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July 14, 2008 - Image 11

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2008-07-14

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Monday, July 14, 2008
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com


Don't 'Meet Dave'
"Meet Dave "
20th Century Fox
Someday, Eddie Murphy could
be grand again.
At the very least, he could
always go back to subversive
stand-up comedy and make peo-
ple actually laugh. Mr. T and ice
cream man jokes could suffice. He
could stop pandering to 7-year-
olds ("Norbit," "Haunted Man-
sion") and star in another R-rated
"Beverly Hills Cop" sequel, pro-
viding he snags a decent direc-
tor. Eddie might even someday
get nominated for another Oscar
("Dreamgirls") and really deserve
one last shot at greatness, because
we've all seen Eddie in his prime.
But alas, today is not that day.
Today is yet another chapter in
the sad decline of the once-gifted
Murphy. Today, we "Meet Dave."
Not that anyone cares, but
Murphy is an extraterrestrial
traveling to Earth in a spaceship
that just happens to be shaped
like, urm, uh... Eddie Murphy.
Rated PG for, among other things,
bawdy and suggestive humor,
"Dave" is yet another youth-seek-
ing poop-joke-filled movie. It may
seem clever to see the obscure
humor of a spaceship disguised as
a human who poops money or gets
hit in the head with a baseball.
But a lame joke is a lame joke,
no matter how it's disguised.
Nas delivers
powerful, mature
Def Jam Records
on the cover of his latest LP,
Nas stands with a giant "N"
etched on his back from whip
scars. The prodding of Uni-
versal and many of: the major
retailers may have forced him
to change the original title of
this album, but there's no doubt
what that letter really stands
for. With the much-maligned
album released, months of hype
and controversy are finally put

into perspective.
Ultimately, Nas's latest, self-
titled release is the culmination
of the skilled social commentary
that has appeared - sporadically
at first and more prominently as
he got older - throughout the
artist's career. Gone is the 20-
year-old who sawthe world as his,
and in his place stands a veteran
emcee troubled by its many prob-
lems. What's changed the most,
though, is Nas's scope; he used to
rap about the neighborhood, but
now he raps about America.
This vision is driven forward
by the record's beats. Nervous and
determined, frantic and angry,
they provide a fitting backdrop
to Nas's politically-charged lyr-
ics without ever overshadowing
them. Instead, the album's flaws
are his usual ones: sequencing
and the occasional lack of focus.
When the album hits the mark,
however, his passions and verbal
dexterity merge to create one of
the most concentrated records
of his career; it's what not only
makes this release so compelling
but also confirms Nas's relevance
well into his 30s.
3-D 'Journey' stale
but dazzling
"Journey to the Center of the
New Line Cinema

"Journey to the Center of the
Earth" features a stale, predict-
able story built around annoying-
ly cartoonish characters. Yet it's
an absolute blast to watch and will
engage audiences like only ahand-
ful of films can. Why? Because it's
screening in 3-D. It's a blatant
gimmick, but there's no deny-
ing it: 3-D is downright magic.
Brendan Fraser ("The Mummy
Returns") plays Trevor, a scien-
tist whose brother, Max, disap-
peared while tracking strange
geological activity in Iceland.
When Trevor finds his brother's
old copy of the Jules Verne clas-
sic that gives the film its name,
he and his 13-year-old nephew,
Sean (Josh Hutcherson, "Bridge
to Terebithia"), head to Iceland.
There they have the usual
adventures: They meet a hot local
mountain guide with a mysteri-
ous past, explore caves with inad-
equate equipment and ultimately
discover a hidden path that takes
them to the center of the Earth.
In a typical film, when you throw
in dinosaurs and carnivorous
plants, it becomes just anoth-
er overdone adventure movie
- but a typical film isn't in 3-D.
Those funky 3-D glasses
(which theaters are passing out at
a $2 premium) can really make a
movie fun. There's a certain level
of closeness and affability that
emerges automatically from see-
ing a more lifelike picture. The
characters may be unoriginal,
but "Journey to the Center of the
Earth" becomes a more engaging
experience because of its effects
As "Journey to the Center of
the Earth" demonstrates, 3-D
is clearly enough to make a ter-
rible film OK. I just wonder if it
can also make a good film great.

From Page 9
literary world, can be dramatical-
ly rich and ambitiously structured
- Christopher Nolan's "Batman
Begins" is a perfect example. But
"Hellboy II," like its predecessor,
seems satisfied in letting its visu-
als take over. The dramatic arc of
the film ("Liz is pregnant! Will
Hellboy approve?") was already
tired when "Shrek 3" did the
same thing a year ago. A subplot
in which- Abe falls in love with
the fugitive princess is a tad more
interesting, but doesn't quite milk
the potential for all it's worth. And
note how an early conflict involv-

ing the relationship between Hell-
boy and his boss, played by Jeffrey
Tambor (TV's "Arrested Develop-
ment"), is completely discarded by
the film's end.
I don't want to suck the fun
out of this undeniably boister-
ous, rewarding film. "Hellboy II"
is absolutely worth seeing and
surely deserving of any praise it
receives. But it's a shame del Toro
couldn't bring the same jubilant
mix of emotion and whimsy he
did to his Spanish-language films.
"Hellboy II" is the work of a tal-
ented, thoughtfulfilmmaker going
through the motions - which
is not as much of an insult as it
sounds, frankly. It's just a shame
that, ultimately, that's all there
really is to say about it.

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