Live-Blogging Priest (2011)
:40 Any movie that opens with blue-toned closeups of Paul Bettany and Karl Urban is okay by me.
1:27 Tragedy in the cold open! Karl Urban is dragged out of Paul Bettany’s grasp into a dark hole.
1:54 “There has always been man. And there have always been vampires.” The credits are gore-tastic animation with impressive voice-over. I might be prematurely in love with this movie. It’s not subtle. I like that.
3:17 I enjoy that priests are apparently the new action heroes. Is this movie Vatican propaganda, do you think? Or do you think they prefer keeping their vampire slaying activities on the down low?
5:01 Vampire Bill? He's married to Madchen Amick, their daughter is Lily Collins and he seems... mortal. On principle I disbelieve any movie in which Stephen Moyer is not a vampire.
7:02 Spoiler: he doesn’t last long.
8:22 If I cared to do research, I could probably find out whether this movie is based on a graphic novel or not. I will assume it is for the sake of lazy and because that’s what it strongly feels like.
9:01 The church runs the city and there are digital confession booths in the streets. At key moments the populace stops and crosses themselves. It’s a post-apocalyptic vampire-riddled church-state metropolis. So, the worst kind.
10:52 Paul Bettany is (I'm extrapolating based on forehead tattoo and glare) a bad-ass priest. He's haunted by the Karl Urban disappearance from the cold open. As are we all, Paul Bettany.
12:41 The Monsignor, played by Christopher Fucking Plummer (yes mom, it's absolutely necessary), refers to reservations, presumably for the vampires. Because those are always a good idea.
14:14 Paul Bettany (who I will now call Priest for reasons of brevity) has been forbidden to leave the city. Captain Von Trapp was explicitly clear that he’d be excommunicated if he disobeyed.
15:20 I can’t lie, the sight of Karl Urban with fangs sets my heart a-flutter. *swoon*
16:40 What happened to Paul Bettany's career? Why isn’t he in more things? A quick Google search informs me he is the voice of Tony Stark’s computer, Jarvis, in the Iron Man franchise. File that under ‘Things That Make Robert Downey Jr. Even Sexier’.
18:19 I have admittedly lost my already-tenuous grip on the plot. We rejoin our hero, Priest, as he speeds out of the city on a motorcycle over white dunes to a pulsing soundtrack. Monoliths cast jagged shadows across the white sand. Poetry.
20:22 Cam Gigan-whatever plays a pretty sheriff and it appears names are not really important or else I can’t be bothered to hear them so I will call him Pretty for short.
20:23 Brad Dourif (who will always be called Brad Dourif, Mr. Dourif if you're nasty) plays a tank-driving type of old tymey grifter.
22:31 Hey, Vampire Bill did not die! But his wife Madchen Amick did. And his daughter Lily Collins has been kidnapped by vampires. Vampire Bill is actually Priest’s brother. He’s dying now and he wants Priest to get Lily back.
24:00 Priest is carving X’s into his bullet tips. Or I suppose they could be crosses. The camera angle is unclear.
24:29 Pretty is bragging about how he’s even better with a gun than with a knife which he throws at the wall behind Priest to prove his point.
25:06 Captain Von Trapp is unleashing all the other priests on Priest. He’s displeased by disobedience so he gives the “bring him back to me dead or alive” motivational speech.
25:55 Obligatory burial scene. Vampire Bill, we hardly knew ye. (And to be honest, we sort of thought you died earlier.)
26:55 Standing in the desert on a mesa overlooking a settlement, Pretty says to Priest “Nightshade Reservation blah blah blah” and it’s very reminiscent of another, much better, line and moment. “Mos Eisley spaceport. You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.”
28:51 Ginger reminds me that sheriff boy was in Burlesque and he was sort of Pretty in that too. Also not very good.
30:23 There are a lot of bald pale men that are probably not actual vampires in an underground lair. They might be familiars? I am admittedly only half-listening.
32:22 Night descends really quickly. Like a shade was drawn over the sky. Or a lens filter was added.
32:56 Actual vampires. They are not at all similar to men but are huge multi-fanged white creatures with no eyes that leap around on all fours and have giant claws. They aren’t sparkly, kids. They don’t want to be your boyfriend.
35:08 I don’t support slayers really. I am all about vampires. The more monstrous the better. I think we need fearsome things that go bump in the night in our lives. But I will grudgingly admit that Priest is a very handy slayer and quite watchable.
36:48 Priest is a bit Mad Max too, no?
37:22 Brad Dourif is good in everything. He’s not afraid to be skeevy and unlikeable.
38:06 Brad Dourif is also now a familiar, I guess, after Karl Urban (sexily) attacked him. I’m not entirely sure how this world works. Because the men creatures also seem to drink blood but are not, by film definition, vampires.
39:11 I have to say I have a rat’s ass to give about whatever blather Pretty is on about. I think it’s back-story. The difference in actors is how much they give you without lines. Pretty talks a lot but tells us nothing. Priest is mostly silent and we have a good idea who he is. Paul Bettany, people. He should be a way bigger deal than he is.
42:36 For those of you concerned with plot, Priest and Pretty have tracked the vampires who took Lily Collins to a cave. It’s night because you obviously always want to hunt vampires at night when they’re active and powerful.
43:36 Maggie Q, fellow priest, has found Priest in the cave and tells him about the bounty Captain Von Trapp set on him.
44:19 I will be honest, these vampires look more like what would happen if the xenomorphs kept pets.
45:13 Things went slo-mo when Priest folded his hands in prayer.
45:49 It’s hard to see but Priest just gutted a vampire in mid-air.
46:10 Pretty, after shooting a vampire: “Point A meet fuckin’ Point B”. Dude, what does that even mean? If you have to say stupid lines at least don’t over-deliver them.
46:53 Maggie Q is a good egg. She came out to warn Priest, not take him back to justice.
48:06 Caves. Why’d it have to be caves?
49:00 Of course Pretty takes the time during the search of an underground vampire lair to ask whether or not priests can have “relations”. Is that a pressing concern at this moment? Is he thinking of, you know, pulling over and seducing one of the clergy just to keep his blood flowing hot during the hunt?
50:41 Pro tip, old conductor dude: if a mysterious train pulls into your station at night and nobody gets off, lock your door. Do not investigate.
51:46 Young family is listening to music while nursing their baby by a fire. They are what monster movies would call ‘sacrificial lambs’.
52:35 This movie has a superior classical soundtrack. Karl Urban, dressed like he stepped off the set of The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, stands in the town street amid swirling sparks enjoying the sound of death screams from the townsfolk. And damn, does he look good doing it.
55:08 Daylight. Pretty, Priest, and Maggie Q arrive in town.
55:14 They’re too late, everybody in town is dead.
55:28 Three priests from the town were crucified which, you know, is riddled with symbolism.
56:46 They just now figure out that Lily was taken to draw Priest out (and the priests sent to drag him back) while the vampire army advances on the now-defenseless city. Well, defenseless save for Captain Von Trapp who could, presumably, lead everyone in a rousing version of Edelweiss and then flee the stage.
58:17 On the vampire train, Lily asks Karl Urban the question on all our minds: “What are you?”
58:50 “I am the way to wash clean this unclean world.” Some answers really only beget more questions.
1:00:43 The ‘no relations’ clause does not apparently extend to gentle face touching.
1:01:40 There is some unspoken thing where Maggie Q loves him but was waiting for Shannon’s death to free him? I presume Shannon was Madchen Amick but I wasn’t paying attention earlier. I also thought she was Vampire Bill’s wife. I’m not even sure it matters, honestly.
1:02:41 “She’s his daughter.” Ahhhhh... there it is. Lily is Priest’s daughter. Madchen Amick was his lover. Then the clergy took him and Vampire Bill stepped in to be the man of the house.
1:03:52 I will never get tired of watching priests on motorcycles. Vatican, look into this as an alternative to the Pope-mobile.
1:04:29 Pretty, to himself: “Focus!” This movie, while not terrible, would be miles better without Cam Whatsisname muddying things up with his cardboard delivery and dead eyes.
1:05:56 Like Aliens these vampires birth out of giant slimy pods which are presently housed in the freight cars.
1:06:59 Standing atop the train in broad daylight, Karl Urban tells Priest that the Queen Vampire turned him into something new: a human vampire. Wait, what?
1:07:47 Maggie Q is very resourceful. She has set explosive charges along the train tracks.
1:08:56 Commence obligatory fight sequence on top of the speeding train. I’d complain more if it weren’t between Priest and Karl Urban. It’s like brightly lit eye candy without the distraction of walls and things.
1:10:30 Karl Urban is very speedy. True Blood style speedy.
1:11:06 Aw, I had almost forgotten Pretty was even in this movie.
1:11:36 But he is and he’s pursued by un-cocooning vampires.
1:12:32 Karl Urban, once again proving how awesome he is, kicks Pretty off the train.
1:13:13 Revelation of one’s parentage by human-vampire (???) has got to be a disappointing way to learn the truth. Possibly less distressing than deciding to have romantical feelings for Pretty, however.
1:13:50 Karl Urban can fly! After pinning Priest to the wall of the burning salon car, he grabs Lily and takes to the sky.
1:15:11 I would probably also swoon if Karl Urban had me in his arms, staring deeply into my eyes. No fault there, Lily. That’s exactly the right reaction.
1:16:10 Maggie Q, inexplicably abandoning the track charges (or maybe I wasn't paying attention again), turned one of the motorbikes into a bomb and steered it into the train. TRAIN GO BOOM.
1:16:11 Unfortunately Karl Urban also went boom.
1:17:00 Even more unfortunately Pretty did not go boom.
1:17:30 Priest survived leaping from atop a speeding train with Lily in his arms with only minor scrapes and abrasions. Because he is Paul Bettany, bitches.
1:18:20 Captain Von Trapp is giving some sort of mass communion when Priest interrupts to throw a vampire head at his feet.
1:19:30 Priest speeds away from the city at dusk to rendezvous with Maggie Q because ya’ll they still have the Queen Vampire to hunt down. I smell sequel! Next time they should just ask Sigourney Weaver to take care of it for them. She’s a pro.
1:20:33 The closing credits feature a sort of digitized fly-by of monoliths at sunset and then bats blocking the sun. This sort of tidily sums up the whole movie: not terrible, not great, assembled mainly from cliché and filtered visuals.
- Corinne Simpson