Sunday, February 20, 2005

Constantine (2005)

I went on Friday night with 2 friends to see Constantine. Neither one of them is a Keanu fan. Amy hated the movie. She said it wasn't the worst movie she'd ever seen, but that's the highest praise she can give it. LOL Maryann said it was better than she thought it would be.

But me?? I did like it. I don't think it's my favorite Keanu film, although I am feeling a draw to go back and see it again.

This is not the kind of movie I would usually go see, and, yes, I will admit that it was Keanu who was the main attraction for me. I wasn't sure I'd go see it even with Mr. Reeves as the main character, but I had heard discussions about the spiritual aspect of the film beforehand and this convinced me to go. I wanted to see how Hollywood would manage to do a film like this with spiritual themes. Would it be effective? Convincing? Would it draw people closer to God or push them away?

Ok, a quick plot summary for those of you who haven't been eagerly anticipating this film for months and months. John Constantine is an exorcist, destined for hell due to a failed suicide attempt as a teenager. He is trying to earn his way back into heaven by performing exorcisms and sending demons back to hell. Enter Angela, a police detective whose twin sister has apparently committed suicide. Angela has her doubts about this and enlists the help of Constantine, which sets in motion a chain of events that eventually leads to a infernal showdown. The movie is based on a comic book called Hellblazer.

Many parts of the film were just mesmerizing. I could barely breathe at some points. For instance, Angela and John are attacked by demons outside his apartment. She says, "What IS that?" And he answers, "Wings. And talons." And then.... oh I won't give it away. But - Wow. I had seen this entire scene online before. But - oh my - on the big screen. And that isn't be all!

Keanu was awesome. He really portrayed Constantine's despair and confusion. He has the hardboiled world-weary attitude down pat. We're not meant to like John Constantine. And we don't. But then, we do! It doesn't hurt that he's some nice eye candy as well!

Rachel Wiesz looked luminous as Angela. One very funny moment between Angela and John happened during the bathtub scene. Wiesz has starred with Keanu before, in Chain Reaction, but this pairing far exceeded the previous one.

Shia LaBeouf was funny as Chas. His role as John's apprentice allowed him some funny moments begging John to let him do more of the real work.

I did NOT like Gabriel's character. Tilda's mischievous androgenous portrayal was great, but I thought that the character unnecessarily complicated the story and even caused it to be illogical.

I did find myself wishing for subtitles, as a lot of the best lines were hard to hear. This movie surely has "SEQUEL COMING" written all over it! lol

The film's theology is inaccurate at best, but it is a gripping story and I think it will have a lot of people thinking about spiritual issues. The movie is not for the faint-hearted, though, I will say, and profanity, violence, and demonic images make it inappropriate for children. If you are wondering whether or not you should see it, go ahead, but whenever Constantine says, "Shut your eyes," obey!

Friday, February 18, 2005

Saw Constantine!

I saw Constantine tonight! Really liked it! Will update my blog tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Johnny Mnemonic (1995)

Next up in my extended Keanu Reeves film festival is Johnny Mnemonic, a futuristic cyberpunk tale from 1995. I KNOW where I was in 1995 - being a first-year mama to David who never left my side.

I wouldn't call this one of Keanu's best movies. In fact, I would say this is probably one of his worst. :-( Keanu plays Johnny, an information courier who makes his living by transporting sensitive data stored in a memory module wet-wired into his brain. A particularly important memory load puts Johnny and the entire world at risk. The movie is based on a short story by William Gibson, and the plot line is definitely original.

Even though the movie is mostly a dud, I did enjoy it. I was curious to see how the plot worked itself out. And even though Keanu's performance is on the stiff side for most of the movie, I still liked it! ;-)
This movie has not been reviewed at

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Psycho (1998)

Evidently someone thought it would be a good idea to do a remake of Psycho. I only watched this movie because Maryann made me. Viggo Mortensen is in it, which is reason enough for her. At least he doesn't play Norman Bates. That unenviable job goes to Vince Vaughn. A garishly costumed Anne Heche takes the role of Marion Crane, made famous by Janet Leigh.

Admittedly we used the fast forward feature liberally, but I did know the story beforehand. This appears to be nearly a shot-by-shot remake of the Hitchcock Psycho, which of course is a classic, although not the type of movie I usually enjoy. WHY remake a classic? Very strange choice. I think it is safe to say that the original was far superior.

Don't bother with this one.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Around the World in 80 Days (2004)

I'm a sucker for an English accent, so when I saw the preview for Around the World in 80 days, it got my attention! It looked like an entertaining light film, and I put it on my Netflix queue and waited for it to come out on DVD.

I am glad I made time to watch it! I found it engaging and amusing, as well as inventive in many ways. I didn't expect it to be profound cinema, so I wasn't disappointed that way, nor have I read the novel by Jules Verne, so I wasn't bothered by concerns that the film didn't correctly represent the book. (If YOU feel like reading the book, here is a link to it online! How cool is that!

I found Fogg's inventions to be cleverly rendered onscreen - the electric lights, the beautiful mansion with its spinning ornamentation, the horseless carriage, and more! The costuming was beautiful; I quite enjoy a period flick!

Steve Coogan was marvelous as Phileas Fogg. He has such an expressive face. I already mentioned the accent! :-) Coogan is a gifted comedic actor. I could see the change very clearly in Fogg's personality from beginning to end of journey. And I quite enjoyed that!

Jackie Chan really is masterful at translating kung fu fighting to the big screen. I checked out his filmography to see if I had ever seen him in any other movies, and I don't think I have. He has nearly 100 movies to his credit, although most of them are Chinese, so it's not likely I'd have seen any of those. I knew of him, of course, but probably had never sought out any movies because I didn't think I'd like watching martial arts onscreen. I was wrong!

Who'd have thought that I actually enjoy watching kung fu, even without Keanu Reeves? I learned something new about myself! LOL It probably helps that my 10 year old son currently wants to become a martial arts master. (in his own words!) I thought the fight scenes in this film were choreographed very well and exciting as well. I also appreciate the fact that there is no blood and gore and that no one dies, which makes it a movie my kids can see.

Speaking of my kids, they watched this film with me today (after I previewed it last night) and they all loved it, especially the aforementioned martial arts master.

I liked a lot about this movie. The dialogue was sharp and witty. The journey was enhanced by the CGI effects between scenes. For example, the train puffing along with sparkles in its steam. Very pretty. I thought the part of Monique was well-written, and the actress Cecile de France played her with an artless charm.

There were a lot of cameos in the film, by actors such as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Kathy Bates. It has kept me busy at IMDB checking just who all these actors were. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the ship captain was also in A Knight's Tale, which is one of my favorite movies.

Evidently the plot has very little in common with the book it is based upon, but to me, that didn't matter at all. The adventure! The inventions! The color! The romance! The kung fu! All things that I experienced with relish! And don't forget the accent.... :-) link:

Napoleon Dynamite

I watched Napoleon Dynamite on January 31.

I had high expectations for this movie after hearing it raved about by so many people I respect. I am sad to report that I really didn't like it much. I guess I am not the angsty type.

The story really didn't go anywhere and the main character wasn't that interesting to me. I didn't get much of a sense of his thoughts, hopes, and dreams. In fact, the majority of the characters were strange and unlikeable. The best of the lot was Deb, the teen girl that befriended Napoleon and had a tendency to wear her hair in an extremely unflattering side ponytail. She at least seemed to have something beneath the surface.

I have put off this review too long and I had more to say, but I can't remember it now. It doesn't help that I have a bad cold. Maybe I will think of more to say later. Feel free to berate me for my dislike of this movie. LOL