Saturday, July 29, 2006

Tough Chicks in Tight Bodysuits

After viewing "UltraViolet" and "Underworld: Evolution" I'm beginning to believe that it is impossible for a woman to be a superhero, tough, or even ferocious unless she's been poured into a lycra or leather 'catsuit' and donned thigh-high sh*t-kicking boots to accent her lean profile. And of course, you must either have black hair that is unwashed and stringy, or a neon purple/pink wig to make you seem mysterious. Personally, I think Kate Beckinsale is a better actress than Mila Janovich, and that is why I was saddened to see that she allowed the powers that be in the second Underworld movie to have her nude in a love scene with the horrible actor who plays the Lycan/Vampire hybrid male protagonist. Honestly, the man is supposed to be a resident physician, and he acts like he's got all of three brain cells that work (in addition to his plumbing, of course, which might be the reason Beckinsales character fancies him...a good roll in the hay goes a long way when you're a lonely death dealer, I suppose). Mila looks lovely in UltraViolet, which is a very violent, stylish movie that has gorgeous sets, fast action, gorgeous costumes, props and even sleek weaponry. It's like watching a cleanly-drawn Japanese SF graphic novel come to life. The story is one of fear and bravery, of self-sacrifice and love of innocence and children who are different. Yet there's a violent battle scene every 5-10 minutes in the movie, and while I like watching the choreography of a good martial arts/swords/guns scene as much as the next person, I can't really fathom how the folks that made this movie justified having so little time for plot and character development.
My husband, meanwhile, was disappointed in the lack of "boob shots" to be found in either movie, since he was particularly hoping Beckinsale would bare all. Yet she was covered up by that huge plank of a co-star, who even seemed somewhat slow and unsteady while on top of his favorite Vampire. This makes her grief, when he "dies" later in the movie, seem ludicrous, as you can't imagine the glorious, brilliant and vitally viscious Selene actually caring whether the fumbling, idiotic hybrid lives or dies. My husband and I were both relieved when he bought it, and disgusted when he was "reborn," again. They must have paid the honorable Derek Jacobi millions to appear as the progenetor Alexander Corvinus in this flick. He does his usual excellent job of taking what could have been a cartoonish character and turning it into a dignified, pained and ultimately heroic Vamp/Lycan. I only wish they'd have given him more screen time, and more scenes with Selene. The next SF feature hubby and I want to watch is V for Vendetta, which is coming out on DVD next week.
I also watched "Casanova" the latest version with the delicious Heath Ledger and an unknown co-star who isn't even as pretty as Ledger, sad to say. I became a fan of Ledger when he was the luscious leather-trousered lad in "Roar" which died before it had a chance to find its folkie/celtic-loving audience. Ledger was just drool-inspiring in Roar, and all the other movies I've seen him in haven't taken from that image of the gorgeous fair-haired guy with a mischevious twinkle in his eyes that can weaken your knees, even at my age. And no, I've not seen Brokeback Mountain, though I could easily understand anybody, man or woman, finding Ledger toothsome. (Anne Proloux, the author of Brokeback Mountain, is one of the worst authors ever to put pen to paper, or finger to keyboard, in my opinion. I refuse to read anything she's written). So I watched with interest as the fair-haired lad of the past was portrayed as a greasy, filthy lecherous man who couldn't keep his pants on for more than a few hours. He seemed to be constantly bathed in sweat during this film, and the wigs they made him wear were just frightening. Jeremy Irons was way over the top as an inquisitor set to hang Casanova, but the real purple heart for turning acting lemons into lemonade in this film goes to Oliver Platt, as the pork lard king of Genoa and the marvelous actress who plays his paramour. They stole every scene they were in, which was a blessing and a relief from watching Ledger sweat and flail and run from everyone. I would only recommend this film if you are really in need of a Ledger fix, and can imagine him cleaned up a bit. As to the tough chick flicks, I'd wait until you can rent them two for one, or until they're in the discount bin.

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