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November 18, 2013 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily, 2013-11-18

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Monday, November 18, 2013 - 7A

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Monday, November18, 2013 - 7A

Ex-girlfriend No.1.
Fallingor 'Blue'

French film is neither auxiliarynordetachable;
it instead enriches an otherwise
explores desire, conventional first-love story of age
sexuality Adele (Adele Exarchopoulas,
"Les enfants de Timpelbach") is a
By ANDREW MCCLURE, shy, pretty 17-year-old with a pen-
Daily Arts Writer chant for classic literature. She has
a circle of friends that insists on
Nudity in non-erotic film is chatting about sex, boys and sex
nothing new. Still, nudity rarely with boys. Adele's self-conscious-
buoys above the drowning cen- ness is depicted nonstop onscreen
sure of "too as she readjusts her sloppy hair-
postmodern," A+ bun and hikes up her jeans. We get
"offsetting its used to seeing her face as the lens
lacking narra- Blue is the often fixates inches away. Her bee-
tive" or, more Warret stung lips barely reveal her front
bluntly, "por- two teeth, and her curious eyes
mgraphic." Color penetrate the silver screen. These
Fegardless, At the features suggest a void within her,
t invariably Michigan ahunger.
ruffles feath- After her brief sexual fling with
ers. "Blue Is Sundance Selects the most desired guy in her class,
the Warmest Adele seems directionless. To add
Color" runs a to the confusion, a female class-
three-hour long marathon that mate, on a whim, kisses Adele fol-
ultimately unpacks much more lowing a "you're the cutest girl ini
than unclothed close-ups and our grade" compliment. To her
homoerotic proclivities. Rather, own disbelief, Adele likes it - so
this bildungsroman about a con- muchsothatshe later peregrinates
fused French schoolgirl prefers to to a lesbian bar. Out of place, Adele
illustrate the respective life roles locks eyes with the familiar blue-
of hunger, education and skin. Sex haired woman across the room.
just happeps to permeate profuse- Her name's Emma (Lea Seydoux,
ly into all of these compartments. "Midnight in Paris"), she paints
"Blue" has been stirring up professionally and she's five years
contention because of its copious older.
graphic sexual sequences - one So begins the first-love story.
lasting a sweaty, loosen-your-col- Their relationship starts as purely
lar seven minutes. As a result, the dialogic, mostly Emma versing her
Tunisian-born helmer Abdella- new apprentice, for example, in the
tif Kechiche ("The Secret of the philosophyofFrench existentialist
Grain") has attracted more press Jean-Paul Sartre. This big sister
about his directorial practices link then turns for the hypersex-
than the Palme d'Or-winning film ual - no stone is left unturned
itself. Post-release, one of the two on either of their undressed bod-
lead actresses called the director ies. The intimacy, of their verbal
a "sadistic and perverse manipu- exchanges translates into the
lator." This up-in-arms discourse bedroom, creating robust roots
over the filmmaker-actor relation- on which their joint bellflower
ship has clouded the honesty and can blossom. Their sinuous odys-
observation of the film. The nudity sey through budding professional

lives brings along with it real
tears,youthful regretand age-long
Exarchopoulos and Seydoux
act their asses off, conveying
an unprecedented mutual trust
through deft improvisation and
organic gesturing. Exarchopou-
los immerses deeply in Adele's
naivete - her averting eyes
around Emma's arty colleagues
reveal her discomfort. Emma's
unassuming wisdom and intel-
lectual security serve as a foil for
Adele - her gentle half-open eyes
fear nothing and embrace all.
The local lens makes us feel
like the invisible third wheel,
pensive in the other's eyes or
climactic in the sheets. The only
reasonable element of the "por-
nographic" argument is that both
actresses showcase flawless skin
and frame. But "Blue" wants to
talk about skin: Our lead Adele
ventures into untrodden territo-
ry vocationally and existentially
and, most importantly, sexually.
Before meeting Emma, sex mere-
ly sated an ephemeral, unthink-
ing desire. Now, it bridges a gap
between sentiment and educa-
Kechiche doesn't see people
like most. Out in public, those
close to him say he tends to sim-
ply stare at people, absorbing
them, dissecting them, appreci-
ating them. He transposes this
practice onto the set of "Blue,"
where, at all times, two cameras
float in front of each actress's
face. You can't cheat expression
with that closeness. For better or
for best, he sought to remove fab-
rication and make them confess
to the camera with everything
they have. And only through this
dear bond between him and his
leading ladies could he portray
the film's beating heart: One per-
son can change your life.

"You should grow a beard"
FOX losing confidence
i n underrated 'Hope'

Daily Arts Writer
Usually, when a network moves
a show to Fridays, it's signaling it
doesn't want to
keep that show
around for a A-
long time. In
this particular RaiSing
case, FOX is Hope
keeping "Rais-
ing Hope" until Season four
it has enough ptemiere
episodes for Fridaysat
syndication. But
it's a shame that P.m.
FOX is dump- FOX
ing this show on
Fridays because
"Raising Hope" is one of the most
edies on television rightnow.
The show follows the Chance
family after Jimmy Chance (Lucas
Neff, "The Beast") impregnates
a serial killer and ends up raising
their baby, Hope. The show doesn't
have a story arc that lasts over
multiple episodes, like "Parks and
Recreation." Instead, it tells single
stories each week, portraying dif-
ferent adventures in the lives of
this family.
These stories are as funny as
they are because, by this point,
the ensemble works together like
a finely tuned machine. Neff has
never been the best actor; how-
ever, supporting actors like Garret
Dillahunt ("Deadwood"), Mar-
tha Plimpton ("The Good Wife")
and Shannon Woodward ("The

Riches") more thant make up for crept up again. In the second
his lack of acting skills because of episode, featuring a plotline
theirnaturalcomedic abilities.The where Burt and Virginia create
writers can throw almost anything their own economy and figure
their way, and this cast will makeit out the downfalls of the system,
funny. Plimpton and Dillahunt are it felt like the point of the story
especially great as Jimmy's mom was to laugh at their characters,
and dad - they're one of the best which was problematic.
married couples on TV today, with For the most part, the writers
a genuine sense of warmth and solved this problem by refrain-
chemistry between them. Even ing from creating storylines
Cloris Leachman ("Blue Moun- that are simply stupid charac-
tain State") has become one of the ters doing stupid things, and
show's strongest assets as they've by creating a warm tone for the
figured out how to write for her show. There's a genuine sense of
character and have integrated her warmth in the way the charac-
into the show's storylines. ters interact with one another.
Both of the episodes that aired
Friday ended on a moment
Friday night is of heart, with the characters
together and happily smiling.
where shows What this show does - and
shows like "Modern Family"
go to die. don't - is let these moments
occur naturally. This allows
these emotions to feel earned,
not forced. At this point in the
In certain plotlines, the show series, "Raising Hope" has done
tries to toe the line between enough character work, and
laughing at the behavior of the that progress allows the show
Chance family and laughing to do this successfully.
with them. In the first season, Given that this show is airing
the writers struggled to fig- on Fridays, it's clear that FOX
ure out how to write "Raising is only thinking about keeping
Hope" in a way that makes us "Raising Hope" on the air for
not laugh at the Chances' stu- one more season. That being
pidity. With a new showrunner, said, the show, despite a slightly
"Hope" is going through the 'rough plotline in the second
same process again on a smaller episode, consistently does great
scale. Mike Mariano has been character work and is still very
with the show since the begin- funny. Even if-it's just running
ning, and he clearly knows how out the clock at this point, it's
to write it, but the issue has still worth watching.

'Floor' avoids generic love story

Daily Arts Writer
Boy meets girl: It's an overused
routine that somehow still works.
Well, sometimes it works, and
other times it
falls completely B
flat, depend-
ing on the com- Ground
petence of the Floor
creative team
involved. For- Pilot
tunately, TBS's Thursdays
"Ground Floor"
manages to atl0 p.m.
avoid the trap- TBS
pings of this
generic setup.
It delivers a good mix of comedy
and lighthearted drama, enough
to satisfy and amuse even if you're
familiar with the material.
The premise is basically Shake-
speare-lite, evoking ideas from
"Romeo and Juliet" but without
the drastic stakes. Skylar Astin
("Pitch Perfect") plays Brody
Moyer, a successful banker who
has a one-night stand with Jenny
Miller, played by Briga Hee-
lan ("Cougar Town"). Feelings
between the two linger past the
night, but problems ensue when
Brody discovers Jenny comes from
the bottom of the social ladder,
working in the maintenance room
of Brody's workplace.
The socioeconomic differences
threaten to end their relationship
before it even begins, and though
this may seem dire, I would say
chances are "Ground Floor" won't
be an epic tragedy on the scale of
"Romeo and Juliet." Instead, much
of the show's humor is derived
from the tension their different

"Scrubs" with suits.
social backgrounds create. Not
only are Brody and Jenny unsure
what to think of their romance, but
their coworkers are rather frus-
ship and warn the couple against
moving forward with things.
This is where the supporting
cast really shines. Rory Scovel
("Conan") plays Mark "Harvard"
Shrake, a maintenance worker
who also expresses interest in
Jenny. The conflict between him
and Brody never becomes too
serious, and really he just high-
lights the amusement one can get
from watching people from such
different backgrounds interact.
Meanwhile, John C. McGinley
("Scrubs") has a standout perfor-
mance as Brody's boss Remington
StewartMansfield, acrazedwork-
obsessed man who acts as a carica-
ture ofaone-percentbusinessman.
The writers wisely use McGinley's
talent sparingly, so he still man-
ages to steal the scenes he's in but
without undermining the rest of
the cast's effort.
Despite the sometimes shallow
portrayals of both the rich and the
poor, both sides probably wouldn't
take much offense to "Ground
Floor"'s material. The pilot always
retains a sense of fun exaggera-

tion, so that one never takes it too
seriously. Regardless, this doesn't
mean the actual drama fails to be
interesting. Jenny and Brody's
romance is perhaps the show's
weakest element by itself, but it
doesn't drag the first episode down
too much, seeing how much of
the comedy spins off from their
growing feelings and how their
coworkers react. Still, as the show
progresses, this factor needs the
most improvement if the show's to
reach greater heights. The humor
isn't always on target either, but for
now it's solid and makes the show
worth checking out.
A new take on
Though it sometimes becomes
a little generic, thanks to a seen-it-
before setup, the show has a good
handle on its comedic elements
and develops a great supporting
cast. As it stands by itself, the pilot
is a little rough around the edges,
but nonetheless, "Ground Floor" '
has a strong opening and plenty of


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