Film Friday: ‘Bridesmaids’ and ‘Priest’

by W. Andrew Powell

The cast of Bridemaids starring Kristen Wiig

The cast of Bridemaids starring Kristen Wiig

Opening at a theatre near you this weekend, Kristen Wiig stars in what could be the break-out comedy of the season, Bridesmaids; and Paul Bettany battles vampires in the disastrously reviewed action film, Priest.

Starring: Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Rose Byrne, Melissa McCarthy, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Ellie Kemper
Director: Paul Feig

In what might one of the few examples that you really can’t judge a film by its trailer, Bridesmaids is miraculously one of the best reviewed comedies to come out so far this year, and it was directed by the relatively untested Paul Feig.

Kristen Wiig stars as Annie, a woman who is set to be her best friend’s maid of honor, but she’s having a hard time with her messed up life, including her boyfriend and her career. She’s a true friend though, and despite her issues she’ll do anything to make her best friend happy for her wedding, and that includes dealing with all of the other bridesmaids, the strange wedding rituals, and everything in between.

Co-starring Maya Rudolph as Annie’s best friend Lillian, plus Rose Byrne, Melissa McCarthy, Wendi McLendon-Covey and Ellie Kemper, Bridesmaids is a surprising hit among critics, and a rare film that gives women the chance to behave a little badly on screen.

As Mary Elizabeth Williams wrote for, “It’s a movie that succeeds, often beautifully, not by forcing its characters to be as naughty and gross and pathetic as men are. It soars by letting them be as naughty and gross and pathetic as women are. Three cheers for equality.”

And Christy Lemire of the Associated Press wrote, “Bridesmaids surely doesn’t mark the end of conventional female-centric comedies, but it works on so many levels, it’ll hopefully make future filmmakers stop and think twice before approaching this kind of project and realize it can be done [better].”

At press time, Bridesmaids had earned 90% fresh on, a rare accomplishment for what I might otherwise call a dumb-looking film. Clearly the film needed a better trailer, but it’s set to be this week’s big opening film if it can just overcome last week’s dominate actioner, Thor.

Starring: Paul Bettany, Cam Gigandet, Maggie Q, Stephen Moyer, Lily Collins, Karl Urban
Director: Scott Stewart

Scott Stewart deserves a pat on the back, but so far it’s not for his directing career.

Look back just a few years and Stewart was involved with some of the better special effects coming out of Hollywood, working with visual effects company The Orphanage on films like Iron Man, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

As a director though, Stewart has so far failed to do much more than irritate critics, whether you’re talking about his dud Legion, or his latest sci-fi offering, the big screen adaptation of Priest.

Based on Min-Woo Hyung’s Korean comic book of the same name, the film is set in a post-apocalyptic version of Earth where mankind has been fighting with vampires for a long, long time. Trying to protect themselves from the thirst of the vampires, humanity now lives inside city fortresses run by the Church.

When his niece, played by Lily Collins, is captured by vampires though, one warrior, played by Paul Bettany, will have to set aside his life to hunt down the blood suckers. Priest will get a little help on his mission though, including from his niece’s boyfriend, played by Cam Gigandet, and a Warrior Priestess played by Maggie Q.

Based on the fact that distributor Screen Gems decided not to offer the film for review to the press, it’s clear this is a film you can save for television or DVD, but there are a few reviews from the United Kingdom press.

Tim Robey of the U.K.’s Daily Telegraph wrote, “Clawing away under its 3D dinge and slick but desensitising effects, the movie is deadly, even when it’s cool – a comic-book adaptation ruthlessly shorn of the word “comic”.

Tom Huddleston of Time Out probably said it best though when he wrote, “Did Paul Bettany know, when he donned the cowl of the albino monk in ‘The Da Vinci Code’, that he would soon be typecast as Hollywood’s go-to guy for God-bothering multiplex action movies?”

Upcoming releases…

May 20
Last Night
Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

May 26
Kung Fu Panda: The Kaboom of Doom
The Hangover 2

June 3
X-Men: First Class

June 10
Super 8
The Tree Of Life

June 17
Green Lantern
Mr. Popper’s Penguins

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