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April 16, 1991 - Image 5

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1991-04-16

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ARTS
Tuesday, April 16,_1991

The Michigan Daily
More i
Seagal, marked
above the law, s
Out For Justice
dir. John Flynn
by Mark Binelli
A snippet of dialogue from
ponytailed killing machine
Steven Seagal's latest reac-
tionary blood-fest, Out For
Justice:
HEAD NARCOTICS DET-
ECTIVE: "Be careful, will you."
He hands Seagal's character, the
offensively-named renegade cop
Gino Felino, an unmarked shotgun.
GINO (deadpan): "Yeah. You
know me."
The plot:
Gino's cop buddy gets blown
away - in front of his wife and
kids!! - by obese psychotic gang-
ster Richie Madano (William
Forsythe, last seen as Flattop in
Dick Tracy), who walks the streets
of New York City waving around
his pistol and smoking crack and
shooting women and people in
wheelchairs and raising the legiti-
mate question, "Why doesn't some-
body waste this asshole?" Enter
Steven Seagal.
The police brutality:
The film opens with Seagal's
Gino provoking a pimp to violence
and then smashing him through a car
windshield. Then his buddy gets
popped. Then he tails the bad guys to
a butcher shop, where he tacks one
guy's hand to the wall with a meat

njustice
for death and
still hard to kill
cleaver and stabs another guy with a
butcher knife and breaks another
guy's arm and hits another guy over
the head with a salami. Seriously.
Then he goes to a bar where Richie's
brother works and calls Richie a
"chicken shit, fuck, pussy asshole."
Then he beats everybody up. Then
there is a montage of Gino searching
for Richie. Then a gangster says
(about Richie), "He's killin' people
like it was free." Then Gino finally
finds Richie and beats him to a
bloody pulp and, for the poetic coup
de grace, he stabs him in the fore-
head with a corkscrew.
Moral issues raised by the film:
At least in Clint Eastwood's
films, the sergeantswouldalways
say, "Harry, if you shoot one more
kid for lookin' at you funny, you're
gonna get suspended, ya hear me?"
Seagal, on the other hand, is given an
open license by his peers in blue to
"take out the garbage." I'm sure
that guy from the LAPD's
Wackiest Home Videos would find
that tagline really amusing.
The sub-plot:
Gino is driving down the street
when this guy throws a sack out of
his car. Gino slams on his brakes and
picks it up and, morally affronted,
finds a dog inside. He names it
Courago and says, "Please God, let
me run into this guy again." At the
end of the film, Gino does meet up
with the man again, who is middle-
aged and overweight, but he chal-
lenges Gino to a fight anyway. Gino

Page 5
\S'S*Leiew.

'Greg! Where
are my
blueprints!'
Part of the reason for the success
of Love Letters throughout the
United States is the strength of its
script. A.R. Gurney's dialogue is
perfect - the language speaks for
itself, literally. It's not a play in
the traditional style; there are only
two characters: an actor (Andy
Ladd) and an actress (Melissa
Gardner) sitting side by side reading
the letters that mark their relation-
ship from the second grade until
late middle age.
The play deals specifically with
the dying lifestyle of strict
boarding schools and crusty East
Coast WASP families. "How did it
manage to produce both you and
me?" asked Melissa. "A stalwart
upright servant of the people, and a
boozed-out, cynical, lascivious old

next to Tammy Grimes and read his
set of love notes to his childhood
best friend and eventual lover, his
character, his inflections and ,his
voice in general was completely
Andy. Only once, when Andy was
mocking his father, was I reminded
of the television character.
But while Reed was completely
Andy, Grimes was not completely
Melissa. At times her character was
right on target, especially when
Melissa wrote Andy to tell him
that if he did not stop sending
stuffy form letters, she'd "moon
the whole fucking family" at a
formal dinner. But Melissa's char-
acter calls for strength, fire and bit-
ing sarcasm, which Grimes lacked in
her reading. She did not seem to be as
familiar with the script as Reed, and
while the unfamiliarity could have
added a newness to the reading, it in-
stead pushed Grimes half a step be-
hind in cues and character.

"Say it!" "No!" "Say it!M "NO! Aaargh! All right, all right! You didn't have
asthma as a kid! You didn't grow up in Lansing! You were a real tough
guy! You grew up on the streets and joined the CIA! I take back
everything else I said!" "That's better, dad. I knew you'd come around."

kicks him in the groin and then,
while he is writhing on the ground,
Courago urinates on him.
The ego:
Spy magazine reported a month
or two ago that Seagal insisted on
inserting several self-penned dra-
matic monologues into the script
during the filming, with the writer
of the article implying that Seagal's
inexplicable desire to be taken seri-
ously would only end up distancing
him from his audience. The final
word? Well, the only really really

awful bit that I could definitely at-
tribute to Seagal was a metaphor
comparing God to a puppeteer, but
that was wedged in between Steve
knocking out somebody's teeth with
a pool ball wrapped up in a handker-
chief and Steve blasting off some-
body's leg from the knee down with
his shotgun, so I don't think he has
anything to worry about.
But c'mon, isn't the movie
just plain entertaining?:
No.
OUT FOR JUSTICE is being shown
at Showcase.

I thought that separating Andy Ladd and Mike
Brady would be almost impossible. I was
wrong. Reed did an exceptional job in Love
Letters.

broad." The play is touring right
now with at least 20 different casts,
and given the strength of the script,
it will be a success regardless of
who plays Andy and Melissa.
The greatest fear I had walking
into the Michigan Theater to see
Love Letters this Saturday was that
the character of Andy would seem
too familiar to me. As a product of
daytime reruns, I am extremely fa-
miliar with Robert Reed's "Mr.
Brady" voice, and I thought that
separating Andy Ladd and Mike
Brady would be almost impossible.
I was wrong. Reed did an excep-
tional job in Love Letters. As he sat

Statements that should have been
filled with emotion were a little
flat, especially at the beginning of
letters. Often what pulled the audi-
ence into Grimes' monologues was
not her reading, but Reed's reaction
to her words. She also had a ten-
dency to mumble, a problem for the
audience members sitting in the bal-
cony. Overall her performance was
good but not great, a surprise for the
Tony award-winning actress, but I
heard that this was her first per-
formance of Love Letters. I have no
doubts that the minor glitches will
be cured by the next show.
- Mary Beth Barber

Soviets name diverse film influences

by Mike Kuniavsky
The following is the second part of
an interview with Piotr Pospelov
and Igor Alienikov, two of the
founders of the most recent Soviet
underground film movement, the
"parallel cinema." The first part of
the interview concentrated on
Pospelov's background and on the
current independent filmmaking sit-
uation in the Soviet Union. It turns
out that, contrary to what one would
assume, the state of filmmaking
there is much as it is here, with fi-
nancial considerations outweighing
ideological ones. Also surprising is
the fact that, in many ways, it's eas-
ier for the Soviets to make the films
they want to make than it is for their
American counterparts.
The filmmakers and their en-
tourage (of three administrative
types) were guests of the Ann Arbor
Film Festival and the University
Program in Film and Video Studies
from March 15th through March
25th. This interview was conducted
at Drake's on March 23rd.

standard question, but what or who
influences you in your film?
Igor Alienikov: One of my
biggest influences was (Andrei)
Tarkovsky. I had always been pretty
apathetic about film, but then I saw
this Tarkovsky film and it inspired
me to try andmake some of my own.
For a while...
MK: Which film?
IA: Stalker.
Piotr Pospelov: That's the same
film that got me interested in
film...
IA: Anyway, later I became in-
terested in German film of the sev-
enties and eighties...
MK: Fassbinder?
IA: Fassbinder, Wenders. Then I
moved on to (Jean-Luc) Godard
sometime around nineteen-eighty-
six, when more diverse foreign
films started appearing. Before then
it was virtually impossible to see
many foreign films. A couple of
years ago I started watching German
and Soviet silent movies from the
twenties and thirties.
We digress to the recent Alan
Parker restrospective in Moscow
and how many American films have -
been shown in the Soviet Union re-
cently. After my comment about
films playing there on as many
screens as here, Piotr says...

true in Moscow and Leningrad,
where we have the big festivals. In
smaller towns it's not at all the
case. They almost never get large
numbers of Western films there.
This is why the parallel cinema de-
veloped almost exclusively in the
two capitals. Now there is some of
it springing up in other towns.
At the nineteen-eighty-nine
Leningrad CineFantomFest ,there
was something like fifty
filmmakers from all over the
country. This year there's going to
be another CineFantomFest and we
expect roughly seventy to show up.
It's really interesting to see the
film styles in the provinces. The
Baltics have one style, Byelorussia
has a different one. So far, though,
we haven't seen anything from the
Far East or from the Steppes.
I also wanted to add something
regarding my influences. I like a lot
of art, but much of what I like has
no direct influence on what I do. For
instance, I love Hollywood films of
the thirties and forties, the Fred
Astaire films, John Ford's classic
films, (William) Wyler. I was also
very influences by other art forms:

poetry, painting, music.
Because of my musical training, I
would say that modern music has
influenced my films as much as
anything else, including other films.
In a large part, it was modern
American music that influenced me:
John Cage, Steve Reich, Morgan
Feldman are some of my favorite
composers. In general, I think that
parallel cinema doesn't fit into the
standard definition of film, but is a
part of the spectrum of modern art
in general. See SOVIETS, Page 8
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