms unless they're pushed Americans" could become the next
out of their comfort zones - no hilarious and socially relevant car-
matter how strange those comfort toon series. Just take it easy on the
zones are. foul language and toilet humor,
With a monstrously funny prem- Comedy Central, as hard as that
ise and cast of characters, "Ugly may be for you.