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May 05, 2008 - Image 9

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2008-05-05

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Monday, May 5, 2008
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

9

With help,
Madge delivers
By SASHA RESENDE brass sound effects over
Daily Arts Writer Timbaland's pulsating beats
add to this effect, creating a
Madge isn't ready to give song you can shake your ass
up her rightly-earned Queen to on a night out at Rick's
of Pop crown - or the uber- or on an otherwise boring
sexualized superstar image drive to work. The song is
that propelled her to fame. a happy medium between
This is plainly evident on Madge's trepid experimen-
the cover of Hard Candy, the tations with urban beats
11th studio and her desire to stay true
album of to her pop-queen roots.
her two- Her reported second
and-a-half Madonna single, "Give It 2 Me," stays
decade- true to the classic dance
long career, Hard Candy beats that made her a star.
which fea- Warner Brothers Over a classic, semi-disco
tures the wavelength, Madonna plays
mother of up her overtly sexual image
three straddling for the - as if it wasn't apparent
camera with a classic come- enough in the track's title
hither look. While Madon- - singing that she's "Got
na's propensity for pushing no boundaries and no lim-
boundaries - both sexual its / If there's excitement,
and cultural put me in it /
W - remains If it's against
entrenched, M adonna's the law, arrest
her latest me / If you
endeavor latest turns up can handle
proves that it, undress
her beats are the heat me." How-
more mallea- ever, the song
ble. Enlisting unsuccess-
the help of the fully attempts
current hip-hop demigods- to visit the contemporary
namely 'Timbaland, Justin music realm when the sing-
Timberlake, Kanye West er robotically tells her lis-
and Pharrell Williams-she teners to "get stupid." The
produces an album with a only person who sounds
slick urban sensibility that stupid is the 49-year-old
centers on her pop-dance performer, who resembles
roots. Although Hard Candy an almost eager-to-please
proves Madonna's ability mother reverberating the
to adopt a modern feel, the latest "hip" lingo in order to
record fails to distinguish appeal to her increasingly
the pop icon from the other younger audience.
tart-stars currently gyrat- One of the album's argu-
ing their way through Top ably better tracks is "Heart-
40 radio. beat," a Neptunes-produced
By including a variety of homage to the beats of the
movers and shakers on her '80s. The song plays as a
new album, Hard Candy is mishmash of Cyndi Lauper-
a decidedly un-Madonna esque tunes, occasionally
record. The disc's first sin- sliced with the pulsating,
gle, the overplayed "4 Min- heartbeat-like beat that
utes," features Madonna in gives the song its title. The
a supporting role to Tim- song returns to the contem-
baland's tight bass beats porary in its bridge when
and Timberlake's slick 'n' Madge suggestively articu-
smoothlines. The songplays lates how her "booty get
as a mix between marching down like," clearly attempt-
band fanfare and late-night ing to pull off her best Gwen
clubbing shenanigans. The See CANDY, Page 10

"Talk to the hand."
A hero to cheer for

New superhero
proves to be more than
just another masked
crusader
By ANDREW LAPIN
Daily Arts Writer
As a comic-book superhero, Iron
Man is underwhelm-
ing. He's an awkward*
mishmash of Batman's
technological smarts Iron Man
and Superman's near-
total invulnerabil- At Quality16
ity and flight powers, and Showcase
with no distinguishing Paramount
features except for the
ability to blow stuff up. This is what
makes the "Iron Man" movie such a
pleasant surprise: Rather than being a
simple rehash of every other superhero
movie, it proves that there can be more
to the genre than explosions and neon-
colored costumes (although both are
here in full force as well).
Much of the credit should be given
to the great Robert Downey, Jr.
("Zodiac"), who plays the hero Tony
Stark with biting wit and sarcasm.

He proves that it's not necessary for
every non-costumed alter ego to be
so brooding and serious all the time
(cough cough, Bruce Wayne). Stark is
an incredibly wealthy weapons dealer
who can invent different bombs and
rockets in no time flat, but prefers to
spend his days driving fancy cars and
hooking up with random women in
his Malibu mansion. He's a believable
playboy in a field dominated by over-
the-top dramatic superheroes.
As the film opens, Stark is cruis-
ing through Afghanistan with the US
Army, having just given them a pre-
sentation on his latest weapon. In a
twisted bit of irony, though, terrorists
are able to take out his escorts by using
his own weapons against him. Cap-
tured by a group of Arabian war nuts,
he is forced to build them a destruc-
tive weapon of their own. Instead, he
turns the tables and creates a robotic
suit outfitted with jetpacks and rocket
launchers that he uses to escape their
confines. When he returns to the Unit-
ed States, he perfects the suit's design
and decides to only use its powers for
good.
There are actually very little scenes
in the movie of Iron Man fighting
crime and doing normal superhero
things. Director Jon Favreau ("Elf")
takes a different approach by making

the film much more character-driven,
focusing on the interactions between
Stark and his cohorts. The excellent
supporting cast includes Terrence
Howard ("Hustle & Flow") as Stark's
close friend and pilot, Gwenyth Pal-
trow ("Running With Scissors") as his
assistant and possible love interest and
Jeff Bridges ("Surf's Up") as a bullish
fellow executive at Stark Industries.
Favreau makes a risky decision by
relying heavily on improvisation for
most of the dialogue scenes, but the
effect usually works and allows the
movie to break away from the rigid
constraints of special effects shots.
Like a diamond, Iron Man is appar-
ently so powerful that he can only
be damaged by another, larger Iron
Man. Unfortunately, the film can't
claim to be quite as flawless. Downey
struggles when he's asked to play any
emotion other than quirky, and the
pseudo-romance scenes between him
and Paltrow tend to fall flat. The vil-
lains in this film are too generic to
be memorable, and their actions are
easily predicted, ruining much of the
suspense. But does any of that really
matter when the rest of the film is so
much fun? Enjoy "Iron Man" for what
it is: a few big explosions followed by a
gripping dissection of the man behind
the iron mask.

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