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March 14, 2012 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily, 2012-03-14

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Wednesday, March 14, 2012 - 7A

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Wednesday, March 14, 2012 - 7A

Fairy tales revived
by 'Ex Machina'


Cuba has really changed since Castro got sick. GKIDS
Rich annin 'Rita'

DailyArts Writer
Pixar redefined the animation
industry we grew up with, taking
it fromthe simple,heartfeltdraw-
ings of Walt
Disney to truly *
portrayals of Chico & Rita
that set a high At the
standard for Michigan
excellence. As
Hollywood des- Gkids
perately rushed
to keep up, traditional, hand-
drawn animation was largely
abandoned, replaced by the digi-
tal techniques Pixar pioneered.
In the wake of this revolution,
it's fascinating to see a movie
like "Chico & Rita." The film,
co-directed by Spanish painter
Javier Mariscal, showcases why
drawings - composed and tied
together by an artist's hands- are
some of the most powerful modes
of expression. There is nothing
terribly exciting about the story, a
tale of a pianist and a singer who
gradually/develop a romance as
theystruggle to achieve stardom.
What makes this film extraordi-
nary is the sublime artistry by
Mariscal and collaborators Tono
Errando and Fernando Trueba
("Calle 54"), who bring the color-
ful landscapes of 1950s Cuba to

It be
go tha
for ch
with s
The fil
never r
or ami.
ical Di;
to getc
jazz s
you lo
is not
ing. Ev
riffs at
and h
deep, i

life. movie approaches its skeptical
comes clear from the get- ending. And that ending, which
t this is not a film meant feels decidedly like a cheap cop-
ildren. The movie, told out, spoils what could have been a
as a flashback, is suffused truly great film. Even though the
mall doses of nostalgia. ending never really seems out of
m's moral weight is fixed place, it becomes too predictable.
I two protagonists who Everything in the story suggests
eally come off as loveable that Chico and Rita - two hope-
able, at least not in the typ- ful artists who start out ready to
sney sense. face the world - would end up
having to confront its cruelty. But
somehow, all the color and music
-mseemed to hint that it wouldn't be
s s s so cut-and-dry.
iye the film As it turns out, the plot line
really is as conventional as it
from plot, seems. When all is said and done,
the film ends up being nothing
more or less than a brilliant treat
for the senses. Even though it's
ntually, the duo does start one of the best animated mov-
on your nerves, but there's ies made in recent years, it just
another wonderful Cuban doesn't have the soul of a movie
equence by Bebo Valdes like "Toy Story 3." That Pixar
54") waiting around the classic not only managed to
to convince you how much dazzle us with brilliant, relat-
ve this movie. The music able graphics, but it also had a
hing short of spellbind- poignant moral center which
'erything about the guitar resounded with any audience
nd drum beats is strangely member, making it more than just
r, reminding audience a great animated film,
ers how sound really can if we're lucky, this directing
the mood and tone of a trio will give us another chance
to embrace the beauty of Carib-
les' composition is vibrant bean culture through the palette
opeful at the beginning, of animation. Next time, let's
ally slowing down to a hope they create a story worth
ntrospective tenor as the telling.

you w
of dot
it's th
sen Pi
of tw
and a
and w
tion w
Ex M
is a
a Can
to Pa
to wri
the w

1e-man show to dog, who play significant roles in
his experience.
ng Andersen to The name Andersen in the
title of the performance refers
Power Center to Hans Christian Andersen, the
writer of traditional folk tales.
By LAURA KAYE His two stories, "The Dryad"
DailyArts Writer and "The Shadow," provide the
narrative material for this pro-
member the times when duction.
'ould lay in bed and your "The Dryad" tells the story
rr would of a spirit living in a tree and
you the its dream to live in Paris, an
s of a The ambition eventually leading to
e saving Andersen its ruin. The other story, "The
princess rjtE Shadow," is dark and forebod-
the tower r oJe: ing, recounting the experiences
am? Well, Machina of a man separated from his
isn't the shadow. Both of these tales are
to forget Tomorrow not the flowery Disney stories
rather at7:30 p.m. we all saw when we were young-
e time for and Friday er, but rather delve into deeper
Ander- and Saturday questions, such as the nature
roject: Ex at 8 p.m. of longing and the events that
ina" to Power Center occur when those wishes are
the Ann From $24 answered.
stage Intertextuality is an ele-
its fusion ment of Lepage's work. There
o classic children's tales are layers of references invoked
modern narrative. throughout his milieu of produc-
hly acclaimed director tions. Therefore, a keen eye may
triter Robert Lepage's "The be essential to viewing his work.
sen Project" is a collabora- "He often has fairy tales or
'ith Lepage's own company partial plot lines or song lines
achina. The performance or a symphonic cycle," said Eng-
one-man show played by lish Prof. Linda Gregerson. "You
Yves Jacques, portraying have multi-narrative threads or
iadian writer who travels psychological threads or com-
ris, where he is employed plicated collage structures going
te the libretto for an opera on. He is really good at very fluid
osed of Hans Christian movements among different
-sen's tales. On his journey, levels. (Also,) the performers
riter meets a janitor and a are very good at shape-shifting,

taking on multiple personae and
being quite astonishing in tran-
sitioning from one another."
Gregerson explained that
when Lepage's work features a
lone performer, there is never
a loss of expansive range. His
single-performer productions
are not narrowing, but rather
have a feeling of enlargement.
In this way, Lepage can focus on
and sharpen certain elements,
therefore guiding the audience's
attention to those poignant
"He's like Steven Spielberg
at his best," Gregerson said.
"He knows the wisdom and the
formal power of the childlike
imagination. He's never con-
temptuous of ... relatively naive
storytelling. He understands
how powerful that can be. You
can be much more passive in
film, there's a way in which it's
so wrapped up before it gets to
you, but live performances never
die, it needs the viewer. Lepage
absolutely gets that."
Additionally, part of Lepage's
skill is his ability to make the
audience feel invited to the pro-
duction, something that may be
the key to his work's success.
"There's a foundational joy in
the performative that informs
his work," Gregerson said. "You
would think that goes without
saying, but in fact joy, is some-
thing that way too often goes
missing in stage work. Someone
who keeps it so central is some-
one to be really grateful for."

Request an application by e-mailing arts@michigandaily.com.

Judd carries new ABC show
DailyArts Writer

the puhileand
urivate morality of
climate change

Prof.,iohn Brooms
White's Professor of Moral Philosophy,
Fellow of Corpus Christi College;
University of Oxford

The abduction of a child is a
parent's worst nightmare. ABC's
"Missing" speaks to this hellish
ordeal with a straightforward,
plot, featuring
Ashley Judd's
first appear- Missing
ance on a net-
work television Pilot
series. Thursdays
After ex-CIA
agent Rebecca
Winstone's ABC
(Ashley Judd,
"Double Jeopardy") son goes
missing while abroad in Rome,
she travels there in search of him,
willing to use any means neces-
sary to bring him back.
Rebecca's history with the
CIA is murky: She deactivated
after her husband was killed by a
car bomb and now dedicates her
time to raising their son Michael
(Nick Eversman, "Vampires
Suck"). Michael doesn't know
of his parents' past lives, even
though he witnessed his father's
car go up in flames. Rebecca
and Michael now have a very
close relationship, evidenced by
Rebecca's annoyingly consistent
phone calls and texts.
Michael's kidnapping is not
random - Rebecca finds pic-
tures of him along the trail that
date back prior to his arrival in
Europe. Was Michael involved
in something illegal that is now
coming back to haunt him? Or
does someone have an agenda
against Rebecca, using Michael
as a mere pawn? These questions
aren't answered in the first hour,
but leave us eager to find out.
"Missing" is reminiscent of
the 2008 film "Taken," in which
Liam Neeson's character travels
to Europe in order to save his
daughter after she is abducted in



"Liam Neeson sent me. He wants his premise back."

play a
is one
the pre
it to th
out the
same t
CIA ag
als an
tiple I
the ab
and ta
it's an
be muc

. In the two works, both lengths to save their child
en are abducted while instead of watching yet another
i and both parents have trained professional act exactly
ctions to the CIA, which how we already expect them to.
large role in tracking However, given these reser-
their children. "Missing" vations, Judd's acting is a bright
of the first series to take light in the series. She portrays
mise of a movie and adapt parental anguish with sincerity
e small-screen, a feat that and also looks natural in the CIA
doomed to fail. Drawing getup. But even given this stel-
e plot for an entire season lar performance, Judd is operat-
unnecessary when the ing a one-woman show. Very few
hing can be watched in an peripheral characters are intro-
nd-a-half movie. duced, and we aren't given much
information about Michael in
order to latch onto and care
's like we've about his predicament. "Miss-
ing" would be better served by
n this before. more characters, instead of forc-
ing Judd to carry its weight on
her shoulders.
On the surface, the show is
ecca's experience as an ex- entertaining, full of action, vio-
tent feels entirely too con- lence and suspense. At every new
t. Through this, she has development, Rebecca finds her-
cedented access to materi- self fighting for her life against
d aid, knowledge of mul- the ruthless gangsters who kid-
European languages and napped her son and CIA agents
ility to literally kick ass suspicious of her motives. But
ke names. While this pro- that's all there is to it. "Missing"
action and entertainment, feels like something we've already
other reason the show is a seen before because we've already
a copy of "Taken." It would seen it. And without a novel prem-
ch more intriguing to see a ise, "Missing" isn't worth getting
r parent going to extreme wrapped up in.



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