8A - Thursday, November 3, 2011
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Yakking with Black
Good concept, bad'Time'
Comic Michael Ian embarking on solo performanc-
es in front of a live audience in
Black shares his the later part of his career, rath-
er than at the beginning.
story before show "I didn't want to go the tra-
ditional stand-up comedy route,
By DAVID RIVA which involved a lot of staying
Daily Arts Writer awake until two in the morning,
waiting to do an open-mic night
Some actors have a recogniz- in front of 15 drunk assholes," he
able name or face, but when the said.
general public is asked to iden- "So I thought to myself, 'Let
tify them in me try to get famous before I
a significant Michael start doing stand-up comedy,
role in a movie and that way it will provide an
or TV show, audience for people to come and
they can't do Tonight at see me without actually having
it. Michael 8gp.m. to work for it.'
Ian Black has "I didn't want to pay my dues,
carved his way Ann Arbor Comedy basically," he added.
through show Showcase Though his snarky answer
business for Sold Out might sound like slacking, most
the better part comedians do have a long road
of the last two decades in such a to the top, and even some estab-
manner and will appear tonight lished actors can't book a cross-
at the Ann Arbor Comedy Show- country, headlining comedy
case. tour. Black managed to achieve
Exploring a number of roles this by first joining a comedy
in a range of media, Black has troupe called The State, which
been a regular on VH1's "I Love would later be given its own
the ... " series and "Best Week MTV show. With sketch com-
Ever" as a pop culture pundit, edy standing opposite to stand-
a frequent spokesperson for up comedy on the progression of
advertising campaigns and a his career, Black doesn't neces-
dominating force in the Celeb- sarily favor one over the other
rity Poker world. Despite the - with the exception of one
variety of hats he's worn in the seemingly minor detail.
past, Black has a healthy dose of "One thing that's nice about
self-deprecation when talking stand-up comedy is that it
about his fame - or lack thereof. requires far fewer costume
"One of the nice things about changes," he said. "I'd rather
being my level of celebrity is just get dressed once during the
that it's hardly celebrity at all," day, and have that be it - until
he said in an interview with The it's time to put on my pajamas.
Michigan Daily. "If there's a So, two times. I'm willing to get
wayto have a lower-case 'c,' and dressed two times during the
then make a lower-case 'c' after day."
that ... that would describe my In addition to stand-up, Black
level of celebrity." has been busy writing, releasing
Black's latest endeavor is in a total of four children's books
the world of stand-up comedy. and two collections ofhumorous
Contrasting the trend of most essays in the last four years -
of his industry peers, Black is including the upcoming release
MICHMAE L O'BRIEN ENiT.KTI NMENTI
Michael Black isa celebrity with two
of "You're Not Doing It Right:
Tales of Marriage, Sex, Death,
and Other Humiliations."
But his motivation for this
undertaking differs from that of
"About eight years ago, I
bought a house," he explained.
"The house had some built-in
bookcases, and what am I going
to do with those bookcases?
There's only so many statues of
Buddha I can put on those book-
His own kids inspired his
unconventional decision to
expand into the children's
genre, but not in the manner one
"I have a couple kids myself,
so when you have kids, you
think to yourself, 'What's a good
way to exploit these children
monetarily?' " he said. "Writing
children's books seemed like the
most natural way to do that."
Celebrity or not, Michael Ian
Black has and will continue to
make a unique impression on
Hollywood. His observational
humor - visible on paper, the
big screen and the small screen
- will be on display in person
Daily Arts Writer
The first minutes of "In Time"
conjure up thoughts of recent news
headlines predominated by stories
of the consolida-
tion of wealth
and "the 99 per-
cent" protest- In Time
ing against the
richest econom- At Quality16
it echelons of and Rave
society. For the
society depicted 20th Century Fox
in the film, eco-
nomic status is everything.
The twist is the nature of the
currency itself, as time is literally
money for the characters in "In
Time." Humans are genetically
engineered to stop aging at 25.
With only one year left to live at
that point, their remaining time is
marked by a counter of green dig-
its on each of their left forearms.
The psychological possibilities
of the concept, created by writer-
director Andrew Niccol ("Lord of
War"), are endless and fascinat-
ing - when you change the very
nature of money itself, you realize
the psychological impact it already
plays. The plot follows ghetto-
dweller Will Salas (Justin Tim-
berlake, "The Social Network"),
who saves the life of disillusioned
rich dude Henry Hamilton (Matt
Bomer, TV's "White Collar").
While the poor are left to
believe their lifestyle is a necessi-
ty, Hamilton admits that time pov-
erty is simply the wealthy citizens'
means of population control. Hid-
ing from a gang of time-stealing
thugs, Hamilton transfers his time
into a sleeping Salas's counter.
Upon waking up, Salas is suddenly
the richest man in the ghetto.
The concept is a meaning-
ful variation on our own society,
albeit one with more codified and
defined separations and wealth.
Its psychological possibilities are
20TH CENTURY FOX
Run run run, fast as he can - she can't catch him, he's the Timberlake man.
for its I
I and endless, and the film too casual in other moments. The
elf up to be exceedingly leads, Timberlake and Seyfried,
ant, establishing weighty are beyond miscast and seemslop-
uences to its own outcomes, pily directed. Any psychological
r its characters and for us. complexity of the circumstances
film fails to live up to that is lost on the simple faces of the
ude, though, creating characters, who never seem to
i an off-kilter Robin Hood know quite what they're doing.
at falls too far into neu- Niccol's general direction for his
without really saying any- players seems to be, "Run!"
nsightful. Salas quests to Beneath the film also rests a
ime from the richest (who shaky moral purpose - Niccol
pparently "stolen" the time presents too close a society to our
y) and gift it to the poor, own to allow for the distance of
time and place, thus binding our
character allegiances to our con-
temporary politics. Essentially,
r f i he puts Robin Hood in the place
actors run. of a more modern protagonist
and tricks the American filmgoer
into rooting for a redistributor of
and tag-along heiress Syl- Is that so wrong? That's up to
manda Seyfried, "Mamma the viewer. But the film misses a 4
must escape the clutches bigger, more important opportu-
ekeeper Raymond Leon nity - to capture this moment in
n Murphy, "Inception"). history by allowingits Robin Hood
le Niccol deserves credit protagonist to fail and fall victim
creation of the film's cen- to his own naivete. As a result,
a, he should also be blamed and in light of current events,
bland execution. One of the "In Time" seems more like fan-
iggest problems - its visu- tasy than any kind of meaningful
tte - creates a neutered, social commentary. Nevertheless,
world that imagines a it sets up a compelling world that
bathed in fill light. may well become the setting for a
acting, which is stilted and more intelligent remake decades
ne on occasion, seems far from now.
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