Priest 3D

I've been wracking my brain for a few days now to figure out a way to start a review of Priest 3D. Do I start with a quick breakdown of the plot? Essentially a post-apocalyptic take on John Wayne's The Searchers with the Priests as the Cowboys and mutant vampires as the Indians, the film centers on one such Priest (Paul Bettany) whose niece is abducted by vampires, causing him to set out across the wasteland, seeing to her rescue. He does so against the wishes of the Ministry, headed up by Monsignor Orelas (Christopher Plummer, who is either hurting for work or seriously slumming in this picture). Apparently the vampire menace has been put down, and any hint to the contrary is a threat to the totalitarian protective construct that the church has built.

Wackiness and Violence ensue, eventually leading to another group of priests (led by Maggie Q) being sent to bring back our protagonist, by any means necessary. Before long they run into the evil Priest/Vampire hybrid, Black Hat (played rather lethargically by Karl Urban), who wants to tear down the church... or something. To be honest, by the time they got to his motivation for anything, I wasn't really paying attention anymore.

Of course, the above breakdown pretends that the plot makes any kind of sense, which it doesn't. This film isn't only bad, it's AGGRESSIVELY bad. It's the kind of movie that comes into your house at night, steals your babies, and returns them to you as mindless zombies whose only purpose is to churn out money to see movies this. Freakin'. Bad.
Not even fun enough to mock, the film's pacing was set to fast-forward so you couldn't digest any of the scenery (recycled from a dozen other post-apocalyptic films), the characters (two-dimensional is actually adding an extra dimension), the monsters (badly recycled from the crappy vampires in "I Am Legend"), or the afore-mentioned threadbare plot. The movie never lingers on any particular element long enough for you to care, and as such, boredom quickly settles in. The one interesting aspect, that of the dictatorial Church of the Cyberpunk Jesus, is glazed over 4 minutes.

Well, at least the action's good, right? Sadly, no. Suffering from the same pacing problems as the rest of the picture, the action sequences are slap-dashedly thrown together so that you can't tell what's going on with the exception of a couple of "gee-whiz this was shot in 3D" moments.

As it's based on a Manga, I can only suppose that there is a better story to be had here, and it's a shame that the setting that could have been interesting wasn't used to better effect. Really, there's nobody to which I'd recommend this movie. It's terrible to sit through on your own (as I did), and the choice of action-packed vamp flicks for a Cavalcade has much better choices, the Blade Trilogy for starters. The first two for quality entertainment, and the last one for something to rip to shreds with friends.

Pandorum

We've invited our friend John P. Higgins to share with us his thoughts about, well.. pretty much whatever he feels like. Schlock Games, Movies, TV-nothing is sacred. John's columns will be a bit more in-depth than our usual reviews, and may feature significant spoilers. You've been warned, but you'll like it.-The Management

Pandorum opens on an intense and intriguing note, with fledgling character actor Ben Foster not playing a crazy person for the first time since X-men 3. He wakes up in a chamber hooked into wires and covered in rubber.

If this sounds like your Sunday mornings, please let me know what the hell kind of club you go to for fun.

Foster gets his uniform on and soon runs in into Dennis Quaid, who's sporting a beard and beady eyes. Quaid informs foster that something has gone wrong (duh). There's some talk of what shift of skeleton crew is supposed to minding the ship on it's journey to the salvation of humanity, and neither of them really knows.

They decide is high time they explored a space ship that was designed by Trent Reznor. It's full of tubes and weird lights and creepy music, Foster crawls around in chamber that's comically full of rubber tubing for a little to long until he stumbles into the locker room. Then he's assaulted by Milla Jovovich 2.0, Bigger Cup Edition, who asks him for his boots.

Then the Space Orcs show up.

The ship is carrying thousands of people to salvation.  However, some of them got out early and contracted a nanovirus that is supposed to adapt them to live in whatever environment they are in. They're trapped on space ship, so they turned into space orcs.

Makes sense.

That whole previous paragraph is recounted in rhyme by Scatman Caruthers' great-great-great-great-great-grandson as he prepares to skin and eat Foster. MJ 2.0 and a Thai farmer they found along the way of such prodigious martial arts skill he apparently worked the Ninja Tree Orchards for many years.

Meanwhile, Dennis Quaid has been arguing this whole time-with a hallucination that really looks like he belongs on Gossip Girl-apparently has the Pandorum, a disease you get from space that makes you crazy. Quaid puts his hallucination in an air lock only to have it get out again. And since it's a hallucination, it wins by shooting Quaid up with Clarity Juice...or something. They merge, and now Quaid is evil.

Foster and his band of ne'er do wells attempt to reboot the ships reactor, which I think works; and then Caruthers XXI is killed by a space orc, and then the Ninja Tree Farmer. Caruthers, okay. But the ninja tree farmer is killed by a baby space orc. What the hell?

The final confrontation takes place on the bridge, where all space-ship based movies have their final conflict, come to think of it.

Foster wants to know where the ship is, and Quaid says Foster has the Pandorum. Foster and MJ 2.0 say that is bullshit, Foster hallucinates, and maybe the space orcs don't even exist! Quaid finally opens the skylights of the bridge to reveal that yes, they are in fact, deep in the ocean of their new planet and have been there for about a hundred years. Which is better than the ship going to hell and bringing back Sam Neil, I suppose.

Foster beats Quaid, he and MJ 2.0 hop in the escape pod, and the ship explodes after discharging all the other escape pods. Humanity then washes up on the continent of a brand new planet that looks suspiciously like Scotland, and Quaid presumably drowns-taking the secret of Pandorum with him.

This movie paired off with another claustrophobic space movie could work either as a horror Space Cavalcade (Event Horizon), or just Space Schlock (Wing Commander).

Unborn, The

This is the sort of film that brings people together... in much the same way being held hostage does. The only way I was able to get through the movie was guffawing with good friends and complete strangers. At one point, a young man leaned forward and told me and my associates that, "Yo, Nigga is old"-and in light of the movie we were watching, it was a welcome change of pace.

The Unborn bites off far more than it can chew. With the line, "you must finish what began in Auschwitz," being the last written words of a Holocaust survivor to a doe-eye college student. Who, by the way, the film doesn't consider worth our time beyond shameful leering.

I found the co-opting of the Holocaust deeply offensive in this context, though I'm not sure why, and I wondered if anyone on the staff of the production was in position to say, "maybe we shouldn't make this movie." It's simple really, because all one has to be to think The Unborn was a bad idea is:

  1. Well-read
  2. Not a moron
  3. Some combination of one of those and Jewish.

Or, at least know one person who is Jewish, and ask them. Even then, I'm sure a local Rabbi would gladly tell you that you and your entire production company are about to make a serious error.

Almost as frustrating, this movie takes the male gaze to a whole new level by leering at this girl's cracks and assets like a strip-club talent scout at a high-school cheer-leading competition. I suppose her adolescent cuteness, barely-there derrière, and knock-kneed lankiness are the reason that no less than fourteen people die to save her from possession from a dybbuk, which is pretty much a demon that posses people (like Pazuzu in the Exorcist, but Jewish). Again, fourteen people die to protect this girl.

This whole film is completely terrible for just that reason. I like hot girls. Who doesn't like hot girlsOther girls like hot girls! But I will be damned-damned I tell you-if I think that I should throw away nearly over a dozen lives because someone is physically attractive.

Topping all this off is the main character, who after surviving this ordeal thanks to Stringer Bell (Elba) and Commissionr James Gordon (Oldman), gets a sonogram that proposes she is about to have undead demon spawn children-and she doesn't get a goddamned abortion.

What. The. Hell?

The one lesson any person with half a brain would have learned in this movie is that children are gateways of the devil. But noooooo, our heroine has to keep the baby, because. . . I actually have no idea. Her grandmother would have wanted it that way, I guess. A stupid ending to a stupid film.