Friday, February 4, 2005
Hybrid play braves Rider stage
By Nicole Southern
Photo by Al Viciedo
Romeo (freshman Judah Frank) and Juliet (freshman Michele Danna) “kiss by the book” in the Alpha Psi Omega production of A Brave New Romeo and Juliet, which was performed this past weekend, Friday, Jan. 28 through Sunday, Jan. 30.
‘Sky Captain’ DVD sends viewers soaring By Brian Kibble It’s nice to know that George Lucas and Steven Spielberg were not the only ones who remembered the old adventure movies. Those old Saturday matinee popcorn movies and serials were stories about heroes such as Flash Gordon and Buck Rodgers and their fights with villains who had world domination on their minds. Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow runs in the vein of Flash and Buck and now Sky Captain’s own adventure is available on DVD. Sky Captain takes place in 1930s New York City, but with a slightly futuristic look. The story begins with missing scientists and giant robots invading the city. They are driven away with the help of Joe “Sky Captain” Sullivan (Jude Law). Joe and reporter Polly Perkins (Gwyneth Paltrow) investigate the mystery of the robots’ origins along with the disappearance of the scientists. They soon uncover the evil plot behind both. Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow is as fun as a movie can be, with its entertaining and involving story that has a good pace for an almost two hour long film. Everyone delivers a decent performance and the excellent score by Edward Shearmur fits the movie perfectly. But what makes the movie stand out are the special effects. Filmed entirely on blue screen, the whole world of Sky Captain
looks and feels like something audiences have not seen before. The DVD comes in 1.85:1 widescreen, with a fullscreen version also available. Since the movie was filmed in front of a blue screen, the video quality is visually stunning with the picture clear through the entire film. The movie’s Dolby Digital 5.1 audio mix is a great surround sound experience. The dialogue and sound effects are clear against each other, while the score is never overbearing. The extra features start off with a commentary with director/writer Kerry Conran and members of the special effects team. Conran is quiet and shy through the track. Occasionally informative, he could have talked more. The special effects crew is informative but just as quiet as Conran. Just as disappointing is the second commentary with producer Jon Avnet. Avnet is just as quiet, giving good bits of information here and there. Possibly the best extra feature is the six-minute short created by Conran. The short is what got Avnet’s attention, which prompted him to make sure Conran would write and direct the film. Brave New World is a documentary on the making of the film and is split between two chapters. It discusses everything from the special effects and story to the filming on blue screen. “The Art of World of Tomorrow” is a featurette on the design of the film. Included are sketches and drawings of
Not until after the audience of Alpha Psi Omega’s A Brave New Romeo and Juliet returned to their rooms or cars, did they truly understand the power of the play. The play was created to combine two of the world’s most famous pieces of literature, William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World with the 1997 film Gattaca. It intertwines Huxley’s idea of an innovative, loveless society with Shakespeare’s death-marked story of two young lovers. The Capulets are the wealthy owners of a successful industry and each family member was genetically engineered to be perfect in every way. The Montagues, born of a natural manner, work at Capulet Industries but are lowly workers there at most. After sneaking past the bouncers into a Capulet party, Romeo (freshman Judah Frank) and Juliet (freshman Michele Danna) fall deeply in love. After Romeo pushes Tybalt (junior Andrew Danish) down the elevator shaft to his death, he is banished from Verona. Juliet is devastated by the news and takes a remedy, after which her family believes her to be dead. Devastated, Romeo goes to her tomb where he consumes a vile of poison. Juliet then fills the room with gas and lights a flame. Each actor delivered a strong performance, which made the show a success, but some actors stood out among the rest. Frank delivered an undeniably brilliant performance as Romeo. The emotion and energy he put into his character was seen by all in attendance. Not once in the play did the audience question Romeo’s true love for Juliet, due to Frank’s amazing ability to depict the passion and longing of a young boy in love. His pure happiness at parts and his random whimsical outbursts also helped make his character one of great credibility. Kerry Bowers, who played Juliet’s nurse, provided much comic entertainment. The way she carried her voice and over exaggerated everything she did had the crowd laughing with
amusement. Bowers was the perfect choice for the character and with her ability to send the audience into hysterics, she was able to change the entire atmosphere of the show. The Capulet party scene was one of the play’s greatest strengths. The party had a club-like atmosphere and was the complete opposite of what anyone was expecting. All the characters were dressed in trendy clothes and each was covered in flashing lights. They were all dancing as one would in a club, some characters acting crazier and less controlled than others. The choreographed dance was amusing and really captured the audience’s attention. The tomb scene at the end was very different in this version of the play. Juliet was standing up in a glass coffin with a light shining down on her, which gave the scene a more futuristic feel. Because he could not touch her, Romeo’s declaration of his love for Juliet was difficult to express, but Frank did a good job of keeping the level of emotion high. Juliet’s way of killing herself was off-centered and, although it provided the story with an interesting twist, left the audience baffled and off-guard. Among some of the flaws were the sometimes confusing combination of characters that may have thrown off those familiar with the original text. The character of Sampson, who is a Capulet, was combined with Balthasar, a Montague. However, the character, who was referred to as Sampson throughout the play, did not seem to have any Capulet parts. The costumes were very well done and it was never hard to differentiate between a Montague and a Capulet. While the Capulets were always wearing nice clothing, the Montagues’ clothing was always casual. Also, most of the Capulet men had colored sparkles on their sideburns and the Capulet women on their faces, which they could have done without, but it still enabled the audience to tell which side they were on. The play was definitely worth seeing and it was obvious that all involved worked very hard to make it a success. Alpha Psi Omega has delivered a unique interpretation of a classic play that will not be forgotten by those who saw it any time soon.
‘Point Pleasant’ falsely portrays New Jersey life By Jessica Decina
Photo copyright Brooklyn Films
The Sky Captain DVD was released Tuesday, Feb. 1. sets, props and characters. Rounding out the extra features are two deleted scenes, one of which was finished with the special effects but cut for time purposes. The second deleted scene is an alternate version of a scene toward the end of the film. Last but not least, there is a gag reel. With ground-breaking special effects, decent extras and excellent performances, the Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow DVD will take viewers on a fantastic adventure.
Just when New Jersey residents thought things couldn’t get much worse, along came the Fox hit Point Pleasant. Perhaps it’s just the South Jersey aggression in me talking, but Point Pleasant paints a horribly inaccurate picture of real Jersey residents. Apparently, they’re all incredibly shallow and driven only by hormones, but at least can throw a good beach party. The show, finishing its fourth week, carries a nor’easter of drama, suspense and mystery. Christina Nickson (Elisabeth Harnois) arrives in the small shore town just in time to unravel its many secrets, including the mystery surrounding the true identity of her parents. Christina is taken in by the Kramer family and eventually befriends their daughter Judy (Aubrey Dollar). Meanwhile, she gradually fills in the blanks of her past, discovers the town’s dirty little secrets that have been swept under the boardwalk, and falls for the lifeguard Jesse Parker (Samuel Page). Harnois delivers an intense and focused performance, refreshing to see in an otherwise dull cast. Harnois does
not over-dramatize everything, but carries strong emotion. She uses just the right amount of sincerity and innocence so the audience cannot help but root for her. As she meets Jesse’s girlfriend Paula (Cameron Richardson) for the first time, her eyes sadden and viewers’ heartstrings are pulled. Additionally, Dollar’s sarcastic and edgy take on Judy serves as a great foil to the naive Christina. Dollar is worth watching because she refuses to conform to the notion that all teenagers in Point Pleasant are snobby and superficial. In many instances, Dollar’s dry humor serves as the only
comic outlet in this other dark thriller. But the talent stops there. Page brings nothing more than a pretty face to the show. Richardson could have walked off the set of another teen-focused drama because although her character is downright villainous, she adds nothing to make it rise above one-dimensional. Four episodes later, Point Pleasant has barely begun to focus on the main plot line. The show’s pilot hinted at far too many subplots, the most cliched of them including a strained father-son relationship. There’s simply too much
to try and remember about Point Pleasant’s residents when all the viewer really wants to know about is the story behind Christina. For those who love drama and mystery and who live for similar shows such as The O.C. and One Tree Hill, add Point Pleasant to the “must-see” list on Thursday nights. As for those who are loyal to the authentic Point Pleasant, watching this series seems a lot like watching the summer tourists arrive at the beach. All a local can do is sit back, smile and, in this case, change the channel.
Photo copyright 20th Century Fox Television
Point Pleasant made its debut on Fox on Jan. 19. It stars Elisabeth Harnois as a teenage girl who possesses supernatural powers and shakes up the town.
Photo copyright JDUB Records
Music artist Matisyahu released Shake Off the Dust...Arise, an album that features an interesting blend of reggae and religion.
Rabbi of Reggae By Allen Huang In celebration of Bob Marley’s 60th birthday, it’s a perfect time to introduce a new reggae artist who will surprise everyone. With a fusion of dance hall reggae and beat boxing, this new MC will entertain you with spiritual lyrics. Matisyahu’s debut album, Shake Off the Dust…Arise was released in Oct. 2004. What Bob Marley was to the Rastafarians, Matisyahu is to the Jewish community. He is Bob Marley with payos. This album is filled with Matisyahu’s talent to provide a seamless blend of music to all its listeners. After the first track, one is immediately drawn in with either excitement or curiosity to listen more. The album’s second track, “Tzama Lchoi Nafshi” (Psalm 63:2-3) is a brief song featuring Hebrew singing with soft background music. Immediately following the song, the band jumps back into dance hall reggae. Throughout the 17 tracks,
Matisyahu tosses you around between reggae songs, interludes and songs sung in Hebrew. Matisyahu’s voice is resonant, deep, and vibrant, matching perfectly with his back-up band. A delicate balance of religion and music, Matisyahu is trying to convey exactly what the title of the CD suggests. He is telling everyone to shake off the dust of one’s troubles, and arise spiritually. In “Got No Water,” he sings: “Open up peruse with knowledge of God / And move up an arousal from below till the secrets start to ooze / Don’t snooze it’s pure light the must high wants us alive / What’s the proof? / We got life!” It seems sacrilegious to say that Matisyahu is a Hasidic Reggae superstar, but that is exactly what he is. A one of a kind act, Matisyahu promotes the message of Universal life. Shake Off the Dust…Arise is a musical ménage-a-trois that unites the Jewish community, Reggae culture and the nightclub scene.
De Niro disappoints in ‘Hide and Seek’ By Paul Szaniawski Hide and Seek is the first movie I’ve gone to see twice in recent memory. The second time I brought my 70-year-old grandmother and 6-year-old niece. Another horror movie fails to horrify. Luckily, it does entertain, thanks to a well-written script and the efforts of a 10-year-old girl. After the wife of psychologist David Callaway (Robert De Niro) kills herself he decides to take their daughter (Dakota Fanning, I am Sam) to start anew in the country against the advice of fellow psychologist and family-friend. It’s quite obvious that little Emily has been scarred by her mother’s death but things seem to improve after she develops an imaginary friend named Charlie. But as it turns out, Charlie really isn’t imaginary. The rest of the movie keeps viewers guessing as to who or what Charlie is. The film’s downfall is an uncharacteristic, sub-par performance by De Niro after his previous attempt at the thriller genre in the film Godsend. However, it can be argued that the fault really lies with the casting director. De Niro’s char-
acter neither fits his acting style nor gives him a chance to excel, which results in only a mediocre performance. Aside from De Niro’s character, the movie’s well-written script and talented supporting cast were too good to allow one bad decision to completely ruin Hide and Seek. Much of the credit goes to young co-star Dakota Fanning. Already with a Screen Actor’s Guild Award nomination for her performance in I am Sam, the 10-year-old Fanning proves that she is one of the best actresses of her generation. Psychotic yelling, glazed over eyes and blank facial expressions make Fanning more terrifying than the film’s antagonist Charlie. Eventually the characters develop and Charlie brings some excitement, which leads up to a surprise twist at the end. This alone makes the first hour and a half of the film worth sitting through. If you enjoy psychological thrillers, but don’t mind if they fail to thrill, come out, come out, wherever you are and give Hide and Seek a peek. Even though you may have to really seek out this one’s hidden positives.