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Issue of 10/8/2008

Cover Story:

News holes
by Amanda Witherell
Project Censored's top 10 stories the U.S. news media missed in the past year


Kindred crazies by Brett Callwood
Super collective Pinkeye teams with John Sinclair to warp Motor City minds

MT receives honors by W. Kim Heron
Michigan Press Association bestows kudos

Semivan's ghost dance by Norene Cashen
Her house may be haunted, her photos are definitely haunting


Comics (Comics)

Couch Trip by Metro Times film writers (Couch Trip)
A macho chick flick! Plus, the vacuous milieu of couture, some comely women wasted and Serge Gainesbourg in ass-magnet glory

Time after time by Jim McFarlin (Idiot Boxing)
ABC should thank its lucky stars for Harvey Keitel and Gretchen Mol

Letters to the Editor by Metro Times readers (Letters to the Editor)

Motor City Cribs by Doug Coombe (Motor City Cribs and Rides)
Electric Six guitarist Zach Shipps' Birmingham digs and sound studio

Criminal art by News Hits staff (News Hits)
Grosse Pointe Park to issue sentence on home decorated with paintings

DNA deadline by News Hits staff (News Hits)
Testing that exonerated prisoners about to run out of time

Don't fence us out by News Hits staff (News Hits)
America's pastime takes on the Bridge Baron

Night and Day by Megan O'Neil (Night and Day)

On the Download by Chris Handyside (On the Download)
Summer's gonna be a jam!

Stem cell lies by Jack Lessenberry (Politics and Prejudices)
They'll say anything to help pass a prohibition on vital research

Slipping it off by Dan Savage (Savage Love)
Jerk move: Sneaking the condom off during lovemaking

Black patriot by Larry Gabriel (Stir It Up)
When I finally learned that I loved America



Chemical Chords - Stereolab Reviewed by Laura Witkowski (Record)

Blame It On Gravity - Old 97's Reviewed by Bill Holdship (Record)

Little Honey - Lucinda Williams Reviewed by Bill Holdship (Record)

Our Long Road Home - Taproot Reviewed by Brett Callwood (Record)


Blindness Reviewed by Jeff Meyers (Movie)
Taken from José Saramago’s allegorical novel, the film imagines the end of civilization as caused by an epidemic outbreak of blindness. Set in an unnamed city, the opening starts promisingly enough as we watch the illness spread from a Japanese businessman to a thief to a physician to everyone in his office and on and on. Before long the authorities round up the infected urbanites and quarantine them in a dingy prison-like facility. Then the real “fun” begins. There’s an ophthalmologist (Mark Ruffalo), his wife (Julianne Moore), a call girl (Alicia Braga), a one-eyed Danny Glover and a vicious thug (Gael Garcia Bernal) are tossed in with dozens of other sightless character actors. None of them are given names and all of them discover that the outside world has abandoned them to their own devices. The crux is that Moore, unaffected by the disease but determined to stay by her husband’s side, can see. Unfortunately, she can’t stop things from descending into Lord of the Flies-style brutality, as the family of man shows its true miserable colors. Blindness spares the audience nothing as garbage and human waste pile up in the hallways and its Hollywood actors shun makeup and hair products. Food is stolen and stragglers are shot, as might-makes-right anarchy settles in. It all culminates in an obscured and horrifying orgy of rape that tests the boundaries of cinematic taste. Despite the film's dreary and earnest stoicism, Blindness is absorbing at times, offering a crude but effective metaphor for modern human isolation. It’s an opportunity to reflect on the inevitable failings of humanity when faced with real-life disaster — and the hope that decency will win out.

How to Lose Friends and Alienate People Reviewed by Corey Hall (Movie)
They say you can’t put lipstick on a pig, and that roughly applies to screenplays too, a point made clear by this dumbed-down adaptation of British writer Toby Young’s scathing 2001 memoir and entertainment media kiss-off. Oh, and there’s an actual pig here, one the hero attempts to pass off as the star of Babe to land backstage at a movie awards show — and the film’s fortunes head south the moment porky piddles on a celeb’s leg. Simon Pegg (Hot Fuzz) is Sidney Young, a Toby stand-in, who in real life turned his success as snarky, underground flame-thrower into a disastrous, bridge-burning, five-year run atop New York’s glossy publishing glitterati. On screen, the fictional Sharps is Vanity Fair and Jeff Bridges’ eccentric Clayton Harding is a thin disguise for flamboyant VF editor Graydon Carter — who hires Young because he reminds him of himself when he had balls — and put out the brilliantly bitchy Spy, here called Snipe. The other names have been changed to protect the guilty, but the supporting stereotypes include Danny Huston as the vain, deceitful rival, and Kirsten Dunst as the brainy cynic and a closet romantic with whom Sidney falls hopelessly in love.

Beverly Hills Chihuahua Reviewed by Serena Donadoni (Movie)
While long, intricate conversations between dogs now appear perfectly normal, BH Chihuahua is at heart a farcical comedy of heightened reality. So while the dogs are grounded, the humans are flighty, especially cosmetics magnate Vivian Ashe (Jamie Lee Curtis), whose prized pooch receives more attention, affection and designer duds than a spoiled child. Chloe (Drew Barrymore’s baby-doll voice is a perfect fit) has come to expect nothing less than being carted around to spa appointments and hosting poolside playdates. Vivian’s outlandish spending on Chloe’s over the top outfits (and diamond necklace) is woefully out of step with our recessionista era, but director Raja Gosnell gleefully makes his point, portraying a canine princess who doesn’t realize the price she’s paying for being a lap dog. She not only snubs love-struck Papi (George Lopez), the Mexican Chihuahua owned by landscaper Sam Cortez (Manolo Cardona), but when Vivian’s irresponsible niece, Rachel (Piper Perabo), takes Chloe along on her Baja California vacation, the petulant pup wanders away from their beachside hotel and is promptly dog-napped. High jinks ensue.

Appaloosa Reviewed by Serena Donadoni (Movie)
With Appaloosa, Ed Harris has taken Robert B. Parker’s spare, macho prose and transformed it into a thinking person’s action movie, an elegant, straightforward western that’s as austere and engaging as the stark New Mexico landscape. He’s the director, co-writer (with Robert Knott), and star, embodying the central character of Virgil Cole, whose forceful personality and controlling nature sets the film’s tone. Cole is a lawman for hire, the kind of peace officer who gets more done with a steely stare and terse threat than most can do with a Gatling gun. But make no mistake, this gunslinger can shoot, and by the time he rides into Appaloosa, his reputation is fearsome. That’s what Cole’s partner in cleaning up crime, Everett Hitch (Viggo Mortensen), says in an astute voiceover. It’s 1882, and the citified residents of this booming territorial town are under siege by Randall Bragg (Jeremy Irons) and his men, and willing to sign away their rights to regain order. As city marshal, Cole both sets the laws and enforces them, which sits just fine with West Point graduate Hitch, who chafes under the restrictive rules of soldiering. What begins as a routine job becomes more treacherous with the appearance of the seemingly innocuous Allison French (Renée Zellweger), a prissy widow whose dubious charms utterly unnerve the stoic but smitten Virgil.

Flash of Genius Reviewed by Corey Hall (Movie)
Greg Kinnear dons the rumpled sports coats of Dr. Robert Kearns, a real-life Detroit area engineering professor and tinkerer, who drew his inspiration from a wedding night champagne cork that blew straight into his left eye. At that moment Kearns wondered if a windshield wiper could be made to mimic a blinking human eyelid at different speeds — to better handle light rain — and he fiddled with the idea for years in his garage. By the mid-’60s he had patents and a working prototype, plus an auto supplier partner Gil Previk (a fine Dermot Mulroney) to help manufacture the unit, and the Big Three chomped at the bit to get hold of it. And then everything went wrong, producing a story that’s Capra without the corn, and Kearns remains a prickly, not always likable character, alienating his friends, family and once understanding wife (Lauren Graham) through decades of litigation.

Momma's Man Reviewed by Serena Donadoni (Movie)
Mikey (Matt Boren) has just concluded a business trip to New York, where he opted to stay with his parents in their Tribeca loft. When the time comes to return home to his wife Laura (Dana Varon) and their baby daughter in California, Mikey hesitates, missing his flight and taking the subway back to the familiar jumble of his childhood home. For no discernible reason, Mikey commences a series of lies to his parents, wife, and employer about why he needs to remain in New York, where he holes up in his old room. Writer-director Jacobs (Nobody Needs to Know) displays not just a wry sense of humor here, but his own blend of revelatory obfuscation. He gives Mikey no real backstory, leaving the audience to wonder if he was always this indecisive, or if this is a duck-and-cover response to adulthood.

Louise Bourgeois: The Spider, the Mistress and the Tangerine Reviewed by Serena Donadoni (Movie)
The portrait of Louise Bourgeois that emerges here is of an artist who’s waited a long time for recognition, but is in no way ready to rest on her laurels. Now 96, the French-born sculptor has a major retrospective making its way across the United States, and this documentary captures an artist who’s as obdurate as she is productive. When they began this project more than a decade ago, filmmaker Marion Cajori (Chuck Close: Portrait in Progress) and art critic Amei Wallach set out to reveal the ways in which Bourgeois’ life intersected with her art, a topic their subject seems eager to plumb. Even though Bourgeois can detail the sources of her inspiration, she never steps outside of herself to analyze or categorize her work, and turns prickly whenever Wallach’s questions attempt to put her creative output into a feminist context.

Religulous Reviewed by Corey Hall (Movie)
This probing, scathing and consistently hilarious documentary is probably the most convincing, brazen and truly funny assault ever mounted on the last third-rail issue in American life, religion, an attack all the more controversial not just for its point but for the guy who’s launching it. At a holy land-themed amusement park, Maher’s taken aback by the eloquence of a fully costumed Jesus impersonator, who describes faith in terms of water, malleable and ever changing. Such metaphorical acuteness is missing in the utter twaddle of an Ohio creationist museum curator, who asserts that dinosaurs and men co-existed — a claim to which Charles cuts in on with a Flintstones clip. There are tons of similarly funny interjections, during chats with a “reformed homosexual” — who Maher insists he would peg as gay if he ran into him at a bar — an egomaniacal rabbi and a shameless huckster minister with a taste for pricey alligator shoes.

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