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April 04, 2011 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2011-04-04

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8A - Monday, April 4, 2011

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

8A - Monday, April 4, 2011 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom


Tunes behind the TV

"Wait a second ... this isn't the Polar Express?!"

Fun at the 'Source'

Gyllenhaal is eye
candy, 'Source
Code' is PB&J
Daily Arts Writer
Sometimes things don't need
to be amazing to be good. There
are plenty of things that are
perfectly good
but also per- *
fectly generic.
Example: a Source Code
peanut butter
and jelly sand- At Quality16
wich. There's and Rave
nothing really
remarkable Summit
about it - in
fact, it's renowned for its ordi-
nariness. "Source Code" is like
a peanut butter and jelly sand-
wich. It's uncomplicated (except
for the plot) with just the right
amount of action and thrills to
balance out the lack of character
When Air Force Captain Colter
Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal, "Love
and Other Drugs") awakes, he is
on a train. There is a woman he
has never seen before calling him

by a name he has never heard. In
his pocket is an ID that doesn't
belong to him and then, out of
nowhere, the train is engulfed in
a fiery inferno. Stevens is jerk-
ed back to a darkened capsule,
where it's explained to him by a
soldier named Colleen Goodwin
(Vera Farmiga, "Up in the Air")
that he is being sent back to relive
the last eight minutes before a
train explosion through the eyes
of a stranger in order to find
the bomber, and he will not be
allowed to rest until he succeeds.
The film is a little bit confused
about where it wants to go from
there. It could be a psychologi-
cal thriller, it could be an ethical
commentary, it could be a story
about true love and destiny - the
possibilities are endless. What
it is for sure is gripping. Audi-
ences will have a hard time tear-
ing their eyes from the screen
just in case they miss something
really amazing. The only thing
is - as gripping as the film man-
ages to be - that really amazing
something never comes. There's
no real pathos and it is difficult
to relate to the more or less card-
board-stiff characterization.
That being said, Jake Gyllen-
haal is in it. He's pretty easy on

the eyes, which makes certain
dull areas, like the constant rep-
etition, easier to stomach. Played
by Michelle Monaghan ("Due
Date"), his love interest Christina
is pretty bland as far ascharacters
go, but that's more of a reflection
on the script than on Monaghan's
actual performance. However,
Farmiga, the other female lead,
is a real scene-stealer. There's
something about her voice that
commands attention, and the way
she carries herself is transfixing.
Though entertaining to the
last minute, in trying to mimic
mind-freak thrillers, the film is
left with some weak spots. It's
not as complex or as smart as a
film like "Inception," but it tries
to be with its plot twists and
mind games. What results is a
somewhat confusing resolution
in which the film fails to address
some lingering questions about
the science and methodology
behind the strange experiment.
But, just as a peanut butter and
jelly sandwich is no Jimmy
John's Beach Club (with extra
avocado and no mayo), the film
is not incredibly groundbreaking
or very memorable. Just appreci-
ate it for what it is - simple and
great in the moment.

Daily Arts Writer
"I'll be there for you, when
the rain starts to pour / I'll be
there for you, like I've been there
Two sentences. Twenty-one
words. These song lyrics evoke
a very special time in my life -
time spent happily plopped in
front of the TV set watching my
six favorite friends. Each episode
may be a bit' different and the
characters' dilemmas may vary,
but when I hear that '90s one-hit
wonder band The Rembrandts
croon those timeless lyrics, I
know I'm back home.
OK, I'll admit I'm being cheesy
and romanticizing the whole
thing. But Itdo associate shows
with their theme songs andI
happen to believe the creators of
"Friends" found the perfect mel-
ody for their series.
I want to posit the notion that
the great shows, the ones we
remember for years, laugh about
and even cry about all have some-
thing in common: great music. To
see if my hypothesis holds true,
I think a look back upon some of
the finer past themes is in order.
(Note: These will be some of my
favorites. There are hundreds
of other shows with wonderful
musical accompaniment that will
not be mentioned.)
"Seinfeld." The juggernaut.
The "show about nothing." It
stays with us because of Jerry's
infamous raise of the eyebrows,
Kramer's legendary entrances
and, of course, the indelible
bassline that opens the show and
marks major transitions from
scene to scene. It so captures
the essence that is "Seinfeld" it
almost seems silly to attempt a
description here, but hey, we have
to set the bar somewhere.
As far as I'm concerned, this
is the epitome of what music can
achieve through the medium of
television: a level of interconnect-
edness with the series wherein
the music becomes another char-
acter within the show. Jonathan
Wolff's composition, supported
by background percussion tracks,
don't just enhance moments
between characters. They
respond and play along as though

Left to right: Barney, Robin, Lily ... wait .
the music itself were the invis-
ible fifth member of television's
"Fab Four." As "Seinfeld" fans
will surely attest, the only way to
move from a George rant to one
of Elaine's poignant observations
on life are a few good riffs of the
bass. It's simply how it's done.
Now, I've only covered sit-
coms. Let's not forget the serious
overtones that go with the finer
dramas of our time - remember
the brass orchestral tunes and
opening drums of the "Hawaii
Five-O" theme? I don't care if
you've never seen the show -
I definitely haven't, but I sure
know the theme song. It's a musi-
cal catchphrase for the 1970s.
And if you don't know it, I'll bet
your parents do. Care for some-
thing more timely? How about
"Woke Up This Morning" by
Alabama 3, the song that bumps
every time Tony Soprano makes
his way down the New Jersey
turnpike to his mansion in the
suburbs of North Jersey. Or the
pulsing synthesized rhythms of
the "Mad Men" opening credits,
which lend an aptly sinister qual-
ity to watching a silhouetted ad
executive fall from a Manhattan
I could - and would love to -
go on and on and on. The point is
that, unlike film, television pro-
vides a sense of grounding and
solidarity that cannot be achieved
in a two-and-a-half-hour movie.
While there are unforgettable
film scores, by its nature, televi-
sion is more personal. We watch
it in the comfort of our living

rooms, on our laptops, with close
friends and family as opposed to
strangers in the theater.
Even when a show comes to
its inevitable conclusion and
specific plot points fade into the
recesses of TV history, the music
lives on. Just think - it's been a
while since Will Smith played a
kid from Philly transplanted to
Bel Air. Yet I'll wager that more
than a few of you out there can
still hum the tune to that opening
Theme songs
will be there
for you




A TV theme song, then, isn't
indicative of a few hours. It can
define years spent tracking and
growing with characters that
have graced the small screen.
An opening might be long or it
may be short. Sometimes there
are lyrics, and at times it's just a
few notes that permit us escape-
ment into a world where we feel
safe. The music reminds us of the
consistency inherent in a series,
letting us know we're back in
the same place with the same
people we know and care about.
To quote from one of the greats -
"Cheers" - "Sometimes you want
to go / Where everybody knows
your name / And they're always
glad you came."

'Belong' revisits teen anxiety

'Jane' anything but plain

DailyArts Writer
The Pains of Being Pure at
Heart sounds like the title of a
depressing book about the hard-
ships of ado-
lescence - and ***C
that's not too
far from the the Pains Of
truth. Named Being Pure
after the
unpublished at Heart
children's story Belong
by lead singer
Kip Berman's Slumberland
friend, the
Brooklyn-based quartet brings
the high school drama sans
sophomore slump with its sec-
ond full-length album, Belong.
The Pains's latest brings
'80s dance rhythms and a more
poppy edge to its once extremely
to-fi, gritty sound. The band col-
laborated with mega-producer
Flood, who has worked with
groups like U2 and Nine Inch
Nails. The production has nota-
bly improved on tracks like "The
Body" where listeners can easily
pick up on the big, sparkly U2
Belong begins with a punk
sound that transcends its way
into a scruffy vibe of whispered
vocals and the muffled guitars
that Pains fans are used to, with
an anthem-esque flare. It starts
off boldly and paves the way for

a dance party essence.
Though the album does
swing on the peppier side, it
has enough fuzzy reverb to star
in its own John Hughes movie.
Belong has the whole teenage
angst, rebel-chant thing going
on, but it's not whiney enough to
make listeners cringe. On track
"Heavens Gonna Happen Now"
Berman sings, "Come on, noth-
ing's gonna turn us down / So
don't stand there like you don't


at its fi
teen's I
into ti
ing rep
cence i
we we

- a screw-it-all rock song COURTESY OF SLUMBERLAND
with tracks like "Anne with an
E" that just lure listeners in, but
he of the record also falls flat when
listeners get lost in it. It has a
ang angSty decent amount of punch, but
ng it needs something to bring it
nd at heart. over the edge. Just as its songs
insinuate, this band has no idea
where it fits in.
The subject matter and sound
record tugs at the inner- coincide. While Pains is trying
heartstrings. It seems that to figure out where it "belongs"
n and Co. really dug deep in life, it is also trying to figure
heir youthful years and out where it "belongs" in the
bered a time when noth- music world. The record ranges
ally mattered and where from a Silversun Pickups feel
'one is pretty and fun, (minus the creepy vocals) with
ne is lovely and young." lazy but poignant guitar hooks
adolescence and inno- to the overly indulgent activity
really shine on the closer on the drumbeat-happy "Even
ge" when Berman sings, In Dreams." It is as if the band
'one was dealing drugs, doesn't know whether it should
re just dealing love" - be sweet or salty. Let's call them
ain't it? the chocolate-covered pretzels
ng hits some high notes of bands.

Daily Arts Writer
First called a demon and then
a witch, Jane Eyre, played by
Mia Wasikowska ("The Kids Are
Alright"), is an
girl. Orphaned
as a child, she Jane Eyre
is forced to
grow up in her At the
wicked aunt's Michigan
house until she
is eventually Focus
sent away to a
corrective school meant to turn
little girls into proper young
governesses. There, she is tor-
tured, beaten, starved and loses
her only friend within a short
amount of time - all conveyed
in brief, painful flashbacks.
This is arguably the larg-
est change made in newcomer
Cary Fukunaga's adaption of
the famed 19th century novel by
Charlotte Bronte: It's not told
linearly. Rather, the film opens
with Jane running for her life
through the English countryside
in the rain until she finds her-
self nearly dead on the stoop of a
dreary house, where she will be
nursed back to health and reflect
on the events that brought her
Though some fans of the novel
may be dismayed by the decision
to play with time and reduce
Jane's entire childhood to such
a short segment, it works well in
the context of the movie. Splin-
tering the past with the present
gives the viewer a much stron-
ger sense of how haunted Jane is
and makes the film far more real.
Looking drearily out the win-
dow, the audience receives star-
tling insight into Jane's mind
with the sudden crack of a whip,
causing that much more sadness
when she later describes her tale
as not being one of woe.

Gucci's winter 1850 lineup.
Of course, the heart of the film of the night and Jane runs away,
lies in the flashbacks to Jane's is met by a mutual groan from
time spent at Thornfield Hall, the entire audience. Maybe it's
where she takes her first job as because they know the history,
governess to a little French girl but viewers can't help but want
under the care of Mr. Rochester them to be together from the
(Michael Fassbender, "Inglori- moment the two first share the
ous Basterds"), the master of the screen. It's not necessarily that
house. Tortured by their pasts, they are perfect together, butthe
Jane and Rochester find kindred opposite - it's their mismatched
spirits in one another, until their outsider quality that makes their
brief bliss is complicated by the love so painstaking.
secrets lurking in the walls. Also to the film's credit is
- its artistic direction. From the
candlelit walks set to haunt-
c e i ing screams and banging walls
to the terrifying animals that
coming in the seem to pop out of nowhere,
the film actually manages to
'Eyre' tonight be suspenseful. This is a wel-
come surprise for the old story,
oh Lord ultimately saving it from any
potential boredom. These ele-
ments, in conjunction with the
beautifully bleak settings, allow
When dealing with a love as for Fukunaga to perfectly cap-
famous as that of Jane Eyre and ture the novel's gothic quality
Mr. Rochester, silver screen suc- that is often overlooked by film
cess all comes down to chemis- adaptations, employing just the
try - and luckily for Wasikowska right amount of artistic liberty
and Fassbender, they have it in to make the story feel new again
spades. That first instance, when without sacrificing any of its
the two almost kiss in the middle original integrity.

From Page 7A
Carell is essentially leaving
because he knows he can rake
in the g's in film working half as
hard as he does on TV. And you
know what? That wouldn't even
be that big of a deal, except that
Steve Carell makes horrid mov-
ies like "Dinner for Schmucks"
and "Date Night" ("Little Miss
Sunshine" was just that one time
and voices don't count).
In summation, you broke my

heart, Steve Carell. You broke my
heart twice.
It's been hard to stay upset,
because Carell's departure has
been handled so expertly up
to this point - wrapping up
plotlines like "Threat Level
Midnight" and Todd Packer, cul-
minating in last week's marriage
proposal to Holly Flax, which
was perfect. I'm only dreading
Will Ferrell's guest appear-
ances over the next few weeks,
since he's just going to distract
me from my final goodbye to
Michael Scott.

I really wish Steve Carell
wasn't doing this. He's cheating
me and all of his viewers of the
chance to see Michael's wedding,
married Michael and especially
Michael as a father - experienc-
es he owes to us for following his
journey for almost 150 episodes
over the past six years.
Thanks for all the memories
Steve, but you and Iare through.
Pandey is emotionally damaged
and vulnerable. To take advantage,
e-mail kspandey@umich.edu.

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