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September 23, 2013 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily, 2013-09-23

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Monday, September 23, 2013 - 7A

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Monday, September 23, 2013 - 7A


"Dude, you owe me 20 bucks."
Dark 'Prisoners'
demands attention

Enrapturing film
explores human
Daily Arts Writer
A deer traverses the snow-cov-
ered woods and pauses momen-
tarily,unaware it's caught between
the crosshairs of
a teenage son +
and his father.
The father Prisoners
recites the
Lord's Prayer, a At Quality16
practice he has and Rave
undoubtedly Alcn
done a hundred
times, urges his
son to pull the trigger, and blood
soaks the white ground - inno-
cence, the first casualty of war.
This opening sequence of
Denis Villeneuve's "Prisoners"
oozes with the dread of war,
albeit a different kind of war, one
about to befall two families cel-
ebrating Thanksgiving together.
The two young daughters of the
families disappear post dinner
without a trace. Their respec-
tive parents - Hugh Jackman
("Les Miserables") and Maria
Bello ("Abduction"), and Ter-
rence Howard ("Iron Man") and
Viola Davis ("The Help") - begin
a frantic search across their small
Pennsylvania town.

The cops, led by Jake Gyllen-
haal's ("End of Watch") Detective
Loki, find a suspect: Alex Jones
(Paul Dano, "Ruby Sparks"), the
driver of a creepy RV that was
parked on the curb of the fami-
lies' street and subsequently
disappeared. Loki informs the
families, however, that Alex has
the IQ of a10-year-old and simply
could not have carried out this
crime - this evidence doesn't sat-
isfy Jackman's Keller Dover.
Dover issues his own brand
of justice, opting to kidnap
Jones and beat the truth out of
him. He recruits the other fam-
ily patriarch, Terrence Howard's
Franklin Birch, at first opposed
but eventually convinced all the
The rest of the film explores
the limits of human morality, the
ability to weather the storm that
seems to only get worse as the
days pass. Where Keller turns to
violence and torture, Birch's wife
Nancy instead begs for answers
from the suspected kidnapper -
Davis's only real purpose in the
film is this five-minute display
of desperation, but what an emo-
tionally gripping five minutes it
The film features a cast with
exceptional talent; unfortunate-
ly, it chooses to focus essentially
all of its effort on its two leads,
Gyllenhaal and Jackman. None-
theless, the two actors carry the
entire film and all of itsemotional

undertakings. Gyllenhaal brings
nuance and grit to a role that in
lesser hands would be a throw-
away. But it's Jackman, shedding
the adamantium claws, that is
the true star here, masterfully
depicting a typical American
man (he loves Bruce Springsteen
and The Star-Spangled Banner)
pushed to the edge, desperate for
answers, blinded by his rage.
Villeneuve, who directed the
Oscar-nominated foreign film
"Incendies," demonstrates a tal-
ent for creating truly suspenseful
scenes. His issue rests in his (or
perhaps the script's) decision to
have the film wear its heart (and
metaphors) on its sleeve, resulting
in roughly 30 minutes of too much
film out ofits listed 153.
The film's title refers notonlyto
the kidnapped girls, but also to all
of these men and women who are,
in one way or another, confined by
their society. When does the law,
religion, even our families become
a prison, and how far are we will-
ing to go to break out?
The closing minutes of the
film features the song "Codex"
by Radiohead, with Thom Yorke
crooning"Sleightofhand,jump off
the end;" it's a fitting, beautifully
tragic summation of all that's been
lost. "Prisoners" is a dreary, dis-
turbing film and not for the faint
of heart; it demands your atten-
tion and patience, but if you stick
with it, your faith will be much

"A toast to our beauty."
For a good time, just
call rom-com 'Don Jon'

The week of Britney Spears

Daily Arts Writer
Once in a while a movie comes
along that's a breath of fresh air,
beautiful in its simplicity and
originality. It
causes you to A
take notice of
the simpler, Don Jon
finer aspects of At Quality 16
filmmaking and Aand tyave
leaves you with and Rave
an ineffable Relativity
feeling of satis-
faction. Joseph
Gordon Levitt's ("The Dark
Knight Rises") directorial debut,
"Don Jon," starring himself, Scar-
lett Johansson ("The Avengers")
and Julianne Moore ("The Kids
Are All Right") is exactly thatkind
of movie - packed with an extra
punch of immense confidence and
talent, making it the consummate
cinematic experience.
This is the story of Jon Mar-
tello, a modern-day Don Juan,
known for his ability to effort-
lessly pick up gorgeous women
every weekend and his extreme
devotion to his "body, pad, ride,
family, church, boys, girls ... and
porn." Yet, Jon, who lives the life
every man wants, isn't satisfied.
Not content with the hottest girls
in town, Jon finds solace in online
pornography, "losing himself" in
all its wonder.
Often comparing it to real life
sex, Jon views porn as a way of
life, something as usual as going
to the gym or hanging out with
his friends. Things take a turn
for the worse when his girl-
friend, played by Johansson, lit-
erally catches him in the act and
leaves him. What follows is the

At fi
mula o
of por
as a st
ride of
tor's v
the foc
and se
off asc
in we
ble in
the pe
and th
is abs

soul-searching that Jon with perhaps the toughest role
to do, but he cannot do it in the movie, playing the all-
ut Esther, his weird class- too-familiar, weird-at-first but
played by Moore. surprisingly wonderfully amaz-
rst glance, the movie seems ing friend who helps Jon get
ed to follow the typical for- back on his feet, but does justice
f a romantic comedy, albeit to her role and proves to be the
he slightly atypical injection emotional anchor that the movie
no. Rather than settle in needs.
ory of a pretty man and a 'Don Jon' deals with how
woman who eventually different forms of media affect
Tinto the sunset, "Don Jon" the mindset of people and the
tes itself from the rom-com impact that it can have on soci-
on the strength of its direc- ety. Jon's expectations of his
ision and execution. Given love life are linked to his fasci-
cus on online pornography nation with porn and Barbara
x, it's fair to say that the expects her life to play out as
'has the potential to come perfectly as a romantic story
crass, but instead it results would on celluloid. Despite the
onderfully timed, smart heavy nature of such a theme,
y. Gordon-Levitt's script is the movie never slips into a
ous in its humor and hum- preachiness, and delivers the
its tribute to selfless love, comedic goods while focusing
g it a balanced platform for on character development. The
rformances to build on - characters are written and per-
ey don't disappoint. formed so well that when the
movie ultimately succumbs to
romantic platidues, it doesn't
seem like it has, simply because
Ie h Jr I of the natural story progression
evitt makes and its characters.
The most beautiful thing
Id directorial about this movie is that it excels
in the simplest areas of art. It
debut. pays careful attention to the
conception, performance and
execution, and that does the
film wonders. There is no bril-
itt is convincing as the liant camerawork, no unexpect-
character, who changes ed twist and no epic story to
a man blinded by superfi- tell. "Don Jon" is a simple story
to one who searches for about real people, and about the
really matters. Johansson things we think are important
olutely perfect as Jon's in our lives. This movie does
hell of a girlfriend, bal- not preach or attempt to alter
her character's affable your perspective, but it prom-
iality with a domineering ises to show you good time, and
. Julianne Moore is tasked it undoubtedly does.

Online Arts Editor
When we look back at the
week of Sept. 15, 2013, we will
forever think of it as The Week of
Following the leak of "Work
Bitch," the lead single off of her
upcoming eighth studio album,
last Sunday, Britney's team
rushed a worldwide premiere
just hours later of the HQ version.
Love it or hate it, the song, which
some see as a combination of sub-
ject matter from the acclaimed
Blackout and the EDM-style
music fromFemmeFatale, is defi-
nitely different from anything
we've ever heard from Britney
But is it too different? That's up
for debate.
Five days after its release,
"Work Bitch" still doesn't feel
like an obvious choice for a lead
single - let alone a single at all
- with its lack of a real chorus
or pop melody. That being said,
its snappy lyrics, hot beat and
middle eight make it more than
memorable. It's a party-starting
record perfect for the clubs but
not necessarily perfect for Top-
40 radio, which is arguably the
most important quality for a Brit-
ney song. "Work Bitch" is a solid
track and will probably end up
being another big hit for Britney.
Maybe not another "I Wanna
Go," but a hit nonetheless.
On Sept. 17, Britney kept the
momentum rolling with a highly
publicized appearance on "Good
Morning America" where she

She's definitely working, bitch.
announced both the release date
of her eighth album and her two-
year residency at Planet Holly-
wood in Las Vegas.
After flying into the desert out-
side of Las Vegas on a helicopter,
Brit popped on her diva shades
and talked to a "GMA" corre-
spondent about her upcoming
album. It's scheduled release date
is Dec. 3 and her favorite track
that she's recorded so far for it is
the ballad "Perfume."
Britney's upcoming Las Vegas
residency, called "Britney Spears:
Piece Of Me," has been rumored
for quite some time now but the
details have been inconsistent
at best. She'll spend two years
at Planet Hollywood playing 50
shows a year, performing her
classics and some new material.
Following the likes of Celine Dion
and Barbara Streisand, Britney's
decision to take up residency in
Vegas is somewhat groundbreak-
ing - never before has an artist

as currently popular as Britney
committed to a stint like this.
Unusual in that Britney, like most
pop stars, tends to tour following
the release of her albums; "Brit-
ney Spears: Piece Of Me" will
presumably keep her from doing
Obviously fans have 100
chances to make it out to Vegas
if they want to see her live, but
it's unfortunate that Britney's
team didn't block out a chunk of
time for her to tour the rest of the
country. Regardless, if it follows
in the footsteps of her previous
tours, "Piece Of Me" is sure to
provide fans with the ultimate
Britney experience. After all, Las
Vegas was the crazy Brit of '05
and '06's stomping grounds and
every true fan has to experience
the City of Sin, don't they?
- The original version of this
article was published on The Fil-
ter, the Daily Arts blog, on Sept.

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