Come see Oscar-winning actor/direc-
tor/writer Billy Bob Thornton's "Sling
Blade" Friday and Saturday at 9:30 p.m.
at the Michigan Theater.
July 2, 1997 1h%
By !fran Nandalur
Daily Arts Writer #
The original "Batman" was an
unmemorable and mediocre film. The
long and boring "Batman Returns" put
more people to sleep than warm milk. -
"Batman Forever," with its excessive
action and stale dialogue, made viewers
question whether director Joel
Schumacher even graduated from junior.
high. Consequently, the new install-
ment, "Batman and Robin," would be
expected to be mind-numbingly terrible. Mr. Freeze (Arnold Schwarzenegger) hits
With its formulaic plot, childish script
and superfluous scenes, the movie ful- ability to fight crime as Batgirl.
fills these low expectations and further The absurdity and incredibility of the
desecrates a cultural icon. movie stems from the unoriginal dia-
The plot of "Batman and Robin" logue and the abuse of puns. Mr.
rotates around Batman (George Freeze's complexity can be described by
Clooney) and his own mangled
Robin (Chris O' words, "Kill da
Donnell) protect- R E V I E W heroes." Batman
ing Gotham City 4 exemplifies his
from the diamond- 9/4 Batman and intelligence when he
loving Mr. Freeze Robin first meets the men-
( A r n o l d I acing villain and
Schwarzenegger), At Briarwood and Showcase states, "Hi, I'm
who intends to Batman." The
h6ld the world hostage with a freezing humor is even worse, as every conceiv-
apparatus so he can acquire money for able joke about ice and cold is needless-
research that wouldcure his cryogenical- ly thrown in. There are 10-year-olds
ly preserved, terminally ill wife. with greater vocabularies than these
Meanwhile, Poison Ivy (Uma Thurman), mentally challenged characters.
an ecologically obsessed seductress, Another major problem is that the
schemes to help plants supplant animals film has no direction or cohesiveness.
as the dominant form of life. Unnecessary action scenes - like a
On the home front, Batman's alter motorcycle chase and the trouncing of
ego, the overly protective Bruce glow-in-the-dark thugs - divert from
Wayne, faces the tribulations of acco- the motivation of the villains. In addi-
modating his new reckless ward, Dick tion, artificial characters like the sultry
Grayson, a.k.a. Robin. Convoluting the Julie Madison (Elle Macpherson) and
plot further, Alfred the butler is termi- the monstrously muscular Bane seemed
nally ill with the same disease as Mr. like they were simply added to excite
Freeze's wife. His niece, Barbara the teenage masses.
Wilson (Alicia Silverstone), arrives to As for the performance of George
help him and luckily has the uncanny Clooney, he is unspectacular and does-
Melvins bring Seattle
rock sound to Shelter
n't command a presence as Batman; he
is perpetually overshadowed by the vil-
lains, especially Poison Ivy. However,
his bedside manner and nostalgic
retreats with Alfred are quite poignant.
Then again, he is supposed to be the
sociopathic loner Bruce Wayne, not Dr.
Ross of "ER." If it is any consolation,
he physically resembles Batman more
than his predecessors.
The only redeeming aspects of
"Batman and Robin" are the visually
spectacular settings and the cool cos-
tumes. The marvelous human statues in
Gotham City and the inside of the muse-
um and observatory steal the movie
from the droll characters. The sharp-
looking metallic costumes of Mr. Freeze
and Batman and the sleek, sexy tights of
Poison Ivy speak more about their
respective intentions than their words.
In effect, "Batman and Robin" is a
carbon copy of the brain-cell-degener-
ating "Batman Forever." Both films
directed by Joel Schumacher present
Batman as a gentle, affable and well-
adjusted hero rather than the angst-rid-
den, nihilistic character he is in the
comic books. To appease the public,
the image of the Caped Crusader has
been tragically transformed from
intensely dark to comically altruistic.
By Ted Watts
For the Daily
Last Friday saw the classic proto-
grunge group the Melvin5 invade
Detroit. With Soundgarden's recent
breakup, the Melvins are the last band
from the seminal Seattle compilation
"Deep Six" to survive. And they still
pound away like the Northwest sledge-
hammer they've always been.
The Melvins' recent history, such as
the band's return to an indie label with
its current album, "Honky," has been a
return to form. "We got sick and tired
of Atlantic, basi-
cally," said singer R..
and guitarist R
Buzz Osborne in
an interview with 1
Daily. "We have a The S
song on our new
'Laughing with Lucifer at Satan's
Sideshow' that should explain every-
thing nicely." The lyrics of said song are
a distillation of the run-around a major
label gives its bands. "I wish I could
take credit for that, but I don't have that
kind of imagination," Osborne said. In
other words, lyrics like "You should
consider yourselves lucky / Any other
major label would have dropped you by
now" are things people at Atlantic actu".
ally told the band.
So the Melvins are with
Amphetamine Reptile, and "Honky" is
a potpourri of songs that would have
caused countless nosebleeds for the
Osborne explained the process
behind the varied sonics of the album:
"We're not ones to worry too much
about what people think - I kinda say
whatever happens, happens, if it sounds
good in the studio. This is a record I
didn't worry at all about whether it was
going to get on the radio or any of that
stuff. Not that I worried that much
about the other ones but this time I did-
n't even think about it. It was fun to do:'
Now the band is touring in support of
the album, though not without incident.
"They had us booked to play all these
free radio shows. They still charge peo-
ple, like, a dollar, but the bands make
nothing and it's sort of a radio promo-
tion. And I just don't see the worth A
playing radio shows for radio stations
that don't play our music," complained
Osborne. "I have no desire to play that
when we can blow that show off, come
to Detroit and play a real show"
Mog Stunt Team, a Detroit-area band
also on AmRep, opened for the Melvins
with songs largely culled from their
upcoming release "King of the
Retards." Loud and full of energy, the
band was very entertaining with it0
Cherubs-meet-Hendrix sound. As an
added bonus, their guitarist looked just
like Ted Nugent,
although his playing
V I E W was significantly
he Melvins than Uncle Tedly's.
Friday's bill was
elter, Detroit especially appropri-
June 27,1997 ate, since Mog was
involved with tho
creation of the new Melvins video
"Mobius Haibachi," which was, oddly,
the only song from "Honky" that the
Melvins played. Their set clocked in at
just over an hour, and was made up
largely of tunes from their last three
albums on Atlantic. Songs melted into
one another, with only a handful of
pauses. It was more like a half-dozen
medleys instead of a cache of individ-
ual songs. Drummer Dale Crov
played hard and fast (as usual, wearin
only briefs); bassist Mark Deutrom was
accurate under his trademark cowboy
hat; and Osborne was loud and enjoy-
able under his frenzied hair.
So what's in the near future for the
Melvins? "We're doing a release that's
(the 12) singles we put out in '96 -
thatll be out in August. It'll be two CDs
because it's more than 90 minutes of
music, for a relatively cheap price -*
we're only going to make profit off it as
if we were selling one CD. So all we're
adding to the price is the manufacturing
of the second one. Our royalty rate will
stay the same as if we sold a single CD"
The Melvins aren't getting rich off
their fans. How indie of them. But
Osborne has this final philosophy to get
him through the night. "As long as you
don't have expensive drug habits or
something like that you can survive off
a rock and roll band. It's good." 0
S A 1A
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