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  • Issue of
  • Jan 14-20, 2009
  • Vol. 29, No. 14

News & Views

Arts & Culture

  • The Scene
  • Bride Wars

    The battling brides at the heart of this matrimonial dramedy aren’t grown-up mean girls, but the kind of codependent best friends whose personality ping-pong would drive a long-running sitcom. Control-freak corporate attorney Liv Lerner (Kate Hudson) and pushover elementary school teacher Emma Allen (Anne Hathaway) have little in common, outside of an obsession with all things bridal and an unwavering devotion to each other. The Bride Wars commence when these all important belief systems suddenly come into conflict with each other.
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  • The Scene
  • Thug life

    Despite some excellent acting and drama, Notorious biopic whitewashes Biggie Small’s gangsta life and death
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  • The Scene
  • The Unborn

    Ann Arbor native David S. Goyer specializes in comic book and horror scripts, with big hits (The Dark Knight) and big misses (Jumper), but as a director he’s 0 for 4, with this latest effort being the rare movie that can rightfully be called an abortion. It’s also rare in its use of Jewish folklore as a basis for horror — aside from the Golem, there aren’t many examples — but in every other respect it hews so closely to horror flick orthodoxy that it feels glued and assembled from pre-molded parts. Odette Yustman plays Casey, who’s babysitting a creepy little kid with an oversized melon, who promptly freaks out, hits her in the face with a mirror and declares: “Jumby wants to be born now.” This assault leaves Casey with a cool and Bowie-like different colored eye, but also sends her on a supernatural scavenger hunt, picking up clues about what’s bedeviling her. It turns out that “Jumby” is the haunted spirit of her unborn twin, possessed by a malevolent Hebrew demon called a Dybbuk, which was summoned by Nazi geneticists at Auschwitz and manifested in modern Chicago due to a family curse, now attempting to use Casey as a portal to the realm of the living. Um ...
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  • The Scene
  • Revolutionary Road

    Sam Mendes adapts Richard Yates incendiary 1961 novel, re-teaming Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet as Frank and April Wheeler, the seemingly quintessential young ’50s couple, golden and perfect in all ways except those that matter; there’s a glittering facade rotting from within. We get a brief, intoxicating glimpse of their meeting at a party, where they are turned on by each other’s smarts and mystery, then flash forward to the claustrophobic, volatile marriage in which they’ve found themselves trapped. The once-adventurous Frank is now a white-collar wage slave, and April wants something else, something better, but in her own desperate, foolish hope she’s no closer to the answers than he is. The true standout is Michael Shannon, as Bates’ intense son. He’s fresh from “the loony bin,” though his only malady appears to be a gift for blunt truths, which he blurts with every sentence.
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  • The Scene
  • The Wrestler

    Rourke’s astonishing turn as Randy “The Ram” Robinson is one of those Halley’s Comet moments, when an actor and role become so intrinsically and profoundly linked that the line between reality and fiction is all but erased. Washed up and living in a trailer in New Jersey (when he’s not locked out for missing the rent), Randy Robinson is a former golden-maned wrestling star who desperately clings to the tatters of his former fame. Now he’s working a stock job at the local grocery, living for the weekends where he earns a few bucks as the star has-been at the bottom of the wrestling circuit. He’s a charming but self-destructive loser that lives in the margins, estranged from his lesbian daughter (Evan Rachel Wood) and harboring a crush on an aging stripper (the glorious Marisa Tomei) that’d be considered stalking in any other context. After a nauseatingly violent match, Randy suffers a massive coronary which drives him to retire from the ring, but the real world’s unforgiving of screw-ups and Ram is ill-equipped for the change. No longer able to justify his masochism with the roar of the crowd, he accepts that his impulses are habitually self-destructive and heads back to the ring, where, despite its profound risks, he feels safe from the casual cruelities of the world.
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  • The Scene
  • Lola Montès

    Max Ophüls’ overstuffed, magnificently plumed creature Lola (Martine Carol) is a self-made creature, an alluring Spanish dancer known more for her love affairs and ability to stir controversy than for her artistic abilities. Ophüls (Letter from an Unknown Woman) envisions her last act as the star attraction of the Mammoth Circus, a regal yet approachable — for a fee — sideshow freak. The booming ringmaster (Peter Ustinov) conducts the show, a series of tableaux in which traditional circus acts illustrate Lola’s infamous European conquests. The effect is both beautiful and bizarre, like the replicas of her head they use to collect coins from the audience. With the ease of a postmodernist, Ophüls moves from presenting the garish spectacle to the backstage concerns of the performers to a series of flashbacks that sometimes contradicts, and other times illuminates, the opulent farce this carny barker in fancy dress has fabricated.
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Food & Drink

  • Table and Bar
  • Good sports

    With its ambitious menu, the Broadcast Booth is more of a restaurant that is also a sports bar. Yes, the busy lounge is dominated by a huge U-shaped bar and scores of TVs; but other areas are sedate and smoke- and TV-free. Only $8.95 will score a “Hat Trick” appetizer composed of four buffalo wings, five crispy fried-ravioli bites stuffed with cheese and jalapeño, and a lively spinach dip. For many, the “mild” rendition of the juicy chicken will be plenty spicy. The ample portion of deep-fried but mercifully lightly floured little calamari rings with marinara is another decent starter. Most of the mains are less than $17, with the kitchen justifiably proud of its tender, fall-off-the bone baby-back ribs basted with a mild hickory barbecue sauce. The simple char-grilled Lake Superior whitefish with a wine-lemon-butter sauce is more sophisticated than one would expect in a sometimes-raucous sports bar, while the steaks are both generous in size and cooked to order. There are a few surprises among the other entrées that range from jambalaya, to scampi with squash, zucchini and tomatoes over angel-hair pasta to a hearty meat loaf with barbecue sauce, to boursin-stuffed chicken with spinach, mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes accompanied by garlic smashed redskins. Penurious wine drinkers will enjoy the short wine list, and the bar flaunts a wide variety of mass-produced and boutique beers, with 47 in bottles and 10 on tap.
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Music

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