• Passion Play

    Released by: Image Entertainment
    Released on: 5/31/2011
    Director: Mitch Glazer
    Cast: Mickey Rourke, Megan Fox, Bill Murray
    Year: 2010
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    The Movie:

    It’s a rare film that can combine the traits of pretentiousness and base stupidity. PASSION PLAY manages this unique feat.

    PASSION PLAY is the story of jazz musician Nate (Mickey Rourke). Once a success, Nate has now hit rock bottom and is playing a sleazy tittie bar in a New Mexico dive. He then goes from loser to dumbass when he sleeps with a local mobster’s wife. Here is where things begin to get TRULY bizarre. The mobster - in a hilarious piece of weird casting - is played by Bill Murray. And named Happy. Now anyone who remembers Murray’s ludicrously sleazy lawyer in WILD THINGS knows the man can play a fun dirt bag, but as a mobster he is about as believable as Justin Bieber. Nate is kidnapped by Happy’s thugs and dragged off to the desert for a lead lobotomy but is saved in a senseless plot twist by a group of Native Americans. The Indians never appear again. So far PASSION PLAY has stuck to reality - pretentious and dumb reality - but planet Earth nonetheless.

    But now is where this train jumps the rails. While wandering the desert after his near-death, Nate comes across a traveling freak show/carnival. He meets Lily - a “bird-lady” which is simply a girl with wings. Real wings! This development turns the movie into some sort of weird pretentious art house fantasy which is a fatal error. The fact that Megan Fox plays Lily doesn’t help either. She was never much good to begin with and this material is almost impossible to handle by even a true pro. Rourke and Fox have one of the funniest sex scenes ever filmed however. Rourke looks old enough to be Fox’s daddy and the whole “sexy feather stroking” thing is highly amusing for those with a taste for the absurd. While Nate is falling in love with bird girl he is not above trying to figure out a way to make money off her freakish anatomy. Of course, how he expects to get rich when the people who run the carnival she is in have not figured it out yet is one more nonsensical part of the film. Nate’s poorly conceived plan revolves around exhibiting Lily for people to pay to look at and then cutting in mobster Happy for part of the profits to atone for the thing with the wife. Of course, everything goes pear-shaped but before this monstrosity limps to a lame conclusion we have a bunch of very bad dialog and trite symbolism. And the green-screen shots and Fox’s “flying” sequences are awful.

    Rourke’s character is an unappealing sad-sack loser who simply cannot dredge up any viewer sympathy. While Rourke has genuine talent the writing in this film presents an insurmountable obstacle. And his overacting is simply awful. Fox at least has the excuse of not being able to act at all. If this pouty, tear-welling hack job is her attempt at showing she is a serious actress she really needs to beg Michael Bay to take her back. Memo to Fox: its 14.59 on Warhol’s fifteen minute clock for you.


    PASSION PLAY looks quite good in this 1080p/AVC encoded transfer. Colors are stable, black levels strong, and there really are no video issues of note. The detail is excellent - especially on facial features and clothing. As far as audio goes, the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is well done. Not that it makes much difference however - this movie is all about the bad dialog, not action sequences. As far as extras go there is only a trailer.