Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Sixth Grade through MFA: Meet the Taubman Center for Design Education

Posted on Tue, Sep 22, 2009 at 12:14 PM

This morning, under a threatening sky, The College for Creative Studies (CCS) celebrated the grand opening of its A. Alfred Taubman Center for Design Education, an integrated educational community of sorts whose main focus is on art and design. The Taubman Center will extend from middle school through graduate...

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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Almost Famous: MONA's Jef Bourgeau Takes a DIP

Posted By on Thu, Sep 17, 2009 at 1:51 PM

John Baldessari" 24" x 36"h dry paint on canvas by Missy Wiggins Opening this Saturday and running thru early-October at the Detroit Industrial Project (DIP) space inside the Russell Industrial Center is Almost Famous: A Shortlist. The exhibition is curated by the man behind the Museum of New Art,...

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Whiteout

Posted By on Wed, Sep 16, 2009 at 12:00 AM

Based on Greg Rucka’s comic-book series, Whiteout wants to be an exciting snowbound whodunit with Beckinsale’s Carrie Stetko, the marshal of a South Pole science base, tracking down an icepick-wielding murderer. Despite a raging winter storm, plenty of claustrophobic locations and a hearty handful of suspects (though it’s not hard to guess who’s pulling the strings), the mystery and characters are surprisingly conventional, barely rising to the level of a good CSI episode. Credited to four different screenwriters, the script smacks of written-by-committee dialogue and plot developments.

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9

Posted By on Wed, Sep 16, 2009 at 12:00 AM

Set in a spooky post-apocalyptic cityscape, an alternate-reality where distinctly Euro architecture mingles with menacing high-tech robotic horrors, the film's conceit is that the humans are dead, and the last resistance left against mechanical killers are nine tiny, conscious rag dolls, imbued by their scientist creator with clashing personalities and a vague sense of carrying on humanity’s unfinished mission. They look a bit like moving hacky sacks, but with large round eyes that helpfully light up in the dark ruins. Their leader is One (Christopher Plummer), a nihilistic, doubting old coot, but the real visionary is Nine (Elijah Wood), a resourceful and gutsy little guy who finds a way to stop the spider-like villains, but only with great risk to himself and his friends.

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Discrimination in suburbia

From race-baiting teens and humorous cultural disconnections to blunt pride and displacement

Posted By on Wed, Sep 16, 2009 at 12:00 AM

Palestinian single mom Muna (the engaging Nisreen Faour) moves to suburban Illinois with her teenage son Fadi (Melka Muallem) to be with her embittered sister Raghda’s (Hiam Abbass) successful family. Set at the beginning of the Iraq War, it isn’t long before the families are dealing with the anti-Muslim discrimination, even though they aren’t Muslim. Dabis’ film engages with its warm heart, likable leads, and sly humor. In particular, there’s a clever allusion to Israeli-Palestinian partition as Muna’s young nieces divide their bedroom with tape. Never giving in to victimization or self-righteousness, Muna endures her marginalization and misfortunes with a fiercely open heart and mind. She may not always make the smartest decisions but her intentions are generous and true. Both Faour and Abbass bring a rich sense of identity and affection to their sister characters, making clear their strengths and flaws. Furthermore, Dabis roots her story firmly in the Arab immigrant experience, keeping a steady hand on their perspectives and attitudes.

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Beeswax

Posted By on Wed, Sep 16, 2009 at 12:00 AM

Set in the funky back alleys of hipster Austin, Texas, the movie lazily follows a set of twins, Jeannie and Lauren (real-life sisters Tilly and Maggie Hatcher), who have the same face but couldn’t be more different. Maggie Hatcher Lauren is an athletic and freewheeling social butterfly, while Jeannie is wheelchair-bound and a studious vintage clothing store owner. When faced with a legal threat from her business partner, Jeannie retreats to the relative safety of her law school student ex-lover Merrill (Alex Karpovsky), while Lauren simply retreats from anything that seems like a hassle, scary stuff like a steady boyfriend or career prospects. The plot’s so slight it doesn’t cast a shadow, but the obliqueness of these mundane struggles leaves plenty of room for the viewer to fill in with imagined details from their own lives.

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Hammer of the gods

Two rock stars and one living legend consider the guitar and its heroics

Posted By on Wed, Sep 16, 2009 at 12:00 AM

Davis Guggenheim won an Oscar for An Inconvenient Truth, and has turned his talents toward another big, potentially unwieldy subject: the lives and work of the three musicians. He takes the Edge back to Mount Temple, the Dublin secondary school where U2 formed, and films Jimmy Page wandering the halls of Headley Grange, the estate where Zeppelin created iconic albums such as Led Zeppelin IV and Physical Graffiti. Jack White’s 19th-century-undertaker affect and laborious atavism are cut by a ferocious work ethic and undeniable passion: at one point he talks about his teenage bedroom, which was so crammed with musical instruments and equipment that he moved his bed out and slept on the floor.

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Der Baader Meinhof Complex

Posted By on Wed, Sep 16, 2009 at 12:00 AM

For the first half-hour, Baader sets you up to believe that you’ll be following the moral and ethical erosion of middle-class Ulrike Meinhof, as her depression gives way to existential anarchy. But as her sullenness deepens, her already internal character becomes less interesting, so we’re left with the amoral but charismatic Baader and Ensslin, whose Teutonic Manson family of misguided, anti-establishment youth becomes obsessed with revolution, death and destruction. It's sprawling but shallow, intellectually satisfying but emotionally barren.

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Lorna’s Silence

Posted By on Wed, Sep 16, 2009 at 12:00 AM

Globalization seems to be a preoccupation with European filmmakers these days, and after Olivier Assayas' quietly meditative Summer Hours and Fatih Akin's profoundly moving The Edge of Heaven comes Belgian auteurs Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne's ethical thriller Lorna's Silence. The Dardennes, masters of neorealism and film-fest faves for their gritty...

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Friday, September 11, 2009

Remembering Dudley Randall this Sunday

Posted By on Fri, Sep 11, 2009 at 10:42 AM

MT columnist Larry Gabriel recently wrote about the poetry and legacy of the late Detroit poet laureate Dudley Randall ("Gift of a poet: Clarity"). It's a cliché to call someone a "major force" in their realm of activity, but Randall was instrumental in creating a publishing house for black poets...

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