Tuesday, June 1, 2010
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
An American in Cannes 'Sands' makes rocky
and by C
it was re:
worthy Michigan experience in a recent interview with
the Daily. -
a stars 'U' senior "I got to meet James Franco," Sloma
By JENNIFER XU Directed by Wayne State Univer-
Daily Arts Writer sity graduate David Robert Mitchell,
"Sleepover" tracks the intersecting
enior Claire Sloma is on her lives of four Metro Detroit adolescents
aking it big. for one dreamy summer night, mapping
ummers ago, she wrapped up out the experiences, insecurities and
on her first feature film "The anxieties of growing up.
f the American Sleepover." "It's usually compared to 'Ameri-
layed 14-year-old Maggie, a can Graffiti' and a modern-day John
ited teenager entering her Hughes with more dialogue," Sloma
n year of high school. said. "The film isn't plot-driven and
larch, "Sleepover" went on to focuses more on the real teenage expe-
ves at the SXSW Film Festival, rience."
p a Special Jury Prize for Best "It's not something you would see in
e. There, Sloma was lauded by a huge party movie," she added. "The
ywood Reporter as a modern- director wanted to focus on that inno-
y Ringwald - "an enchanting cence of being a teenager thatgets over-
o dazzles in all the right places" looked a lot. When you're a teenager,
NN as "the standout in a large you get so angsty - you just want to
cast" in a "star-making per- grow up and you want to kind of skip
e." that part of your life. The film reminds
things like 'Pretty in Pink' you of what it is to be like at that age."
een Candles,' which was why One of the film's leads, Sloma's char-
ally cool when The Hollywood acter wants to experience a little more
said that (comparison to Ring- of life before entering school. Another
ecause I was like, awesome. I part of the storyline, filmed on location,
ly Ringwald," Sloma said. follows two twins attending freshman
en days ago, Sloma flew over orientation at the University of Michi-
e for the International Crit- gan and features shots of Angell Hall
k at the Cannes Film Festival, and the IM Building.
Sleepover" made its interna- "Maggie is what some people would
emiere. The last American film call a 'layered character,' " Sloma said.
at Critics' Week was Miranda "She wants to embark on an adventure,
Ie and You and Everyone We but just like any teenage girl there's sit-
ve years prior. uations that she's very insecure about.
e all the press she has gotten, She wants to break away from being a
emained down-to-earth and kid and hang out with older kids and
ly ecstatic about her Cannes ditch a sleepover to go to a party, that
kind of thing."
Sloma found out about the audition
the summer after her freshman year at
H AVE the University, after reading about it in
YOU the Royal Oak community newspaper.
HEARD Prior to "Sleepover," she had only had
THE experience in theater, participating in
several RC Players productions.
"Going into high school ... I definitely
had a lot of upperclassmen friends," she
said. "I identified with (Maggie) on that
level of wanting to be accepted. Having
to relive that moment through a char-
acter in a film was kind of interesting.
The film was shot completely in the
Metro Detroit area, with several scenes
taking place in the cities of Clawson,
Madison Heights, Ann Arbor, Tay-
lor, Farmington Hills and downtown
Sloma describes several incidents
where cars would stop and watch the
cast while they were filming.
"We filmed this right before Michi-
gan did the whole tax break thing, so
this was before it became normal for
films to be filmed in Michigan," Sloma
"There are just scenes where we're
just riding our bikes around the neigh-
borhood and David (Mitchell) really
gave that feeling of riding your bike in
the summer when you're a kid - you
know, before it got all uncool to ride
your bike. He brought the essence of
Metro Detroit into it completely."
The producers of this Detroit-cen-
tric film are currently trying to set up
a screening in Michigan this summer.
"Sleepover" already has a French dis-
tributor, but it is still under negotiations
to find one in the U.S.
Though a Michigan native, Sloma has
been studying German at the University
of Freiburg for the past year and plans
to graduate from the University this
"I want my degree," she said. "I've
worked really hard to get into U of M
and being at U of M, and I don't want to
throw it all away just because this film
is doing well. But once I get my degree
and have a backup plan, once the oppor-
tunity to act presents itself, I'm going to
transition to film
sion in t
By BEN VERDI Gemma Arterton ("Quantum of
Daily Arts Writer Solace"). Ironically, Gyllenhaal
seems appropriately castfor some of
now on, movies that end these scenes toward the beginning,
none-of-this-really-hap- because his character is supposed to
twist, start out completely uninterested in
ick" or * k the attractive princess with whom
sic "It's he has been banished from the
nderful PfllCe Of kingdom. Frankly, it seems harder
should Pers. fThe for him to play a video-game level
"plot action stud than a man resisting the
ion" Sands of Tile sexual advances of a captured, basi-
er so At Quality16 and Rave cally naked princess.
people The dialogue and plot structure
what Disney are not that bad. They just seem
getting themselves into like they'd fit better in another
ey decide to watch. medium - and they actually do, as
ce of Persia: The Sands the "Prince of Persia" video game
finds yet another way to on which the movie is based is
rate this kind of ending, regarded very highly by players and
, it attempts to answer the critics alike. But what probably look
question: How many white like awesome effects and epic battle
an you cast in a movie about scenes in the video game turn into
ite people? little more than poorly-edited Par-
nly intelligent casting deci- kour videos of Gyllenhaal and com-
he film seems to be Sir Ben pany prancing through the streets
y ("Shutter Island") as a of a fictional Arab city.
corrupted member of the Persian
nobility and brother to the King
(who dies, ridiculously, from put-
ting on a poisoned cloak that causes
him to spontaneously combust). All
of the other actors look like they're
in this movie ironically, and speak
in nonsensical English accents that
make about as much sense as the
casting of Jake Gyllenhaal ("Broke-
back Mountain") as an intimidating,
overly masculine warlord.
As awkward as it is to see Gyl-
lenhaal try to play any kind of elite
warrior, swinging from rooftop to
rooftop, it is ten times more excru-
ciating to see his attempts at love
scenes with Tamina, the gorgeous
princess of Alamut, played by
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The crux of the plot is the search
for a mystical dagger that can turn
back time - which Gyllenhaal has in
his possession - thatthe evil Kings-
ley wants sothathe can alter history
to make himself king and Tamina
wants because, well, it belongs to
her. Thus, throughout the whole
movie viewers never stop asking:
"Why don't they justgo back in time
and kill Kingsley so that none of this
awful stuff has to happen?"
Spoiler: Be careful what you wish
for, because by the end of the film,
the writers must have realized that
glaring hole. Gyllenhaal uses the
dagger to travel back in time, kills
the bad guy and undoes every bit of
"plot" up to that point.
That said, it's probably the only
creative way they could have ended
this movie about destiny and lives
connected across "The Sands of
Time." And for what it's worth, the
point of this movie is the special
effects and fight scenes, and both are
awesome when they're explained
and you can actually tell what's
going on. It just seems that no mat-
ter how great or epic a video game is,
the movie version of the story always
feels more like sand inyour shorts.