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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

'Full Monty' Rescues Us From 'Dark City'

Alex Proyas subscribes to the different-is-good school of filmmaking.

In "Dark City," now playing at the Dome Cinema, his bad guys float through the air and incapacitate victims by simply caressing their faces and mumbling, "Sleeeeeep." His good guys awake every day in different bodies, victim to midnight mind transplants.

Give Proyas ("The Crow") credit. In an age when films like "Lethal Weapon 4" rule the day, the director has brought some original thought to the screen. Still, this is not to say "Dark City" is worth your time.

Striving to be different, Proyas fails to give us anything substantive. The film's script, co-written by Proyas, Lem Dobbs and David Goyer, could have been penned by third graders.

The plot goes beyond absurd. John Murdoch (Rufus Sewell) wakes up in his bathtub with blood trickling down his forehead and, worse, no recollection of who he is.

Before you know it, he is on the run from a police inspector (William Hurt) for supposedly killing six women, and from the Strangers, a group of creepy aliens with long, black coats and death-white faces. They are chasing him because unbeknownst to Murdoch, he has what they are looking for -- the secret of what makes humans human. Silly? You bet.

The characters are far from compelling. All we know about Murdoch is that he has big, googily eyes and is mighty scared. Hurt goes through the motions of being a cop as if he took the role as a favor. As Emma, Murdoch's adulterous wife, Jennifer Connelly adds nothing. Kiefer Sutherland is about 40 years too young to play the craggily old Dr. Daniel Schreber, the only person who knows how to help Murdoch.

The film has its bright moments. Proyas does a fine job of filming flashbacks. He depicts Murdoch's memories in hyperspeed; we feel we're rushing through space at 10,000 kilometers per hour.

Watching "Dark City," you can't help but think Proyas suffers from the same handicap as Luc Besson, whose "The Fifth Element" was beautifully shot with cool effects but underneath was just mindless fluff.

-- Barry Sollenberger

A last-minute call from the Dome Cinema informed us that there is respite from the onslaught of summer pulp such as "Dark City." "The Full Monty," the 1997 comedy hit directed by Peter Cattaneo, is playing at the Dome this weekend only.

It takes place in an economically depressed city in northern England. Gaz (Robert Carlyle) and his best friend, the overweight, underconfident Dave (Mark Addy), are laid-off industrial workers on the dole. Gaz is particularly desperate for money, as he owes pounds 750 ($1,200) in child support. If he doesn't pay it, he'll lose his visitation rights with his son, Nathan.

Inspired by the Chippendales, the buddies recruit other unemployed friends to form a striptease act. They may not have flawless bodies, but they offer something the Chippendales don't -- "the full monty."

Hot Chocolate's "You Sexy Thing" and other '70s anthems provide the perfect soundtrack to the cheesy but believable story.

"The Full Monty" is a life-affirming film about friendship and fun on a backdrop of depression and hopelessness. Pretty apropros for today's Moscow, isn't it?

-- Sarah Karush

Chris Floyd will be back next week.