Movie Review: Constantine: City of Demons (2018)

Two animations in a row? I know, fucking insanity up in this joint. But hey, it’s my blog and my Month of Spooks, so I can do whatever I want. Besides, why wouldn’t I wanna talk about DC’s arguably most well known horror character?

Ladies and gents… “Constantine: City of Demons”.

When his daughter is thrown into a supernaturally induced coma, Chas Chandler (Damien O’Hare) enlists the help of his old mate, John Constantine (Matt Ryan), to hopefully fix this whole situation. And as they look further into the situation, they not only get into new troubles, but old wounds get opened back up too. I thought the story here was good. Leans a bit too heavily on exposition during the first act, but as soon as we get into act two, things aren’t quite so info-dumpy. And I have to admit that I didn’t fully see where this story was going, it managed to throw me for a loop multiple times, telling a narrative that understands the “Hellblazer” mythos and themes, while still making it accessible to anyone unfamiliar with the material. That latter point might be somewhat related to the info-dumping in the first act, which makes it kind of a double-edged sword, but that’s just how shit ends up some times. But yeah… the story’s good, if a bit flawed.

The characters in this are flawed, colorful, and overall quite interesting. Constantine in this is more like in the comics rather than how he’s portrayed in the Keanu Reeves movie. He’s British, snarky, and a bit aloof. And while he’s not quite as morally flexible as he is in the comics, they do nod towards that idea a fair bit throughout this movie, which makes him a bit more interesting. And Matt Ryan (in his fourth appearance) is great in the role. Damien O’Hare as John’s trusted friend Chas Chandler does a great job as the committed and brave, yet slightly impulsive type. And in the supporting cat we got people like Laura Baily, Robin Atkin Downes, Jim Meskimen, Rachel Kimsey, Rick Wasserman, and more, all doing well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Kevin Riepl, and it was alright. It is overall a well composed score that worked fine for the movie, but I felt that it might’ve been a little bit on the bland-ish side. It does have some cool chorals that make it stand out a little bit, but for the most part it’s your typical orchestral stuff with occasional synthesizers for effect. Again, not bad, pretty good, but a little bland.

Of course based on the legendary DC/Vertigo Character, “Constantine: City of Demons” was directed by Doug Murphy, who I think did a good job with it. He doesn’t force a lot of needless action or an unnecessarily rapid pace, instead opting for a decent bit of downtime, letting characters breathe and letting the audience take in what’s going on a bit. And even when there is action, it isn’t typical action-action with fists flying all about the place or flashy spells pew-pewing all day long, which I think is a fun change of pace. And the animation carrying it all, I think is good (based on the standards of these lower budget DC animated flicks). There are some minor things that distracted in it, like some of the blood splatter effects, but for the most part the animation looks nice and wonderfully brings out some of the nastier stuff in the DC universe.

This movie has been decently well received. On imdb.com (which is the only site with a clear number), it has a score of 7,4/10.

While it isn’t perfect, “Constantine: City of Demons” is still a very enjoyable take on the titular Hellblazer. It has a good plot, good characters, great performances, okay music, and really good directing/animation. Though it is unfortunately brought down a bit by a little too much exposition dumping, and some minor animations niggles. Time for my final score. *Bollocks*. My final score for “Constantine: City of Demons” is an 8,77/10. So while flawed, I’d say it’s still worth buying.

My review of “Constantine: City of Demons” is now completed.

“Abraka-fooking-dabra” – John Constantine.

Movie Review: Constantine (2005)

So what’s on the Month of Spooks meny today? Spooky comic book adaptation? Neat.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Constantine”.

The story follows John Constantine (Keanu Reeves), a private detective handling cases of the supernatural kind, as he helps an LAPD detective (Rachel Weisz) try to prove that her sister’s death wasn’t a normal suicide, but something more sinister. All while John is dealing with the recent news that he has a really severe case of lung cancer. So now we have our spooky detective story. And it’s good. Not perfect, but good. Overall it’s a very well paced story that never feels like it drags, but there is kind of a weird disconnect between the plots of the movie. It’s clear that they used the “Dangerous Habits” story arc from the comics as basis, but then added the cop with the dead sister plot onto it because I guess they needed a more movie-esque aspect in the plot. And the two sometimes tie into each other okay, but a lot of the time they don’t fully gel. Both plots on their own are really good, but putting them together like that doesn’t fully work. But overall, pretty good stuff.

The characters in this get some decent development and are all pretty interesting. First up we have Keanu Reeves (whoa) as the titular hellblazer. He’s a sarcastic jerk who doesn’t let anyone get close, for reasons we shall not disclose, but it’s some good stuff. He’s quite a departure from the comics, but I still found him to be an entertaining and interesting character. And Reeves is really good in the role. Next we have Rachel Weisz as Angela Dodson, the detective that Constantine decides to help. She’s tough as hell without it coming off as forced or unrealistic. She feels a bit more real. And Weisz is great in the role. We also get supporting performances from people like Tilda Swinton, Shia LaBeouf, Djimon Hounsou, Max Baker, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Gavin Rossdale, Peter Stormare, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Brian Tyler (with some additions by Klaus Badelt) and I think he did a great job with it. The score takes influences from a couple cultures as well as taking inspiration from a couple different genres such as horror and action. And it creates a really interesting sound that elevates the various scenes where music can be heard.

Based on the “Hellblazer” comics by DC/Vertigo, this movie was directed by Francis Lawrence, and I think he did a really good job with that. While elements of the story and character have trouble capturing the vibe of the comic, his direction gets closer to capturing that feel… if it was turned up to 11 that is, but that’s slightly besides the point. But I do like the slightly gothic vibe this thing has, which often manages to add some creep factor to it all. And the cinematography by Philippe Rousselot is pretty great too, giving us some damn fine looking shots throughout.

This movie has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 46% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 50/100. Roger Ebert gave it 1,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,0/10.

While not necessarily a great representation of its source material, “Constantine” is still a damn good supernatural action thriller. It has a good plot, good characters, great performances, great music, and great directing/cinematography. As previously mentioned, it is brought down a bit by elements in the story feeling somewhat disjointed. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Constantine” is an 8,94/10. So while flawed, it’s still definitely worth buying.

My review of “Constantine” is now completed.

Whoa.

“Constantine” animated series first look!

Hello there, my friends. Time for another trailer talk… sort of. It’s not exactly a “trailer” per se, but it technically counts as a trailer but still not… fuck it, let’s just get into it.

So we finally have our first look at the animated “Constantine” series, set in the Arrowverse. Backstory time. John Constantine was created in 1984 by Alan Moore, Steve Bissette, and John Totleben for the “Swamp Thing” comics. He’s an occult detective/con man/magician known for his quick wits, snarky attitude, and constant chain smoking. In 1988 he got his first solo comic series called “Hellblazer” (which is a pretty awesome comic). He has then appeared in various comic series’, and also had his own movie in 2005 called “Constantine”, starring Keanu Reeves. Then in 2014 he got his own TV show (also called “Constantine”) where he was played by Matt Ryan. The show was great but was canceled after only one season due to less than stellar ratings. Then Matt Ryan reprised the role in an episode of CW series “Arrow”. Then he reprised it again in the animated DC movie “Justice League Dark” (which I reviewed a while back if you’re interested). Then it got announced that he’d get his own animated show on CW seed, the CW’s very own streaming service. And now we arrive at very current times, where are New York Comic Con they released a first look at the animated series (Titled “Constantine”). And it looks cool. The animation is slick, Matt Ryan is back as John Constantine, and holy shit, this looks like it will be rated R. There’s blood/gore, some cursing (probably no F-bombs, but I’d gladly be proven wrong), and yes… I am so excited. Sure, the creature designs here aren’t the most interesting, but I am still incredibly excited for this! “Constantine” the animated series is coming soon to CW seed.

What are your thoughts? Are you excited for “Constantine”? And what is your favorite on-screen version of him out of the Keanu movie, NBC show, and “Justice League Dark”? Leave any and all thoughts in the comments.
Have a good one and enjoy the “trailer”!!!

Movie Review: Justice League Dark (2017)

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I have stated my love for the DC animated movies a whole bunch of times on this blog, so I’m not gonna annoy you with that again. Instead I’m just gonna say this: First review of a 2017 release on this blog… exciting!

Ladies and gentlemen… “Justice League Dark”!

People are going crazy and killing each other because of some supposedly supernatural threat. So Batman (Jason O’Mara) travels to various places to recruit some magic heroes such as John Constantine (Matt Ryan), Zatanna (Camilla Luddington), and Deadman (Nicholas Turturro) to find out what the hell is going on and then find a way to stop it. And from that we get very well paced and entertaining plot. The main plot is a bit standard, but it’s not bad at all, it is in fact very entertaining. My biggest problem comes in the form of a few exposition dump scenes. I get that some of these characters aren’t the most well known and because of that need some establishing, but the ways that they get established contain a lot of exposition, and that brought it down just a bit. Again, the plot overall was good, but those few infodump scenes knocked it down a little for me.

The characters are interesting and really entertaining. Jason O’Mara has in previous projects established himself to be a pretty solid Batman, and in this one it’s no different, he did a really good job. Matt Ryan was awesome as Constantine, but that is something I knew already from the “Constantine” TV show and from his one-episode appearance on “Arrow”. But it was so great having him reprise the role because he is so great as the character. Nicholas Turturro (Sidenote: Brother of John Turturro) was really good as Deadman. Though to be honest, I really knew nothing of the character prior to this. But the performance itself was fun and good. Next we have Camilla Luddington as Zatanna, and she did a really solid job. And I also feel like mentioning that Ray Chase was really good as Etrigan… not much else I can add there. There are also some really good supporting performances from poeple like Jeremy Davies, Rosario Dawson, Jerry O’Connell, Roger Cross, and Enrico Colantoni.

The original score for the movie was composed by Robert J. Kral and I think that what he composed for the movie was good. Nothing mindblowing or even great, but definitely good, fitting the scenes very well.

This movie was directed by Jay Oliva, a DC animation regular. And since this is an animated movie… how is the animation? It’s actually really good, I mean… for a DC animated direct-to-video budget. But while the animation isn’t the most detailed, it flows very well and looks really good, especially in the action scenes. Especially the last big action scene, that stuff looks pretty great. Also, there’s some violent imagery in this movie. I mean, there’s blood, there’s some slightly brutal stuff going on. Not as brutal as maybe “Dredd”, but still pretty violent for this type of movie. So I’d actually argue that the R-rating on this movie is pretty justified, compared to “The Killing Joke”. The language is still PG-13, but the imagery and such is R.

Since this movie just came out and is a direct-to-video feature, it barely has any reception to look at. You know, at least from the sites I use. But I can at least say that on imdb.com it has a score of 7,3/10.

“Justice League Dark” is another solid DC animated movie that I had a lot of fun with. It has a good plot, good characters, great voice acting, good music, really good animation, and some great action. However, I will bring it down a notch because of those infodump scenes… could have been handled a bit smoother. Time for my final score. *Uses magic spell to summon envelope*. My final score for “Justice League Dark” is a 9,12/10. So even though it’s not perfect, I’d still say that it’s worth buying!
worth-buying

My review of “Justice League Dark” is now completed.

Can we just have Matt Ryan playing every incarnation of John Constantine? Please.

 

 

 

“Constantine” is back (sort of)!

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Good evening guys, I hope you’re all doing well. Let’s talk about an interesting announcement!

So it has been announced by DC/the CW that “Constantine” will get his glorious return… sort of. What the hell am I talking about? “Constantine” was a short-lived series on NBC, and it was based on the comic book character of John Constantine (Matt Ryan), an exorcist/demonologist with a devil-may-care attitude and a troubled past. The show was canceled after only 13 episodes, probably due to low(ish) ratings. Despite that failure it garnered a pretty solid fanbase. And to be completely honest, I am part of that fanbase. I loved “Constantine”, it was a very entertaining and engaging fantasy-thriller show that unfortunately ended with quite the twist/cliffhanger. Matt Ryan was fantastic in the role of John Constantine, and I wanted to see more of him in that role! So you can imagine how happy I was when he popped up in an episode of “Arrow” season 4, because not only did it give me more of Ryan as Constantine, but it also meant that there was a possibility of him popping up even more in the CW’s “Arrow-verse”. And now we finally got the announcement that he would get his own show… sort of. Instead of a live action series that you could watch weeknights on the television, it will be an animated series on CW seed, the channel’s online streaming service where you can also watch “Vixen”, another CW animated series that ties into the “Arrow-verse”. But hey, it at least means we’re getting more of our favorite DC demonologist. Even better, Matt Ryan will be back to voice the character… which he also did for the upcoming DC animated movie “Justice League Dark”, which I am really excited for! While no official release date has been set, the animated “Constantine” series will most likely air in the later parts of this year.

What are your thoughts on this? Are you excited for this new “Constantine” animated series? And what are your thoughts on the short-lived NBC series? And while we’re at it, what are your thoughts on the Keanu Reeves “Constantine” movie? Leave any and all thoughts in the comments!
Have a good one!

Series Review: Constantine – Season 1 (2014 – 2015)

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Whenever you find a good show you want it to go on for quite some time, right? Well that is something that happens to me every now and then. I find a show that maybe has one (or more) seasons and I think “Man, this is great, keep this going!”. Unfortunately continuations don’t always happen and that saddens me. This is such a time. The only reason I am reviewing this is because there is a chance it won’t get a second season. I otherwise want to review a show if it is finished and I have finished every episode. So let’s have a look.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Constantine”!

This show is based on the “Hellblazer” comics and is about protagonist John Constantine (Matt Ryan). He is an exorcist/demonologist/master of the dark arts. After he went into hiding after a major fuck up he has to come back out as a darkness is coming in towards the world. But he isn’t operatingn alone, oh no! He will try to save the world with his old friend and driver Chas (Charles Halford) and his newly found friend and psychic Zed (Angélica Celaya). There is also an angel by the name of Manny (Harold Perrineau, also fucking really?). Of course the layout isn’t only main story of John and friends taking on this huge darkness. The show follows a sort of “Freak of the week” format where every episode(ish) they have to face a new smaller supernatural threat. Now that has been the complaint done by some people as it doesn’t benefit the narrative structure 100%, and I can get behind that argument. But I still enjoyed it. It was fun and great seeing John and the others take care of every supernatural problem they encounter. I liked the plot.

The characters in the show all have good personalities and are all very interesting. Let’s start off with our main man, Constantine (roll credits). He is a careless, witty, cool, asshole. But that is how I like him and Matt Ryan portrays that so well. What I also like is that Constantine isn’t an action hero in this unlike in that movie with Keanu Reeves (Sidenote: The movie is enjoyable). In this show he is vulnerable, believe me, he can take care of himself but he isn’t like this ultra badass action dude. That is why I like him, he is relatable. It is also fun having Captain Edward Kenway (Sidenote: “Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag” reference) playing this awesome character. Next up is Chas, John’s best friend and driver… in a taxi. I am not going to spoil the cool thing about Chas here as you find out in the first episode and as it is the coolest shit ever. Sure, he isn’t AS prominent as John but he is still a valuable asset to the show. What you like about him is that he is the calm and collected center who sort of balances out the weird that is John Constantine. Also, whenever he gets angry he explodes and it is glorious especially since Charles Halford has such a powerful voice. And finally we have Zed, a psychic who helps John with her visions that usually help the gang to determine where to go next. What I like about her is like Chas, she is a good balance to John and his shenanigans. She is also a tough lady who can take care of herself when she needs to but she still keeps a kind of vulnerable and almost innocent aura about her. Overall the characters of “Constantine” are all great and really well-acted.

The score was done by acclaimed composer Bear McCreary (Walking Dead, Battlestar Galactica). And I think it works perfectly. You get what you’d expect from a horror-themed fantasy show. A lot of suspenseful tracks with a lot of epic tracks as well when they are needed. I also noticed there is a good usage of like a keyboard or organ or something, I don’t fucking know what it is but it sounds awesome! You can hear it mostly in the theme tune of the show which I would call a great theme tune. The music in the show is great.

The visual effects in this show are pretty great. They are really well done and look truly horrific and badass and awesome. The same can be said for how they did with the camera work. It looks great with excellent cinematography. There is a fair amount of use of the “Dutch angle” (Sidenote: Dutch angle means you film it at a circa 45 degree angle). They did it excellently in the scenes where it was used and it fit the scenes perfectly unlike that piece of shit called “Battlefield Earth”.

This movie has gotten some mixed reception to say the least. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 72% positive rating. Metacritic once again has the lowest score with a score of 53/100. And on imdb the show has a score of 7,7/10.

“Constantine” is one of the best fantasy shows of recent years. Sure, the narrative style will divide audiences but the plot and individual episodes are all great. The acting is really good, the writing is great with one moment in the show almost tearing me up, the score is excellent and everything about the visuals is just fantastic. Time for my final score. O potens ultima signant, venit ad me! My final score for “Constantine” season 1 (Or “Constantine” in general if there is no season 2) is a 9,88/10. I absolutely loved this show and I will give it my “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
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Review of “Constantine” is completed.

Just a minute more guys, I really want this show to go on and get more seasons so I would appreciate it if you could sign this petition to help maybe get it continued, thank you! http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/save-constantine