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May 05, 2003 - Image 9

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2003-05-05

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ATe Msidg


Courtesy of Saddle Creek
I'm sad.
Baliad of Bight Eyes

Hey bub, I'm like Elvis ... but with claws!

By Niamh Slevin
Daily Arts Writer

By Graham Kelly
Daily Arts Writer
Bright Eyes is the brainchild of
Conor Oberst, a catholic prep-
school kid from Omaha, Neb. At
13 Oberst had already recorded his
first independent album on a four-
track. By 14, he had formed Com-
mander Venus with some buddies
(one of them
Tim Kasher, Bright Eyes
later to go on Wednesdaa9p.m.
and form Atdst.dAndrw'sdHall
another suc- ar anel
cessful Omaha
band, Cursive) releasing two
albums under that name.
During the Commander Venus
years, Oberst continued to write
songs on his own, and after the
release of the second album,
Oberst decided to focus more on
his own musical roots and pas-
sions: acoustic-based songs. He
shied away from the heavy guitars
of his old project and formed a
new band, Bright Eyes, under

which he could release a collec-
tion of twenty songs he had writ-
ten during the previous years.
What is now an important label
in the indie-rock circle, Saddle
Creek, put out the first Bright
Eyes album, Letting Off the Hap-
piness, in 1998. After a frustrating
attempt to keep a consistent circle
of band members, Oberst decided
to make Bright Eyes a name for
his personal songs and allow a
rotating group of players to hit the
road with him and record albums.
But it wasn't until 2000 and the
release of the masterpiece Fevers
and Mirrors that Oberst's true
potential became apparent. His
frighteningly intense, personal lyrics
and knack for odd instrumentation
caught the attention of hoards of
college students who found Oberst's
storytelling addictive.
In 2002 the latest Bright Eyes
LP, Lifted or The Story is in the
Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground,
was released with the same ingen-
ious, autobiographical songs but
bathed in a slew of new styles.
See BRIGHT EYES, Page 11

"Have you tried ... well ... not
being a mutant?" Such simple mother-
ly advice may seem like mere comic
relief, but these words actually sum up
the premise for the newest X-Men
brawl quite well.
Paired against X2: X-Men
their arch-neme- United
sis and the presi-
dent of the free At16dstoecuasety
world, the coali- 20th Century Fox
tion of kick-ass
characters fight to keep their very race
alive in this summer's first blockbuster
action flick.
As expected, "X2: X-Men United"
picks up where its predecessor left off,
with the maniacal Magneto (Ian McK-
ellen) trapped in his bubble prison,
Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) struggling
to discover the truth of his past and little
Rogue (Anna Paquin) still trying to get
some sugar from the boys. Even the
mutated senator from the preceding sto-
ryline carries over as a reformed advo-
cate for mutant rights.
But Magneto's prophecy of an
impending mutant war rings true in the
sequel, as an assassination attempt on
the president provokes a mutant annihi-
lation campaign in the White House.

Military general William Stryker (Brian
Cox) arranges a midnight raid on
Xavier's School for the Gifted, and the
X-Men are pitted against the most dan-
gerous foe yet: the Professor.
With the introduction of the elusive
teleporter Nightcrawler (Alan Cum-
ming) and some crowd-pleasing battle
scenes, the special effects in 'X2' far
surpass those of the first movie. The
German freak show artist snakes his
way into any space, dodging a tirade
of bullets and leaving only a smoky
blue trail in his wake. His strange
physical appearance leaves the audi-
ence wanting to know more about his
fixation with sin and faith, isolation
and acceptance.
Jean Grey (Famke Janssen) and
Storm (Halle Berry) have their shining
moments too. Here, they capture their
prey with a simple flick of the wrist and
assume control of the X-Men jet,
maneuvering around government fight-
er planes as their male counterparts
stumble around in the back. In fact, the
females of the species reignssupreme in
most cases in terms of skill and overall
action. Each of the men is easily manip-
ulated with mind tricks, illusions and
fantasies galore, but the women refrain
from such weakness. While the men
sometimes shy away from the danger
(ahem ... Iceman) or manage to get
themselves pinned into unpleasant situ-
ations, the women continue to hold their

MAY 5, 2003
own on land and off.
Sadly, the newly added character of
Oeathstrike (Kelly Hu), Stryker's pet
project and the updated, female ver-
sion of Wolverine, receives very little
of the spotlight. She has no lines to
speak of and is rarely seen until her
short, yet intense hrawl with her coun-
terpart, which is, hy far, one of the
movie's heat. For such an intriguing
addition to the plot, her role is disap-
pointingly understated.
In order to save the Professor and the
world at large, the X-Men must join
forces with their previous enemies,
Magneto and Mystique, a pairng which
allows for an interesting tension
hetween the two sides. Tine, the end
result is predictahie from the heginning,
hut the comhination increases the
humor and appeal inherent in the film.
Though the reintroduction to the
characters is slightly longer than
expected (It takes almost a full hour to
reach any decent fight scenes), X2
maintains the halance hetween action
and plot without really overemphasiz-
ing either aspect. Surprisingly, the
movie manages to include a special
wist to its ending, hreaking the trdi-
lion and monotony of many predictabie
superhero stories. In what's shaping up
to he yet another summer of sequels,
X2 provides hope to its moviegoers that
the tend will result in comparahly sat-
isfying follow-ups.

slumber parties have never been this fun!
xxx film legend
Ron Jeremy
May 15

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