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April 18, 2011 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2011-04-18

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8A - Monday, April 18, 2011

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Cinematic sizzle for the summer months

0

MAY JUNE

JULY

AUGUST

40

The operative word this month is "sequel." Some-
times the word "sequel" can conjure up images of
dumb movies that can't let go of old jokes and rest
as nothing more than vain attempts by money-
grubbing producers to draw out the franchises until
they reach joke status and die a slow, disappointing
death at the box office. Let's hope this isn't the case
with May's two big-name flicks - both sequels -
which are slated to hit the big screen at the end of
the month. "Pirates of the Caribbean: Just Can't Let
This Go" - sorry, "On Stranger Tides" - will debut
at the end of the month before "The Hangover Part
II" does (good idea, producers), and features actors
we've already seen stuck in some kind of deji-vu
world where nothing original has happened since
the first film.
On the flipside, "The Hangover Part II," which
releases the following weekend, is a film that has
audiences all over America unable to shut up about
how excited they are to see it.
It should be freaking hilarious if the writers make
sure to include a new set of jokes and more all-too-
quotable lines like they did in the original "Hang-
over." Regardless, "Part II" will be funny because
the whole gang is in Thailand - Stu's getting mar-
ried - with Zach Galifianakis still acting dumb and
the ever-sexy Bradley Cooper being his usual smol-
dering self.
-MACKENZIE METER

June is typically filled with franchise pictures,
even if not so heavily as its bordering months. This
year, the month will start on June 3 with the fifth
installment of the X-Men franchise, "X-Men: First
Class." Fox doesn't seem happy to just keep giving
these mutants sequels to play around in, and have
opted to instead go backward, sideways and every
direction except forward. And it actually gives them
exciting opportunities. Check this prequel out for
some pre-superhero mutant action.
On June 10, J.J. Abrams will unveil his third
directorial release, "Super 8" - the first he's been
able to write and direct on his own. It's essentially
about some kids who filma freak train wreck with a
Super 8 camera. In case you don't know J.J. Abrams
... weird shit ensues.
The following week will be led by "Green Lan-
tern," the DC Comics adaptation with Ryan Reyn-
olds playing the ringbearer himself ... in 3-D! Other
releases include R-rated comedy "Bad Teacher,"
which features Jason Segel as a gym teacher and
Cameron Diaz as a schoolteacher raising money to
get breast implants to win over Justin Timberlake.
Even if it sucks, the situation sounds like a win-win-
win. The month finishes off on June 24 with "Cars
2" - Disney's attempt to convert its huge off-screen
franchise success back into on-screen entertain-
ment. Pixar still rocks, so check it out.
-ANKUR SOHONI

July brings further evidence that the Hollywood
well is running dry. The month will see the epon-
ymous silver screen adaptation of '80s television
series "The Smurfs," with the CGI-ed little blue gang
romping around the Big Apple with Neil Patrick
Harris. Also getting the big-screen treatment is the
100-Acre Wood crew in Disney's "Winnie the Pooh."
And, it wouldn't be summer without Michael
Bay, whose "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" faces
stiff competition for cream of the blockbuster crop
against the Daniel Craig-, Harrison Ford- and Olivia
Wilde-billed sci-fi western "Cowboys and Aliens."
A handful of rom-coms will poke into the high-
octane fray: Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake star
in "Friends with Benefits," a flick about friends
with, uh, benefits, and heavy hitters Julia Rob-
erts and Tom Hanks strike a schoolboy romance
(literally - Hanks returns to college and Roberts
is his teacher) in "Larry Crowne." But it's the odd
couple of Ryan Gosling as Steve Carell's marriage
counselor in "Crazy, Stupid, Love" that seems most
enticing.
There's also a dose of cerebral cinema: In sci-fi
love story "Another Earth," a duplicate planet is
found in the solar system. And lest we forget, the
saga of the world's favorite teenage wizard comes to
an end in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows:
Part 2." Magic nerds rejoice!
-STEPHEN OSTROWSKI

This August promises the typical combination
of critically acclaimed summer films and those that
wouldn't have a chance in hell of making back their
budgets in any other season. "Conan the Barbarian,"
a remake of the famed Schwarzenegger movie, will
hit theaters on the 19th. It's directed by a guy whose
biggest credits are remakes of "Friday the 13th" and
"The Texas Chainsaw Massacre." There's also anoth-
er remake of "Planet of the Apes," since Tim Burton
messed up the last one, and a new "Spy Kids" movie.
Of the remakes and sequels, "Apes" seems tolera-
ble because of its cast, which includes recently Oscar-
nominated James Franco ("127 Hours") and veterans
Brian Cox ("The Bourne Identity") and John Lith-
gow ("Terms of Endearment"). Then again, the Bur-
ton remake also featured now-Oscar-nominee Mark
Wahlberg ("The Departed") and veterans Tim Roth
("Reservoir Dogs") and Paul Giamatti ("Win Win").
Odds are that Charlton Heston's version will still be
the version we're renting 20 years from now.
August's one promising movie, "30 Minutes or
Less," reunites another recent Oscar nominee, Jesse
Eisenberg, with Ruben Fleischer, his director in the
acclaimed comedy "Zombieland." Eisenberg stars
as a hapless pizza delivery guy coerced by criminals
into robbing a bank, and though we haven't seen any
preview material, having Fleischer behind the cam-
era is a good sign for any feature.
-DAVID TAO

THEATER PREVIEW

FILM REVIEW

Basement gets 'Zealous' 'Company' is a job well done

Italian political
philosopher on
stage in solo play
By ERIKAJOST
Daily Arts Writer
LSA senior Paul Manganel-
lo's high school Italian teacher
was determined to give her stu-
dents a rep-
resentation Z
of Italian- ZeIOUS
Americans Whig:Filippo
that sub- Mazzel in
verted Hol-
lywood's Early America
portrayals of Thursday
Tony Sopra- through Saturday
no and Don
Corleone at7p.m.
(though Walgreen Drama
nowadays, Center
she might be
battling the Free
stereotypes
on "Jersey Shore"). Among the
films she showed of Italian-
Americans contributing to art,
culture and politics in the Unit-
ed States was one about Filippo
Mazzei, an influential Italian
philosopher in America during
the nation's founding.
Mazzei is the subject of Man-
ganello's humorous one-man
Basement Arts show "Zealous
Whig: Filippo Mazzei in Early
America," which opens Thursday.
Caught between deep rever-
ence for Mazzei's contributions
and mockery inspired by images
from the high school film of the
Italian theorist dictating the
Declaration of Independence to
Thomas Jefferson, Manganello's
show walks the line between
historical fiction and giddy
whimsy. In the play's YouTube
trailer, Manganello, dressed in
period costume, poses in various
dignified positions while grandi-
ose music plays. At the end of the
trailer, Manganello struggles to
tuck his shirt into this pants, and
then finally bursts into laughter.
"Paul's kind of a clown,
but he also really appreciates
(Mazzei's) place in history, and
both of those things are going to

LSA senior Paul Manganello went to parties dressed as Filippo Mazzei.

show through," said Music, The-
atre & Dance sophomore Neal
Kelley, who works as a consul-
tant to evaluate things Mangan-
ello cannot see for himself while
onstage. "('Zealous Whig') is not
just one guy giving a lecture. It's
this goofy, short, little Italian
guy running around the stage
and teaching about this other
Italian guy's life."
For Manganello, who is one-
quarter Italian, "Zealous Whig"
has been in the works for years.
In fall 2009, when his uncle
offered to take him and his
brother Jim on a trip to Monti-
cello, Jefferson's home in Vir-
ginia, they both jumped at the
chance. Sure enough, Mangan-
ello's thoughts circled back to
that mysterious colonial char-
acter from Italian class - "the
genius behind Jefferson," as he
half-jokingly calls Mazzei.
"I told Jim, 'Wouldn't it be
funny if I dressed up as Filippo
Mazzei, spoke like an Italian to
locals and you filmed it?' " Man-
ganello said. "And he said, 'Yeah,
let's do it.' So we did."
Manganello wore his period
costume in the streets of histori-
cal Virginia, including the site of
Mazzei's home - though he later
acquiesced to his uncle's request
that he explore Monticello in
regular clothing. The final step
of the experiment was to crash
- and get kicked out of - three
fraternity parties at the Univer-
sity of Virginia in full costume
I

and film the response.
"In the end, Mazzei's story
was a lot like my first trip to
Monticello," said Manganello,
who did an independent study
this year on Mazzei's writing on
colonial politics, bringing some
historical rigor to the play. "It's
the story of this guy who showed
up in America, tried to get into
the ultimate Virginia frat house
- Congress - and then was
kicked out."
Historically, the Found-
ing Fathers were resistant to
Mazzei's interpretation of
Enlightenment ideals, specifi-
cally his "Italian" concept of
equality. In a moment of clever
anachronism in the play, Mazzei
theorizes, in a thick Italian
accent, how an adoption of "Ital-
ian" rather than "American"
equality might play out in, say, a
21st century debate about health
care legislation.
Manganello, a philosophy and
Italian language and culture
major, is also a stand-up come-
dian who has been featured in
local venues. He sees this show
as the culmination of all his
interests: Italian, political theo-
ry, comedy and theater.
"It's an excuse for me to be
an Italian comedian," Mangan-
ello said. "An American come-
dian laughs at the world, where
the Italian comedian is more
inclined to play the clown. He
reflects the absurdity of the
world that is laughing at him."

By DAVID TAO
Daily Film Editor
When caught on camera, the
act of firing somebody can be
portrayed many different ways.
It can be deep
and introspec-
tive, especially
ifwe'rewatch- T"heCompany
ing George
Clooney do it Men
in an Oscar- AttheState
nominated
film. It can The Weinstein
be mildly Company
amusing, par-
ticularly when we're watching
Donald Trump say it to celebri-
ties. But what we rarely see on
the big screen are the people
who've been fired. Where do they
go the next day? What do they
do? How do they cope? Those are
the questionsthat "The Company
Men" tries to answer, following
victims of the recent financial
crisis as they attempt to move on
with their lives.
Bobby Walker (Ben Affleck,
"The Town") was a middle-aged,
upper-middle-class account
manager at conglomerate GTX.
He was living the American
dream: big house, nice family
and a Porsche in the driveway.
And then one day, after years of
service, he's suddenly dismissed
as a redundancy and forced out
of his office. He's quickly joined
by Phil Woodward (Chris Coo-
per, "Syriana") an older, upper-
level executive who's struggling
to put two kids through college.
The cutbacks are part of a
strategic initiative fromthe head
of GTX, James Salinger (Craig T.
Nelson, "The Devil's Advocate")
to keep his company out of bank-
ruptcy and avoid a hostile take-
over. When his partner, Gene
McLary (Tommy Lee Jones, "No
Country for Old Men") protests
these moves as Pyrrhic, he soon
finds himself on the scrap heap
as well.
For Walker and Woodward,
life descends from corner offices
to cubicles at the outplacement
service center. This is where the
film hits its stride, presenting
a sharp, bitingly realistic com-

menta
of un
examp
his sit
rejecti
es his
untilv
ing dr
law'sc
all con
plans:
quarte
floor
tives.I
ers qui
no
The
receive
Film I
pered'
release
Air" a.
in obv
like "T
sad, b
"Comp
compe
that N
and fa

ry on the social impact in the Air." Instead of Clooney's
employment. Walker, for quirky obsessions with travel
le, is quickly humbled by and solitude, "Company Men"
uation - after constant explores a pain more familiar
on, he successively reduc- - Affleck's quiet desperation
standards for a new job and Cooper's unbridled fury are
we finally see him pound- genuine American reactions to a
ywall for his brother-in- faltering economy that's forced
construction firm. This is thousands into the breadlines.
trasted against Salinger's It's a shame that the film is only
for a luxurious new head- now reaching Michigan - in
rs building with an entire a state where manufacturing
reserved for five execu- jobs have fled and unemploy-
It's enough to make view- ment stands at 11 percent, "The
iver with rage. Company Men" is a film that will
likely resonate.
This is in spite of the film's
second half, in which first-time
p '.Y film director John Wells over-
M ' is all extends his commentary from
subtle observation to heavy-
red up with handed critique - the film is
initially a sympathetic tale of
:where to go. economic tragedy, but morphs
suddenly into something far
more judgmental. Walker's lack
of skill with his hands is endless-
film, which was well ly lampooned, while he himself
ed at last year's Sundance states that his MBA placed him
Festival, was sadly ham- in a highly insecure employment
by a badly timed theatrical position. It seems almost as
e in the wake of "Up in the though Wells blames his charac-
nd a studio more invested ters for making poor educational
'ious, uplifting Oscar bait choices. This, combined with a
'he King's Speech." That's fairy-tale ending that endorses
because in many ways, a "return to the good 'ol days"
pany Men" is far more of an economy based on manual
lling than the snoozer labor, serves to blunt the impact
vas "The King's Speech" of what could have been a much
r more relevant than "Up more powerful film.

t

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