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May 29, 2014 - Image 6

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w faThursday, May 29, 2014
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
'Mad Men' wraps up


Jon Hamm as Don Draper
Mid-season finale ties Cooper's final song and dance, but
we'll get to that later).
up some loose ends "Mad Men" has never been
butlooks to thefuture shy in emphasizing the parallels
between Don Draper and his pro-
By MADDIE THOMAS tegd Peggy, but in "Waterloo" the
Daily TV/New Media Editor baton is finally officially passed.
The war-like title easily could've
With a title like "Waterloo," signaled Don Draper's last hoorah
you'd have expected "Mad Men" (especially now that Peggy's offi-
's mid-season finale to be a grim cial rise to greatness is secure).
affair. A quick Google search (or Instead, Matt Weiner erred -
actual knowledge of history, I uncharacteristically - on the side
guess) could inform its meaning: of hopeful, further indicating that,
Napoleon's bat- shockingly enough, maybe Don's
tle at Waterloo, A- professional life isn't really what
and the loss of "Mad Men" is all about. And maybe
his political and Mad Men Don Draper isn't metaphorically
military power. Napoleon after all.
With that con- Season7A Our real fallen hero is none
text, you come in Finale other than the late, great, Bert
expecting a war, AMC Cooper, whose death is both a real-
a turning point ity check for Roger and a poignant
and a fallen her Sndaysa0p.m. choice for an episode all about
"Waterloo" does giant leaps into the future. The
have all three, but moon landing is a definitive turn-
certainly not in ing point in this final season (and,
the way you would've guessed. of course, in real U.S. history) and
Much like the season's first epi- as "Mad Men" continues to plunge
sode, "Waterloo" opened with a towardthe 70's, itmakes sense that
countdown. As predicted in The the oldest partner, who is a relic
Michigan Daily's weekly "Mad from another era in his own right,
Men" recaps the moon landing gets left behind. Butthe dark cloud
was the centerpiece of this epi- of death cast over this episode
sode, which was packed with big was soft-shoed away by a charm-
plot points and even bigger power ing song-and-dance routine from
plays. Most notable was Peggy's Robert Morse in "Waterloo"'s final
own giant leap - her stunning moments, leavingus with asmiling
Burger Chef pitch will go down reminder that "the best things in
in history as one of "Mad Men" 's life are free."
greatest scenes (along with Bert The death of a partner and a

shake-up in the agency's owner-
ship are both plot points that have
been explored previously in "Mad
Men" 's seven seasons, just seen
through a new lens. With these
decisions, Weiner subconsciously
reminds us of the "Mad Men" of
days past before sending us hur-
tling off toward a new frontier. Re-
watchingthe pilotepisode, "Smoke
Gets in Your Eyes," it's astonishing
how far the decade has taken these
characters. Peggy went from a
naive secretary to a high-powered
ad exec. The Don Draper who was
a pathological liar and woman-
izer has transformed into a humble
sage. Pete used to have a full head
of hair! "Mad Men" tricks us in
the way real time does: it goes so
slowly when you're in it, but seems
so fast when it's over.
The first half of "Mad Men" 's
final season wrapped up Don's
work dilemmas neatly and elegant-
ly, and when it returns for its final
run next year, there's nowhere to
go but deeper. Don will have to
face his personal downfalls head
on. Megan has moved on and Betty
now thinks of him as "an old, bad
boyfriend." Don needs tolearn who
he is without his work, because
as of now, without his work he's a
wreck. Before the elevator doors
close on Don Draper's story, he'll
either have to learnto adjust, or get
left behind trying, because that's
what this show is about: coming to
grips with change. (Also, sponta-
neous dance numbers.)

e real side
of 'Palo Alto
ByANDREWMCCLURE body and a narrow vernacular
DailyArts Writer while his prepubescent little sis-
ter is already experimenting with
For many, Palo Alto, the inter- stripper-height heels. Aren't we
national technology hub nestled all just fucked? In any case, April
in the hills of Northern Califor- and Teddy share a subtle desire to
nia, connotes glow positively in this superficial
little more than W abyss of hormones, slut-shame,
Zuckerberg-ized and existential confusion.
jargon: applica- PalO AltO The film wins many times over.
tions, virginal Its naturalistic dialogue (Fred:
coders, ideation, Tribeca Film "Fuck 'good.' Live a danger-
the new Wall Playing atMain ous life."), its quirks (April and
Street. It owns a Art Theater her coach's son throw on animal
distinctive atti- masks before watching a movie),
tude, one that and its of-the-moment feel. Har-
creates "benefit" for a select few mony Korine's "Spring Breakers"
while wearing wrinkled denim captured this millennial moment
to work. But this misses entirely well, but in a hedonistic context.
what 99.9% of Palo Alto residents, "Palo Alto" seeks this same mil-
teens and grown-ups alike, yearn lennial truth but by way of subur-
for, struggle with, and are com-
forted by. Rookie director Gia
Coppola takes what James Franco
started in his short story collec- Even California
tion and crafts a beautiful picture
in "Palo Alto" that asks the hard millionaires
questions about youth and adult-
hood - and how they're both have serious
equally fucked. p o 1m
High-schooler April (Emma pro
Roberts, "Adult World") is a hot
virgin adored by her wink-winky
varsity soccer coach (James
Franco, "This Is the End"). Her ban life devoid of any idealism.
virgin-ness is apparent in the During a bedroom sex scene,
way she, every day after practice, the lens focuses on the angelic
strips down to a light blouse and glass menagerie from a girl's
bra and fabricates dialogue with childhood instead of sweaty flesh.
boys (or her soccer coach). Her Millennials, spoiled and numbed
dysfunctional family doesn't help by technology, are so quick to
her anxiety. Her mom is a "cool "adopt" adulthood that they
mom", one that's dumb and fake- blindly enter worlds darker than
titted and fake-everything else. expected. Coppola reassures us,
Her stepdad (Val Kilmer, "Stand- adolescence nor adulthood is the
ing Up") smokes a lot of pot and final destination. In fact, being
rewrites April's English papers present might be your best bet.
that "need some work." Through The ace performances make
it all, April's affinity for a boy her the film a real treat. Franco is
own age never wanes. very creepy, Roberts's vulner-
Teddy (first-timer Jack Kilm- ability shines, both Kilmers
er), conversely, is not a virgin but emote compellingly stoic perso-
is challenged in other depart- nas and even up-and-comer Zoe
ments: discipline, getting high, Levin ("The Way Way Back")
and hanging out with his best evolves and matures wonderfully
friend-worst influence Fred (Nat throughout.
Wolff, "Admission"). Fred tries It's nice and comfy to think
"so hard to seem crazy," accord- that these multimillionaires out
ing to Teddy, yet manages to rope in Palo Alto have cute, cookie-
in Teddy whenever naughty shit cutter families, too. As the sage
happens. Akin to April, Teddy's says: more money, more prob-
divorcee mom has a store-bought lems.

Hugh Jackman as Wolverine
Refreshing update
of long-running
superhero series
DailyFilm Editor
It's difficult to believe the
"X-Men" film franchise is nearly
14 years old - that's a lot of time
to tell a lot of stories, and to make
a lot of poor sto-
ry-telling deci-
sions. In fact,
it seemed the &
franchise was X e
taking its last Days of
creative breaths Future Past
with "X-Men:
First Class." But At Rave and
"X-Men: Days of Quality16
Future Past" is a
testament to the 20th Century Fox
tenaciousness of
comic-book cre-
ativity, as it delivers an exciting
yet intimate and engaging super-
hero flick.
The task at hand is a great one as
"Future Past" serves both as sequel,
prequel and time-travel reset but-
ton. Credit is due to returning
director Bryan Singer ("Jack the
Giant Slayer") and writer Simon
Kinberg ("Sherlock Holmes") for
taking an otherwise elusive plot
and laying it out on screen to nearly
perfect accord.
The film opens with a glimpse
of the future, where Terminator-
like Sentinels patrol the world to
hunt down mutants and humans
with a chance of passing on mutant

genes. The remaining X-Men (some
from movies past, others undoubt-
edly to be seen in movies to come)
fight a losing war for survival. In
a last ditched effort to alter their
present, they send the conscious-
ness of Wolverine (Hugh Jackman,
"The Wolverine") into the body of
his younger self in a Vietnam War-
weary America.
After this brief introduction with
some of your favorite X-Men and a
display of superhero prowess that
would make The Avengers jealous,
the film shifts to 1973, where Wol-
verine must track down and reunite
a reeling, alcoholic Professor Xavier
(James McAvoy, "Filth") with for-
mer friend Magneto (Michael Fass-
bender, "12 Years a Slave"). The two
continue to wage their intellectual
war over the role of mutants among
the human race; onlythis time they
do so in a fight for the soul of Mys-
tique (Jennifer Lawrence, "The
Hunger Games: Catching Fire"),
whose actions are responsible for
the horrible future to come.
The film focuses heavily on the
inner struggle of the telepathic
Professor X: a struggle with the
Vietnam War, a struggle with the
loss/deaths of his friends and fel-
low mutants and a struggle with
his own handicap as a paraple-
gic and as a mutant. And he does
see his gifts as a handicap - as he
descends into his own depression,
he feels the pain of those around
him through his telepathy, mag-
netizing his own inner demons in
the process. Magneto, by contrast,
represents sheer confidence in
his powers and the superiority of
mutants over humans, and yet he

'X-Men' hit reset button

Thursday, May 29, 2014
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com 1
By CHLOE GILKE Jack phones his beloved Bella one
DailyArts Writer last time (just to twist the knife).
Jack's character has been rather flat
"Hannibal"isnevereasytowatch. compared with the endless depth
The deliberate crawl of its pacing, of Will Graham, but Laurence Fish-
the contained performances and the burne is at his best when portraying
unexpected gasps of brutal violence Jack's doomed stoicism.
(the season's penultimate episode The big reveal of murder prodigy
featured a man tearing off and eat- Abigail Hobbs is particularly unset-
ing his own nose) tling, especially given her familial
combine to create A relationship with Hannibal and
monstrous horror. Will. Their surrogate daughter is
This season, we've Hannibal still alive, but under Hannibal's
followed broken tutelage, she has blossomed from a
hero Will Graham troubled teen to a cold killer. When
from imprison- Finale she pushes kind-hearted Alana
ment to freedom NBC, Bloom through a window to her
and watched him death, it serves a chilling mirror of
stumble back Fridays at10 p.m. Will's own situation - he too is on
under Hannibal the brink of becoming a monster.
Lecter's awful But, when Will sees Alana's lifeless
manipulation. Their showdown was body on the ground and learns the
inevitable, but "Hannibal" stretches extentof Hannibal's manipulation of
anticipation to its breaking point. Abigail, he switches back to protec-

knows it is that very confidence
that paralyzed his friend Xavier.
Both men, though, are committed
in their respective resolves.
The wild card here is Mystique,
caught between two diametrically
opposed ideologies with only her
sense of personal justice to guide
her. Lawrence, blue-skinned,
speaking English, French and Viet-
namese and kicking ass like no one's
business, ups her game to really dig
into Mystique's own conflicts.
Rather than just blow stuff up,
the film is more concerned with
character and soul-searching: and
that is why it succeeds. The action
set pieces are effective but kept at a
minimum, and fistfights comprise
the bulk of the fighting rather than
mutantdisplays of unhinged power.
The result is more realistic and,
frankly, more visually appealing
-CGI can only get you so far. The
A-list cast, not to mention a scene-
stealing performance from Evan
Peters ("Kick-Ass") as Quicksilver,
tops off this superhero extrava-
So much of this film is about
righting wrongs: those done to
friendships, to oneself and, perhaps
most importantly, to audiences who
watched the monstrosity that is
"X-Men: The Last Stand." But it's
also about the restoration of hope
in oneself(and the franchise). "Days
of Future Past" is a smart superhero
film with something to say, whose
implications open the X-Men uni-
verse to greater continuity and
cohesion; the futureofthe X-Menis
a bright one indeed. Who would've
thought a reset button could be so

Season two finale "Mizumono" does
not disappoint. It's unflinching trag-
edy, and arguably the best hour of
the series to date.
Instead of providing answers to
some of the season's burning ques-
tions, "Mizumono" raises new ques-
tions of its own. Will's motivations
and loyalties have become inscru-
table, as he weighs the opinions of
Jack and Hannibal on equal footing.
Hugh Dancy ("Martha Marcy May
Marlene") plays Willwith a new fer-
vency that is all the more disturbing
considering his mental instability.
The episode's opening scene conveys
this with stunning visual clarity -
dreamily jumbled close-ups of con-
versation with his therapist and his
mentor. Will can't keep his loyalties
Butthe drama isn'tall psychologi-
cal. The centerpiece of the episode
is a nightmare dinner party, flaw-
lessly designed by Hannibal to pro-
vide himself the perfect escape. Of
course, Hannibal's plan is tokill allof
the attendees and leave them bleed-
ing out while he enjoys champagne
on a flight to France. The typical
composure of Dr. Lecter (Mads Mik-
kelsen, "Casino Royale") is thrown
to the wind, as he kicks off the meal
with a gritty fight. The show finally
catches up to the kitchen battle
between Jack and Hannibal, butthis
time around, it's more devastating
than exciting. Jack is unprepared
and stumbling, biding his time with
punches until Hannibal deals the
deciding blow. Mortally wounded,

Horrifying yet
so enjoyable.
tor mode. Sadly, it'stoolittle,toolate,
as Hannibal moves to add Will to the
body count.
Of the three near-deaths, Will's
is most touching. As he lies bleed-
ing out, slain with the same tool
used to kill Abigail, Hannibal deliv-
ers a monologue about the merits
of forgiveness and playing God. He
redeems himself to Will, the pup-
pet who proved himself a formidable
friend. Will didn't accept the "rare
gift" that Hannibal offered, but it's
okay, because he forgives Will of his
sins. Will comes back from the dark
side, but his last words indicate that
it was Hannibal's plan all along.
With three main characters
bleeding out in Hannibal's home
and the grandmaster fleeing the
scene, the future of "Hannibal" is
uncertain. Like last season's ender
(in which Will was wrongly impris-
oned), we close with open-ended
tragedy. Everyone with a lead on
Hannibal's guilt is incapacitated,
while the murderer gets away
scot-free. "Hannibal" is gripping,
unapologetically dark television -
unafraid to explore the depths of
psychological evil while dealing a
fatal blow to the good guys.

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