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October 21, 2005 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2005-10-21

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8 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, October 21, 2005


can't get
off the
By Mary Kate Varnau
Daily Arts Writer
America shoveled $12 million last
weekend in the direction of Rupert
Wainwright's "The
Fog," a sub-par
John Carpenter- The Fog
remake (and the At the Showcase
second this year and Quality 16
after "Assault on Columbia
Precinct 13"), con-
firming audiences
are still willing to cede their paychecks
over to anything touting some WB stars
and the promise of a few cheap thrills
come Halloween season.
"The Fog" brings new meaning to the
expression "scared stupid" - really stu-
pid. The film takes place on an island off
the coast of Northern California, where
100 years after the gold on a lepers' ship
was stolen to found the town, the city
council erects a statue as a tribute to its
forefathers. A heavy fog rolls over the
island on the day of the unveiling, car-
rying an army of shadowy, corpse-like
figures. The fog proceeds to pick off

'Domino' falls and can't capture reality

Courtesy of Columbia

"Close the garage door, open the windows and breathe."

the islanders one by one in increasingly
creative fashion: stabbing people, set-
ting them on fire, turning people to ash,
drowning them and sucking them out of
windows like a tornado.
No worries, though, because this is a
horror movie, so viewers can be assured
that the three most attractive cast mem-
bers will survive. "The Fog" is principal-
ly an excuse for these hot 20-somethings
to run around, scantily clad and scream
a lot. But it even fails at that. Awkward
camera movement plagues the lone sex
scene, between Tom Welling ("Small-
ville") and Maggie Grace ("Lost"). And
Selma Blair ("Hellboy"), playing her
typical "sexy bitch" role, succeeds at only
creeping moviegoers out when she per-
forms household chores wearing bikini
underwear in front of her eight-year-old
If "The Fog" only purports to capture
the teenage demographic with. overplayed

scary-movie conventions, a weak plot
might be forgivable. But too many parts
of the film simply don't make sense. The
film has moments that just don't add up
- the fog seems to kill everything it
touches, yet Tom and Maggie keep cruis-
ing through it without too much trouble.
Throughout the film you become so busy
in the "wait-why-did-only-that-one-dead-
guy-come-back-to-life?" flux that you
forget to watch the movie.
Inexplicably, the film somehow man-
ages to be scary. It travels all the familiar
paths - things popping out unexpect-
edly, ghosts flying behind the big-chested
frightened girl, booming and low-pitched
pounding noises before each death - the
Fog" is frightening. It features the kind of
scares that come and go in the moment,
fading fast enough for audiences to forget
that in just a couple weeks they'll watch
"Saw II" to go through the same motions
all over again.

lurid sex and pop-culture sight gags in place of a coher-
ent narrative.
To her credit, Keira Knightley ("Pirates of the Caribbe-
an") looks great in the title role, but by confusing Domino
with the same strong-yet-vulnerable heroine she's played
in previous films ("Pirates," "King Arthur"), she cuts off
any insight into the real Domino. Knightley's performance,
like much of the film, is busy and colorful but completely
lacking in substance. Perhaps the shifty camera tricks and
jarring editing were intended to hide this, along with the
film's biggest problem - the utterly vacuous screenplay
by "Donnie Darko" mind-bender Richard Kelly. Instead of
delving into Harvey's complex and multifaceted life, the
movie's only recurring plotline centers on a severed arm
with a combination written on it.
Though director Tony Scott ("Man on Fire") has said
he never intended the film to be an exact biography of
Harvey, he didn't have to turn it into "Bad Boys III." The
film ignores many of the most intriguing parts of Dom-
ino's life, such as her relationship with her father, the
late actor Laurence Harvey, and her bisexuality, silenced
by a love-story subplot co-starring Spanish actor Edgar
Mickey Rourke ("Sin City") and Ramirez play Ed and
Choco, the rest of Domino's bounty-hunting family, in
functional performances that do what they can with the
ultra-thin material. Christopher Walken also makes an

Courtesy of New Line
"I just can't catch a break with this film's reviews. Ha!"
appearance as a TV producer tailing the clan, which in
turn brings Brian Austin Green and Ian Ziering into the
picture as "celebrity" hosts of the reality show. The two
former "90210" actors don't necessarily make "Domino"
any better, but it's a joy simply watching their awkward
attempt at ironic acting.
Though the film crowds itself with too many support-
ing characters and too little logic, comedienne/actress
Mo'Nique (TV's "The Parkers") proves to be a scene-
stealer. Even in the film's most ridiculous scenes, she
is center stage, poignant and often hilarious. Alas, she
is wasted in the film, as is Lucy Liu ("Kill Bill Vol.
1") The University alum gives yet another bitch-ridden
performance as the FBI investigator assigned to ques-
tion Domino.
Even as the movie stretches itself to an unconscionable
127 minutes, we still never really understand Domino,
her motives or desires. We do meet a lot of people that
she probably met and learn that she gave up her wealth
to live as a bounty hunter, but the film's over-arching
superficiality assures that's all we'll ever know. Domino's
clandestine mantra is "Heads I live, tails I die." After a
while, you too will hope for sweet salvation.

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