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November 7, 1995
Persuasion' fails to convince
ily Arts Writer
Although the production team of
erchant and Ivory has had great
ccess converting classical literature
tofinemovies, manyotherlike films
ve not fared as well financially or
itically. Merchant andIvory are con-
tently able to transform the plots of
mous novels into entertaining films
at revitalize often outdated mate-
3l. Unfortunately, director Roger
ichell's new work, "Persuasion,"
sed on the novel by Jane Austen,
onot make this claim. Despite an
cellent performance by its lead ac-
:ss, the film turns out to be a stag-
nt ordeal, utterly devoid of emo-
The story begins with thefinancially
uggling Anne Elliot (Amanda Root)
tving her father's home and moving
with her sister and brother-in-law. As
entlemannamed Captain Wentworth
iarin Hinds) begins to frequent the
use, he courts one of the women
siding on the estate. Although it is
er revealed that Anne rejected Cap-
n Wentworth's proposal of marriage
arly 10 years earlier, he seems to
ve very little interest in her.
That is, until Wentworth's romantic
:erest is seriously iniured in an acei-
dent. The tragedy causesAntne to return
back to her father in the town of Bath,
where she is pursued by one of the
town's most eligible bachelors, her
highly regarded cousin Mr. Elliot. All
is well until Wentworth himself arrives
in Bath. It is obvious that he seeks to
reunite with Anne, creating an interest-
ing dilemma forher. She must choose
the more popular Elliot, whom every-
one seems to adore.
At its simplest,"Persuasion"is atypi-
cal love triangle story, where the main
character must choose between a bor-
ing, but convenient suitor, or a passion-
ate, emotional person, who obviously
will win out in the end. Unfortunately
for the viewer, neither of the two men
competing for Anne is particularly in-
triguing. AlthoughCaptain Wentworth
is pushed as the more romantic option,
he himself lacks vigor or pizzazz, and is
ultimately as mundane as Mr. Elliot.
However, the film does not focus on
love as the central issue throughout
many parts of the film. At times it
concerns itself with the acquiring of
prominent social status. The scenes re-
garding these situations are rather dull,
and although they are meant to enhance
the dilemma Anne faces, they merely
take up time, and are not fully resolved
at the conclusion of the film.
As Anne Elliot, Amanda Root steals
the movie with a fine performance in a
difficult role. Asa woman of the Victo-
rian period who cannot show too much
emotion, Root expresses herself per-
fectly through her eyes, reminiscent of
Holly Hunter in "The Piano." Despite
being limitedby social customs, Root's
Anne is both endearing and charming,
which is quite an accomplishment.
However, there are really no other per-
formances of note from the rest of the
Just as many people may regard clas-
sic novels as slow reading, "Persua-
sion"turns out tobeslow watching. Itis
obvious that it was never meant to be
presented in a cinematic format. It's
just too bad that unlike the novel, there
aren't any Cliff Notes to save people
VOorell, catalogues Leakeys' 'passions'
Green Day haven't slept a wink since they got big, and it shows in "insomniac."
ily Arts Writer
Ten years of research ... one hundred
ars of history ... some five million
ars of prehistory. It seems like an im-
ssiblescope forany booktocover. But
ssions," Virginia Morell's biography
ary and Richard Leakey.
Morell actually began thinking about
topic in 1982, when she wrote a
ofile of Richard Leakey for "Equi-
x," a Canadian science magazine.
e then wrote a proposal for a biogra-
y of him, and publishers suggested
e extend it to cover Louis and Mary
"The original proposal was for 15
apters, and they gave me two to three
ars to do it," Morell said. "This was
fore I saw the amount of material I
d to go through. When I saw that, I
lized it wasn't going to be done in
ee years. I actually worked on it for
out a decade."
The finished version ofthe book is 42
chapters long, covering a hundred years
of Leakey family history. It extends
from Louis Leakey's childhood in
Kenya to his son Richard's recent po-
litical activities there.
The first half of the book focuses
more on the family and their early re-
"They're a very contentious family,"
Morell commented"Theintensity oftheir
quarrels surprised me - for example,
for 10 years. But I started off admiring
them for their accomplishments, and I
never had any money, but they were so
dedicated to their research."
Morell's biography has been noted
for its attention to Mary Leakey, whose
discoveries have been somewhat over-
shadowed by her husband Louis's.
"I was always wondering how I'd
handle Mary, because she has a diffi-
cult personality," Morell said. "But I
found in her letters that she was a very
interesting person. Ifshe was overshad-
owed by Louis, she chose that role.
She's ashy person. Louis liked dealing with
the press, for example, and she hated it."
Another notable feature of the biogra-
phy is the work that went into it. The
comprehensivesection ofnotes and other
sources clearly indicate the amount of
research that was involved.
"I went to the National Museum of
Kenya, where most of Louis Leakey's
papers were," Morell explained. "In the
basement was just box after box of corre-
spondence, stacked from floorto ceiling.
The man was just engaged in so many
fields of research."
An equally important part of research
was for Morell to visit the Leakeys' ar-
chaeological sites. "I had such fun, be-
cause when I got there, Richard had an
expedition going on the west side ofLake
Turkana. He said I had to come up,-and
they actually had me excavate. I was very
lucky; I found the vertebra of a 1.6 mil-
lion-year-old Homo erectus.."
In the second half of the book, the
Leakeys' discoveries become the subject
of controversy among other scientists.
But, as Morell explained, "The reasons
reallyhadnothingtodo with science-it
was very personal. This was difficult in
some ways, because Don Johanson and
Tim White - who are the main opposi-
tion to the Leakeys - declined to give
interviews for the book. This made it
harder to get thir side of the story."
depictedtoward the end of the book, one
question that comes to mind is Morell's
opinion on recent Congressional cuts in
"It's a tragedy," Morell said emphati-
cally. "It's very shortsighted. I can't tell
you the number of fields in which I've
heard scientists say, I was working on a
project, but the funds aren't there any-
and suddenly the money's drying up"
She also cited some ongoing projects
which could be completed. "We're get-
ting closer to finding out the origin of
upright walking, which is what really
separates the human line from the apes.
The other really interesting thing is the
emergence of early Homo sapiens.."
The completion of those projects
would not only advance our knowledge
about human prehistory. It could even
lead to further biographies as informa-
tive as "Ancestral Passions."
Carry The Banner
With his snotty British accent and
punky-pop melodies, Billie Joe
Armstrong took his Northern Califor-
nia punk band Green Day on a trip up
the charts and around the world last
year, shakingthe music business harder
than it had been shaken since Nirvana
hit big in 1991.
Green Day's third album and major
label debut "Dookie" proved that the
band had developed its own style, and
that they had no intention of ever
changing that style. On their new fol-
low-up release "Insomniac," Green
Day produced another Green Day
record. No ifs ands or buts about it,
the Day hasno intention ofever chang-
ing their sound.
But by this point, Green Day's two-
and-a-halfminute teenage angst songs
have become a bit repetitive, and also
a little less catchy than on "Dookie."
The two albums seem so similar mu-
sically, its hard to think why they
were deliberately so similar in pro-
duction, unlessthe band hasjust fallen
into some type of formula for creating
platinum rock records. "Insomniac"
has 14 tracks, just like "Dookie." Its
first single was also the fourth track,
"Geek Stink Breath," like "Dookie"'s
Nevertheless, "Insomniac" serves up
another good batch of East Bay/Gilman
Street punk. Even with their formula
for success, Green Day's music still has
a very sweet attraction. Songs like
"Walking Contradiction" and
Day appeal, and are good songs mixed
in with many other good songs on the
But where Nirvana made their fol-
low-up statement to the rock industry
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Save a lifel Beat OSU!
Give Blood Today!
with "In Utero," Green Day slumps
back, shuts up and graciously accepts
the millions of dollars without even
acknowledging their success. On "Brat,"
Billie Joe sings: "Mom and Dad don't
look so hot these days/They're getting
over the hill ... Got a plan of action and
cold blood/And it smells of defiance/
I'll just wait for Mom and Dad to die /
And get my inheritance." Hopefully
Armstrong has a bit more dough saved
up after selling nine million records so
he isn't waiting for Ma and Pa to kick it.
All in all, "Insomniac" is just
more of the same from Green Day,
with songs a bit less catchy and an
album 15 minutes shorter than the
last. But while "Insomniac" is more
of the same, Billie Joe's side project,
a group called Pinhead
Gunpowder's debut EP "Carry the
Banner," brings that extra variety
and edge into the nasal singer's typi-
On the band's debut, they take
nine songs in only 15 minutes to
show that Billie can do a little more
than his usual poppy polished punk.
Along with members of Crimpshrine
and Monsula, Pinhead Gunpowder
thrashes from the down beat of the
record to the click of the CD player
at the end of the disc.
"Carry the Banner" scuffs up
Billie Joe's shoes a bit with harder
and rougher songs than usual like
"Find My Place" and "I Used To,"
both of which are great tracks.
"Reach for the Bottle" and "I Am
the Stranger" are also awesome
tracks, along with the majority of
A rough and tough cover of Diana
Ross' "Mahogany" finishes up the
album with a bang, proving that
Billie Joe may still have a bit of
angst and originality left in him.
-Brian A. Gnat
Doug E. Fresh
Gee Street/Island Records
Ever since my first exposure to
him back in the 1980's Reagan Era,
I have had a love/hate relationship
with Doug E. Fresh. He was creat-
ing some of the freshest beats, mixes
and other dance sounds, combina-
tions of his own musical creations
and excerpts from other hit dance
songs. But, for all his production
skill, his ability in the rapping de-
partment was null and void. Doug
E. Fresh rapping was more of a joke
than the thought of an honest Con-
It's 1995, and after what seems
like an eternity of inactivity a much
older Doug E. Fresh has returned to
the fold trying to show he can still
duke it out with the younguns. Noth-
ing has changed. His songs still have
some of the best dance beats you can
expect to hear, and Fresh still can't
rap worth a damn. Take "Where's Da
Party At?," the first song in "Play." It
features hit song excerpts including
Run DMC's "Peter Piper," L.L. Cool
J's "Rock the Bells" and the "The Ed
Lover" (the "Yo! MTV Rap" theme
song). But, Doug E. Fresh's rapping
is just outlandish, like a joke on "Def
Ya know, back in the day carefree
rap like that performed by guys like
Doug E. Fresh and 2 Live Crew was
a welcome change from the highly
political, militant rap that had
gained popularity during that time.
While necessary, it failed to dis-
cuss the fun side of Black life; guys
like Fresh filled that void.
But, it's not back in the day any-
more, and the demise of popularity
of 2 Live Crew and the apathy most
have had (and will continue to have)
to the release of "Play" have shown
that what was humorous in the past
has grown old and tired today. We
could identify with them when they
were in their horny twenties. Now
they're in their limp-dick 30s, and
the only reason they're still rapping
the same old "Me So Horny" shit is
because they're trying to make up
for what they no longer have.
While "Play" follows the party-
over-here pattern that can still hype
up a gig to this day, in hearing Fresh
talkin' about "Freaks," "Freak It
Out!," "Doug E. Got It Goin' On"
and whatever else he wet-dreams
about I don't know whether to laugh
or to cry. This is "Play"'s downfall:
It's beats are the best, but Fresh's
attempt to be like the young whip-
persnappers who've replaced him
turns it into something weak, pa-
thetic and a waste.
- Eugene Bowen
;namoer music society makes sweet music
amber music doesn't get much better than this. When members of the Chamber
tsic Society of Lincoln Center perform tonight in Rackham Auditorium, It will be
sweet treat for Ann Arbor audiences. in its 27th year, the CMSLC consists of
claimed musicians who perform together In various combinations. Violinist and
troit-area native Ani Kavaflan (left) will be joined by four preeminent
strumentalists in a diverse program of works by Beethoven, Dvorak and Edgar
eyer, the evening's double bassist. Tickets are $14 to $26, and rush tickets
iy be available. The 8 p.m. performance will be preceded by a presentation on
e art of violinmaking in the Michigan League. Call the University Musical
clety box office at 764-2538 for more information.
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he Cellular Biotechnology Training Program
will offer Cellular Biotechnology 504 in the
Winter '96 term.
T opics covered include biomolecular recognition,
cellular differentiation control, signal transduc-
tion and transcription regulation, microbial
adaptation and response in environmental bio-
technology, cellular biotechnology applications to
disease treatment at the organ level, retroviral
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Introductory course in Biology and Biochemistry
L ectures will be held Tuesdays and Thursdays
rom 5:30-7:00 p.m. in 5623 Med. Sci. II
For more information,
call Dr. Jerome Kukor at 763-5833.