Monday, November 26, 2007


Stephen King’s been scaring the hell out of us since the mid 70s. He’s done so with all sorts of objects in all kinds of places- creepy hotels, pet cemeteries and deranged book lover’s houses. The Mist is an 80s King novella centering around a group of towns folk stuck at a local grocery store the same time a mysterious fog comes in from the hills. But this isn’t just some fog Al Gore warned us that pollutants would make; this fog is something different, something much more heinous.

This claustrophobic work of genius from director Frank Darabont, though splattered with blood and creepy bugs, is more than just some horror movie. Darabont (Shawshank Redemption and Green Mile, two other King masterstrokes) grasps the writer’s essence and wholly understands what it takes to make compelling cinema. The Mist’s major players –the heroic father (Thomas Jane), a way-too-logical lawyer (Andre Braugher), one Bible-toting hellion (Marcia Gay Harden)- are quickly established in the supermarket. When doomed souls dare to venture into the parking lot, everyone sees the ghastly things that can happen, but amazingly, they all react differently. Fight or flight… or the Christian right. Who knows? But once uneasy minutes become helpless hours, shoppers fearing the Apocalypse begin taking sides—and it’s then that the true horror builds in the aisles.

King and Darabont take stabs at religion, xenophobia and secret military practices between chilling scenes that feel as if they were shot in a single take. Marcia Gay Harden’s preachy Mrs. Carmody probably won’t get the Oscar respect she deserves because of the Academy’s high-art prejudice. Do not let such ignorance stop you, however, from seeing two legends of storytelling share a great tale that will leave you absolutely floored from the first scream up to the jaw-dropping final scene. -DW

Friday, November 16, 2007


Released- November 2, 2007
Reviewed- November 2, 2007
Rated- B+

There are a lot of powerful moments in this film. A particularly memorable one is when activist Adam Sterling asks if people are going to act on the terrible things they see happening in Africa or simply stand by and let nothing get done. Truth be told, that determined young man and the five other brave souls chronicled in this documentary about the travesties in Sudan are acting like heroes we should all stand beside. Darfur Now isn’t a preachy PBS-style documentary, simply timelining the blood-stained history between the government-sponsored Arabs and land-defending Africans; instead, it’s a sort of call-for-arms for today. Of course, uniting the troops and finding answers to the carnage aren’t easy. The stench of bureaucracy stretches from the Motherland to the U.N. to the boardrooms of Chinese oil companies financing the genocide. Still, people from all walks of life –Sterling, a World Food Program employee, an International Criminal Court official, a Sudanese tribal head, a female rebel fighter and actor Don Cheadle in Darfur Now- aren’t giving up the fight. If this movie was meant to be frustrating, mission accomplished. If this project was meant to further question Washington D.C. practices, consider it done. If this movement was meant to stir some sort of grassrooted anger in the local cineplex, organizers are going to need a much bigger petition to sign. -DW