The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, November 27, 2000, Page 8, Image 8

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strong movie
for film lovers
Courtesy photo
Elijah (Samuel L Jackson) and David Dunn (Bruce Willis) dis
cuss the differences in their fives. Elijah b a frail man, who
uses a cane to walk, while Dunn was the lone survivor of a
train wreck and appears to be unbreakable.
“Unbreakable” is a movie wonder in one way, for
sure - it convinces us it is about far more thematically
than it reveals itself to be. Through the course of M.
Night Shyamalan's follow-up to “The Sixth Sense,”
we’re treated to an impressive and ominous buildup,
a real pot-boiler. As the pompous “Exorcist” director
William Friedkin once said: “A film by a person, not for
It’s hard not to admire a director who chooses to
play a game - his own game - on a level that hasn’t
been seen since Friedkin’s days of heaven - die height
of director auteurism in the 1970s. The opening scene
of “Unbreakable” borders upon perfection: the con
versation of two strangers filmed between the seats of
a passenger train.
One of the strangers is David Dunn (Bruce Willis),
a somber football stadium security guard weakly
holding on to a failing marriage and a tenuous bond
with his son (Spencer Heat Clark, not quite at the act
ing level of another three-named lad, Haley Joel
David has
f. made sacrifices for
Unbreakable what he* about to
J lose-sacrifices we
K" 1 later learn of in a
Director: M. Night Shyamafegj painstakingly
* detailed flashback.
—(Stars: Bruce Willis, And at the end of
SamuelL Jackson, his failed flirtation
Ni ."" sports agent
Rating: PG-13 (adult (Leslie Stefanson),
language, situations) he will, unbe
® knownst to any
_ one until the final
moments of the
movie, make another sacrifice. His mood is interrupt
ed by a fantastic train crash, of which he is the only
survivor. And David has survived without one scratch
on his body.
There is the parallel story of a boy, bom with bro
ken bones in the back of a Philadelphia department
store. He grows, becoming a target of surrounding
schoolmates who taunt him for his brittle body by
calling him Mr. Glass. He is saved only by a burgeon
ing love for comic books, a love he turns into a lucra
tive business as an art comics dealer.
DloirnH Comiiol T Tor«b-p/\ri CliinVt Unr o
frock of hair, a flowing trench coat for attire, a limp
and a glass cane seemingly used for effect. He hears of
David’s survival and thinks he may have found his
split-apart - a man on the opposite end of the spec
trum, a man whose bones never break. In a sense,
unbreakable.The setup is subtly demanding.
Shyamalan is a dandy for detail - masterful at show
ing, not telling. Consider die scenes where David has
left his wife (Robin Wright Penn) in her room as he
sleeps with his son downstairs. Or why, for example,
he was on the train to begin with.
Willis plays the character with an increasing
amount of sadness and humility, which appears over
ly somber at first glance, but grows in implication as
the story reveals itself. Like Elijah’s wall of comics,
“Unbreakable” becomes the story of one brittle man's
insistence that another man is a superhero, incapable
of receiving physical harm, coupled with the capacity
of infinite strength.
Jackson is quietly menacing in this assertion. He
produces exactly what the part asks of him, which
reminds us that his skill goes beyond his formidable
screen presence, and uses riddle-like dialogue to
mask some agenda - what is it, exactly? - from David,
all the while admonishing him to assume his true
purpose in a life of fighting crime.
“Unbreakable,” dong its course, is more absorb
ing than "Ihe Sixth Sense,” as that movie required the
ending to explain what had transpired before.
Shyamalan’s latest effort didn’t require such an over
hanging twist, and yet he provides one, about two
steps after David’s first mission of good.
like “The Sixth Sense,” this twist was in the open
from a particular line in the dialogue, so it is not a
cheat of any kind, and it certainly fits with the preced
ing events. And yet, “Unbreakable” should not have
ended with the event that it does. There’s a few pages
of the comic book missing, which, I suppose, could be
termed the final confrontation. Instead, there’s an
abrupt rolling of end tides - the kind you expect at the
end of a courtroom movie or something - that takes
some of the enjoyment out of the closing twist
Or maybe, in another likely possibility,
Shyamalan’s story is a massive misdirection, which
requires multiple viewings to adequately discern. In
reality, though, it’s too hard to justify following one
story line to a logical conclusion, then switching to
another for effect You’re out of the theater before it
sinks in. Maybe this is Shyamalan’s point.
A critique of the conclusion is a quibble some
where between major and minor. What is unmistak
able is Shyamalan’s arrival as a major, risk-taking film
“Unbreakable” surpasses “The Sixth Sense” in
tension, scope, visual enticement and purpose, as it
should. This is no weak offering as a follow-up. The
end doesn’t erode the originality of the idea. It’s the
IN 01
snot decorating-it is much more. | fl XG FI 0 T Q6SICH1
is part of the entire design of a «/
be done hand-in-hand with archi- « I -
trolberg, a junior interior design SIUUGnt DTOVGS
pas- I _ • •
she hates when people ner major is
ierstand or respect what interi- .
i brief, it’s all about how space is aDout more
1, she said.
Strolberg, who is horn Axtell, is f 3 l"l III ci*
of learning howto use II lU 11 IU jl
tne space most efficiently. *
"Interior design is designing a flAri/inin/1
space for humans, so they can UCSIQnirlQ
live and thrive in these spaces,” •/ •/
she said.
Strolberg said she has been
artistically since high
Her parents nave little expenence
with art and don’t know where she gets
her artistic ability, she said.
In her classes, she works night and day,
using her artistic ability and understanding of interior
design to create the perfect space for each project She
said she tries to make the space fit the person or people
using it
“In order to understand what I am going to design, I
have to understand the person,” she said, “and then to
apply those characteristics ... to the characteristics of
my project.”
Making sure the details all fit together is commonly
the hardest part of designing, Strolberg said.
But Katherine Ankerson, assistant professor of
architecture and interior design, said one of Strolberg’s
strengths is paying attention to detail.
Ankerson said Strolberg has been working on a
research project based on the extent and content of
Web-based classes across the nation in interior design.
Strolberg immediately contacted an expert on Web
classes, something not absolutely necessary for the
project, Ankerson said. But because she did die extra
work, her paper will be more thorough, Ankerson said.
“I think she works to perfection,” Ankerson said.
Perfection is what she aims for on every project,
Strolberg said.
On a painting in
an art class,
Strolberg learned
something in a cri
tique she wished
she had seen before
turning the assign
ment in, she said.
Once she got the
project back she
spent the time to
make her picture
perfect because she
did not want it to be
anything less,
Strolberg said.
“I like things
perfect, but I'm not
a perfectionist,” she
said. CT r^~- — ___i
Her mom,
Cheryl Strolberg, said she thinks sometimes Megan
Strolberg spends too much time working to make
things perfect.
“We try to dissuade her from working so hard,”
Cheryl Strolberg said. “We try hard to get her to go out
more and have a little more fun at times.”
But Megan Strolberg is always telling her mom to
trust her instincts to make the right decisions, Cheryl
Strolberg said.
It is Cheryl Strolberg’s dedication to her own job
that has taught Megan Strolberg to put in the time to
make things perfect.
"I respect my parents for their passion in their
careers,” Strolberg said. "That’s what I want in my life.
“That’s why I am willing to put in the long hours
because I am passionate about what I do,”
ABOVE: Megan Strolberg lays out the space
and design of her projects using her laptop.
TOP LEFT: Interior design majors at the
University of Nebraska - Lincoln use their
computers 50 percent of the time and draw
by hand the other 50 percent, Strolberg said.
MIDDLE LEFT: Strolberg designed her fami
ly room for her third year interior design stu
dio class.
BOTTOM LEFT: Strolberg tries to make her
designs fit the person and space they are
designed for.
Story and Photos by David Clasen
Uninspired'Red Planet'recycles boring sci-fi
There are moments when the
absence of inspiration in Hollywood
adequately matches the space taken
up by the Great Lakes. Take “Red
Planet/' a movie that takes us to Mars to
do not a whole helluva lot How much,
anyway, can be done by five astronauts
landing on the planet, with nothing
better to do than get off the planet?
Apparently, studio heads had the
same question, which is why the movie
got shelved in the summer season and
moved to deep winter, so it could
receive a quiet, proper burial without
the death knell that the sci-fi turkey
“Battlefield Earth” had to go through.
“Red Planet" is not as bad a movie. It is,
because one cannot logically make fun
of it, more boring.
The story couldn’t be more
straightforward if it were O Street -
Earth probes have sent algae to Mars to
grow into a habitable planet. The algae
disappears. The Mars probe containing
a cross section of all white crew mem
I 1
Red Planet
{Director: Anthony Hoffman
—Cstars: Carrie Ann Moss,
Val Kilmer
-{Rating: PG-13 (adult
language, killer
machine on the
of 4 stars
bers arrives to investigate. In an Ellen
Ripley-kind of twist, the chief is a
woman (Carrie Anne Moss), essentially
a Trinity to Val Kilmer’s space-janitor
There’s a solar flare. A crash. A lack
of oxygen. A strange machine named
AMEE mistakenly switched into war
mode and poised to kill the crew. A
good number of scenes with Moss
Gallagher, a space janitor played by Val Kilmer, is confronted by an evil robot AMEE. Gallagher is
one member of a space crew sent to examine Mars.
alone, in the ship, hand to her head in
distress. Many more scenes with
Kilmer virtually watching the cheap
dialogue tumble out of his thick greasy
lips. A thrown-in romance. A few refer
ences to God. And, for good measure,
some creepy crawly bugs that eat
“Red Planet” spends a glut of time
milking the former unmanned mis
sions to Mars as useful ways to com
municate/escape. Disaster movies, or
science fiction movies for that matter,
have moved beyond mere escape. They
require some element of charm or
humanity or, unfortunately, fervent
It’s no longer enough to hatch “The
Poseidon Adventure” without Gene
Hackman. And Kilmer is no Hackman.