The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, September 27, 1991, Page 9, Image 9

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    Arts & Entertainment
Films examine men of Texas
Struggle of vanishing cowboy depicted
“Last Night at the Alamo”
“Heart Full of Soul”
By Mark Baldridge
Staff Reporter
The “men’s movement,” that bur
geoning social phenomenon, is an
attempt by men to find out what it
means to be male in our society. One
of its basic tenets is the claim that
there are no rituals for modem ado
lescents, no initiations into manhood.
Men in our culture are therefore left
with improper models of masculin
The films of Eagle Pennell exam
ine the lives and ideals of men in
Texas, land of the longhorn and the
six shooter. Modem Texans experi
ence, in an intensified form, the myth
of the American Male — independ
ent, sexually inexhaustible, invulner
able — and its conflict with modern
sensibilities. What happens when there
is no more room for cowboys?
These films are showing this week
end at the Ross Film Theater. To
night’s offering is “Last Night at the
Photographed in grainy black and
white, “Alamo” is a quirky vision of
the vanishing cowboy. The action takes
place on a single evening in a seedy
Houston bar set to be demolished the
next morning. The characters are
eccentric, maladjusted and hilarious.
Pennell, a Texan himself, draws them
with clarity and sympathy, but with
out a trace of sentimentality. They are
true to life, to the extent that anything
in Texas can be, and they never fail to
be entertainingly human.
The soundtrack is a little muddy,
the editing slips somewhat, but the
cinematography is often beautiful and
the story is always engaging.
Saturday’s showing is “Heart Full
of Soul,” also by Pennell. In the same
black and white, it’s the story of an
embittered joumalistand his relation
ships with men, particularly his older
brother. While the film lacks some of
theclarity and continuity of “Alamo,”
its characters, if anything, are quirk
ier, more hilarious. Forgo the plot,
and just watch.
Bear in mind that these are men’s
movies. They are about men. But
other genders may find the struggles
of these particular men illuminating.
They will almost certainly find them
Eagle Pennell, writer and direc
tor of the films currently showing
at the Mary Riepma Ross Film
Theater, will be speaking after the
showing of his Film “Heart Full of
Soul” at 7:30 Saturday night.
Pennell, a native of Texas, has
made a splash in the world of inde
pendent filmmaking with his off
beat character studies. “Last Night
at the Alamo” and “Heart Full of
Soul" are playing this weekend.
Critics have heralded these black
and-white films as possessing some
of the best stylistic elements of the
Midwestern low-budget Tilm.
Pennell will answer questions
about his movies and independent
filmmaking. Viewers are encour
aged to remain for the event.
Courtesy of the Ross Film Theater
Filmmaker Eagle Pennell will speak following the screening
of his movie “Heart Full of Soul" 7:30 p.m. Saturday night
at the Ross Film Theater.
Animated film
* * • .4 - * , -.-„*
By Jeffrey Frey
Staff Reporter _
It is the year 2019, 31 years after
World War III, and Neo-Tokyo is about
to explode.
A cyber-punk gang of bikers stumbles
across a government plot to infuse chil
dren with destructive, telekinetic powers
in an apocalyptic fantasy hailed as the
most impressive animation to appear since
“Akira,” a Japanese feature-length film,
will show at the Mary Riempa Ross Film
Theater on Sept. 29.
Based on the widely popular comic
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uiajr. Mgd ui uic ^aiiic name, /uua is
state-of-the art animation drenched in
high-tech design and beautiful, radiating
colors and graphics.
Directed by the comic book’s author,
Kalsuhiro Otomo, “Akira” is the most
expensive animated feature ever made,
taking its name from a mysterious force
that may be afoot in Neo-Tokyo, where
the action takes place.
Amidst this post-war environment are
the norms of a stable culture: high-school
students, motorcycle gangs, corrupt
government officials and mystics pre
dicting doom. Although its plot is com
plicated, this post-holocaust talc is well
Obsessed with pop culture, Otomo
and his staff of talented animators con
jure up wild and turbulent special effects,
a nice departure from the gaudiness of
standard animation.
Because of its brilliant color and de
sign and explicit violence, “Akira” has
been compared to such films as “Blade
Runner," “Brazil,” “The Fury” and “A
Clockwork Orange.”
“Akira” will have its one-day run
September 29 at 2:30,4:45, 7 and 9:15
p.m. at the Ross Film Theater in Sheldon _
Memorial Gallery, 12th and R streets.
Gobbledygook ” “Tango” disappointments
Innovation and intensity missing
The Wendys
Factory/Eastwest Records
Factory Records used to be the best label for
aspiring pop groups. But they’ve changed.
Responsible for the successes of Joy Divi
sion, New Order, A Certain Ratio and The
Durutti Column, Factory made a profound
difference in the world of music. Now, the
label is responsible for such lack luster bands as
the Happy Mondays, Revenge . . . and most
most recently, The Wendys.
“Gobbledygook,” the band’s debut LP, is a
product of the new Factory, sounding very
similar to the latest commercial bandemerging
from Manchester, England, the Happy Mon
Jonathon Renton’s vocals are pushed out
with a polished, breathy whine like the Slone
Roses or their baggy, second-rate imitators,
The Charlatans U.K. or Happy Mondays. It’s a
^ - ■ ■»
fine whine, if you like listening to annoying,
pimply-faced lyrics.
Musically, “Gobbledygook,” does reveal
some promise for the band. The bass lines are
catchy, and darker than anything Factory has
done in years. The tension created beneath the
twinkling guitars feels like some kind of sub
version to the trendy music they’re churning
out. You might even call that subversion prom
“Pulling My Fingers Off’ is the only song
that works. Luckily, it’s the single. It saves the
consumer the expense of buying the entire
album. Thank heavens for small favors.
The song is simple. Ian While’s guitars are
delicate, lightly tripping over rattling lambou
■ rincs.
“Something’s Wrong Somewhere” has dark
bass undertones and thumping drums, while
maintaining the Happy Monday’s baggy influ
ence of quasi-dance repetition. So does “Suck
ling.” So does “Removal.” And “Soon Is Fine.”
1 11 " .—1
And “I Feel Lovely.”
Ten of the eleven songs sound identical.
Sure, they have (Afferent titles and some are
longer than others^Granted, it is a clever mar
keting strategy, but so is charging more money
for fewer french fries. Or claiming to pay you
for using your credit card.
Why bother?
— Michael Stock
Patty Larkin
Highstreet Records
Patty Larkin’s latest release, “Tango,” con
tains most of the components of a good folk
album. It has earthy and occasionally meaning
ful lyrics. It has Larkin’s husky alto voice. Irs
got mean acoustic guitar work, and even some
colorful performances on harmonica, mando
lin and accordian. The only thing “Tango”
lacks is musical intensity.
Larkin wrote most of the songs on the al
bum, which is why it is strange that the passion
in her lyrics is not matched by her melodies.
She never modulates or changes dynamics within
a cut. Consequently, the pieces sound strangely
l ne title track nas a standard rock neat and
sounds nothing like a tango. The lyrics de
scribe an on-again, off- again affair. Larkin
uses an oddball group of similes like, “It's kind
of like romance/Kind of like tight pants/Kind
of like Original Sin/Kind of like a tango/Me
and you again."
The next cut, “Used to Be," is typical coun
try fare, describing two lonely people at a
downtown bar. The singer longs for the good
ol’ days; unfortunately she sounds more whiny
than sentimental.
, The album picks up the pace with “Upside
Down,” the lyrics of which gel progressively
angry and are reciprocated by a nice build in
the music. But once again, Larkin’s vocals
can’t keep up.
The mood of “Time Was” is darker than the
rest of the album. Sustained chords played on a
fretless bass give the piece a brooding, oppres
sive feel, effective for a song about emotional
betrayal: “Two lovers kiss and I walk by/
Reminded what I’m missing I turn my head and
♦» * »
Patty Larkin is a folk artist with potential.
She has already mastered the acoustic guitar
and she writes powerful, honest lyrics. If she
can learn to sing with that same passion, she
may just take the music world by storm.
U--—--.-•'--V.-,-: — 1
— Andrea Christensen
The Wendys typify the new sound of Factory Records.