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All Sorts Of Reactions To CONSTANTINE At The Egyptian, Including Moriarty's Own Review!!

Published at: Oct. 15, 2008, 2:25 a.m. CST by Moriarty

Hi, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab...

Ahhhh... another great night at the Egyptian. Director Francis Lawrence joined us at the end of the movie for a great Q&A. He’s an engaging guy who reminded me of Will from ALIAS to an almost spooky degree, enough so that I momentarily considered grilling him about his departure from the show. He was remarkably modest about what he pulled off with CONSTANTINE, but he deserves to strut a bit. Although I’m not sure I’d argue that it’s a great script, I think the filmmaking is tremendous. The best comparison you can make to anything in the Marvel stable so far is with BLADE, and this is a more self-assured film overall than the first BLADE was. If DC/Vertigo Films can pull it together and find someone to make a sequel that turns things up to the same degree that BLADE 2 did, then CONSTANTINE could be a franchise worth watching.

I’ve been getting in letters since last night from people who were there who wanted to share their impressions, and I thought I’d share a few with you. First up, it’s Cbabbitt, our favorite video store clerk in LA:

Hello, Keanu Reeves gives Satan the finger towards the end of the slick, occasionally entertaining, but ultimately bland and forgettable new Warner Bros. comic book adaptation CONSTANTINE.

Something occurred to me during this deliciously mischievous sequence: 1) Keanu Reeves is the only thing that kept me interested in this film. 2) Keanu has more confidence in himself as an actor than ever before(’cause he knows the Matrix films ruled, just as I do) and 3. Keanu is just really fucking cool. The audience laughed and cheered after this particularly bad-ass sequence which in my opinion was something this film desperately needed. In fact, the last 20-30 minutes of this film was quite good. That’s when the screenwriters decided to do something interesting with the story.

I’m not going to give away specific details about the plot since I’m sure this is the 100th review sent in from last night’s screening and you’ve probably read the synopsis far too many times... ..In short, John Constantine is a demon-slayer trying to buy his way into heaven, Rachel Weisz is a detective investigating what she thinks is the murder of her sister, Satan is very interested in one of these characters and all hell breaks loose.

Well...almost.

Actually, I would of loved it if all hell had broken loose, but unfortunately that never happened. Maybe I was expecting something different. I’ve never read Hellblazer and I probably never will. I simply loved the trailer. It looked like an interesting, vicious, frightening supernatural thriller starring an actor I admire. To my surprise, this film was not very interesting, vicious, or frightening at all. It was a standard supernatural thriller with many cool visual ideas, one explosive action piece, and a bad-ass main character.

Actually, first time director Francis Lawrence did a wonderful job executing a script that was obviously lacking. There’s nothing truly awful about this film and I credit him for that success. In the hands of a less talented director this film could have been a complete disaster. Lawrence managed to get fine performances from all of his actors, give the film a dark, moody atmosphere, and deliver some extremely effective CGI f/x. The film starts to drag about 40 minutes in. I mean, really drag. As in, this is really fucking dull and tame and I don’t give a fuck about that woman’s sister and it really doesn’t matter that Constantine’s friends are killed cause I didn’t like ‘em anyway and what the fuck is the deal with “the chair” and Rachel Wiesz’s sob scene was fucking lame and I want to see Keanu whoop some more demon ass instead of listen to all this fucking whining and.....ugh...sorry. It’s really not that bad.

Let me be clear about this: The last 30 minutes saves the movie. Peter Stormare is absolutely awesome! Really, the sequence between Constantine and Satan is worth the price of admission and like I said, Keanu is extremely cool as this character. The visual effects are exceptionally well done in places and the acting is quite good. I just loved how much of a prick Keanu was even in the simplest ways. Angela: “Are you going down?” Constantine: “Not if I can help it” Basically, everything about Constantine the character works, everything else is average. Nothing spectacular, nothing truly horrible.

An interesting Q & A followed the film with director Francis Lawrence. It will be interesting to see what he does next. Thanks for the screening, it was a fun night.

And the EGYPTIAN THEATER JUST FUCKING RULES!!

-Cbabbitt

Another reaction:

This is yet another film based on a comic book-but one I've never read or even heard of before this. It is quite dark in tone dealing with the eternal battle between good and evil, angels and demons, demonic possessions and the like. I always try to go into films with no expectations. This film has a kick ass trailer-but so did ELEKTRA and we saw where that got us. So not having any idea what I was in for I must tell you I really dug this horror/action flick though it is definitely not for everyone.

Keanu Reeves has been very good in some roles and very bad in others. He's very good as antihero John Constantine, who makes his "living" battling demons, performing exorcisms and other unpleasant tasks. Despite his performance it occurred to me that the film would have made an excellent vehicle to bring David Boreanaz's character, ANGEL, to the big screen due to many similarities in subject matter and character elements. One thing that surprised me was the amount of humor which was very welcome.

The film was helmed by first time director Francis Lawrence who got his start doing music videos. I feared this would lead to a style of constant and unnecessary camera movement, flashy over-editing and other ADD symptoms used by such hack directors as Michael Bay (who should not be allowed anywhere near a sound stage). This is definitely not the case. The film is beautifully staged and shot. There are an incredible number of really nice touches in every aspect of the movie from bits of business to production design that indicate a very sure hand was guiding things. I was astonished this was the guy's first feature. He obviously has a bright future ahead of him and I look forward to his next effort.

Not knowing what I was getting into is both good and bad. I was expecting perhaps a little more action and more scares than were delivered. The CGI demons aren't all that scary but the humans possessed by them are quite impressive and disturbing due to excellent makeup and CGI effects work. The depiction of hell is quite awe inducing and terrifying at the same time. So I would say I had more of a feeling of suspense and dread rather than terror.

The rest of the cast is also excellent. Rachel Weisz, Shia LaBeouf (a little underused I felt), Pruitt Taylor Vance, Tilda Swinton, Peter Stormare (what actor wouldn't want to play Satan?) and more are all perfectly cast and deliver great performances.

I don't know how fans of the comic will respond as I understand there were major changes made. If you are a fan of the horror or action genres I think this film is well worth a trip to the theater to see. I cannot stress how important it is that you see the film from the very beginning all the way to the end of the credits.

Thanks to director Lawrence, the folks at AICN, and the American Cinematheque for putting on a great show!

Irish Creme

Admittedly, not everyone liked it. In fact, this guy just plain hated it:

Harry,

I know you've been receiving a lot of email about Constantine, but I wanted to chime in as representative of a different demographic: the non-fanboy above the age of 35. Everyone on the site knows the general plot, so I'll dispense with explaining it. Let me just say that not only did I dislike this movie in cinematic terms, but it was such ponderous, confusing fanboy crap that I began to take it personally.

Things seem to happen in the film so that teenagers will run home and say, "dude, it was totally rad the way Keanu like, shot that dude and stuff. And the way the bad guy was like, totally all weird and stuff, it was TOTALLY RAD!!"

Every shot cared about only one thing: looking cool. It's not enough that Constantine needs to pay a visit to Hell, but he has to pour water in a bucket (because water looks TOTALLY RAD when all lit up and stuff), pick up a cat (because then we can see a TOTALLY RAD close up of the cat's eyes!) and channel the cat (still not sure why he has to hold a cat, probably because it looks TOTALLY RAD!), while travelling to Hell.

At the end, using a power we had absolutely no idea he possessed, Constantine puts his forearms together and, using CGI effect that were TOTALLY RAD, he flies to Hell. I think the forearm-deal had something to do with tats on his forearms, but we were never introduced to these tats and have no clue as to their meaning. The story seems to exist as a means of getting us from one piece of TOTALLY RAD CGI coolness to the next.

The film includes lots of pretenous relgious babble, the work of a writer who knows nothing about religion, but he's sure seen a lot of movies with religious themes, like The Exorcist. The story is muddled, partly because the "rules" of this world were so damn confusing.

Anyway, I can go on and on. Constantine is just horrible. Fanboys may like it because it's like, TOTALLY RAD! But those who hate posing for the sake posing will hate it. At the screening I went to, there was seriously groaning at the end. But these are critics. Dudes who like films that are TOTALLY RAD may like it. May these people grow up quickly.

Sign me,

Rufus Roughcut

PS: If you can survive the ordeal, stay for the entire end credits. There's a brief bit at the end.

For the most part, though, people enjoyed themselves, like this guy:

IN SHORT: Classy horror-noir marred by "comic book movie" narrative and the fact that practical effects ALWAYS look better than CG in horror. Keanu turns in a performance worthy of Shatner or Chuck Heston. A revelation or sorts. Hot Peter Stormare action! Amazingly restrained direction suggests great things in the future, and CONSTANTINE suggests great things from VERTIGO films, hell even WB/DC films!

Another week, another Egyptian AICN screening. At first I wondered why AICN was going out of its way to promote this one, but I understand now. I too feel complelled to chime in, mostly because I'd never have given CONSTANTINE a chance if not for good buzz, and this film deserves an audience. If you're on the fence, let the word get out that CONSTANTINE is a damn good movie! In fact, considering its a first-time director's feature debut, its an amazing achievement that shows RESTRAINT (the guy did MUSIC VIDEOS?!?!)!

But for me, CONSTANTINE will live in my heart as as Keanu Reeves movie in which there was a revelation somewhere in the middle where I realized "Holy Shit, Keanu channels the same kind of performance that defines some of the best Sci-Fi and Horror classics - the semi-stilted overacting of William Shatner in Star Trek and Charlton Heston in The Omega Man!" and if this sounds like faint praise, its not. There's an oddness and charm to those actors' performances that become endearing, a sort of comfort that works really well in a fantastic world. It jibes a bit with the conventional hero ideal, but also allows some interesting opportunities for comedy to seep in and attains a believeability I think playing it straight never could. I think this realization set in when a world-weary Keanu starts to explain the dynamics of God and Satan's wager for the souls of humanity – it totally felt Chuck Heston.

I have no beef with Mr. Reeves, in fact I LOVE him in the right role, and I always felt like his Neo worked mostly because deep down, Keanu really believed in all the pseudo-philosophical sci-fi exposition he churned out. I can buy him as a world weary P.I. of the supernatural, mostly because this is NOT AN ORIGIN MOVIE and he gets right to the action! THANK GOD! Its the movies biggest strength - we're immeadiately thrust into a world, and in one scene the dynamics are set up - BAM! Constantine doing his thing. BAM! "Get me a mirror." BAAAAM! "Chaz, move the car..." I love seeing a character who knows it all, has seen it all, and suddenly comes face to face with SOMETHING that rattles him! Definitely gets you into the narrative right off the bat, and Constantine's opening demonic possession does just that! It is the best establishment of a comic hero since the Blood Rave in Blade, and even the same joy of Hellboy's first encounters. Its strange - I really don't miss the comics' hero as much as I thought, perhaps because its not officially HELLBLAZER (kind of like BLADE RUNNER's title distancing it from DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP?) and I can live with seperate universes in comics and cinema.

An amazing supporting cast fills the movie- Tilda Swinton's Angel Gabriel almost steals the movie's climax, she channels some ferocious misguided ambitions. Her last scene with Keanu is almost the inverse of Clive Owen's confrontation of Julia Roberts in CLOSER (y'know, "That's the spirit! Now FUCK OFF."). Djimon Hounsou and Gavin Rossdale chew the scenery in such a way that it elevates Keanu, unfortunately he spends more time with Rachel Weisz' love interest and... she just doesn't bring the best out of him. Its a bummer, there's a whole stable of REALLY fun side characters who don't survive, and now that I think about it, all the performances outside of Rachel Weisz really feel noir, but there's no femme fatale. Instead, Hollywood's standard diluted damsel in distress.

I don't want to knock the film Francis Lawrence directedtoo much. The framing of shots FEEL like comic book panels, and many of the effects shots are stunning for their hesitation to show off! Great moments, like when John Constantine hears wings and sees the silhouettes of an entire flock of demons behind the window shades, or even REALLY subtle moments, like when the psychic Priest is in the morgue and there is a slight bit of mist coming off him in the cold freezer, but not the dead bodies around him! Little touches show the care going into this movie's desgin, (I loved the crab that preceded the demon composed of insects and crustaceans!) and there is a bar that is probably the most fun dive of supernatural characters since the Mos Eisley cantina... or at least the House of Pain in Blade 2... really, I could believe in this world a lot, and its more impressive in many aspects than full fantasy worlds.

Problem is... its a really good film noir, a really good horror movie, and a really good comic book movie. But it still hasn't found a complete balance between them all. There's a richness to the world, and it isn't a glamourized LA or the seedy world of a movie like SE7EN, but for an R rated movie, the action felt tame. I was surprised at the lack of gore, mostly because of the subject matter. At the Q&A later, the director mentioned it was the religious TONE of the film that got the R. For me, I wouldn't be surprised if it was the occasional swearing that got the MPAA hot an bothered, but the action was no more intense than HELLBOY or SPIDERMAN 2... it just had demons and angels too. As the director said (a really GOOD Q&A despite some standard lame-ass questions) make them ELVES and ORCS, and you've got fantasy, but religion is REAL! I'm just warning some of you, don't go in expecting a HARD "R" BALLS TO THE WALLS MOVIE. Instead, we benefit from good characters and script that isn't watered down...

...which brings me to the real problem that is: the script is still only good. It loosely follows the Ennis (I think) Hellblazer series where he's got cancer. We know this because, in the introductory shot, John Constantine has a cigarette... and we're treated to a CU of the cigarette. And more.. and more... CIGARETTE SHOTS. I got the point, but you could have a CONSTANTINE DRINKING GAME and be completely fucked up if you took a shot was centered around a cigarette, ash tray, or cigarette falling out of John's hand... and you'd be about 20 minutes into the FILM! My real beef is that so much time went into one of the BEST fantasy/reality NOIR worlds, and instead of the CHINATOWN (hey - the poster BEGS comparison) of fantasy-noir, we're forced into a THE WORLD IS AT STAKE AND OUR HERO MUST STOP ARMAGEDDON plot. The main villain is faceless almost the whole movie, so it really doesn't feel like a threat... and Hell never completely comes to Earth... so all the minions of Hell (LOVE the design... still CG monsters...) never become a full threat to Constantine. In fact, during a spectacular scene he takes out an entire SWARM of these demons in a moment evocative of PITCH BLACK when the french guy illuminates the entire swarm around him that is COMPLETELY BADASS!

As for the CG - just when I was accepting the CG demons we get the one performance that schools Tilda Swinton's Angel Gabriel - Peter "Stormy" Stormare... and I realized that no CG can ever be as fascinating as a great actor (even Gavin Rossdale in practical slimy gore FX looked so cool and believeable!). The director described it as "a guy on the street you wouldn't notice but when you look at him he looks like he wants to have sex with every man, woman, child and animal around," and that pretty much sums it up. He has a moment involving his toungue and Keanu's face that I thought would suddenly have CG, but no, its just him and a creepy homoeroticism that no computer could amplify. Its worth the price of admission for the finale involving him and a Keanu spilling blood from freshly-slit wrists.

Back to the plot - if it had just been a minor demon causing havoc upsetting the balance, and the Spear of Destiny subplot had been removed, all the same character developments could have taken place. Think about Chinatown, Touch of Evil, even Maltese Falcon, and its about the characters going after each other or one goal, never some chain events larger than the whole of them. As a result, right when we are getting comfortable with the supporting cast, the plot forces us to ditch them to stop THE EVIL. Even the XFiles' best episodes stand tall vs. the overbearing weight of the movie. The apocalypse felt like excess baggage, and is becoming a major problem with Comic Book movies in general. I'd love another Constantine, but one confident enough in its well established characters to be a great HORROR NOIR and ditch the comic book side.

I say this not to discourage ANYONE from checking out one of the best releases so far this year, but because if this series continues it could lead to a sequel as amazing as Spiderman 2. There are cinematic moments of bliss for your money, of note the opening exorcism, the "Rachel Weisz vs. office building cubicles and walls" shot from the trailer, and the best hero vs. mass of supernatural bastards since the blood rave in Blade, and none of them pull punches! I'd love to see where characters go, and VERTIGO, DC and WARNER BROS. deserve to reap the benefits! If so, they damn well better prove their worth by going the next step and not holding back. As for Fancis Lawrence, I'm looking forward to what comes next, this beats the hell out of a first film like TORQUE because its got what Hollywood movies have been lacking in general, and that's CLASS.

Thanks again AICN!

~Hal Solo

One last one:

Hola, Moriarty. It's that most useless of spies, Wolffman Jack, here to talk about Keanu and those dreamy eyes... or maybe they're just vacant. Either way today's subject is Constantine.

The Good.

The look of the film is great. Certainly influenced by the Matrix (at least a bit) and Director Francis Lawrence's time spent in music videos. A bit gritty, the occult underworld of LA is shown in interesting patches.

The acting, yes, I said the word acting in a Keanu movie is good. Nothing great, but everyone is at least awake and invested in portraying these characters.

The CGI, despite Rachel Weisz's presence, is much better than the crap they put into the Mummy films. Hell, while not very similar to the hell of the comics, is at least visually arresting. It helps that we don't hang out there for a ton of time as well.

The ideology of the story is at least closer to the comic and I love that you have fallible angels and stupid demons in a hollywood story. Lawrence did mention that the ratings board gave the film an R for the tone of the film. This movie isn't particularly gory or profane, but he made a point about how as soon as you mention angels and demons, the board doesn't rate you like it's a fantasy, but as if these events are happening in the real world. If, as Lawrence suggested, this movie dealt with orcs and elves instead, it'd probably be a PG-13. THought that was interesting.

Lawrence isn't afraid to leave silences in the film and it makes for a very inobtrusive soundtrack that still hits when it needs to.

The Bad

Lawrence suffers from some of the problems that first time music video directors have: excessive use of camera tricks, a strobe light sequence that really had no point as far as I could tell, etc.

Pacing isn't the best. The intro excorcism is good, but then the story bogs down into slow, slow territory. Not really heating up till the conclusion. With a more experienced director and a different editor, (not to mention script) this thing could be tighter.

This is not the John Constantine that fans of Hellblazer love. He's not English, he's not blonde, and he's not nearly as sarcastically clever as the John in the comics. The latter being the true tragedy. Which brings me to everybody's favorite.

The Ugly

How you can take a character who's as cool as Constantine, with as many stories available to steal from and come up with this script, boggles my mind. It's cliche in parts (many), leaves characters two dimensional and glides over parts of John's history that I want to know about and see onscreen. John's origin is given like two minutes of screen time. WTF? Are these guys trying to start a franchise or what? Why isn't this an origin story? Lawrence said that the script wasn't in a good place when he became involved and I hate to say, it still isn't.

Alright, there's my two cents. Overall I'd give this bad boy a C+. Interesting visuals and a director who could grow into something we'll salivate over, but this could've been fantastic. There's a couple laughs and just a little of the Constantine you like in the comics, but overall, it's a missed opportunity and I can only hope that whoever has Watchmen and V for Vendetta comes through better.

Thanks for the screening Moriarty. Pretty good questions, the same can't be said of some the people in the Q&A. I'm looking forward to Old Boy. See you then.

Wolffman Jack

As for my reaction? Well, it’s no accident that most of these reviews have focused on the work of Francis Lawrence. I’m notorious for how much I hated THE CELL when it was released, and we dodged a major bullet with CONSTANTINE, since it was supposed to be a Tarsem film originally. Lawrence is indeed from a music video background, but he seems completely aware of the difference between a video and a film, and he embraces the freedom of the bigscreen with an impressive zeal. Instead of trying to batter you into submission with sheer sensory overload, this is a film that is determined to seduce you with a carefully controlled aesthetic, part noir, part fantasy. It’s a gorgeous film. Philippe Rousselot is his cinematographer here, the same guy who shot INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE and A RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT and DIVA. This is a serious shooter, and the widescreen composition of this film is enough for me to heartily recommend it to anyone. I just plain liked the way this one scanned across the rods and cones, first and foremost. Which isn’t to say that it’s a pure triumph of style over substance, because I think the script by Kevin Brodbin and Frank Capello is good, a fairly restrained affair that expects the viewer to keep up. Instead of bombarding us with the same sort of genre expository gobbledygook that we’re so used to, the film simply drops you into a world and demands that you find your own footing. Lawrence seems to believe in the “show, don’t say” school of thought, as in the tremendous opening scene in Mexico where the Spear of Destiny is first uncovered. It brings to mind Jonathan Glazer’s “Rabbit In The Headlights” video, as well as an image in the FANTASTIC FOUR trailer, but the way it’s accomplished here is a genuine shock to the system.

Keanu’s very good in the film, but I’ll warn you... it’s a completely mannered performance. He’s made a definite choice here, and he spits his dialogue out like it’s a soul-killing chore to do so. Once again, he reminds me of Mark Hamill, able to completely inhabit a fantasy world, able to believe in everything around him to such a degree that he sells it for the viewer. It’s a largely physical role for him, and he isn’t playing Neo at all. There’s a totally different presence for Constantine, and his biggest moment opposite Satan is also one of the year’s first classic images, somehow hilarious and transcendent at once.

The best comparison I can make between this and another film is BLADE. That film was the first warning shot that Marvel Films has a unit to be taken seriously, an announcement that comic-book films could indeed work. CONSTANTINE is an announcement from DC/Vertigo Films, and the first time I’ve seen the Vertigo logo onscreen. I think this is a better film than the first BLADE was (although it’s a far cry from the delirious heights of BLADE 2), and it bodes well. There’s a feeling in the air right now that DC is turning the corner, getting everything in order, and this next batch of films from them could be something special. BATMAN BEGINS, SUPERMAN RETURNS, V FOR VENDETTA... color me interested. And if they want to throw a CONSTANTINE sequel in there, expand to include some other religious mythology from around the world and I’m there. This is a great debut film for a filmmaker, and as long as you realize it’s a dark and deliberately dense ride going in, I think you’ll enjoy it quite a bit.

I saw Neill Cumpston at the screening, but I was disappointed when he didn’t send in a review. Then again, the Ritalin is alleged to be working, so whatcha gonna do? At any rate, thanks again to Warner Bros. and the Cinematheque for working with us on this one, and I can’t wait for the OLD BOY screenings in March, as well as some others that are just in the planning stages right now. As always, we’ll keep you posted here.

"Moriarty" out.





Readers Talkback

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  • Feb. 18, 2005, 1:58 p.m. CST

    first

    by Dented Helmet

  • Feb. 18, 2005, 2:02 p.m. CST

    gotta admit i'm looking forward to this one

    by keyserSOZE

    it just intrigues me, and despite keanu being ted theodore logan with his whooooa's and his eff bee eye agent's, you must admit he's a pretty solid action star.

  • Feb. 18, 2005, 2:07 p.m. CST

    I know I'll get flack for this but....

    by payton 34

    this looks waaaaaay more intersting to me than Sin City does.

  • Feb. 18, 2005, 2:10 p.m. CST

    I'm going to see this tonight.

    by Sod Off Baldric

    Here's to hoping it doesn't suck.

  • Feb. 18, 2005, 2:24 p.m. CST

    The NY Times' hilarious review confirmed my suspicions

    by Lance Rock

  • Feb. 18, 2005, 2:33 p.m. CST

    The NY Times said it was more stupid than Van Helsing, and I jus

    by George Newman

    I'll see it with some buddies within a couple weeks. At first i was really mad that they were changing the title, nationality, etc. but then I just stopped caring. I'll be going in with little baggage and no expectations and hopefully I'll come out satisfied.

  • Feb. 18, 2005, 2:33 p.m. CST

    "Keanu has more confidence...

    by Childe Roland

    ...in himself as an actor than ever before(

  • Feb. 18, 2005, 2:46 p.m. CST

    Who the fuck says Totally Rad?

    by Mr. Profit

    People usually want things to be "Kick Ass" a phrase I despise. But totally rad, come on. And since I am a fan of the genre that get's crapped on by critics, (Horror Films) I won't listen to reviewers unless the consensus is overwhelmingly negative. The reviewers crapped on the TCM remake, and I loved that fucking movie.

  • Feb. 18, 2005, 3 p.m. CST

    "

    by moviemaniac-7

    The first one? Yeah, that was a nice action / sci-fi flick. The sequels sucked balls. And the NY Times says this one is more stupid than Van Helsing, huh? Could that be? Still, I have faith in this movie. No high hopes, but just faith that it will entertain, nothing more.

  • Feb. 18, 2005, 3:06 p.m. CST

    Newman . . .

    by PoliMan4

    I read the New York Times review after I read your comment, and found that the awkwardly written sentence actually implies that the movie tried to be dumber than Van Helsing, but mananged to be slightly smarter. Therefore, the NY Times is not guilty of committing the logical fallicy of suggesting that ANYTHING can be dumber than Van Helsing.

  • Feb. 18, 2005, 3:51 p.m. CST

    'Neill Cumpston was at the screening'

    by MartinBlank

    He needs to review EVERYTHING. I'd totally buy a book of his reviews.

  • Feb. 18, 2005, 3:59 p.m. CST

    Comic adaptation hyprocrisy

    by Lazarus Long

    Why is it okay to rape a comic like Hellblazer, but people go ballistic when even the slightest liberties are taken with Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, Batman, etc.? If this were Neil Gaiman's Sandman would the reviewers (especially the AICN resident ones) be so easy on the lack of faithfulness? I would argue that Jamie Delano (who was Hellblazer's original writer), while perhaps not as consistently brilliant as Gaiman, was partially responsible for putting Vertigo on the map. He wrote some GREAT stories, and was with the comic for a very long time. I'm not so mad that he's not blonde, or even that he's not English (although it seems SO much a part of the character and story), but could they have maybe set it somewhere even SOMEWHAT like London? Seattle perhaps, where it actually rains? No, not sexy enough I guess. And from what I've read about this film, I'd agree with Wolfman Jack's review, which said there was SO much material to mine, and they hardly used any of it. I was a Hellblazer reader in high school when it first started, and though I haven't looked at in quite some time, I'm still offended to the core. More power to Francis Lawrence, but fuck DC and Warner Bros. (god, can they do ANYTHING right?) for letting this happen. A pox on both your houses. I'm drawing a pentagram on my floor as we speak.

  • Feb. 18, 2005, 4:40 p.m. CST

    Maybe this will be an ok movie...

    by rev_skarekroe

    ...but I really hope they actually make a Hellblazer film some day.

  • Feb. 18, 2005, 5:17 p.m. CST

    This movie looks laughable...

    by strider_is_hot

    Sorry, don't mean to offend anyone, but seriously - I laugh every time the trailer shows.

  • Feb. 18, 2005, 5:33 p.m. CST

    V For Vendetta is not DC

    by Rupee88

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't V for Vendetta published in England DC just reprinted it?

  • I see the same thing with Fantastic Four. It looks stupid (especially The Thing), yet fanboys are bending over backwards to try to look forward to it. Constantine is getting mixed to negative reviews, so it probably isn't too good. I expect it to be about as good as Hellboy, which isn't saying much. I'll download this one once it gets put on DVD unless I have a mad popcorn craving, which is unlikely.

  • Feb. 18, 2005, 7:40 p.m. CST

    Rupee

    by Gheorghe Zamfir

    You're basically right, V for Vendetta was first published as a monthly serial in a UK magazine called Warrior, but Warrior was cancelled before Moore ever finished the story, so DC let Moore finish the story by republishing the early stuff and letting him complete his story with all new issues. So it was under DC that the COMPLETE V for Vendetta was published, but yea, it was started in England.

  • Feb. 18, 2005, 7:53 p.m. CST

    I don't see why there's so much venom towards this movie (fans o

    by iamnicksaicnsn

    Like I've said, this movie is just a simple, kick-ass-and-take-names, Bad-ass CGI, cool-action, entertaining-dialogue, movie. And Peter Stormare was ridiculously fun. It's not genius, but I didn't expect it to be, and was genuinely surprised by the fun, and the crazy Heaven/Hell mixed world.

  • Feb. 18, 2005, 8:15 p.m. CST

    Moriarty must have been deliriously high...

    by FreeJack

    ...when he saw Blade 2.

  • Feb. 18, 2005, 9:28 p.m. CST

    spoil it for me, what happens after the credits

    by JiggamanSpence

    i saw the film but couldnt stay for the "brief bit at the end". Can somebody enlighten me?

  • Although this and 'Catwoman' were developed concurrently, so go figure. But 'Batman Begins' was handled with an ear to the fanboy community, they got Brian fucking Singer to direct 'Superman Returns' and allowed him to cast a non-star in the title role, and the fact that 'V for Vendetta' is being made it all is just plain cool. (Hopefully it won't suck. I know McTiegue got muchos kudos for his work with the Wachowskis, but as there are no images of the film yet it's hard to tell whether or not there will be any substance in his style). So yeah. Reaction to this movie has been mixed, but I think I'm gonna check it out this weekend. By the way, what's the over/under on when that "TOTALLY RAD!" guy pops a vein? I've got news for you, palamino: your legion of teens who say "TOTALLY RAD!" don't exist. It's obviously something you've given some (unhealthy) thought too, but I think primal scream therapy works much better.

  • Feb. 18, 2005, 10:24 p.m. CST

    Yawn

    by coolhive

    Just got back from seeing the movie. After a promising opening (the exorcism, not the Mexican shit), the films got too bogged down and tedious. Rachel W can't do an American accent worth shit. The last 45 minutes were slower than the death of Katherine Hepburn. Satan was poorly cast. The only thing going for this picture are the occasional cool CGI (not all of it worked) and the great work by Tilda Swinton as Gabriel. Too many part didn't make sense and too many close-ups were inappropriate. At least it wasn't cut together like some cheesy MTV video or Michael Bay crapfest. I'd give it a C. (PS - I've heard plenty of 16 year olds say TOTALLY RAD, Mr. Profit. Unfortunately.)

  • Feb. 18, 2005, 11:09 p.m. CST

    my take

    by Blacklist

    I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. And I went in wanting to like it, and after reading Ebert's incomprehensible review. I did have some problems, but most of them concern the plot and not the execution. I didn't think it was a good idea to do with Gabriel what was done. The motivations seem pretty hazy and approach an Underworld-like murkiness. A lot of the plot seems to occasionally veer off in this direction. The gum-chewing bit and the end was lame and against character. I didn't catch the extra bit after the credits but lemme guess: is it a PSA with Keanu Reaves telling kids it isn't cool to smoke? Bah. Constantine should have smoked two cigarettes at once at the end, then beat up some of those whitelies.tv tools that do the cinema verite ads. Anyway, the last thing that bugged me were the cheap 'boo' scares. Just cheap. That said. Peter Stormare WAS great. The action (didn't expect any really) was better than expected. Blade quality. The look was good. And the plot, while occasionally murky was interesting, which is probably a testament to the strength of the comic. Yeah, Keanu isn't anything like the Constantine from the book, but he doesn't seem out of place in this movie at all. Tilda Swinton was a great bit of casting. Didn't much care for Shia LeBouf (sp, sorry). I would place Constantine leaps and bounds over Underworld, but slightly behind Hellboy.

  • Feb. 18, 2005, 11:14 p.m. CST

    It's Craptacular!

    by Homer Sexual

    There are a couple good things in this movie. By far the best is Tilda Swinton as Gabriel. Also, once toward the end Keanu says "I'm Thinking" and the audience started laughing. The look is ok. Keanu is fine if you have never read the comic. But he is nothing at all like the "real" Constantine, except that he smokes. There is much studio interference at work, beginning with the casting of Keanu and the "Americanization" of JC, next comes the (Absurd) cross-shaped gun. Worst of all: The teen sidekick. Puh-leeze! And why does Satan have to be gay? Huh? Huh? I have read the story this movie is based on, and several plot points seem very murky/nonsensical even to me, but I figured "don't think about it, just go with the flow." This movie was pretty much what I expected. It is not a worthless travesty ala "Catwoman," but it really isn't good.

  • Feb. 18, 2005, 11:21 p.m. CST

    p.s.

    by Homer Sexual

    Gavin Rossdale looks the part, but he can't deliver a decent line to save his life. His performance made me think of myself trying to act and realizing "Hey, this is harder than it looks." Cause poor Gavin is totally amateurish. And Peter Stormare was much better in Fargo. He certainly hams it up here. I agree that the end was strangely boring, even though this was where the most interesting concepts were (somewhat) realized. and the exorcism scene at the beginning was muy unoriginal. very very!

  • Feb. 18, 2005, 11:24 p.m. CST

    If you are not a fanboy, why take it personally?

    by IAmJacksUserID

    Rufus Roughcut aka Angry Boy.

  • Feb. 18, 2005, 11:30 p.m. CST

    Blade R00lz over this fucker!

    by superdavid

    You cant tell me that a movie as shitty as this which BORROWS from virtually every GOOD film out before it including The Matrix and Blade is anywhere near the same quality level. A franchise made out of this has nowhere else to go but, as they say in the movie, DOWN! This is what you get when you use unschooled music video directors etc. A boring overlong "C" movie that relies more on cliches than originality!

  • Feb. 18, 2005, 11:33 p.m. CST

    Watchmen could be DC's Spider-Man

    by Blacklist

    ...meaning their first big blockbuster since the 'golden age' of comic movies began. I agree with Mori's Constantine/Blade comparisons, in style too, but more in the sense that DC may not be far from getting someone like Avi Arad and putting out a slew of DC/Vertigo titles ranging from just below fair to pretty great in no time. A Fables movie would be difficult to pull off (wacky slapstick or stylized action could kill it), but if it worked, it'd really be something great. Constantine has gotten me really anticipating a expertly crafted Sandman movie done by someone with a Guillermo del Toro-like love for the source material, and maybe a Lucifer spin-off afterwards.

  • Feb. 18, 2005, 11:59 p.m. CST

    Gee, and one would think it was YOU that was baiting me

    by Ribbons

    So Brian Singer's middle name isn't Fucking? Well shucky gee, moviemack, and here I am laboring under false pretenses! That'll learn me to use them there expletives in my posts. I was actually afraid you were lurking somewhere around here and deliberately tried NOT to bait you by being careful with my selection of words. 'Batman Begins' may not be any good, as I implied in my response to your plot synopsis a week or so ago (funny how you never respond to positive posts). By "fanboy community," I don't mean you. For better or worse, I think you've picked enough battles over the last six months to agree that most fanboys (depending on your definition of the word) are going to be devouring this movie like gothcakes. The movie will, I'm assuming, not wink at the audience in the same way that Schumacher's films did (that doesn't mean it will be GOOD, mind you). And remember: they were planning on casting Ashton Kutcher as Batman, which didn't go over very well. Christian Bale was probably the popular choice among people online who like to play casting couch, and lo and behold. Now these events could have been completely coincidental, but I'd imagine that they were at least vindicating to a lot of people who'd been following the film's progress (I don't know what his approach behind the camera will be (according to you he's trying to channel James Bond) nor do I know anything for sure about behind-the-scenes development on 'Batman Begins,' but I'd even be willing to bet the initial idea to put Chris Nolan on the film had something to do with his background in the detective/noir genre). There were so many starts and halts on the production of another Batman movie a few years ago that I have to assume they were at least wary of what the majority of fanboys would have to say to the product. If it's a mediocre movie, I'll be disappointed. Although right about now is where I'm supposed to say I hope they'll gain enough reverence for comics to actually try to communicate what makes people like them to a larger audience, that's probably a pipe dream. But I am at least impressed that they're catering to the sometimes nonsensical whims of "fanboys" in the first place, which is certainly not something they've done in the recent past. As for "knocking myself out" with 'Constantine,' I didn't say I planned on liking it. I said I planned on seeing it, which I assume you must have done as well to have had an opinion on the quality of the movie in the first place. Pot, meet kettle. Go ahead and devote your next post to my not being able to see the bigger picture or my infantile urge to use words like "shucky gee" or my idiocy or how it's "just not worth the energy," but I'm not about to make another TalkBack about you.

  • Feb. 19, 2005, 1:24 a.m. CST

    This movie had "shitbomb" written on it from the word go

    by NiceMarmot

    Keanu Reeves starring? That's Strike One. Comic-book adaptation? Strike Two. Rookie director whose experience comes in the form of Britney and Will Smith music videos? That's a strikeout on par with Randy Johnson vs John Kruk in the all-star game. Even that Vin Diesel commando-nanny thing doesn't stink from as far away.

  • Feb. 19, 2005, 2:41 a.m. CST

    I liked it...but not for $9

    by SG7

    Folks rag on Keanu but he was fine in this. The film looks stunning and for the most part it's quite entertaining. Gotta love Lou at the end and "the finger" was quite nice and the audience I was with liked it. Of the "angles -vs- demons" genera this is quite good.

  • Feb. 19, 2005, 3:03 a.m. CST

    Keanu turns in a performance worthy of Shatner or Chuck Heston.

    by dr.bulber

    ....

  • Feb. 19, 2005, 4:01 a.m. CST

    They cut out Ellie!

    by jackson healy

    Why'd they cut Ellie from the final film? Also, I wished they'd stuck with the Ennis mythos and made it a personal vendetta 'tween John and Satan, instead of all this, "cause I've been sending his soldiers bloody back to hell" thing... I wished they just up and followed the Dangerous Habits storyline and made John a working class Brit bastard with balls and savvy like he is in the comic.

  • Feb. 19, 2005, 4:01 a.m. CST

    Some will B!tch and Moan no matter what. This movie was very sol

    by The Founder

    It wasn't the best comic film, but it was pretty d@mn solid, and entertaining. It did drag a bit, and i found myself just not caring enough for the woman Isabel, and the Demon fights could've lasted longer, but overall i really enjoyed this movie, and is angry i forgot to stay after the d@mn credits. I'll see it again for sure. reeves had a good supporting cast.

  • Feb. 19, 2005, 4:21 a.m. CST

    Loved it

    by FreeJack

    I know it's not fashionable to like Keanu Reeves, but I do and he was great here. Never read the comic book (nor, I should note, did 99.8% of the people who'll see the flick). Hard as hell to get a ticket too, sold out everywhere I turned.

  • Feb. 19, 2005, 9:20 a.m. CST

    Wooohoooo!!! that was cool!

    by Russman

    I really enjoyed it. My petty complaints: they didn't explain the chair at all and the whole peering into hell thing didn't make sense. I also don't understand why most actors like to play Lucifer as this twitching man who makes noises and speaks strange (even though Stormare has an accent). I didn't like his take on it nor did I like the actors take on it in that borefest Prophsey. But Constantine was fun. Very cool!

  • Feb. 19, 2005, 9:35 a.m. CST

    the comic has so much more depth

    by jccalhoun

    I think that people who haven't ever read the comic will like it. I WANTED to like it, but the comic is so much more ocmplex and personal that it makes it difficult to accept the changes that are just to make it more cliched. Sorry Chas is NOT a kid who wants to help. He gets dragged in kicking and screaming every bit of the way. The Dangerous Habits plot also doesn't have its own stupid internal rules to resolve the storyline.

  • Feb. 19, 2005, 10:40 a.m. CST

    Not bad, not great, but 100 times better than the piece of shit

    by Atticus Finch

    Also thought I'd mention that Reeves was way better in this than in those Matrix pieces of shit.

  • Feb. 19, 2005, 1:11 p.m. CST

    Where is the love?

    by BillEmic

    I'm not sure if I understand the hate towards this movie (unless you're a diehard Hellblazer purist). It was rather understated - for a comic book movie - and Keanu didn't feel like the "weak link" he can be in other movies. "Constantine" moves at its own pace, doesn't simplify everything for the audience, and creates some arresting, religious visuals. I enjoyed it from start to finish. It'd be interesting to watch this back to back with "The Passion of the Christ". To hell with the devil: looks like Catholicism is back!

  • Feb. 19, 2005, 9:36 p.m. CST

    Great Flick

    by Saluki

    This flick has one MAJOR thing going for it; Lawrence's total lack of exposition. Nearly every negative review I've read either asks a question that WAS answered or was totally beside the point. Example: Ebert's review. It was surprisingly lazy and bare boned, and just asks a load of rhetorical questions. It's darker than the comic, but not as witty. I'd rate it above Hellboy, and equal to Blade.

  • Feb. 19, 2005, 9:43 p.m. CST

    Neil Cumpston

    by Ribbons

    "But it's too late and here comes my large Sprite at the screen." Yeah, I wouldn't mind seeing another review from him sometime.

  • Feb. 20, 2005, 5:32 a.m. CST

    It wasn't bad.

    by Psyclops

    I think the script needed some work. The movie drags a bit during the middle, mostly when it's focusing on John and Angela, and the far more interesting supporting players are either killed off too soon or given little screen time. Speaking of which, who knew Gavin Rossdale could act? I want to see a spin-off movie with his sleazy half-breed demon character fucking over humanity. Tilda Swinton also did some great work as Gabriel and I'm starting to warm up to Shia LeBeouf, who isn't nearly as annoying here as he was in I, ROBOT. I'm just not convinced that Keanu can play a tough guy. He's too damned soft for this kind of role and it's really the one thing that drags the film down for me. I would've gone for a grittier anithero. Also, the movie is very dark and deals with a lot of themes normally found in an adult thriller but it seemed pretty obvious that the filmmakers were aiming for a PG-13 rating. It could have had a little more bite. I loved the last half hour including the confrontation between John and Satan, which had the audience cheering for Keanu. Plus, that last little joke involving Constantine's bad habit right before the credits got a surprisingly good response from the crowd (it had me laughing). Not a great movie but definitely a fun ride.

  • Feb. 20, 2005, 12:20 p.m. CST

    Just saw it and it's fooking awesome!!

    by Judge Briggs

    I don't know why ppl would have such a problem with that movie? The movie wasn't cliched filled at all and was not only fun, but also the first of its kind in terms of the depth... I really hope it does well because I want to see a sequel!!!

  • Feb. 20, 2005, 1:49 p.m. CST

    The post-credits scene: SPOILER

    by zer0cool2k2

    Don't read this if you don't want to be spoiled: ................................ Keanu goes to visit the grave of Shia Lebeouf's character. He tells him he did good or something similar, leaves his lighter on the headstone and turns away. As he walks off you hear the rustling and we see Shia atop the headstone, with wings and glowy eyes. He then streaks off into the night sky. .....................End Spoiler .......................... I thought this was a pretty decent flick, only being somewhat aquainted with the Hellblazer comic probably helped, because I wasn't pissed about anything being changed or left out. I liked Keanu's performance, making Constantine seem weary and pessimistic. He is 40 now, and I think that helps make him more believable in this role. Yeah, it slows down a little in the middle, but not too much. Am I the only one who kept thinking of Eric Stoltz in the prophecy everytime Tilda Swinton was on screen? And I must say, I'm quite surprised that no one on these boards has brought up Constantine's little "Matrix" speech about the real world behind the one you see.

  • Feb. 20, 2005, 3:36 p.m. CST

    For The Record: Matrix Sequels Sucked

    by Roboteer

    This one ain't a whole lot better, but at least didn't break any hearts.

  • Feb. 20, 2005, 4:02 p.m. CST

    Mikey, I Think He Likes It

    by oblivionbp

    I haven't enjoyed a movie like this in some time even with Keanu's so called acting. I guess it helped I never read the comic and knew nothing of the story. It was a nice suprise for me and well worth the price of admission.

  • Feb. 21, 2005, 4:51 a.m. CST

    It wasn't bad. I liked it. Not as good as Hellboy, but I liked i

    by Noriko Takaya

    However, no I have never read any of the comics. Why do I have the feeling that if I had, I would hate this thing with a burning irrational passion? *Sigh.* Oh well.

  • Feb. 21, 2005, 4:54 a.m. CST

    Oh. Oh, and one last thing - Tilda Swinton was just amazing.

    by Noriko Takaya

    I think I love her now. Oh dear.

  • Feb. 21, 2005, 9:09 a.m. CST

    My review is up

    by Sith42

    @ Pop Culture Shock.. http://popcultureshock.com/reviews.php?id=3882 Still dunno why Harry and gang chose to ignore mine when I sent it in 2 weeks ago.

  • Feb. 21, 2005, 7:42 p.m. CST

    Whatever Tilda Swinton is, I like it

    by mortsleam

    Woman man angel whatever. That girl gives good androgyny. And I loved Peter Storemare channeling Truman Capote. In fact, I really enjoyed a lot of this movie. It was almost mediocre. But... I just kept looking into Keanu's vacant eyes, and heard his stumbling monotone, and felt the sucking power of the vaccuum of his charisma, and thought "It should have been Paul Bettany, fuckers." But at least it was better than Daredevil.

  • Feb. 21, 2005, 8:18 p.m. CST

    Constantine is not as bad as some critics are saying.

    by Tress

    I honestly think it

  • Feb. 22, 2005, 5:35 a.m. CST

    I've said it before, I'll say it again

    by zabbadoo

    Every single one of you whiney little shits that bitches and bitches and bitches that "he's not blonde" and "he's not english" and various other totally fucking insignificant points regarding the transition of comic books to movies need to give your goddamn heads a shake and smarten the hell up. The very fact that Hollywood is even deigning to make movies based on comic books is something I and many other of us slightly older comics fans thought we would never see in this volume. Do you want them to stop? Do you want them to go back to making fucking cowboy and pirate movies? No? Neither do I, so unless it's a TOTAL crapfest that needs to be shunned like Catwoman, SIT DOWN, SHUT THE HELL UP AND ENJOY THE GODDAMN MOVIE YOU WHINY PUKES.

  • Feb. 23, 2005, 1:04 p.m. CST

    Hey zabbadoo

    by mortsleam

    I for one never said he had to be British. I never even said he had to be blonde. Sure, Paul Bettany would have been a great choice if they were going in that direction, but really, I just want an actor who can ACT. It could have been Clive Owen. It could have been Johnny Depp. It could have been fucking Mos Def for all I care. Keanu being Keanu ruined the movie for me. He was good in the Matrices, I'll give you that, but just all wrong for this role, because he has so little emotive power anyway, and decided to completely throw all of it away for a lame monotone effect. And the scene when he's "saving" Balthazar was ruined because his delivery, even though it was supposed to be jokey anyway, was absolutely completely laughable. There wasn't a person in the theater with me who didn't snicker at almost every one of his lines. "I'm thinking" indeed. He's perfectly capable in action movies, but this movie could have been more than that, and deserved a better actor than it recieved.

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