Young Star


BACKSTAGE PASS - Lanz Leviste -
I was eight when I first read Romeo & Juliet, and I have no idea why I did. All I knew was it was by Shakespeare and that the movie, by Baz Luhrmann, was amazing. The Montague vs. Capulet dispute intrigued me, even though I’m not really sure if I truly understood why Romeo and Juliet killed themselves. Five years later, I see Underworld, a Romeo & Juliet-inspired action thriller starring the ever-gorgeous Kate Beckinsale.

’s premise, as I said, puts a twist on the classic Shakespearean tale: The Capulets are aristocratic vampires, the Montagues are Lycans, or what we call werewolves. The two clans have been fighting a multi-generational war that has spanned centuries, the vamps slaughtering most of the Lycan clan after their leader, Lucian, supposedly died. The Lycans depleted, they take refuge under the city, planning to attack during the vamps’ ceremonial awakening. The leather-clad Beckinsale, who resembles Trinity in Reloaded, is Selene, a beautiful femme fatale in the spirit of Charlie’s Angels and Lara Croft. The under-appreciated tough girl, Selene acts like a tomboy among other bloodsucking women; she sports a gun, the others wear Versace. She finds out that the Lycans are after a once human named Michael (Felicity’s Scott Speedman), who they’ve bitten, turning him into a Lycan. They’re planning to use him as a test subject to create a super-human hybrid of the two species, yet stronger than both. Kraven (Shane Brolly), the vamp clan’s leader, warns Selene not to interfere. But when she falls in love with Michael, and then awakens her father figure and powerful vampire Viktor, these invoke the great consequences that ensue.

Evidently a hybrid of The Matrix, The Crow and Blade, Underworld still has an original feel. The engaging foundation of the film doesn’t let go throughout it, though it does take some time for it to definitely pick up. With the action and fighting scenes, some may look feeble, though others are still well done. But the significant high point of the movie is its aesthetics. Beautiful gothic art direction, flashy cinematography and my favorite: the colorless surroundings. Almost black and white, the mostly black, gray and blue film quality may have hints of red (blood), but I just love the pale-, monotonous-colored theme. It may be a turn-off to some, but I can’t get enough of it!

There are, however, also many negative points that go against the film. The gorgeous Kate Backinsale gives the only decent performance; the rest of the cast just don’t seem right. Yes, I was happy Felicity picked Ben, but Scott Speedman, as love interest Michael Corvin, just felt very awkward. Also, so did Shane Brolly as Kraven, who has the worst acting in the movie, and joins the cast of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen in the trying-too-hard-to-act-well-even-though-you-can’t category. Another huge problem was the truly pathetic and laughable dialogue, giving lines like the cringe-worthy, "What’s all the ruckus?" and destroying the atmosphere of a deep, serious dramatic scene.

After seeing Underworld, the credits began rolling and the theater’s lights turned on, all I could say was "Wow." Not really an ecstatic exclaim, I wasn’t sure if that "Wow" was supposed to be good or bad. All I know was I said this because the film was such an experience of non-stop action. I felt battered and beaten up after the movie; it was as if I was literally in the middle of this vampire vs. werewolf war. Weak and trampled on, this wasn’t really something I didn’t like; I actually somewhat enjoyed it. Again, some might not like this, but for the adrenaline junkies out there, Underworld is a good action film with the right amount of substance to compensate for its relentless gunshots and bites to the neck.

Bottom Line: A good, but not great movie that upon seeing daylight, won’t turn into dust.

Grade: B
To Do List Celebrities
• It’s official: Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez are still on! Ben announced that he and J.Lo are still getting married. Celebrate Bennifer getting back together by renting Ben flicks like Good Will Hunting and The Sum of All Fears, watching J.Lo’s The Wedding Planner and Maid in Manhattan, then watching Gigli five (or, if you’re feeling adventurous, 10) more times!
• Watch The Magdalene Sisters. I love controversial films, and I especially love great controversial films. Based on a true story, the film is set in 1964 Ireland, where in the Magdalene Sisterhood convent, young women are sentenced to wash away their sins. There, they are cruelly abused and mistreated by the nuns, raped even. Oh, and the fact that it was condemned by the Vatican makes it even better.

• Watch American Wedding. Why it was advertised here as American Pie: The Wedding instead of its original title is really weird; do they expect us not to know this is the third of the Pie trilogy? Anyway, in this installment, Jim and Michelle get married, with Stifler once again stealing the show.
• Watch Joe Millionaire. You might’ve already seen this reality TV juggernaut on Studio 23 a few months ago, and you probably know that Evan and Zora didn’t stay together. But this gives us another chance to watch the infamous "Slurp…slurp" with Sarah in the woods scene, and another chance to throw the remote at the TV every time uber-bitch Heidi appears. It shows every Thursday, as part of Star World’s new "Gotta Be Thursday" bloc
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For comments, questions and suggestions, e-mail me at [email protected]










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