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October 05, 2010 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily, 2010-10-05

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Tuesday, October 5, 2010 - 7

ILM REVIEW
uFrench film goes lowbrow

"Not now. Still with fam. Sext u l8r."
Simply'rdinar

By DAVID TAO
Daily Arts Writer
A French film about classical
music combines arguably the two
most highbrow
forms of enter-
tainment still in
existence. Yet TkeCocert
"The Concert"
is surprisingly At the
conventional and Michigan
crass. Despite a The Weinstein
veneer of sophis- Company
tication, director
Radu Mihaile-
anu's ("Train of Life") attempt at
dramedy is nothing more than a
predictable, done-before underdog
story, full of lazy character develop-
ment and tone-deaf execution.
Our underdog is Andrei Fili-
pov (Aleksei Guskov, "Ragin"), a
washed-up former conductor of
Russia's premier orchestra, the
Bolshoi. After resisting the Com-
munist Party's order to fire all
Jewish musicians, he was sacked
alongside those he tried to defend.
He has spent the decades since his
termination as a janitor, cleaning
the orchestra's building and long-
ing for the past. When he stumbles
upon an invitation for the Bolshoi to
perform at Theatre du Chatelet in
Paris, he sees a once-in-a-lifetime
opportunity. By bringing his old
orchestra back together and pos-
ing as the Bolshoi, Filipov hopes to
regain his credibility and put his
life back on track.
With the help of best friend
Sasha (Dmitri Nazarov, "Prince

Vladimi
Barino
ex-man
pov reu
makes
lar con
with th
edy ste
French
fective
sudden
to offen
a sea of
types-
thieves
The
thesep
and o
attemp
ipov ha
a progr
A
stoa
ing Tch
cult Vi
the w
Jacque
rious iB
reasons
prefere
Appare
do with
during
was en(
ment d
that fat
and ag

ir") and Gavrilov (Valeriy strings. The movie also mentions
v, "The Best Movie"), an some kind of mysterious relation-
sager of the Bolshoi, Fili- ship that Filipov has with Marie-
unites his old orchestra and Jacquet's checkered past - it's all
arrangements for the titu- very vague and almost impossible
cert. As Gavrilov negotiates to understand.
se Parisian theater, the com- Nonetheless, Filipov is the film's
ms mainly from his botched hero, so he gets what he wants
, milked endlessly and inef- regardless of his motives or their
ly.Wemeettheorchestraand real-world achievability. Mihaile-
ly the jokes turn from lame anu's impatient direction either
nsive, as we're introduced to smashes down or glazes over the
f ethnic and religious stereo- barriers that stand in his protago-
- Russian alcoholics, Gypsy nist's way. Nothing really seems to
and money-grubbing Jews. matter in the grand scheme of the
movie seesaws between film, not his orchestra's unwilling-
pathetic attempts at humor ness to rehearse, not their violent
ther similarly unappealing drunkenness and certainly not the
ts at drama and intrigue. Fil- fact that Marie-Jacquet has never
s just two weeks to assemble played Tchaikovsky. Characters tell
am, but he insists upon play- Filipov that his concertis "bound to
fail," but the words are hollow and
unconvincing - never has it been so
undedogobvious thacadirector is rooting for
Ln underdog his protagonist.
That the film almost manages
ry done laZil to work around this gaping flaw is
a testament to Guskov's charisma.
He plays Filipov with a hard-faced
haikovsky's impossibly diffi- look of perpetual determination
olin Concerto, and demands that cuts through the tastelessly
orld-famous Anne Marie- scripted antics. Throughout the
t (Melanie Laurent, "Inglou- film, his character seems oblivious
asterds") as the soloist. The to his unnaturally good luck, sport-
s behind these particular ing a genuinely worried expression
nces are rather unclear. that allows the audience to suspend
rntly, they have somethingto their disbelief long enough to enjoy
h Filipov's last performance, the film. In the end, the film's cli-
which his violin concerto matic musical finale is made all the
ded prematurely by govern- more powerful by his presence as
Decree. Blurry footage from its anchoring force, even if the route
teful event is repeated again the film took to get there is confus-
gain to tug on our heart- inglyunrealistic.

ABC family drama
can't save evenings
from boredom
By LINDSAY HURD
Daily Arts Writer
It's a bird! It's a plane! No, wait,
it's just the Powells, the less-than-
original family of
superheroes on **
this year's token
supernatural No Ordinary
show "No Ordi-
nary Family." Fady
ABC's new spin Tuesdays
onthefamilyshow at8 p.m.
takes the idea of ABC
"The Incredibles"
and tries to make
it more realistic. Instead of trying to
save the world, the Powells use their
powers to solve "real life" issues.
Unfortunately, this mix of dread-
fully normal problems and super-
natural abilities is just downright
obnoxious.
The biggest issue with the Pow-
ell family is their lack of variation.
The family too closely resembles
the standard families of many TV
dramas, which nowadays doesn't

feel real for many viewers. Mom
(Julie Benz, "Dexter") is a success-
ful, smart and beautiful scientist
solving the all the world's prob-
lems, Dad (Michael Chiklis, "The
Shield") works for the local police
station but also loves being at home,
daughter Daphne (Kay Panabaker,
"Fame") is the semi-popular girl at
school with the cute boyfriend and
JJ (Jimmy Bennett, "Orphan") is
the lazy son who has a learning dis-
ability. Conveniently, the family has
lots of money and doesn't seem to
have a care in the world, other than
tryingto spend more time together.
"No Ordinary Family" is almost too
normaltobe real.
Though the characters aren't
inventive, "No Ordinary Family"
has a great cast of actors for the
main roles - the show's saving
graces. Chiklis plays a convinc-
ing family-man-turned-superhero,
with a teddy bear build that makes
him both threatening and love-
able. Benz once again picks up the
role of the overworked mom who
is neurotic but loving, suggesting
that this is the only character she
can play. Panabaker portrays the
perfectbratty teenage drama queen
with her cute looks, and Bennett is
equally effective. Chiklis also nar-

rates much of the show, sounding
like Danny DeVito in "Matilda" -
endearing and easy to listen to.
Despite the stellar casting, it's
just all too convenient that the pow-
ers the family gains are ones that
will magically help them navigate
the "issues" in their lives. Mom
transforms into a super speedy
human, so she can fit everything
she needs to do into one day. Dad
acquires super strength and injury
immunity, allowing him to better
fight crime at his police job. Daphne
develops the ability to read minds,
helping her navigate the difficult
world of high school. And JJ is sud-
denly incredibly smart, allowing
him to overcome his learning dis-
ability. The family is already some-
what formulaic, but add in the fact
that they get equally typical powers
and it's just a fiasco of stock charac-
ters with well worn means of solv-
ing their issues.
Unfortunately for the Powell
family, their lives as superheroes
are more annoying than anything
else. The whole fun of watching
superheroes save the world from
evil monsters is completely lost
with this self-absorbed family who
can't seem to escape their little
bubble of a world.

EXHIBIT PROFILE
A new acquired taste at Clements

ALBUM REVIEW
Folds and Hornby collide

By PROMA KHOSLA
For the Daily
The William L. Clements
Library, stately neighbor to the
University president's house and
haunt for campus
history buffs, Fine Tuning
recently began a Grea
to establish new
guidelines for ColleCtion
its collections of
18th and 19th- Through Oct. 8
century media. Clements Library
The library
features a collection of primary
source materials relating to the
history of the Americas and while
a new policy for acquiring pieces
is still in the works, curators have
put together "Fine Tuning A Great
Collection: The How and Why of
Recent Acquisitions," an exhibi-
tion that exemplifies the goals of
their new collecting guidelines.
Notable pieces in this exhibi-
tion include letters from Susan
B. Anthony and Harriet Beecher
Stowe, and an original handwrit-
ten version of Daniel D. Emmett's
"Dixie" from when the writer was

84. The graphics case features
paintings of New York City ("View
of the Ruins after the Great Fire
in New York") and Philadelphia
("Philadelphia from the Jersey
Shore"), as well as a trompe l'oeil
of Abraham Lincoln, a painting-
within-a-painting that creates a
three-dimensional illusion.
"It's a very ... eclectic collec-
tion in this exhibit," said Brian
Dunnigan, associate director and
map curator. "The idea was to cut
across all our divisions and give
some sense of the different kinds
of things we collect and also try to
answer the question of how we col-
lect and why we collect, and how
they fit into the broader holdings in
the library. We're collecting with
real purpose in mind in an attempt
to be able to support scholarship
the best way we possibly can."'
Dunnigan also discussed the
organizational structures of the
collection and library, which at this
point in the process remain stable.
"We collect, for the most part,
from European discovery of Amer-
ica until about 1900. The exhibi-
tion covers a number of formats

and the organization of the exhibit
is set up like our organization here
at the library itself," Dunnigan
said. "The new policy will limit the
time period and scope of subject
matter in the library. This is part-
ly defined in the exhibit, where
the chronological cutoff point for
media is 1900, with the exception
of photographs and wartime cor-
respondence."
The library and the exhibition
are organized by four main divi-
sions: books, manuscripts, maps
and graphics. The library has also
found a decent-sized collection of
cookbooks, menus, advertisements
and information on the food ser-
vice industry, which are kept track
of by the curator of culinary his-
tory, but remain divided based on
medium. Graphics include imag-
es, prints and some photography
from the late 19th and early 20th
centuries. The map division col-
lects cartography of the Western
hemisphere and the manuscript
division deals mostly with hand-
written letters and original work,
which encompasses the library's
most famous pieces.

By DAVID RIVA song crescendos into the stirring
Daily Arts Writer strings of the chorus, it's unabash-
edly anthemic and competes with
On the opening track of Lonely some of Folds's most memorable
Avenue, Ben Folds sings "I'm a musical moments.
loser / I'm a poser ... Everything Bombast isn't Folds's only aim,
I write is shit." This self-depre- however. On "Practical Amanda"
cating persona and "Picture Window," he exhib-
is one Folds has * its his ability to bust out a rousing
never shied away ballad. His latest foray into dan-
from in the past, Ben Folds cier tracks, anchored by spastic
but what makes synthesizers, is on full display in
it so intriguing and Nick "Saskia Hamilton."
this time around Horby There's plenty here for the die-
is that he didn't hard Folds fan as well. "Claire's
pen the words. Lonely Avenue Ninth," "Your Dogs" and "Doc
The man Nonesuch Pomus" all have the upbeat piano-
behind the lyrics pop style to which Folds enthusi-
for Folds's seventh full-length stu- asts have grown accustomed.
dio album is novelist and screen- Lyrically, Hornby's style is
writer Nick Hornby. If you recall bizarrely similar to Folds. The
John Cusack's role as a broken- aforementioned "Levi Johnston's
hearted vinyl enthusiast in "High Blues" is a compelling tale of a
Fidelity" or Hugh Grant's middle- young man who received some
aged bachelor in "About a Boy," unwanted media attention leading
you're familiar with Hornby's up to the 2008 presidential elec-
work. His character-centric stud- tion. Told from the perspective of
ies of everyday people encounter- Bristol Palin's boyfriend, the song
ing ordinary circumstances like expresses the grievances of an
devastating breakups, ungraceful Alaskan teenager who just wants
aging and youthful uncertainty to be left alone. Although Folds
parallel some themes Folds has normally stays clear of political
addressed on past albums, includ- subject matter, Hornby's lyrics
emulate the delicate sincerity that
Folds regularly employs.
.a One success of the album that
A collaboration could easily be overlooked is
Folds's awareness of the emotion-
for the ages. al sentiments expressed in Horn-
by's lyrics, which Folds translated
flawlessly into music. This abil-
ing the decline of a meaning- ity to interpret someone else's
ful relationship ("Losing Lisa"), thoughts and feelings into music
growing old ("Bastard") and teen- is another achievement Folds can
age pregnancy ("Brick"). add to his lengthy resume.
And so it seems like a per- The record's most evident flaw
feet match. Both of these artists is its lack of cohesion. Instead of
are greats in their own separate functioning as a collection of ideas
realms - Hornby in storytell- with a consistent line of progres-
ing and Folds as a composer - sion from track to track, the album
and Hornby's lyrics complement jumps from story to story without
Folds's arrangements well. At any connectivity. Admittedly,
this point in his career, Folds has Folds hasn't necessarily crafted
decided to pool all of his energy a cohesive narrative across an
into crafting arrangements to entire album in his past work, but
accompany someone else's words. when Folds releases a record, it's
The product of this natural - if usually clear what's on his mind
not slightly superfluous - pair- and what's happened in his life for
ing marks one of Folds's strongest the past year or two. This obstacle
musical displays to date while isn't impossible to overcome as a
remaining thematically consistent listener, but it certainly makes the
with his past work. album easy to skip around and dif-
It only takes one listen to "Levi ficult to listen to from start to fin-
Johnston's Blues" to figure out ish in one sitting.
that Folds put his narrow focus on After 15 years in the business,
musical composition to good use. there is very little Ben Folds has
He masterfully sprinkles minimal not accomplished. Chart-topping
usage of cymbals, plunked piano albums, a Top-40 hit and a rabid
chords and a sharp bassline dur- fanbase have allowed him to take
ing the opening verse as the lyrics part in some unique creative
establish a narrative. When the endeavors, like performances

with full orchestras in venues
the Sydney Opera House, writing
music for an animated movie and
working with the likes of William
Shatner. When Folds announced
his latest project, it would have
been easy to dismiss the concept
as frivolous or extraneous. But
on Lonely Avenue, Folds shows
that he knows a good opportunity
when he sees one and working
with Nick Hornby has proven to
be one of the best decisions of his
career.

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