The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Wednesday April 14th

Arts & Culture


Pre-Pubescent `Summer Catch' Strikes Out, Lacks Depth

Staff Writer Another school year, another movie featuring Freddie Prinze Jr. to review. It's frustrating -- you would think that by now, such a popular young actor would have, I don't know, agents or managers or Good Samaritans who would warn him against appearing in such jumbled sophomoric films like "Summer Catch."

Read More »

Life On Mars Rendered Helpless With B-Movie Humor

There's a perverse thrill in seeing a film that's so bad it's funny. "Ghosts of Mars" is the worst type of action movie because it's not bad enough to be funny, yet not interesting enough to hold your attention. John Carpenter's latest involves a group of cops and dangerous criminals who band together to fight a throng of possessed miners in an attempt to make Mars a safer place to colonize. Unfortunately, the film is narrated through the eyes of Ballard (Natasha Henstridge), who is terminally dull.

Read More »

Raleigh Songstress Tift Merritt Pours on Talent, Southern Appeal at 506

Spend a set with Tift Merritt and The Carbines and you'll know that one day, not too far in the future, this girl is gonna be famous. On the eve of one of their last East Coast performances before recording their first CD in California, Raleigh-based Tift and company delivered a heartfelt, down-home jam that made even the most anti-country members of the house tap their feet in time.

Read More »

Bjork Adds Clarity to Emotional Landscapes

Assistant Arts & Entertainment Editor Bjork drops the fairy schtick to play psychoanalyst. Her first two efforts, 1993's Debut and 1995's Post, left Bjork looking like a tap-dancing pixie as she genre-hopped from dance to electronica to big band and a cappella balladry. In 1997, Homogenic saw her remake herself into a Scandinavian dominatrix on an orchestral high. But Vespertine, her first full-length album in four years, finds Bjork leaving behind the artifice that previously shrouded her work in mystery in favor of experimenting with a more personal mood.

Read More »

Attitudes Toward College Rankings Vary at UNC, OSU

UNC and Ohio State University had vastly different reactions to a recent New York Times editorial blasting the validity of U.S. News and World Report's annual college rankings. "At least two schools -- the University of North Carolina and Ohio State -- designed institutionwide strategies just to boost their ratings," the editorial stated. UNC officials have denied ratings influence the University's institutional structure, while Ohio State administrators admit rankings are used to help determine if the school is meeting its goals for improvement.

Read More »

DIVE Recommends

Rick Bragg never knew his grandfather, Charlie, the subject of the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist's book, "Ava's Man." Bragg did know that his grandmother Ava would still light up at the memory of her husband, decades after he died. He also knew that his family mourned his grandfather deeply, though they spoke of him little. Bragg wrote, "What kind of man was this, I wondered, who is so beloved, so missed, that the mere mention of his death would make them cry 42 years after he was preached into the sky?"

Read More »

Old Plot, Mediocre Acting Give `Scorpion' Weak Sting

If Woody Allen's new noirish comedy proves nothing else, it's that he is still hilarious at 65. If only he could write something more than ordinary for himself. In "The Curse of the Jade Scorpion," Allen plays C.W. Briggs, a top insurance investigator in 1940 New York. As Briggs, Allen writes and directs himself in a comfortable, self-deprecating role in the classic Allen mold, proving he's still the king of one-liners.

Read More »

Film Captures Spring Break Revelry

"Spring Break" was filmed by Zoom Culture, a local media group, and is a part of the company's ongoing "Digital Diaries" series. With classes just beginning, Spring Break seems to be a far-off prospect. But only a short amount of time passes until throngs of UNC students hit the islands, hedonistically revel and let naughtiness run rampant in the Caribbean streets.

Read More »

Drawing From Breakfast

Two UNC alumni are hoping their satire of cereal will become a full-fledged Cartoon Network serial this weekend. "Major Flake," the brain child of Adam Cohen, class of `89, and Chris (Casper) Kelly, class of `91, is one of 10 different pilots in the running to become a Cartoon Network series, with audiences making the deciding vote online as part of "The Big Pick." Cohen and Kelly's satirical look into the world of childrens' cereal mascots, "Major Flake" delves into the sociological evils and advertising spins of mass-marketed sugary goodness to youngsters.

Read More »

Dull Script, Melodrama Send Film Out to Pasture

American Outlaws 1 Star The tagline for "American Outlaws" should say it all: "Bad is good again." Hmmm ... more like, "Bad is worse than it's ever been." "American Outlaws" is what happens when some moron in Hollywood gets the bright idea that "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" should be dumbed-down and re-made for the zillionth time.

Read More »

Garza Doles Out Godly Tongue Lashing ; Lang Reaps Reward for Back-To-Basics Live Album

David Garza Overdub 4 Stars A hearty amalgamation of Bowie, Orbison, Rusted Root and Prince, Austin-based singer/songwriter David Garza's fifth album Overdub is an imaginative and intricate journey into the world of alt-country rock. Melding a crooner's voice with extremely catchy guitar-driven tunes, Overdub is an innovative musical achievement. Garza smoothly traverses the span of musical styles, alternately cranking out hard rock and warbling moody love songs.

Read More »

SAD Considerately Plays Low-Key Set

SAD Considerately Plays Low-Key Set By Russ Lane Arts & Entertainment Editor Before local rock powerhouse Sorry About Dresden began its set, bassist Matt Tomich assured Go! management of their intentions. "Don't worry, we'll keep it short," Tomich said as he walked through the sold-out crowd and hopped onto the stage. Sorry About Dresden (SAD) was playing the night of Strunken White's final concert. During the now-deceased band's set, guitarist Nagendra Jayanty thanked Tomich on stage for his long-term support.

Read More »

`I Love Lucy' Allusions Get Lost in `Rat Race'

`I Love Lucy' Allusions Get Lost in `Rat Race' By Trafton Drew Staff Writer Even die-hard fans of the slapstick humor of movies like "Airplane!" must admit that this brand of humor is hit-or-miss. "Rat Race," very much in the "Airplane" vein, misses more often than not. After brief introductions, the plot is set in motion when an eccentric casino owner randomly chooses six people to race from his Las Vegas casino to a train station in New Mexico for $2 million. Zany high jinks ensue.

Read More »

French Film Conveys Exquisite Loneliness

If Emily Dickinson had been transplanted to Paris to wait tables instead of write poetry, she would have been Amelie Poulin -- wide-eyed, observant and painfully shy. There's nothing quite so pleasing as watching the shy and slightly awkward stumble into happiness. After watching "Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amelie Poulin," I've decided to spend the rest of my days honing, rather than hiding, my timidities in hopes that I'll drift about in a lovely, whimsical haze similar to the title character of this film.

Read More »

Poorly Made `Mandolin' Strikes Sour Note

Captain Corelli's Mandolin< In the latest trend of World War II movies, "Captain Corelli's Mandolin" is a little off-key. It's a mix of boring war-movie formula and an awkward love story and fails to be convincing as either. The film centers on the intertwined lives of villagers and soldiers on picturesque Cephallonia, one of the Ionian Islands off the coast of Greece. The island's peaceful farming community turns upside down during a three-year occupation by Italian troops.

Read More »

Call To Action

As UNC's arts scene continues to thrive, campus groups are looking for a few good students. Everyone dreams of something. Especially when you're young -- who knows how many times that a 6-year-old version of yourself could be seen playing "rock star" or "famous actress," "ballerina" or whatnot. It's almost a childhood rite of passage. But childhood games are now a thing of the past. It's easy to forget about those wild ideas as they keep being put off in favor of more pressing matters. But it needn't always be that way.

Read More »

P. Diddy-Ridden `Made' Samples `Swingers' Style

The success of 1996's "Swingers" hangs over everything in Jon Favreau's directorial debut "Made" and ultimately condemns it to unrealistic expectations and slight disappointment. Vince Vaughn and Favreau reunite in this tale of pathetic, wannabe gangsters. Much like "Swingers," "Made" is seen through the eyes of Favreau but is driven by Vaughn's obnoxious character. If there is such as thing as playing a role too well, Vaughn has done it in this film.

Read More »

Phillips Electrifies Folk-Rock Sound

Phillips Electrifies Folk-Rock Sound By Michael Abernethy Assistant Arts & Entertainment Editor Grant-Lee Phillips' new album Mobilize is the folk rock equivalent to an iMac computer -- both are pieces of slick, sharp machinery in shiny, alluring packages. A gently persistent blend of electronic music and folk rock, Phillips' second solo album runs the gambit from rock to jazz with ease, thanks in part to the singer-songwriter's sparse, haunting vocals.

Read More »

Local Act Strunken White Gives Final Performance

From the audience's perspective at a sold-out show at Go! Rehearsal Studios Saturday night, local band Strunken White seemed like a pint-sized version of the typical indie rock band. Most bands populating Go! Rehearsal Studio's stage tend to fill the stage space completely, and Strunken White's young and physically small roster -- consisting of guitarists Nagendra Jayanty and Noah Howard, bassist John Booker and drummer Jonathan Stickley -- made the stage look spacious by comparison.

Read More »