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February 06, 2013 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2013-02-06

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Wednesday, February 6, 2013 - 5A

Felicity 2.0.
'Americans' brings
thrills to Cold War

Leave the gun, take the fish.
Acclaimed live-action
shorts tell big tales


most c
on tel
fied" a
of Ana
its ha
the C
to be
an int
ture fr
star c
it pilot
ing th
and ifM
& Sist
lip Jen
ing to

ri Russell heats the American government. Noah
Emmerich ("Super 8") plays
with dynamic counterintelligence FBI agent
Stan Beeman, who complicates
performance the Jennings' cover when he and
his family move in across the
By ALEC STERN street.
For the Daily What makes "The Ameri-
cans" so compelling isn't the
eady home to some of the Cold War setting, but the rela-
ritically acclaimed dramas tionship between Elizabeth and
evision, including "Justi- Phillip. In just one episode, their
nd "Sons marriage is already one of the
rchy," FX most complicated and captivat-
to have ing in all of television, reminis-
er hit on The cent of "Breaking Bad" 's Walter
Ands with and Skyler White. Throughout
Ameri- A the feature-length pilot, Phillip
Set in the Pilot questions his future as a Russian
-op of the spy, while Elizabeth is as dedi-
years of Wednesdays cated to the motherland as ever.
old War, at 10 p.m. Their romantic relationship
Ameri- FX is problematic as well. It's clear
is a force that the two have a devotion
reckoned to one another, but Elizabeth's
The pilot episode provides strong allegiance to the KGB
riguing, emotional depar- and her complex past prevents
om most of the other, less complete commitment to her
al programs out there. Keri partner. Keri Russell's nuanced,
1 ("Felicity") leads an all- Emmy-caliber performance is
ast in this powerful and reason enough to tune in for a
espionage thriller that's, second episode, while Matthew,
ut a doubt, the best dramat- Rhys's Phillip will have you
t of the year. - rooting for the wrong side.
e Americans" follows two In addition to the multifac-
pies living in America dur- eted relationship between the
e early years of the Reagan two spies, the action sequences
istration. Played by Russell in "The Americans" are superb.
datthew Rhys ("Brothers Elizabeth and Phillip make for a
ers"), Elizabeth and Phil- formidable team in the nail-bit-
nings may seem like your ing opening in which they kid-
e American family - but nap a U.S. government liaison.
I closed doors, they're The Jennings continue to cause
ers of an interconnected trouble throughout, and the jux-
rk of Russian agents work- taposition of the two sides of
infiltrate and take down Russell's character (both badass

Russian spy and doting mother
of two) gives "The Americans"
another layer of exhilarating
Throughout its first season,
"The Americans" will have to
overcome the inevitable com-
parisons to Showtime's beloved
"Homeland." Though the FX
drama is set three decades prior
to the time of Carrie and Brody,
the counterintelligence and
behind-enemy-lines aspects
will no doubt draw similarities.
However, what "The Ameri-
cans" has going for it is a high
level of quality, both in cast and
content, that stands on its own.
"The Americans" has every-
thing you want from a dramatic
pilot. Sharp writing and sure-
handed storytelling make this
series the must-watch show of
the season. Russell's portrayal
of the enigmatic Elizabeth,
alongside strong supporting
players Rhys and Emmerich,
should have audiences aching
for another hour just as this one
ends. While FX is a good home.
for the series, it could just as
easily be on Showtime or HBO's
programming lineup. In fact,
the pilot episode of "The Ameri-
cans" is just as good, if not bet-
ter, than anything "Homeland"
did in it§ second seaso'.
While this may seem like high
praise for just one episode, the
pilot sets up what should be a
mysterious and thrilling journey
well worth taking. "The Ameri-
cans" is so fully realized and
sure of its vision that it seems
destined to become one of tele-
vision's great dramas.

DailyArts Writer
Short films are tough. Twenty
minutes to shine or be outshined.
Like in poetry, every word and
every frame counts - evoking
extreme emotional temperature.
This year, nothing disappointed.
Disparate like mismatched socks,
each film gently shakes hands
with its audience and then builds
realrapport. They're about death,
erasers, - acceptance, conformity
and ambition, respectively. With
specificity, they cover the after-
life, memory decay, saving grace,
paternal discipline and cheerful
"Death of a Shadow" (Belgium)
As its contenders all tell great
stories, "Death" creates one. The
core of its creative plotline finds
itself ina sort of museum of pho-
tographed deathshadows. Think:
silhouettes of shadows. Con-
fused? That's what I'm here for.
Our unassuming mustached pro-
tagonist plays the photographer,
a dead man repaying his "debt"
by photographing the shadows of
people as they die.
Our photographer's problem
bifurcates: hate for his afterlife
profession and love for his aban-
doned wife. His dilemma wors-
Director Tom Van Avermaet
works in sync with his produc-
tion designer to illustrate a pur-
gatory where fun comes to die.
Upon reaching a thousand cap-

funny yet socially suggestive.
The opening aerial shot of our
hero bathing in a tub of murky
blood-water unlocks the door
to an unconventional narrative.
Seconds from deleting himself
with a blade, a corded telephone
rings. It's Iis hateful sister. She's
in desperate need of his help,
reiterating how much of a "last,
last resort" he is. He somehow
agrees, "OK."
Sis needs him to watch over
her adorable, sassy daughter.
Meeting her uncle for the first
time, the girl is not having it. She
insists on following "the list" of
permitted places and inquires
about his pathetic life.
Seasoned short-story writer
Shawn Christensen, who also
plays our hero, tells the tale of the
familyoutcast we all could tell but
dance around. Deeper, he expli-
cates how easily relationships can

be sever
yet also
you mor
what "C

red (or never even spark).
can be rekindled. Never
a loved ones, all things
red, because they need.
re than they know. That's
urfew" teaches.
ere's always
e tearjerker
i the batch.
shi Boys" (Afghani-

game played with a dead goat
instead of a ball). Both boys
inspired by the guts and kinesis
of the game, the urchin declares
his newly minted pursuit tojoin
the ranks of Buzkashi riders.
The less ambitious boy concedes
to workingunder his blacksmith
father forever.
Creator Sam French leverages
current-day Afghan landscape
(and the apparent approval of
the Afghanistan Ministry of
Information and Culture) to
color a crude drawing of how
many lives are spent entirely
under a parent's tutelage. There
seems tobe little range of move-
ment for innovation or recre-
ation. But sometimes, someone
just needs solid teaching to
locate his talents.
Asad (South Africa)
A good drama infused with
timely laughs:creates first-rate
motion pictures. A brief banana
in linear lips can do wonders:
a smile. "Asad" is not bereft of
laughs, even with its solemn set-
ting in war-ridden Somalia.
As his older friends set sail as
pirates to overtake yachts and
other ships, Asad is stuck - too
young for combat, He claims
some of the older soldiers are
"novices" while he knows the
topography and currents better
than his seniors.
He finally gets his chance to
chase his "magnificent catch"
using an elder's boat. His course
randomly leads him to a yacht
where he finds something he can
only title "a white lion."
Commercial director Bryan
Buckley creates tangible value
in the form of laughs and smiles
with "Asad." He enlightens
audiences that although the
Somali people "have lost their
country," they hold onto "their
sense ofhope." Places like Soma-
lia need Asads. They need hope
because there is still so much to
be thankful for. Defogging your
pessimism goggles is the hard

New 'Harm' keeps it simple

Daily Arts Writer
Ever since Hippocrates wrote
"do no harm" in ancient Greece,
the three words have echoed
ominously in
Western soci-
ety. In NBC's
new Thursday Do No Harm
night drama,
the title has a Pilot
few layers of Thursdays
meaning. at10 p.m.
It alludes to
the Hippocrat- NBC
ic Oath taken
by all doctors
from the Hippocratic Corpus.
It refers to the protagonist's
work as chief of neurosurgery
and his promise to always do
right by his patients. But most
of all, it haunts every scene with
the threat that harm may befall
these characters, and that it will
be anything but an accident.
"Do No Harm" tells the story
of Steven Pasquale's ("Rescue
Me") Dr. Jason Cole (or as it says
on the door to his office, J. Cole),
a classic, well-intentioned doc-
tor with all the promise of Jack
Shephard but a whole new trove
of demons. His problem? A par-
ticularly venomous case of Dis-
sociative Identity Disorder. For
12 hours a day, Jason Cole ceases
to exist. In his place is Ian Price,
a rough and vengeful identity
Cole has spent his life trying to
At the outset of the pilot, we
find Cole during a peaceful peri-

od. He
into su
that Pr
that Pri
nity to1
is now:
it simpl
tent sur
the pat:
tic aba
to Ian
lives -
plan is
allow I
his life.
for all.

has been trying experi- Olivia serves as the only anchor in
drugs which put him Ian Price's personality; his obses-
ch a deep sleep at night sion with her bordered on stalk-
'ice is unable to awaken ing and his resurgence threatens
do these dueling person- her life as much as Cole's.
sleep?). It so transpires Other than that, there are few
ice has built up his immu- characters introduced to over-
the drugs and the demon whelm the audience or subtract
unleashed. from the gravitas of Cole's pre-
No Harm" 's greatest dicament. Phylicia Rashad ("The
h is that the show keeps Cosby Show") shines in her few
e. Cole is a highly compe- moments as Cole's boss, com-
geon, but we don't spend manding the screen with envi-
ve time with him and his able presence in every scene she
s. The one time we do, inhabits.
ient is a victim of domes- The best part is the first time
use, and Cole cleverly we witness Cole's transforma-
ces her abusive husband tion into Ian Price: He's in the
Price's fists. That scene shower at a dingy motel when
ces the intriguing pos- he begins to tremble. Panicked,
of these battling minds Cole turns to the steam-covered
g up to better each other's door and begins to write with
a plotline for the future, his fingers: "DO NO HARM." It
s. In the meantime, Cole's should be the tackiest interpel-
to strike up a truce, to lation of a show title in the his-
Price to once again live tory of pilots - but right before
only to end it once and he completes the "M" a hand
swipes across the condensation,
wiping away the words of Hip-
pocrates and leaving in their
whole new place the rancorous counte-
nance of Ian Price.
leaning to At its worst, "Do No Harm"
could fall victim to formula,
)ctor Jekyll. dragging-week to week between
Cole's life as -a daylight doctor
and Price's nighttime escapades
and terrifying trips to Olivia's
e's also the mysterious house. At its best, the show has
(Ruta Gedmintas, "The the potential tobea truly memo-
"), an ex-girlfriend who rable drama, unencumbered by
ed with both sides of embellishments and unafraid of
dentity and ultimately had causing the characters a little
away to start her life over. harm.

tured shadows (fastened to a wall We've seen it a million
space by large daggers), his "mas- times: Stringently fathered boy
ter" will allow him reentry to the befriends free-spirited bastard.
world. With this added existen- Why do filmmakers continue
tialistic layer, a tragic love story to spin this tired tale? Because
emerges. audiences find common ground,
no matter their "cool" or "lame"
"Henry" (Canada) parental backgrounds. "Buz-
kashi" delivers two Afghani
There's always at least one boys, a blacksmith's son and a
tearjerker in the short film cat- street urchin, who learn from
egory. "Henry" is it. All too often each other's stark differences.
do "sophisticated" moviegoers One day, the urchin takes his
reject this emotion of salty dis- conservative friend to a match
charges - they call it "cheap" of Buzkashi (a rough polo-like
and "mawkish." Viewer tears
are almost always legitimate.
Henry, an aged pianist,
plans for his final recital duet
with his wife, Maria, an adroit
violinist. His lovely daughter
will attend and a culminat-
ing moment will unfold. Then
he wakes up. Told his Maria
passed away last year, Henry is prgam t m e'n daC
beside himself. DepartmentfDance21
Filmmaker Yan England
sets two of music's most beau-
tiful instruments in perfect ah.egah . y Bil T.JI e
harmony with the respective faut Am' hvse esc
owners - lovers. It uplifts and Sandra Torijano
despite all the dementia and
senility associated with old
age because it dives into high-
lighting the good memories by
using the bad ones as crutches. February 8 & 9 at8P
"Have I been a good man?" February 10 at 2 PM
Henry begs to his daughter, Power Center
barely recallingher own name.
Intrepid questions like these
make "Henry" exactly that:
"Curfew" (USA)
USA! USA! USA! The rawest
of them all, "Curfew" tackles Students"1 with 1
themes head-on and without Legu Tike ff*
remorse. Not unlike the guy 734-764-2538
who shows up to a wedding tickets.music.umich.edu
rocking a tuxedo t-shirt, it's


Cole's is
to move

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