Archives for posts with tag: michael sheen

It’s not clear how I managed to avoid seeing this for nearly a decade and a half. It’s dreadful, but in a rather pleasing way (unlike Van Helsing, for instance, of a similar vintage and genre). Underworld seems to act as a bridge between Anne Rice (rock and roll, way too much attention paid to clothes, a rather teenage stab at eroticism) and Stephenie Meyer (war with the werewolves, a blue filter, no personalities whatsoever). Also there’s Michael Sheen!

MV5BMjIxNDExNDEyMV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwODY1OTkxMw@@._V1_UX182_CR0,0,182,268_AL_In a heavily blue-filtered city in eastern Europe (?) populated by American doctors but policemen in Mercedes Benzes, a woman starts a voice-over. There’s been a war between Vampyres and Lycans for at least six? fourteen? centuries. For some centuries, since the death of Lucian (Michael Sheen) at the hands of Kraven (Shane Brolly), the Vampyres have been ascendant. Selene (Kate Beckinsale) is a Vampyre assassin or “death-dealer,” and fears they may have done too good a job exterminating the Lycans. Then she will be bored, because she enjoys killing Lycans, because they killed her family. Duh.

But there’s a wrinkle! Lucian is OBVIOUSLY NOT DEAD. And the Lycans are chasing a human called Michael (Scott Speedman) for nefarious purposes of their own! So Selene is not bored. Instead she wakes up a fancy elder Vampyre, Viktor (Bill Nighy), and shenanigans, they ensue.

Sure, Selene is discount Trinity, black vinyl, trenchcoat, and all. One wonders what Scott Speedman is even doing here. But Michael Sheen looks less embarrassed than he did in Twilight, and Bill Nighy is welcome here, or as Davey Jones, or wherever he feels like showing up.

Does the mythology make sense? No, not at all. Is that the problem with the movie? Not even a little bit.

There are four more of these. Hooray!

Stray observations:

  • There are a lot of guns for a monster movie. But! the Vampyres use silver bullets and the Lycans use UV bullets, so it’s cool.
  • Bill Nighy’s Vampyre make-up is apparently water-soluble, which is a problem.
  • Wentworth Miller has hair. It’s weird.

Director: Len Wiseman
Rating: R
Length: 121 minutes
Score: 2/5

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Um.

The rundown: London, 1885. Charity (Michael Sheen) arrives, wounded, at the British Museum, spinning a tale to Mr. and Mrs. Mundi (Ioan Gruffudd and Keeley Hawes) and their children Mariah (Aneurin Barnard, yes, a boy) and Felix about a box that turns stuff into gold. Otto Luger (Sam Neill) is evil and on the hunt for it. Mr. and Mrs. Mundi belong to some sort of bureau that protects such things. So the Mundis are kidnapped, then Felix and Mariah are sent to some sort of workhouse, then Felix disappears, then Charity gets Mariah a job at a hotel that Luger owns somewhere in the in the middle of the North Sea where they’re digging for the Midas Box. Mariah meets a girl, hijinks ensue. Lena Headey runs the staff at the hotel, and is Luger’s henchman. She looks great but is mostly pointless.

Did you want that to make sense? Me too.

Everyone’s capable, and the Lord knows I’ve seen worse stuff starring Ioan Gruffudd, but this movie is offensively stupid. The ending even tries to set up a sequel! Laughable. LAUGHABLE. You don’t care about any of the people, there’s way too much going on, and–even though Michael Sheen really tries to sell it–you don’t really feel like the stakes are remotely important.

Stray notes:

  • Mariah is a crappy older brother. He’s always promising not to lose Felix, and then invariably losing him.
  • The hotel is attractively Art Nouveau. If there were fewer shenanigans, I’d stay there.
  • To prove that Mr. Mundi is some kind of antiquities person, the movie more or less starts with a slightly fictionalized defense of having the Elgin Marbles in the British Museum (but here they’re the Someone-else Marbles in the London Museum). A little odd.

Director: Jonathan Newman
Rating: PG
Length: 100 min.
Score: 1/5.

If I’m mad at this movie, which I sort of am, it’s mostly because I am permanently mad at Bathsheba Everdene, and only slightly because of a joint incompetence on the part of the editing and continuity people, who either never bothered to tell us time had passed or paid no attention to time of day and what people were wearing.

Anyway, as Thomas Hardy adaptations go, it’s adequate shading to good. Scenery lush, costuming slightly mannered but handsome, casting decent, writing heavy-handed and slightly more feminist than the source material. Is “feminist” the right word? Is maybe “less deeply misogynist” the phrase I seek?

Carey Mulligan smirks constantly, which I hate, and Bathsheba never struck me as a smirker, but it’s not wrong. Matthias Schoenaerts is handsome, solid, and a total fucking nitwit, but that’s Gabriel Oak for you. Michael Sheen as Boldwood is convincingly unbalanced; Tom Sturridge is…not the man I would have cast as Francis Troy, but, again, effete isn’t an incorrect direction to go. Juno Temple’s Fanny Robin is not as heart-breaking as she ought to be.

Stray notes:

  • Seriously, Gabriel Oak: fiction’s greatest nitwit.
  • I was idly mapping Hunger Games people onto this, prompted by the Everdene/Everdeen thing, and if Suzanne Collins meant that… Finnick is Troy, Gale is Boldwood? Because Peeta sure as shootin’ is Gabriel, and I just managed to make myself hate both Bathsheba and Katniss even more than I already did, which is impressive.

Director: Thomas Vinterberg
Rating: PG-13
Length: 119 min.
Score: 3/5.