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January 18, 2013 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2013-01-18

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The Michigan Daily - michiganclaily.com

Friday, January 18, 2013 - 5

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Friday, January18, 2013 - 5

"Dude, are you wearing heels?"
Predictable Cruise

'Reacher' relies
too heavily on its
leading man
Daily Arts Writer
"Jack Reacher" might as well
be called "Tom Cruise." No audi-
ence in America will gasp when
Cruise makes
his appearance
10 minutes into
the movie; few Jack
people will Reacher,
expect him
to transform At Quality16
beyond ret- and Rave
ognition into
a compelling Paramount
role (a la Daniel
Day-Lewis in everything or, well,
Cruise in "Tropic Thunder"). This
is a Tom Cruise action movie,
which means you already know
90 percent of what you need to
This, for people who want to
attend entertaining movies, is
perfectly OK if Cruise carries out
his end of the bargain. The bar-
gain being that Cruise remains
compelling to watch - an essen-
tial skill for any actor, but his life-
In "Jack Reacher," Cruise's
physical stunts only dimin-
ish slightly from his previous
work. At moments, his silhouette
seems borrowed from the "Mis-
sion: Impossible" franchise (the
prominent nose and tuft of hair),
which makes it less striking, but

his steadicam scenes of combat
and movement occasionally seem
fresh. Fresh may be an inappro-
priate word though, as "Reacher"
seems to reach back toward the
past for its action tropes. The
fighting is direct and realistic
without the crutch of shaky-cam;
the car-chase scenes are loaded
with skidding and minor bumps -
creating chaotic, screeching ten-
sion. Perhaps most wonderfully,
the gun fights ring with hundreds
of missed bullets as combatants
dash for strategic cover. It's more
"duck and cover" than "kill hun-
dreds of bad guys."
Beyond the physical is the
more-intriguing mental state of
Cruise. In his movies, there has
always been a sense of detach-
ment, with perhaps a glimmer of
some erratic behavior. The "cool"
in Cruise comes from the detach-
ment, the "compelling" comes
from his sudden, wry humor. In
"Jack Reacher," he nails detach-
ment. Reacher is cold and calcu-
lating; even though he's hit on by
literally every woman in the film
(one wonders who added that to
the script), Reacher remains stoic
and untouchable.
It's in a similar vein to "The
Expendables" series, in which
bros help out the ladies not for
sexual gain but for a sense of
revenge or justice. This detach-
ment, though, provides a feel-
ing of something missing, of an
opportunity wasted. While it
makes sense within Reacher's
character (ex-military, extremely
diligent, justice-seeking, etc.),
there's still a nagging sensation

that Cruise could be doing a little
more, that he could not just say
funny lines (of which there are
plenty in this film) but also deliver
them in more humorous ways.
In "Reacher," one wishes Cruise
would give a "Risky Business"
smile, instead of just resting on a
stern "M.I" expression.
Beyond the leading-actor, "Jack
Reacher" also provides some
surprising roles. Rosamund Pike
("Wrath of the Titans") is excel-
lent as a lawyer providing a flick-
ering love interest for Reacher.
There's a dignity in Pike's char-
acterization, a determination and
regality that is powerful and sexy
- it's refreshing to watch. Wer-
ner Herzog ("Cave of Forgotten
Dreams") completely chills as a
stubby crime lord. One particular
Herzog scene imagines one of the
more horrific choices someone
pushed to the edge would have to
make (think self-cannibalization).
Lastly, Robert Duvall ("Get Low")
provides a much needed side-
kick for the titular character, and
proves old men can hang with the
young guys.
Modern times contain a lot of
self-depreciation, and movies are
catching on to this fact, especially
within the shoot-'em-up genre.
"Jack Reacher" understands this,
and it almost perfectly toes the
line between serious and come-
dic. Cruise ends up as the barom-
eter for the movie's success, and
while he wears the grim mask of
a soldier driven toward justice
quite well, one wishes it would
occasionally slip off to reveal a
grin underneath.

"Wow, there's 60 singles in our area, and they want to chat RIGHT NOW?"
'CatfishW keeps viewers
hooked with r eal drama

Daily Arts Writer
MTV has long been the net-
work with questionable youth-
oriented programming: From the
addicting abomination "Jersey
Shore" to the prissy and entitled
"My Super Sweet Sixteen" to the
new, borderline-offensive "Buck-
wild," there is no doubt that MTV
knows its audience.
Reality shows - particularly
on MTV - get a bad rap for their
heightened dramatics and glorifi-
cation of untraditional lifestyles
(really, there's nowhere else on
television where you will find
such fame in being a teenage par-
ent). Critics love to rip on a show
with trashy characters (a la Snoo-
ki taking part in irrational behav-
ior), and for good reason. Those
shows, while entertaining, don't
add much to the cultural memory
of this generation beyond embar-,
rassment forus normal folk.
However, one of the network's
newest ventures, "Catfish: The
TV Show," is decidedly un-MTV.
Where other programming
focused much of its energy on
unnecessary drama and fist-
fights, "Catfish" works on a more
humanistic level, bringing the
network back down to reality.
For those who haven't been
swept up by the docu-show (or
who avoid MTV like the plague),
"Catfish" discusses online rela-
tionships that have been forged
largely through social media.
Taken from host Nev Schulman's
own experience, being "catfished"
is to be duped into believing that

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rson you are conversing provides a window into this cyber
online is someone differ- world and simultaneously serves
an who they actually are. as a platform for important social
week, Nev and his friend discussion.
oseph help someone meet Take, for example, the episode
h their online boyfriend or "Kim and Matt," in which a cou-
nd to find out whether or ple is united after talking online
y are who they say they are for 10 years. What kept these two
see if the relationship has apart was not shady misinforma-
e. tion, but rather self-esteem issues
said that there wasn't - Matt was ashamed of hisobe-
I would be lying. There's a sity.
ying that goes on in a con- In another strong episode titled
ke this - it is commonly "Rya and Alyx,"welearnthat Alyx
ed that people use the isn't actually a boy but is instead
et to project an alternate a transgendered person named
ality and obtain a veil of Dani - a female transitioning to
mity. Girls pretend to be life as a male. in a fantastic con-
mess with the chick that clusion, Kya accepts Dani for who
ith their boyfriends, and he is and the two continue their
create fake profiles simply happy romance.
e they wantto. It's psychot- It is episodes like these that
dumb, but it's life in the 21st really highlight the potential of
y. the show: to open our eyes to inse-
curities and stigmas in our cul-
ture and address them personally.
tally a reality When I watch "Catfish," I always
have my Twitter feed open, and
rogram that it's disheartening to see how
many negative comments roll in
eaks typical hat discuss a person's weight,
sexual preference or physical
M TV m old appearance. A show like this can
increase the visibility of these
social issues and hopefully make
room for meaningful conversa-
drama on "Catfish" is sim- tion.
:yproduct of the situation, But Twitter user @Mala-
main focus. Each episode chiXTEAM got it right: "Food
es potent and relevant cul- for thought. Looking through
sues that are largely rooted the judgmental #catfish tweets,
er bullying. It seems often maybe that's why people lie about
ehear about cyber bullying themselves or how they look."
but it is rare to see it actual- And that really is something to
ening in real life. "Catfish" chew on.

'Banshee' lacks own identity

For the Daily
New drama "Banshee" is Cin-
emax's latest attempt to break
into the original programming
game. From producer Alan Ball
of "Six Feet
Under" and
"True Blood,"
the show fol- Banshee
lows a paroled
jewel thief Pilot
turned small- Fridays at10 p.m.
town sheriff.
Though its , Cinemax
pedigree is
Cinemax's most impressive, it's
clear after the first hour what
"Banshee" is: a show done time
and time again. It's no wonder
HBO passed.
What "Banshee" does do right
is establish a tone early on. Even
before the opening credit sequence
rolls, there's sex, violence and a
car chase through New York City.
The action genre has worked for
Cinemax in the past with original
series "Strike Back," and it's clear
they have stuck with the familiar
for this project as well.
The protagonist (newcomer
Antony Starr) is anunnamed crim-
inal recently released from prison
who later assumes the identity of
Lucas Hood. But first, he tracks
down past love, Carrie (Ivana
Milicevic, "Vegas"), to Banshee,
Pa. Not only does Hood learn that
Carrie's married with two chil-
dren, but she doesn't even have the
10-million dollars worth of dia-
monds she was supposed to save
for him. With nowhere to go, Hood
ends up in a bar owned by former
boxer Sugar Bates (Frankie Fai-
son, "The Silence of the Lambs").
The two bond over whiskey and a
common prison stint until the real
Lucas Hood enters.

Follow @michdailyarts

"Play 'Thrift Shop' one more time, I dare you.'

a woma
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with he
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cevic is strong in her role as Lee, "Premium Rush"), a trans-
in torn between her former vestite salon owner and com-
id her new family. When puter-hacker-slash-mastermind,
remakes his acquaintance to help him with his identity
r, he's alittle angry, though change. A Russian man called
s not. as much as he should Mr. Rabbit (Ben Cross, "Chariots
imething viewers will have of Fire") desperately tries to hunt
sed to. Starr is pretty one- down Carrie and the man who is
hroughout, save for a faint supposedly Lucas Hood. Hood
owards the end. then learns that he must bring
ishee" seems to hit its mark down crime lord Kai Proctor
ie action sequences, which (Ulrich Thomsen, "The Thing"),
:h thrilling and abundant. an antagonist so clearly ripped
er, a handful of adept fight off from "Breaking Bad" villain
are not enough to carry Gustavo Fring, arguably one of
)w. The plot comes together the greatest antagonists in televi-
Hood steals the identity of sion history.
rdered, would-be sheriff in There are a ton of these char-
o disappear from two mys- acters, all of which are thinly
Russian men, who chase developed and only moderately
rough Manhattan at the intriguing. Theyseem too reminis-
ing of the episode. cent of characters on other shows.
As a whole, "Banshee" comes up
short and, unlike Lucas Hood
rilling actionchimelf, it doesn't pack much of a
le characters. If you're into the sex-and-vio-
lence premium cable routine, you
can probably get past the unorigi-
nality of "Banshee." But if you're a
rest of the episode is pretty fan of great writing and dynamic
d stuff: It's cliched, pre- characters, and are looking for a
e and amazingly uninter- badass lawman with a small-town
Hood enlists Job (Noon feel, just watch "Justified."


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