Happy Easter, You Heathens!
It’s Easter! It’s Easter! Mithras is risen, so slay the white bull! Whoo-hoo! Jesus is back, too. . .
Seriously, though, what can a person review for EASTER? I had happened to mention a couple of films that I’d seen recently. Our Beloved Webmeister (who will be appearing shortly as the male lead in the feature motion picture Knocked Up) had a novel idea: make it a DOUBLE FEATURE. Kick ass.
First up: THE NATIVITY STORY!
Okay, it’s related to Easter without actually being ABOUT Easter. Whatever. Christmas has brought us such gems as the
Star Wars Holiday Special, Christmas with the Kranks, Silent Night Deadly Night, “Merry Christmas! The shitter’s full. . . ” Needless to say, there has been a lot of dreck paraded around in the guise of Christmas spirit, and it has poisoned the air. When someone comes out with a SERIOUS Christmas movie – like the Nativity Story, for example – I just couldn’t bear to lump it in with Jingle All The Way. Looking back, though I hadn’t planned it, I guess I saved the movie for Easter.
Y’all familiar with the story? Teenaged girl 2000 years ago is pregnant without having enjoyed the FUN part of the process, has to convince betrothed to go ahead and marry her, and has to sneak away from the King’s forces to give birth to the son of God.
Keisha Castle-Hughes was chosen to play Mary. Great choice, I thought. She’s young, was phenomenal in her breakout performance as Paikea in Whale Rider, and I was really looking forward to her performance. In a cast of also-rans, she was supposed to be the star power that was going to carry the movie. Unfortunately, this young lady seemed incredibly disinterested in the notion of actually ACTING. I had been looking forward to the gut-wrenching emotion that she is capable of conveying, but was subjected instead to an hour and forty-one minutes of ONE FACIAL EXPRESSION. There was no range. Instead, it was just Mary with the look of a placid, accepting and slightly confused cow with a rusted F150 bearing down on her. Big eyes, and that’s it. She showed even less acting talent or range than Natalie Portman in the Star Wars films – which says a lot.
Sooo, Mary sucked. That didn’t kill the movie.
The guy who played Joseph (Oscar Isaac) was a pleasant surprise. He came into this project with few films under his belt, but he alone kept Miss Castle-Hughes from dragging it down into the realm of films that only show because church audiences keep packing the theaters. He did a great job of showing the progression from the man who barely knows Mary, to the man who is betrothed to her and thinks she’s been cheating, to the man who adores his wife and is bursting with pride as his wife gives birth to the son of God. In all honesty, this actor could go places. He took shitty writing, a bad on-screen partner, and still managed to convince me that he knew what it felt like to be him. I was impressed. I will expect to see more of this guy in years to come.
The main drawback to the film is, well, everyone already knows the story. Unless there is a revelation of some new plot twist, or something along those lines, there’s not a lot that you can do with a story that everyone knows and make it more interesting than what they were already imagining. There are usually only two things left to carry the film: the acting performances, and how the film LOOKS. We’ve already covered the acting.
The film look incredible. There are a few movies that are incredible to simply LOOK at, Lawrence of Arabia being chief among them. Where the acting and story let the audience down, the cinematography and art direction picked up the slack. I don’t know if it was shot on location in Israel or not. I will say this: it’s a lovely movie to watch. The scenery is fantastic and varied. The people behind the camera did a great job of capturing the beauty of the moment, whenever it was there to be had.
The movie fell short of what it could have done, and that was disappointing. As a family venture, though, going to the theater wasn’t a bad investment. You already know the story, but watching this telling of it (though probably only on the big screen) was a pleasant, meaningful experience. Non-Christians might not think so.
What if you’re not into family-friendly, religious-themed fare for Easter? What else IS there? Well, until the Lobo Paramilitary Christmas Special comes out for wide release, you’ll have to go and check out JESUS CHRIST, VAMPIRE HUNTER!
I recently got into Netflix, and it’s allowing me to indulge my love for horrid and wretched movies without depriving my family of “quality” entertainment – whatever that is. I contribute to a website that has imbued millions of readers with a healthy appreciation of zombie love and B-movie genius. How could I NOT get a movie like this, once I found out that it exists?!
Here’s the skinny. Jesus has returned to Earth (to Ottawa, of all places!), but the Earth (or at least Ottawa) is being overrun by vampires. Lesbian vampires. Kung-fu lesbian vampires, to be exact. See what I mean? It’s a can’t lose premise.
Oh, yeah. It’s also a musical. Rock on.
Jesus is back in Canada and has to destroy the kung-fu warrior lesbian vampires and their lackeys.
I just don’t know if there’s anything else that I can say that would sway and good reader of this site one way or the other on this movie. Jesus Christ versus the Kung-Fu Lesbian Vampires. Say it with me: Jesus Christ versus the Kung-Fu Lesbian Vampires.
Just sounds nice, doesn’t it?
This movie is so delightfully bad that I can’t describe it. The plot is crap. The fight scenes are choreographed by four year olds who watch a lot of Pokemon but don’t have the budget or training to do it right. The music is rancid – which is great. The dialogue is poorly written, though witty as hell. Imagine Jesus passing out lemonade, someone asking if there’s enough for everyone, and Jesus smugly assuring him, “Oh, there’ll be plenty.”
This movie is horrible. I’ve seen better efforts from first-year film students using stop-motion photography. My 15 year old stepson could have produced something better than this two years ago. As I mentioned in my review of Bad Santa, though, there is a special place in my heart for those who revel in all possible weirdness that surrounds the holidays.
TALE OF THE TAPE:
The Nativity Story: Quality, family film with great cinematography, some good performances and one really bad acting job.
Jesus Christ, Vampire Hunter: Kung-Fu Lesbian Vampires.
Happy Easter, everybody!