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Issue of 10/29/2008

Cover Story:

The guy who isn't Elmore Leonard
by Odell Waller
A glimpse into the life of Michigan's other crime writer


(Not) just a juggalo by Serene Dominic
A, um, thoughtful interview with Violent J of Insane Clown Posse?

Check your head by Hobey Echlin
A duo of discs about presidents and politics

Election protection by Curt Guyette
Watching the polls, and watching the poll watchers

Flashback by Metro Times staff
Clips from our local film coverage

Hollywood schtuppin' by Cole Haddon
Tinseltown's rising Elizabeth Banks is ready for her, uh, close-up

Made in Michigan by Serena Donadoni
Local films front and center in Detroit Docs fest

Stand-up biography by Norene Cashen
Native Detroit Elaine Stritch acts out a life well-lived

Tumbling into town by Sandra Svoboda
The Tour of Gymnastics Superstars handsprings into Joe Louis Arena


Comics (Comics)

Couch Trip by John Thomason (Couch Trip)
New book, DVDs celebrate 100 years of the Master of the Suspense

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

Jeffrey Morgan’s Media Halloweenout by Jeffrey Morgan (Media Blackout)
Spooky stuff for snickers and scares

Motor City Rides by Doug Coombe (Motor City Cribs and Rides)
My Dear Disco's vegetable-oil-powered Ford E350 XL Power Stroke

Caught in the middle by News Hits staff (News Hits)
Facing deportation to a hostile homeland or going undocumented in the United States

Election Day — the movie by News Hits staff (News Hits)
Film focuses on America's unequal elections

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

On the Download by Chris Handyside (On the Download)
The end of days?

Counting the days by Jack Lessenberry (Politics and Prejudices)
The problems ahead are formidable

Urine trouble by Dan Savage (Savage Love)
If he could save pee in a bottle ...



Amos Walker's Detroit - Loren D. Estleman Reviewed by Odell Waller (Book)

Eminem: The Way I Am - Eminem Reviewed by Bill Holdship (Book)

Jealous Witness - Andrei Codrescu Reviewed by Norene Cashen (Book)

Live at Shea Stadium - The Clash Reviewed by Jeremy Martin (Record)

Dreamer - Haste the Day Reviewed by Scott O'Neil (Record)

Silverghost - Silverghost Reviewed by Mike Ross (Record)

Flashy - Electric Six Reviewed by Laura Witkowski (Record)


Filth and Wisdom Reviewed by Serena Donadoni (Movie)
First-time director Madonna's larger-than-life aura pervades this indie project. A ballet dancer who spends more time in class than on a stage, Holly (Holly Weston) finds work as a stripper until that elusive big break comes. Her best scenes are extended dance sequences. Obsessed with helping starving children in Africa, Juliette (Vicky McClure) has left her posh family to work at a pharmacy. A child of privilege with serious daddy issues, Juliette is eager to give herself over to suffering. Weston and McClure come off as lightweight Factory girls compared to Eugene Hutz (Everything is Illuminated), the force of nature who makes Filth and Wisdom more than just Madonna’s home movie. His Andrly Krystiyan is a multitasker, self-promoter and altruistic narcissist, ruefully delivering Her Madjesty’s philosophical musings, offering ritualized domination by appointment only, and tending to a blind poet.

Pride and Glory Reviewed by Corey Hall (Movie)
A solidly made but relentlessly bleak cop drama loaded with strong performances and tightly controlled bursts of intensity, this film’s also pretty daunting, with a creeping sense of doom as inevitable as nightfall. It trudges a familiar beat: corrupt big city cops, who fight, and scream and steal and abuse their livers in dingy barrooms decorated with faded tinsel shamrocks. Ed Norton’s casually — that’s predictably — brilliant as Detective Ray Tierney, the most scarred but noble member of the bunch, forced out of self-imposed semi-exile and pushed back into the game by a shadowy drug den shootout that leaves four cops dead. Older brother Francis Jr. (Noah Emmerich) is their commanding officer, a good guy who refuses to believe what he knows is the dirty secret behind the mysterious slayings, while over-proud papa Francis Tiereny Sr. (Jon Voight) tries to drink his way through any obstacle. Colin Farrell does his trademark loose-cannon shtick as Jimmy, the Tierney clan’s unhinged fuck-up brother-in-law. Director Gavin O’Connor shoots everything for optimum mid-winter gloom, and knows when to clamp down for one of his star actor’s many obscenity-laced, saliva-flinging tirades. These guys are giving it their best shot, but there’s nothing here we haven’t seen them do before — and no willful act can make this story any less predictable.

Ashes of Time Redux Reviewed by Corey Hall (Movie)
This absurdly gorgeous fantasia looks as if it was shot through a fine silk scarf. And the calmer moments are infused with glorious shafts of light. The film’s visual excess and narrative obscurity divided critics upon its 1994 release — many found it exceedingly precious and willfully obtuse, and some simply didn’t know what to make of it. Now, devoted fans and curious film lovers alike get to see what they’ve been missing; this revised and remastered print comes complete with new music by Yo Yo Ma, additional scenes and digitally enhanced color that makes the imagery even more otherworldly. The late Leslie Cheung leads a stellar cast of Hong Kong stalwarts. He plays Ouyang Feng, a martial arts master who recalls times he recruited hired killers for customers (who’d manage to find him at his lonesome desert outpost). Murong Yang (Brigitte Lin) commissioned him to kill the man who jilted his beloved sister, who herself orders a hit on her cruelly possessive brother. Another thread involves a traveling swordsman with fading eyesight (Tony Leung Chiu Wai) who wants to see the peach blossoms once more before he goes blind, but accepts what’s basically a suicide mission. Ouyang himself has a hidden heartache involving the exquisite porcelain features of the great Maggie Cheung. All characters suffer from lovesickness and are willing to go to great extremes to blot out their hurtful memories, no matter what the cost.

Rachel Getting Married Reviewed by Jeff Meyers (Movie)
Director Jonathan Demme has traded longtime collaborator Tak Fujimoto for cinematographer Declan Quinn, taking a roving hand-held cinéma vérité approach that not only makes you feel embedded in this Connecticut wedding but reveals keenly observed moments. Sprung from rehab for the weekend, Kym (Anne Hathaway) heads home to attend her sister’s (Mad Men’s Rosemarie DeWitt) wedding. As you’d guess, the sibs love each despite tons of baggage, not the least of which is Kym’s history of addiction. Dad (Bill Irwin) worries and frets while trying to keep everyone happy for the big day. Their divorced mom (Debra Winger) stays away as much as humanly possible. Needless to say, a past family tragedy looms in the shadows, ready to emotionally blindside everyone. From visits to a Narcotics Anonymous meeting (where she spies the best man) to a self-obsessed rehearsal dinner toast, Kym’s personal dramas intrude on every corner of the wedding. She’s abrasive, petulant, funny and, miraculously, sympathetic.


Smoke & Spice Southern Barbecue Reviewed by Jane Slaughter (Restaurant)
French-cuisine-trained Ryan Odette moved from one concept of cool to the other when he closed his tiny MamO Bistro and opened a crowd-pleasing barbecue joint. No more roasted apricots and fig jus: now it’s ribs, wings and pulled pork, playing to a full, and much bigger, house. The ribs appear unpromising: rather black and dry-looking, with a startlingly pink interior. But in the mouth they are multifaceted chunks of meat, a combination of smoke, tenderness and earthy animal goodness. You may not want to sully that flavor with the sauces: a slightly sweet, mostly tangy tomato-based barbecue sauce; a chipotle; and a runny mustard that’s the most unusual and complex of the three. Wings are not an afterthought; unlike tasteless industrial poultry, these birds were luscious and meaty, smokier than most wings, which tend to taste just of sauce. Pulled pork and beef brisket are the other two main meats, though there’s also a mild and tender catfish with remoulade and spicy breading, and an apple wood-smoked half chicken worth checking out, if the wings are an indication.