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PCR # 256  (Vol. 6, No. 7)  This edition is for the week of February 14--20, 2005.

This Week's PCR
Movie Review

Movie review by:
Michael A. Smith
Three stars

Movies are rated 0 to 4 stars

theater seats

 by Mike Smith
Looking Ahead To MegaCon: Mark Waid....Retiring Without the Ring....Movies....The Grammys
 by Brandon Jones
Masters of Horror Servers Issues....Congrats To Rod Stewart....Last Week For Rondo Voting....Next Week
 by Matt Drinnenberg
The Grammys....Four Favorite Words....Awards Time....Tear-Jerkers....Passing On....Oscar Night....Jaws: The Story, Part 6
 by Mike Smith
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Warner Brothers     
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Rachel Weisz, Djimon Hounsou and Shia LaBeouf
Directed by: Francis Lawrence
Rated: R
Running Time: 2 hours 1 minute

OK, the Oscar nominations are out and all of the prestige pictures are currently winding down at your local cineplex. So, as Monty Python used to say so eloquently, it's time for something completely different.

Based on the "Hellblazer" comic book series, Constantine at first appears to be the simple story of good versus evil. But there is much more then originally meets the eye. The film begins with a brief prologue about the Spear of Destiny. Unearthed by a Mexican scavenging among some ruins, the spear is the same one used to pierce the side of Christ when he was on the cross. In another part of the country, John Constantine (Reeves) has been summoned to a tenement flat. His mission: to exorcise a demon that has taken over the body of a young girl. When he finally completes his task, he is troubled to learn that this was no ordinary demon. Meanwhile, hundreds of miles away, a young woman seemingly leaps to her death. This act of suicide, according to the Catholic religion, will forever keep her soul in Hell. And Hell is something John Constantine knows something about.

As one of the first major film releases of 2005, Constantine is a well-crafted film with a story that always seems one step ahead of the audience. Everyone loves a story about redemption and the tale here is the ultimate one. Diagnosed with cancer, Constantine chain-smokes his way through a series of adventures that take him to hell and back. Literally. Director Lawrence has a way with staging scenes, though I found his constant use of close-ups tiring. How many shots do we need of the lit end of a cigarette, or that cigarette dangling loosely in Constantine's hand? The mood of the film is enhanced by the photography of Oscar-winning cinematographer Philippe Rousselot ("A River Runs Through It).

I've never been able to figure out Keanu Reeves. In films like "Speed" and the "Matrix" series, he seems perfect. A minimalist performer with not a lot to do. And in films like "Dracula" he seemed out of his league. But long before he was immortalized as Ted Logan he proved his skills in a film called "The River's Edge." He may not be Brando, but he's also not Carrot Top! Whether commenting that "at least it's nice out" during a heavy thunderstorm, or assuring someone who states they don't believe in God that "He believes in you," Reeves seems very comfortable in Constantine's skin.

Weisz is convincing as a police detective whose connection to the young woman's death is extremely personal and Hounsou does a good job portraying the mysterious Daddy Midnite, owner of a nightclub with a very unusual clientele.

On a scale of zero to four stars, I give Constantine  Three stars

This week's movie review of "Constantine" is ©2005 by Michael A. Smith.  All graphics this page are creations of Nolan B. Canova, ©2005, all rights reserved. All contents of "Nolan's Pop Culture Review" are ©2005 by Nolan B. Canova.