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July 24, 2006 - Image 10

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Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2006-07-24

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10 - The Michigan Daily - Monday, July 24, 2006

Toofew
'Ho use'1
By Jeremy Davidson
Editor in Chief
FILM REVIEW * nra
Release dates are all about timing.
Hence why it's confusing that "Monster
House" has been released in the middle
of July, rather than around Halloween,
the day on which the film takes place.
Its curious timing is only one aspect
of the movie's acute identity crisis. The
plot is just about as straightforward as it
gets. The entire 97 minutes can basically
be summed up in
the title: Three
kids are haunted Monster
by a house-turned- House
monster, and so At the Showcase
they attempt to and Quality 16
destroy it. Concep- Columbia
tually, the movie
has universal
appeal. After all, almost every neighbor-
hood has one house that's too spooky to
approach. But this is the only aspect of
the film that every member of the audi-
ence is able to appreciate.
Rookie director Gil Kenan's failure
to capitalize on this premise epitomizes
the lack of creativity behind the proj-
ect. As a result, the film is left with an
ambiguous audience.
For a kids' movie, "Monster House"
is too violent and too scary. Within the
opening five minutes, Nebbercracker

A tale of two comps

By Lloyd Cargo
Daily Arts Writer

The Postal Service. A
tributor finds a way t
already diverse songs
into jazz, folk and hip
on all counts.

"Damn, dude, a second mortgage won
(Steve Buscemi, "Fargo"), the owner
of the house in question, seems to die
of a sudden heart attack triggered by
the film's young protagonist DJ, voiced
by Mitchel Musso in his screen debut.
(That Nebbercracker is later revived
was of little consolation to the little girl
who left the theater in tears.) The house
itself turns out to be possessed by Neb-
bercracker's dead wife, Constance the
Giantess, who was killed in a freak acci-
dent while Nebbercracker was building
his house. One of the house's victims,
Bones (Jason Lee, Vanilla Sky), stum-
bles onto the front lawn of the house in a
drunken stupor. Who did Kenan have in
mind when he let these sequences into
the opening 10 minutes of the film? Was
he trying to coax the adults in the audi-
ence into paying attention to the film?
Pixar has had a lot of success among
viewers of all ages. Perhaps Kenan was
aiming for something similar. But the

The concept of a compilation of b- Feist describes M
sides and outtakes filling in a gap between "Mushaboom" in the Ii
anticipated releases crunchy Saskatchew
is ages old in rck eist Berlin version and she
music. Sometimes up a pretentious staten
they're more suc- Open Season when Stevens titles a
cessful than oth- Interscope Girls Are Visited In t
ers - to use some Dargarius and his Squ
classic examples, lent Butterflies" you co
see The Rolling SUfjan and wonder how in the
Stones's Flow- Stvns get through 50 states w
ers, The Beatles's songs about each one.
Hey Jude or Elvis The Avalanche Illinois was great, ri
Costello's Taking Asthmatic Kitty a rare five star rating ft
Courtesy of Columbia Liberties. Some are the only real criticism
it help that grill." complete abomi- one else involved its
films frequent use of bathroom humor nations, like The Doors's Weird Scenes conceived as a double
doesn't make up for the frightening first Inside the Goldmine. The difference lies cut to a still-really-lot
15 minutes among young viewers, and in whether or not the album has anything understand that the le
only drives away the other half of the new to say about the artist. No one needs off for a reason. They
audience who probably wasn't too inter- an entire album of Doors outtakes to know their own right, justY
ested in the first place. they were a noodling, amateur faux-blues have any sort of impa
The film's cast is another indication band with a complete joke of a lead singer. The Avalanche came
that Kenan was having a tough time And unfortunately for Sufjan Stevens, no wouldn't have been su
deciding on an audience. Protago- one needs an entire album of songs that expectations for Steve
nists range from Maggie Gyllenhaal, sound exactly like the songs on Illinois might sound harsh, b
Buscemi, Lee and indie-film hero Jon - only a little bit worse. about Illinois, no matt
Heder of "Napoleon Dynamite" to On the other side of the fence are is pretty boring.
Musso, who's made a small run with albums thatcollectquality materialshow- Open Season is nc
the Disney Channel. ing a different side of the artist in ques- either, but it shows Fei
It's not all bad, though. The film tion. In that vein is Leslie Feist's Open musicianand the result
lashes out in so many directions there Season - an album similar to Taking fresh. Her next album,
is truly something everyone can appre- Liberties or Flowers in that they display should be great. Sufjan
ciate, whether it's Chowder's (Sam competent genre explorations from rap- now has to prove that
Lerner, "Envy") screwball personal- idly evolving artists. The follow-up to her won't plateau, and that
ity, Heder's classic Dynamite voice, or excellent 2004 debut, Let it Die, Open ferent sentiment with h
Buscemi's over-the-top shrieking. As Season is a series of remixes and col-
far as expectations go, forget it. This laborations from Feist's talented friends Open Season: ***I
film deserves none. like Apostle of Hustle, Jane Berkin and The Avalanche: **

Almost every con-
o reimagine Feist's
. The album dives
hop and succeeds
locky's remix of
ner notes as "snow-
&an-meets-Sun-Ra-
e can actually back
ment like that. But
song "The Vivian
he Night by Saint
padron of Benevo-
an't help but groan
world he's going to
hen he's writing 50
ightfully garnering
rom the Daily. And
levied on it by any-
length. Originally
album and wisely
ng single disc, you
eft-overs were left
y aren't terrible in
way too similar to
ct after Illinois. If
before Illinois, it
ch a let down, but
ns are sky high. It
but another album
ter how well done,
o grand statement
ist is evolving as a
s sound undeniably
almost completed,
, on the other hand,
his creative ascent
he can offer a dif-
is next state.

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