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November 28, 1995 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 1995-11-28

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Get your daily bread
As part of the University's Visiting Wrlters series, poet Safiya
Henderson-Holmes will read from her latest collection, "Daily Bread."
Rackham Auditorium, 4 p.m. The event is free.

Page 5
Tuesday,
November 28, 1995

'Nick' is timely entertainment

By Michael Zilberman
Daily Arts Writer
Ifnothingelse,"NickofTime"isaserious
proof that the age of a one-gimmick movie
hasn't ended with "Jaws 3-D." The concept
itself is an audacious one: The movie takes
place entirely in real time, painstakingly
measured out (if a clock is shown, and
shown again 3 minutes 45 seconds later, the
exactsametimehaspassedwithinthefilm's
reality). It might well be one of the most
challenging tasks ever posed before editors
and continuity people, but it's a gimmick
nonetheless. What comes as a much bigger
surprise is the fact that there's apretty terrific
movie attached to it.
A mild-mannered accountant (Johnny
Depp) has his daughter kidnapped by a
shadowy figure (Christopher Walken). The
kidnapper demands that Depp assassinate
the visiting governor of California, who's
gi ing a campaign speech in a nearby hotel.
Otherwise, his little girl will die. At Depp's
disposition are 90minutesandahandgun. In
our disposition are 90 minutes. The movie
goes"Die Hard" one better, working within
kAistotlian unities of place and time, but
takes its inspiration from "The Fugitive"
rather than from everybody's favorite man-
versus-set flick. What makes it stand out
from the pack is a healthy amount of quiet,

IP Nick of Time
Directed by John
Badham; with Johnny
Depp and Christopher
Walken
At Briarwood and Showcase
goreless suspenseworthy of Hitchcockhim-
self, and, of course, a qualified cast.
Johnny Depp, playing a family man
and already looking slightly incongruous
with his teenybopper moniker(it's a pretty
safe bet he's going to be billed "John
Depp" in his next movie, so get used to it
now), is an ideal mechanism for convey-
ing queasy anxiety and helplessness, all
gradually giving way to blind determina-
tion. Christopher Walken, glassy-eyed
and sporting a nasty mustache, plays es-
sentially the same character he's been
perfecting for the last 10 years-anervy,
tired villain, as opposed to, say, Tom
Sizemore's brand of a gleefully sadistic
baddie. The script, very cleverly, has him
appearing in the most unusual places at
the most unexpected times, whispering in

Depp's ear yet another threat and silently
vanishing - so that in the end, the char-
acter transcends his own task and turns
into the hero's personal demon of sorts.
There are some nice supporting turns,
too, but the only other notable player is
the camera itself. Cinematography in
"Nick of Time" is insufferably flashy,
even lurid, but, strangely, it manages to
work for the story. As our poor accoun-
tant wanders through the intestines ofthe
hotel, the omnipresent, intimidating lens
swoops down on him, swirls around,
thrusts itself into his perspiring mug, or
dips all the way to the floor, eyeing the
hero with mock reverence.
Make no mistake, "Nick of Time" is
hardly a cinema landmark; it is, however, a
more-than-decent genre picture, with a cer-
taingraceandsnaptoit. Some sequences fall
flat, some stand out, a couple of scenes are
simply astonishing - especially those in-
volving the governor. Warned about a pos-
sible assassination attempt, she tries to post-
pone the meeting. As people from her clos-
est cohorts suddenly get very disturbed by
this simple request, you can practically feel
her silent, gradual realization of absolute
entrapment-all recorded on film by pretty
minimalistic means. Only once does the
movie'splayful ruthlessness (ifthere is such

"Whoal I'm a character actor, what am I doing in an action film?" - Johnny Depp, boyfriend of Super-twit Kate Moss.

athing) cross the line-halfway throughthe
film, when an enormously likable character
is introduced to us, only to be killed off in
about a minute. Another stumbling point, if
you want to get really nitpicky, is that "Nick

of Time" seems to take itself pretty seri-
ously and winds up pompous at times;
unless you're ahuge John Woo fan, at some
point yoursearchfora comicreliefmightbe
re-directed to the movie itself. Otherwise,

you're in for exactly 90 minutes of well-
conceived, well-executed escapist entertain-
ment. And if you're not thrilled, you don't
even have to throw anxious glances at your
watch. The movie does it for you.

Mr. Bungle's 'Disco' throws fans ajazzy curve

By Ted Watts
Daily Arts Writer
The problem with being phenomenal
is that the backlash never plays like the
original. For instance, can the current
hype over the Beatles ever match the
fever dream that was the original expe-
rience? Of course not.
But this is a problem not only found
in the ultra-super-mega groups; it's also
to be seen in smaller bands that have
cracked the world open like a walnut in
their own minor way. Specifically, it
can be found in the band Mr. Bungle.
Last Tuesday's concert at St.
Andrew's Hall in Detroit had a lot to
live up to. Their last Detroit appear-
ance, in March '92, was amazing. They
were full of energy, put on a stage show
full of activity and interesting costum-
ing (i.e. bondage masks), played crowd-
pleasing favorites and generally left
those present in awe of the spectacle.
They were riding the crest of an album
with a strong cult following and song
that, while having virtually no chance
of being played on the air because of

content, could've been a contender oth-
erwise. That show may have consti-
tuted a fruition of all the promises Mr.
Bungle's first album had contained.
The band's newest album, "Disco
Volante," was like a dousing of cold
water for many fans. While very good,
the album is utterly different from its
predecessor. It is almost as if the base of
the craziness altered from rock to jazz.
While not entirely an unexpected trans-
formation (the band has always had
jazz elements), it nevertheless left many
listeners as cold as the dead lamprey eel
on the album cover. Considering the
laziness of people when it comes to
buying new albums, it was almost cer-
tain that the crowd would be largely
unprepared for a concert along the lines
of the album.
The opening band, Melt Banana, was
a fine-sounding female-led Japanoise
group from Tokyo. Sounding not un-
like the Scissor Girls with a bit more
energy and a lot less comprehensibility,
the crowd wasn't exactly warm, but
were at least polite to them. Enough of

Mr. Bungle
St. Andrew's Hall
November 21

the crowd enjoyed them to provide a
fairly sincere positive response. The
screaming voice that issued from the
sedate-looking singer was incongruent
enough to warrant attention. And the
attention to Melt Banana proved more
rewarding than that paid to Bungle.
When Mr. Bungle took the stage,
their look at the very least seemed in
order. Singer Mike Patton was wearing
a skin-tight burn victim/Grey alien mask
that looked pretty darn real (until you
noticed the condom-like crease on his
neck.) Other band members had their
heads swathed in black cloth for the
most part, with some additions. Guitar-
ist Trey Spruance was wearing sun
glasses over his hood and a horn player
had a flashlight taped to the top of his
head. Perhaps not as exciting overall as
in their last appearance, but certainly
acceptable.
But Mr. Bungle stuck mostly to the
songs on the new album. Playing only
one song from their first album
("Travolta"), most of the crowd knew
virtually none of the songs. Even those
familiar with the new album were un-
prepared for many of the songs, as they
were compositions not on any of their
releases. Long jazz-like instrumentals
that no one had heard confused and
annoyed the crowd. But they were al-
most certainly not improvised (as sev-
eral people at the concert guessed), as
they each had a fair amount of unity of
structure. But they were nonetheless

unrecognizable and lacking of any of
the energy seen on Mr. Bungle's last
concert odyssey. There were even some
very good songs from the new album
that failed to be played. Even if most of
the crowd didn't know the songs, they
would have been an improvement over
the fairly lackluster pieces they played
instead. Maybe it's too hard to play
something that's good.
Stage antics were also virtually non-
existent. Gone was Patton's pogoing
and interaction with the crowd, gone
was the flurry of movement and loath-
ing that has always accompanied Bungle
shows. The primary sin that can be
attributed to an exciting band was com-
mitted: They were boring to watch.
Essentially the band just stood around,
playing songs people both didn't know
and didn't enjoy. A bleak scene.
Well, the final song was a winner.
Bungle covered "Working For the
Weekend." Yep, a Loverboy song. The
crowd went nuts, as much because they
needed to as anything else. The old
magic was there for a few brief shining
moments. Mike moved, mocked the
crowd, and was involved in an exciting
song. It was everything people had been
hoping the entire show would be. A
good choice to end with, as people left
feeling just not happy as opposed to
incensed. Well, the band had some
sense, at least.
There was also a bunch of good T-
shirts. A small comfort to those who
can only use them to reminisce about
the old days. All in all, the concert was
a most disappointing affair. My father
saw Elvis perform a few months before
the King died. He felt in retrospect that
it would have been better to have not
seen him at all. Learn from this lesson.

TeO Flaming Lips: KISS your expoctations goodbye
Like being hit to death in the future head, the Flaming Lips are a psychedelic
freak-out just waiting to tum on your ears. Their brilliant, goofy, endlessly
eccentric music isn't for everyone, but it is loads of fun to witness live. Catch 'em
tonight at St. Andrew's Hall; doors open at 7:30 p.m. Call (313) 961-MELT for
more Information, and don't forget the bubble machine.

" MULTI COLOR SPECIALISTS
" ARTIST ON STAFF
* RUSH ORDERS
" NEAR U OF M CAMPUS
1217 PROSPECT, ANN ARBOR 665-1771
' F Fwith this ad.

No

J

JOIN THE MOST PROMISING
PROFESSION OF THE 21 ST CENTURY
Prospective Teacher Education Meeting
Thursday, November 30, 1995
6:00 p.m.
Whitney Auditorium
Room 1309 School of Education Building
Call 764-7563 for more information.

LSA ACADIEMIC ADVISING
ANNOUNCES
EXTENDED HOURS
FOR YOUR CONVENIENCE
ON MONDAY THROUGH THURSDAY
NOVEMBER 27-30,
THE ADVISING OFFICE IN 1255 ANGELL
WILL BE OPEN UNTIL 6:30 P.M.

Mr.Bungle's Mike Patton at their St. Andrew's show last Tuesday. BRIAN A. GNATT/Daily
f

t" ---------'--

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