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January 27, 2003 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2003-01-27

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8A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, January 27, 2003

ARTS

Inspired by the outlandish memoirs of the man
who created the likes of "The Dating Game" and
"The Gong Show," George Clooney's directorial
debut confesses the life story of Chuck Barris. TV
show producer by day, CIA operative in his spare
time, Barris claims to have led a life that only some-
one with a mind crazy enough to conjure "The
Newlywed Game" could have lived. With the help
of Sam Rockwell's ("Teenage Mutant Ninja Tur-
tles") impressive portrayal of Barris and the writing
of Charlie Kaufman ("Adaptation"), Clooney has
taken the cult-status autobiography and constructed
an imaginative and highly stylized "Confessions of
a Dangerous Mind"
Opening on a nude and disheveled Barris, the
film begins by looking back on how his life became
an enveloping force withering continually further
from his control. His penchant for success arose
more from his coital pangs than any true self-actual-
ization driving force. As soon as he realized the sex-
ual draw of being a person with power and fame, he
made his way into the world of television. Moving
up the rankings and finding many interludes of
intercourse along the way, he eventually works his
way into the executive offices to pitch "The Dating
Game" and into the panties of a sexually free and
mentally aloof Penny (Drew Barrymore).
All the while, Barris also held a pejorative
propensity for bar brawls, which led him into the
guiding light of omnipresent and omniscient CIA
man Jim Byrd
(Clooney). Byrd offers
him training and an inde-
pendent operative posi-
tion under his direction,
and Barris willingly I
accepts. Learning over
30 different ways to kill
a man, Barris displays
his prodigy-like talent
and is given a mission
almost immediately.
Running under the cover
of a chaperone for the
winners on "The Dating BARRIS' ME
Game," he makes his
way around the world on
assassination orders andI
meets shady coopera-
tives like Keeler (Sutger
Hauer) and the stunning Patricia (Julia Roberts).
Soon, his life becomes a dizzying confusion of hid-
den identity, corruption and indeterminism where,
as always, nothing is for certain.
Obviously influenced by his
numerous collaborations in acting for
Steven Soderbergh, Clooney's fresh-
man effort hints at Soderbergh's style
but allows enough room to show off CONFES
some of his own ingenuity. Playing A DAN
with colors, angles and stylish sets M]
shows his directorial sense, although At ual
the film sometimes lacks a control-Mad
ling tone due to the muddle of tech-
niques he manages to dabble in. Mir
While commanding some bright per-
formances from the mass of talented actors at his

Tooth Fairy doesn't
deliver in 'Darkness

By Josh Neidus
Daily Arts Writer

a

There are horror movies, and then
there are horrible movies. "Darkness
Falls" can be classified as the latter.
What begins as a movie with great
potential delivers a waste of an hour
and 15 minutes. While numerous
scenes will make everyone in the the-
ater jump, they are mainly due to the
fact that the volume is explosively
loud and the lighting is too dark to Fear of the d
distinguish the unfolding events. This
decibel level also provides a sleep A string
deterrent, which is necessary with dia- deaths ensu
logue dull enough to lull an insomniac horror movi
to rest. The lack of memorable charac- rivals that o:
ters or household-named actors is is just as p
understandable because movies like might be ex
this do more harm to an actor's career biggest cred
than anything else. 90210" an
However, it should be pointed out only persor
that the entire movie is not worth- sense is Mi
less. The potential for something dif- during his
ferent and exciting comes in the Kyle, soun
opening minutes with a story that for his age
challenges our preconceived notions obviously do
of the Tooth Fairy. One
hundred and fifty years
ago lived a nice, old
lady who would give
children a gold coin
when they lost a tooth, DARKNESS FALLS
appropriately dubbed At Quality 16 and
the "Tooth Fairy" and Showcase
loved by all. This loveC .b
is abandoned when two Columbia
children turn up miss-
ing, and the Tooth Fairy is blamed. movie, quit

Courtesy of Miramax
Clooney takes his first stab behind the camera, but steals some of the scenes as a CIA operative.

Cur[esy o.oumia
dentist taken too far.
of inanely predictable
ue accompanied by some
e "don'ts" whose stupidity
f horror spoofs. The acting
oor as the dialogue, which
.pected from actors whose
[its include "Beverly Hills,
d "Legally Blonde." The
r in the movie with any
chael (Lee Cormie), who,
first conversation with
ds incredibly provocative
Kyle's thought process
oesn't contend with that of
Michael's as he only
incessantly repeats,
"Stay out of the dark!
Stay in the light!"
The villain is even
less consistent than the
bad acting and dialogue.
Supposedly, the Tooth
Fairy only attacks those
who have looked at her,
yet throughout the
e a few of her victims are

EMOIRS BROUGHT TO LIFE

BY RYAN LEWIS
DAILY ARTS WRITER
ble in their exactness. How Clooney portrays
them in the film make them stand out as the
torch-passing influences for today's lowbrow
reality television. Rockwell's skill-
ful underplaying of Barris make his
character all the more compelling-
k** as the distraught founder of these
institutions that flaunted the inane But Master Shredder give
SSIONS OF desires of the American public.
GEROUS Every performance in "Confes- cohorts add a number of
IND sions" is what you'd expect from the lant introductions of the
ity 16 d high-caliber portfolio of the ensem- ing fulfillments in their re
ston and ble. Clooney's supporting role as Aided by a hit list sot
Byrd almost outshines the rest of the The Who's "Won't Getl
amax cast, but no lack of passion can be sions of a Dangerous Mi
found in Roberts or the deeply philo- of Charles Barris and doe
sophical acting by Hauer. Somewhat surprisingly, lags in pacing and often1
Barrymore's ditzy hippie-girl portrayal may actually drama and action withou
be the most refreshing of her career and one of the Clooney always manages
best in the film. Plus, in the manner of Soderbergh, as an ethereal depiction{
.,qmi :a wdrop-in cameo s .e rys past .wn purpose ws.

Courtesy of Miramax
s us a home.
chuckles, and the noncha-
main players have satisfy-
spective exits.
undtrack, front loaded by
Fooled Again," "Confes-
ind" delves into the claims
sn't hold back. At times, it
ventures between comedy
ut any clear direction, but
to pull it back into place
of a man uncertain of his

She places a curse on the town
before being hung, promising to
exact her revenge on any child that
loses a tooth. Thus ends the potential
and begins the 70-plus minutes of
predictability and senselessness.
Enter Kyle Walsh, a 10-year-old
who has just lost his last tooth. After a
brief visit from his childhood crush,
Caitlin, he tries to fall asleep. His
efforts prove fruitless as the Tooth
Fairy attacks him, and, unlike his
mother, he is lucky enough to escape.
The escape is only physical as, 12
years later, Kyle (Chaney Kley) is still
haunted by this memory. Oddly
enough, Caitlin's younger brother,
Michael, is now being terrorized by
the Tooth Fairy as he has just lost his
last tooth. Caitlin (played as an adult
by Emma Caufield) must convince
Kyle to help her younger sibling
before Michael is considered insane,
since he and Kyle are apparently the
only two people who have seen the
Tooth Fairy and survived.

attacked completely by surprise. Sup-
posedly, staying in the light equates
staying out of harm, but the amount
of light that will stop the Tooth Fairy
in her murdering tracks wavers
uncontrollably and annoyingly. And
supposedly, the Tooth Fairy seeks to
exact her revenge on the children of
Darkness Falls (the title comes not
from the impending doom of the dark,
but from the town in which the Tooth
Fairy lived and has sworn vengeance),
but even grown up Kyle, who has
moved to Las Vegas, still feels the
need to carry an array of flashlights
wherever he ventures.
So what's next? A movie exposing
the Easter Bunny as the greatest bank
robber in the world? If movies like
this were made better, the fact that
they smear the reputation of children's
fairytales could be overlooked. How-
ever, this is not the case with "Dark-
ness Falls'" as the once beloved Tooth
Fairy is turned evil in a movie that is
just plain awful.

disposal, his real triumph exudes through the con-
stantly-flowing intrigue and deepening chaos of the
film's construction.
|e recreat d ar'how&,are-impdcca-
A

--_. i

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