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  • Issue of
  • Aug 15-21, 2007
  • Vol. 27, No. 44

News & Views

Arts & Culture

  • The Scene
  • Stardust

    In adapting Neil Gaiman’s lovely graphic novel, British director Matthew Vaughn (Layer Cake) hoped to deliver a fable filled with epic romance, understated comedy and emotional thrills. Unfortunately his inventive but chaotic translation has merely replaced Gaiman’s delicate and whimsical wordplay with episodic and cluttered storytelling. A throwback to kinder, gentler genre efforts like Willow, Legend and Labyrinth, Vaughn and his co-writer Jane Goldman fail to do the one thing expected of fantasy: create a credible and compelling world. Unlike Middle Earth, Narnia or Oz, Stardust’s Stormhold is about as authentic as the local Renaissance Fair. Populated with unicorns, witches, sky pirates and evil princes, the fantastical elements feel manufactured and slapped together, like a CliffsNotes primer on fairy-tale legend.
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  • The Scene
  • Rush Hour 3

    If the first two films were guilty pleasures, this one is all-guilty. If nothing else, the sheer comic desperation here will entertain, in the spaces between fight scenes. The plot? As if you care. It involves an assassination attempt, a car chase, the triad, a car chase, explosions and a bald showgirl. It also involves a field trip to Paris, which didn’t really work for the Facts of Life girls either, but allows this crew to expand the corny racist humor to include French jokes. Most embarrassing of all is a cameo by Roman Polanski (yes, Polanski) as an overzealous French inspector with a passion for cavity searches. Don’t blame Jackie Chan; he’s a legend in Asia but spent 20 years waiting to become an American superstar, and few of his other attempts really said “franchise.”
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  • The Scene
  • Interview

    The love-hate dynamic of press vs. celebrity gets taken to bizarre extremes in Interview, affectionately adapted and directed by the brilliant Steve Buscemi, who also stars as a morose, intently serious journalist with the silly name Pierre Peders. Banished for undisclosed sins by his editors from his prized political beat, Pierre is forced into a sit-down with the fetching Katya (Sienna Miller), a sexbomb-of-the-moment on trashy TV and in movies. He's thoroughly disgusted to be wasting his talents on such fluff, and she's aghast to be talking to a nasty little parasite who knows little about her and who hasn't been indoctrinated into her cult of personality. While Interview is intermittently fascinating, it's never entirely believable.
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  • The Scene
  • The 11th Hour

    Narrated in a dire monotone by Leonardo DiCaprio, and laden with montages of calamity from hurricanes, deforestation and factory farming, the film uses information as a bludgeon, until the viewer is forced to seek diversion. The problem is not with the film’s premise, that humans are wrecking havoc on the biosphere, but the alarmist tone with which it’s presented.
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Food & Drink

  • Table and Bar
  • Small plate club

    The 17 full-size entrées are quite reasonably priced at $11 to $19, but the main attraction here are the 40-odd small plates which, even more reasonably priced, average around $6. A hot appetizer combo platter — bruschetta, oysters Rockefeller, oysters Ozzies (brandy, mushrooms, shrimp and Asiago), roasted peppers and teriyaki stix — is available for $20. It is heartening to see six Michigan beers on tap.
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