Monday, January 30, 2012

The Last Exorcism - Back For Another...

The Last Exorcism: Starring Patrick Fabian and Ashley Bell | A Constantly Racing Mind I  notice trends.  With "The Devil Inside," still in theaters. The mood for horror, and the sub-genre of  "found footage" is rising.  William Brent Bell's "The Devil Inside," although in my mind, is a a poorly written story, is actually doing well financially. The reason, I believe, is that it only cost $1 million to produce, and a constant promotion of it being a "true story,"  people go to the theater hoping to see something more than what this genre has offered in the past. So far TDI has made about $52,703,000 domestically.  

On the other hand, a different film within the same genre of horror - found-footage that I think deserves some attention is the The Last Exorcism - 2010. After watching Apollo 18, and the "Paranormal Activity" series, I think that TLE is a much better film.  During its 6 week theatrical release TLE brought in about $67,738,090.

The Review:

In the film world, there is a relatively new subgenre of horror, called "found footage." As I am not a fan of this genre in general, however, I do think that some films that fall in this category are better than others. In the case of "The Last Exorcism," I think that this is actually one of the better ones. As a filmgoer, it is up to us to suspend belief for some time, but not without reason. Most films of this subgenre ask us to forget how this found footage was found. Who edited it? Why are there actors listed at the end? Why is there music? Also, in the horror genre there is what I call the possession subgenre. Films like the "Exorcist," "Haunting in Connecticut," "Amityville Horror," "Poltergeist," "Insidious," and "The Rite" to name a few are in this category.

TV actor Patrick Fabian plays Cotton Marcus (think Cotton Mather the Salem witch hunter), an Exorcist, and Pastor of a small church in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The film is done documentary style with Iris Bahr as Iris the director/sound person interacting with Cotton as he confesses to the camera that he is a charlatan, a fake, and in his heart Cotton knows that he lacks true faith in God. German director, Daniel Stamm, takes some time developing Cotton's character. We see interviews with his wife, scenes of Cotton interacting with his deaf child Justin (Justin Shafer). We see him now more as a family man and now and we start to relate to him. Conflicted, Cotton then goes on to defend his practice as doing a sort of psychological good for those who call upon his service. Sort of like a mental placebo for those who needs to console themselves that they are not bad people, but it was the devil that made them do it. Taking on one last case, Cotton tells Iris, that he will prove how he fakes exorcisms. 

The Last Exorcism: Cotton Marcus exorcises a demon from Nell Sweetzer | A Constantly Racing MindAfter briefly reading about a new case, (he actually just skims it), he, and Iris along with their camera operator, Daniel (Adam Grimes), embarks to a small town a few hours away. Along the way, Cotton, as part of the documentary sets the mood as they travel to the backwoods area. As Lovecraft would describe the rural areas in his stories, Cotton talks about going back in time, both in architecture, but in mindset. Talking about Voodoo, superstition, and the Pentecostals (alluding to the snake handlers) Cotton sets the stage for what we are to expect. 

What he finds is the dysfunctional Sweetzer family. Secluded in the rural depths of Louisiana, the father, Louis (Louis Herthum) is a crusty widower who is raising his two teenage kids. His son Caleb (Caleb Landry Jones) is rude and cynical as he tells Cotton and his crew to go home. Finally we meet possessed, Nell (Ashley Bell). Ashley seems innocent and naive, but as we all know, looks are deceiving. What is different about the direction of this film is the pacing. The director, doesn't rush, but he doesn't dwell on shots too long either. Cotton demonstrates how he sets up the fake exorcisms and the gadgetry he uses. In staying with the documentary style, the camera is hand held but never annoying. 

Without going in too much detail, I can tell you that the plot is not what anybody thinks it is. Is this truly demonic possession; or is this a case of mental illness? The clues that ensue through the second half of the film are clever, and they allow the audience to mentally run ahead and try to out - guess the director and the outcome of the film. However, when you look back you can see that the director gave you good clues in the story, and the how the characters interact. Ashley Bell, as the possessed child, while not on par with Linda Blair's performance in the "Exorcist." However, Bell is outstanding nonetheless, and unnerving. She goes from innocent and naive to the demon Abalam in a matter of seconds. Patrick Fabian's performance as the disillusioned minister, is not only believable, but comes across as honest. 

Forget about the found footage nonsense, and go with documentary style as we evaluate the photography. Running around while filming is not uncommon. I have done it. While the camera shakes to some degree, it serves the purpose in getting the documentary across. The ending, I think, is better than most of these types of films in that you do know what happens to the characters rather than just ending with a crash or a sudden abrupt ending. 

Recent films like "Rec," "Paranormal Activity," "Apollo 18," and "The Devil Inside" give us reason to pause and think about a film that I think stands out in this sub-genre  I won't mention the founding film "The Blair Witch Project." Okay, so I mentioned it. However, I think that "The Last Exorcism" does stand out in concept, story, acting, and general creepiness.

Movie Data

Genre: Drama, Horror, Thriller
Year: 2010
Staring: Patrick Fabian, Ashley Bell, Iris Bahr, Louis Herthum, Caleb Landry Jones, 
Director: Daniel Stamm
Producer(s): Marc Abraham, Thomas A. Bliss, Eric Newman, Eli Roth
Writer: Huck Botko, Andrew Gurland
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 87 minutes
Release Date: 8/27/2010 

Originally published on Associated Content 2011

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Full Metal Jousting!

Back in the day of arcades, and the arcade gallery , one of my favorite games was Joust. Now the History Channel is bringing back jousting. 

Pretty cool, huh?

Moonrise Kingdom - Trailer Review

When I saw the "Trailer for Moonrise Kingdom" at the theaters, my first thoughts were quirky, and awkward.  The I saw that the film was directed by Wes Anderson, then with a slap on my forehead , I realized why.  When you think of Wes Anderson, you automatically think of "The Darjeeling Limited,"  " The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou," and "The Royal Tenenbaums."  If you enjoyed any of these films, you will most likely want to check out "Moonrise Kingdom." 

The trailer shows two kids, about 12 years-old, running away from their 1960's New England town and hiding out in an wilderness area.  Sam, nerdy  Boy Scout  (Jared Gilman) and schoolmate Suzy (Kara Hayward) cause a local panic as they go missing.  Featuring an all star cast including Bruce Willis as the local sherriff, Edward Norton as Sam's Boy Scout leader, as well as Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, and Harvey Keitel.  

Just watching the trailer transports you back to the mid-sixties with the toned down colors that Anderson uses to give the film a home movie feel.  The period music, and the innocence of the age are portrayed, if not accurately, but as we remember them.  Due out on May 16th, 2012.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

A Constantly Racing Mind...: Arizona

A Constantly Racing Mind...: Arizona


Mark Lindsay, lead singer of the 60's group "Paul Revere and the Raiders" tells Arizona to  "get rid of her hobo shoes, rainbow shades, and Indian braids.”  I honestly doubt that will happen

Just a few days ago, just over a mile from my home, Governor Jan Brewer created an uproar by wagging her finger at the President of The United States

On even sadder news, Congresswoman, Gabrielle Giffords resigned her seat in the House of Representatives on the 25th. After being part of the massacre on January 8th, 2011, her recovery, her life, and her legacy have become both a miracle and an inspiration to us all.  On even sadder news, Congresswoman, Gabrielle Giffords resigned her seat in the House of Representatives on the 25th. After being part of the massacre on January 8th, 2011, her recovery, her life, and her legacy have become both a miracle and an inspiration to us all.  

I had the pleasure of meeting her once, briefly, while attending a Christmas party at the Navy Reserve base located just outside of Davis Monthan AFB. I like her for her open mind and her wiliness to meet with the people in her constituency

Not too long ago, Maricopa Sherrif, Joe Arpaio, was given notice by the Federal Government that he better reign in his department.  Sherrif Joe, has, in the time I have lived in Arizona, changed the color of jail inmates attire, from scrubby looking clothes, to typical prison stripes. He also gave the inmates pink underwear, and died all the baloney green. For these changes, I applauded him.  He also made sure that there is plenty of room in his jails, by establishing "Tent City." The federal government's Department of Justice, has accused the sheriff of racial profiling, and other abuses of power

In July of 2010, State Bill 1070 went into effect. I am opposed to that bill as it seems to me that cracking down on illegal immigration gives too much power to people in power.  That in principle is not a good thing.  I am against the drug and gun running that occurs across the border.  I expressed my concerns in an article titled: When Arizona SB 1070 Goes into Effect on July 29, All Citizens Are Affected

If you watch any cop show or have been arrested (heaven forbid), you know that everybody is innocent until proven guilty.  The arresting officer has to inform you of your Miranda rights.  Now,  I am not talking about the infamous planet from the movie Serenity. I am talking about Ernesto Miranda, a Mesa resident who was arrested for rape in 1963 and confessed without legal counsel. He is too ugly for a picture, but here is a link.

I like my adopted state, and this year we are celebrating our 100 years as a state.  Oh by the way, the Arizona in the song is not the state.  It is the singer's girlfriend, her name is Arizona, and she is somewhat of a hippie.  

Friday, January 27, 2012

Rampage on a rampage.

I n June 2010, I was commissioned to review the latest film by Director Uwe Bolle's (In the Name of the King and BloodRayne films)  I noticed quite a few hits on this article during this month.  I assume that folks are searching for information about the director.  Most of his films are pretty bad in general.  However, I always say that for every film there is an audience.  Amazing but true, there are people who love bad films.  Either way, as I was lined up at Redbox this evening looking at the titles and noticed that In the Name of the King: Two Worlds is out for rental. I actually liked Rampage to a degree.
With a name like "Rampage," one would expect a mindless killer on the loose; however, I can assure that is not the case. Although Rampage exhibits video game like killing, there is a story, and engaging characters to go along with the story. Starring and co-producing Brendan Fletcher (Freddy vs. Jason) is Bill Williamson, a 23-year-old kid with too much time on his hands. Read more...

Movie Data
Genre: Action, Crime, Thriller
Year:  2010
Staring:  Brendan Fletcher, Shaun Sipos, Michael Paré, Matt Frewer, Lynda Boyd, Robert Clarke
Director: Uwe Boll
Producer(s): Uwe Boll, Shawn Williamson
Writer: Uwe Boll
Rating: R
Running Time: 85 minutes
Release Date: 4/29/2010

New Prometheus clue arrives.

As the theatrical release date of June 8, 2012 draws near, two new trailers for Ridley Scott's addition to the Alien cannon.  take a look at these

Once there was the Nostromo now there is Prometheus: The new Uk trailer arrives: This new trailer shows gives a look at the Prometheus (the name of the ship), which is more of an exploration ship rather than a tow ship which the Nostromo was.  At least Ripley isn't around to blow this one up. Supposedly, according to Ridley Scott this is not a straight prequel, however, he does mention that fans will see strans of "Alien" DNA running throughout the film.  My bet is that it is more of a prequel than RS is actually wanting to admit.  Take a peek for yourself.   

Summer movie-goers should expect a block-buster Science Fiction film from director Ridley Scott (Alien, Blade Runner). Prometheus, rumored to be the prequel to Alien (1979).

For the last 32 years, 7 months, and 7 days the world has been wondering about the "Alien Space Jockey", that Dallas and Kane found in the first Alien film. In the picture above, Noomi Rapce (The Girl With The Dragon TattooSherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows)  is seen here looking upon the giant head found in the "Ampule Room."  Prometheus News has additional details on the characters and hints of some form of terraforming incident going terribly wrong.  Shades of Miranda! (that's a Serenity reference) Either way, I am excited to see Prometheus  coming  out on June 8th, 2012.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Apollo 18 to the Moon and ....

Apollo 18:
S ometimes a film comes around where you are not sure if it is a joke or an earnest attempt to make a film that is both entertaining and yet artistically appealing.  Most people would look at Gonzalo López-Gallego's "Apollo 18" and say what a stupid movie.  How could you get found footage back from the moon if we haven't gone back since?  Yes, annoying questions nag at you in the back of your mind while watching this film.  I don't like "found footage" movies, cause they give the director and the writer a way out of delivering a complete story and an excuse for shoddy camera work, bad editing and bad dialog.  In the case of "Apollo 18" all these flaws are quite evident, however, there is a bit more about "Apollo 18" than the crap I just mentioned. 

To find out what I am talking about, watch the film with the commentary.  Director Gonzalo López-Gallego and Patrick Lussier ("Drive Angry, Cursed," and "Red Eye") walk us through the whole process of trying to get this film made.  Bob Weinstein calls upon Spanish born López-Gallego to work on a very low budget film about a conspiracy that takes place on the moon and do it less than three months.  If I were López-Gallego, I probably would have taken a hike.  However, López-Gallego takes on the challenge with the heart of an artist and a professional and makes the best of a crappy situation.  The plot has merit, along with many holes.  Three NASA astronauts are commissioned to go back to the moon after the Apollo project was officially cancelled and set up sensors on the moon.  During the height of the Space Race and the Cold War, the conspiracy theory becomes plausible.  Even finding two dead Russian Cosmonauts even seems believable.  With the release of information in March 2011 of audio of Soviet Cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov, crashing to the Earth in 1967 - the possibility of the Soviets making it to the Moon and failing to return would have been something they probably would have wanted to keep secret.  In the audio commentary, the director makes no bones about having to create the impression of found footage.  He goes into great detail on how they worked to get the look of film that has been sitting around for 30 years.  He even talks with Lussier about how hokey the original Moonster (as they call the Moon monsters) looked and why he went with the more subtle version. 

Working on limited funds, limited time, and limited resources, he takes Brian Miller's incomplete script and works with it and puts together a film that with all its faults has actually made money.  With a production budget only $5 million, Apollo 18 made $25,562,924 worldwide in 12 weeks in theaters.  I also want to note that for its first weeks in DVD release, I could not find the film in any of the Red Box kiosks in my area, as they were out of stock.  The honest truth is that if you want to see a movie about the Moon, take a look at Duncan Jones' debut film Moon, starring Sam Rockwell, and Kevin Spacey.  If you are a film student and want a look at what making a film in cramped claustrophobic conditions, with no time and no money then check out this film WITH the commentary ON.

Movie Data

Genre: Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Year:  2011
Staring: Warren Christie, Lloyd Owen, Ryan Robbins
Director: Gonzalo López-Gallego
Producer(s): Timur Bekmambetov, Michele Wolkoff
Writer: Brian Miller
Rating: PG-13
Release Date: 9/2/2011
Running Time: 86 minutes

The Debt, An Act of Atonement

I was surprised to learn that John Madden's The Debt only made just over $31 million in domestic sales and a tad over $45 million in its worldwide release.  The film was out for just over two months.  I liked The Debt quite a bit.

In 1997 Sarah Gold, the daughter of former Mossad agent Rachel Singer (Mirren) has written a book about her mother, her father and their partner who in the 1960s while in their mid to late 20s were operatives in a mission to bring the Nazis to justice. National heroes, their story was now being told for all to hear. A problem arises as the time for the book's debut arrives,  Read More...

Movie Data

Genre:  Drama, Thriller
Year:  2010
Staring: Helen Mirren, Tom Wilkinson, Ciarán Hinds,  Jessica Chastain, Marton Csokas, Sam Worthington
Director: John Madden
Producer(s): Eitan Evan, Eduardo Rossoff , Kris Thykier, Matthew Vaughn
Writer: Matthew Vaughn, Jane Goldman, Peter Straughan, Assaf Bernstein, Ido Rosenblum
Rating: R
Release Date: 8/21/2011
Running Time: 113 minutes

The Zombie Apocalypse, Metaphor For the Coming Collapse?

I know there are plenty of fans of the Walking Dead, or any film or TV Series that presents the horror of life we once had and considered sacred, as destroyed and defiled. I think it isn't so much that the world as we know it is long gone, but man's (I mean women too) journey to survive and overcome this disaster without losing what we consider just a precious - our humanity. 

In the last two seasons of the Walking Dead, we have seen a small group of characters, lie to each other, fight with each other, turn on each other, abandon members of their group, betray one another, and generally act human.  However, we have also seen our beloved characters, rise up and take a stand about being the type of people they want to be.  We see Rick not wanting to leave any members behind.  Last season, we saw Dale stand up to Shane, and Daryl earn the trust and respect of the group. 

The question I must ask as to why shows like Walking Dead tend to appeal to us?  Is it that we see these shows as just a metaphor for our current lives?  Is the Zombie Apocalypse just a metaphor for the what we fear will happen in the near future?  I am talking about the possibility of a general economic collapse; throwing our lives in to the toilet.  An allegory about our current civilization and the direction it is heading?  Is this show just a mirror and we see our awful reflections, causing us to seek to better ourselves as human beings? 

For a long time (four seasons) I thought Battlestar Galactica had a monopoly on stories about humans struggling to maintain their identity as a people, their culture, and their humanity.  One of my favorite quotes comes from the first night of the original mini-series in 2004.  Commander Adama, in his decommissioning ceremony says the following: "The Cylon War is long over, yet we must not forget the reasons why so many sacrificed so much in the cause of freedom. The cost of wearing the uniform can be high, but...sometimes it's too high. You know, when we fought the Cylons, we did it to save ourselves from extinction. But we never answered the question, why? Why are we as a people worth saving? We still commit murder because of greed, spite, jealousy. And we still visit all of our sins upon our children. We refuse to accept the responsibility for anything that we've done. Like we did with the Cylons. We decided to play God, create life. When that life turned against us, we comforted ourselves in the knowledge that it really wasn't our fault, not really. You cannot play God then wash your hands of the things that you've created. Sooner or later, the day comes when you can't hide from the things that you've done anymore." 

You can replace the term Cylon with Zombie, Vampire, Un-dead, Walker, Racist, Enemy, or what ever term you like.   When we look back at the last decade we must think to much of this mess we are in is our fault and how far are we willing to go to survive?.. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Cold Nights in Sweden Heat Up as The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Comes to DVD

What I find about foreign films is that the directors tend to take their time in developing the characters and unfolding the story.  

The thing about watching foreign films is that you need to stick with them long enough to allow the story and the characters to work their slow magic on you. When this happens, you are captivated until the end. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is no exception. This Swedish film comes with an English soundtrack and subtitles. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is a murder mystery that starts slow, allowing the viewer to get accustom to the climate, the story and characters. Within the first 20 minutes or so, the action, the heat, and drama pick up captivating the audience into this "Whodunit." The film stars Noomi Rapace and Michael Nyqvist as an investigative team intent on solving a 40-year-old murder mystery. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is not rated but does contain violence, mature language, and sexual content.
Read More

Movie Data

Genre: Crime, Drama, Mystery, Thriller
Year:  2009
Staring: Michael Nyqvist, Noomi Rapace, Lena Endre, Sven-Bertil Taube, Peter Haber 
Director: Niels Arden Oplev
Producer(s): Søren Stærmose
Writer: Nikolaj Arcel, Rasmus Heisterberg, Stieg Larsson (Novel)
Rating: R
Running Time: 152 minutes
Release Date: 2/27/2009

Source Code - Not just for programmers anymore.

When I saw Duncan Jones' "Moon," I was impressed with the story, the acting, and the direction.  I could say the same about his next film "Source Code" with Jake Gyllenhaal and Vera Farmiga, and Michelle Monaghan.  Farmiga you may know was in "Up In The Air" with Golden Globe award winner George Clooney.  She just signed on to work with  "Insidious" director James Wan on his new film  "Conjuring".  If you look up the definition of the term 'Source Code' in the dictionary, you will find something that goes like this: "A text listing of commands to be compiled or assembled into an executable computer program." I spent many years in the computer programming industry so when I heard that Duncan Jones was calling his new film "Source Code" I was immediately puzzled. Read More

Movie Data

Genre:  Sci-Fi, Thriller
Year: 2011 
Staring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan, Vera Farmiga,Jeffrey Wright
Director: Duncan Jones
Producer(s): Mark Gordon, Philippe Rousselet, Jordan Wynn
Writer: Ben Ripley
Running Time: 93 minutes
Release Date: 4/1/2011

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Shangri-La found!

I am always interested in idyllic places like Eden, Xanadu, Utopia, Heaven, and any place that makes me feel like I am home. In the case of Frank Capra's adaptation of Jame Hilton's classic story, the place is Shangri-La.  The place where death is a stranger and old age only happens to those of extremely advanced age.  It's a magical place and the way Hilton wrote it and Capra filmed it, you do want to believe that it just over the mountains waiting to be rediscovered. I watch a lot of films in a year, both old and very recent films. It is always a pleasure to screen, ponder, and review a film like Lost Horizon. Released in 1937 and staring Ronald Colman and Jane Wyatt, Lost Horizon deals with the age old story of paradise found, and then lost.  Read More...

Movie Data
Genre: Adventure, Drama, Fantasy, Mystery
Year:  1937
Staring: Ronald Colman, Jane Wyatt, Edward Everett Horton, John Howard, Sam Jaffe, Thomas Mitchell, Margo, Isabel Jewell, H.B. Warner
Director: Frank Capra
Producer(s): Frank Capra
Writer: Robert Riskin, James Hilton
Rating: PG
Running Time: 132 minutes
Release Date:9/1/1937

James Bond Meets the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

So far, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo has made almost $95 million dollars domestically, and  $165,684,283 in worldwide revenues. 

When I first saw  The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo  back in 2010 when the DVD was first released, I was captivated and transported to the cold dreary world of Lisbeth Salander - a computer hacker/researcher and into the world of journalist Mikael Blomkvist. 

Movie Data

Genre: Crime, Drama, Mystery, Thriller
Year:  2011
Staring: Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara, Christopher Plummer, Stellan Skarsgård, Robin Wright 
Director: David Fincher
Producer(s): Ceán Chaffin, Scott Rudin, Søren Stærmose, Ole Søndberg
Writer: Steven Zaillian, Stieg Larsson (Novel)
Rating: R
Running Time: 158 minutes
Release Date: 12/20/2011

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Underworld: Awakening: Review of the Latest Chapter in the Underworld Franchise

Underworld Awakening: Starring Kate Beckinsale | A Constantly Racing Mind
"Never back a mother protecting her child into a corner!"

T he first two "Underworld" films created a world that horror audiences could fall easily in love with. A beautiful vampire heroine, a dark legend, a history and mythology that falls in line with folklore and our cultural memory of what scares the hell out of us. "Underworld: Rise of the Lycans" gave us a backstory that shed light on our main characters Selene, and Michael. The story was both romantic and horrifying at the same time. A lot of emotion flowed between the characters Lucien and Sonja. We see how they related to the relationship between Michael and Selene and how Viktor played his evil role. 

In "Underworld: Awakening" there is none of that. Instead, creator and writer Len Wiseman who serves as writer and producer, allows directors Måns Mårlind & Björn Stein speed through the exposition with fast cuts of previous films trying to catch us up on where we are at the beginning of this new chapter. As usual, as in the other "Underworld" films, we find Selene, in her slick black, skin-tight leather suit perched on a ledge. Gone are terms like curse and all sense of folklore, but instead terms like epidemic, virus, cleansing (as in ethnic cleansing), and genocide. We are in a modern world where both Lycans and Vampire are no longer at war with each other, but with humans. 

Kate Beckinsale ("Pearl Harbor", "Van Helsing") is back as Selene and like Alice in the "Resident Evil" franchise, she too has been in a coma while a species purge has been taking place. Like a pandemic, mankind has battled this non-human viral strains not with crosses, wooden stakes and silver bullets, but with science. Held in cryogenic suspension for twelve years after her capture while she and Michael tried to escape the pogrom, she awakens in the laboratory of a largest biomedical corporation; Antigen. Stephen Rea ("V for Vendetta") Dr. Jacob Lane runs antigen. Antigen is run like the Halliburton of the Bio-medical industry, with uniformed guards who walk around with plenty of firepower. Selene escapes the facility in a hail of an endless supply of bullets. Her modified Beretta 92FS Inox has a magic magazine that never seems to empty. I noticed she didn't even reload as she has in other films. The photography has the signature blue tint gives the audience the familiar cold, wet feeling of previous films. 

Underworld Awakening:  India Eisley as Eve | A Constantly Racing Mind

No other characters from the previous films grace the screen in this offering; instead, Wiseman gives us a few new characters. Apparently, not only have the humans been wiping out the non-human species, (I am surprised that they didn't try to lock them up in zoos or ghettos as in times past) but that Selene gave birth during her coma to a girl by the name of Eve. Played by Olivia Hussy's ("Romeo and Juliet" - 1968) daughter, India Eisley, Eve is a seemingly innocent and pretty girl who turns out to be, like her father, a hybrid. Another newcomer to the mix is David (Theo James), another surviving vampire, who shelters the reunited mother and daughter team while they are on the run from both the humans, and as we find out, the lycans. Michael Ealy ("Miracle at St. Anna," "Seven Pounds") plays Detective Sebastian. For some reason Wiseman thinks we needed the "human" element. I am not sure as to why he thinks this. Is this is a set up for another sequel? I actually pictured Chiwetel Ejiofor ("Serenity," "Salt," "2012") as a more suitable actor for this role as Ealy doesn't have the presence that Ejiofor has. 

This is a fast-paced, high action, bloody gore-fest of a film. "Underworld" fans will not be let down, however, the newcomer may walk away shaking their heads in bewilderment. The film boils down to a mother vampire, protecting her child. Never go up against a mother (of any species) who is backed up against the wall and will fight to the death for her offspring whether she may be Lycans, vampire, or human. Not understanding the rules or the how deep the backstory, and emotions go between the Lycans and Vampires. In a scene where a giant werewolf attacks the coven where Selene and Eve are hiding out, the uninitiated viewer doesn't have a clue that werewolves are big but not that big. 

Underworld Awakening:  Michael Ealy | A Constantly Racing Mind
Another issue I have with "Underworld: Awakening" is the flatness of the characters. I mentioned Det. Sebastian's character/performance, but I also have an issue with Quint (Kris Holden-Ried), Dr. Lane's (Rea) son. He too, like his father, is after Eve for her hybrid genes. His character seems robotic that, if it weren't for the special effects I wouldn't have noticed him. I don't know if it is the lack of dialog or that there is just so much action that the film rushes before your eyes you don't really feel like you saw a story, but a series of flash-cut gunfights, explosions, and close quarter combat scenes instead. 

I guarantee that fans of the franchise will love this film as it furthers the storyline and promulgates the franchise and the Lycans and vampire mythos. If you are new to the franchise, I recommend going down to your local video store, Netflix, or even Redbox, grab the first three films, and watch those first.

Movie Data

Genre: Action, Fantasy, Horror
Year:  2012
Staring: Kate Beckinsale, Stephen Rea, Michael Ealy, Theo James, India Eisley, Charles Dance, Kris Holden-Ried
Director: Måns Mårlind, Björn Stein 
Producer(s): Len Wiseman, Gary Lucchesi, Tom Rosenberg
Writer: John Hlavin, J. Michael Straczynski, Allison Burnett, Len Wiseman, John Hlavin
Rating: R
Running Time: 88 minutes
Release Date: 1/20/2012
Published originally by Robert Barbere on Associated Content on 1/21/2012