if an underworld prequel fell in the woods and didn't have kate beckinsale in it, would it make any noise? (denver premieres 1/23/09)

Zen master Rhona Mitra shows us what the star of a one-note action-horror franchise begging off a pointless third movie looks like. Oh, and the sound of one hand clapping thing. That too.

This weekend's releases are mystifying; truly, deeply mystifying, and their appearance in theatres this Friday has puzzled us so here at the Projection Booth that we've no choice but to seek out one of the great books of antiquity, the I Ching (at least, it's online version), in order to understand the penetrating mystery of this weekend's premieres:

"Oh I Ching, should our readers be bothered to see Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, which is supposed to be a sort of prequel to the first two Underworld movies, even with no MILFy Kate Beckinsale hotness in it, which I thought was basically the point of all that anyway?"

I Ching: Advantage will be found in the southwest, and the contrary in the northeast. It will be advantageous to meet with the great man. With firmness and correctness, there will be good fortune.

"I Ching, what bet do you think Brendan Fraser lost that he has to keep making these green-screen heavy action pics, and do you have any notion as to whether this new one, Inkheart, which is apparently based on a kid's fantasy book, will be better than the 3-D remake of Journey to the Center of the Earth?"

I Ching: It is required that the culprit's guilt be exhibited in the royal court, along with a sincere and earnest appeal for sympathy and support, with consciousness of the peril involved in cutting off the criminal. He should also make announcement in his own city, and show that it will not be well to have recourse at once to arms. In this way there will be advantage in whatever he shall go forward to.

"Oh I Ching, I've seen the trailer for Azur and Asmar, opening this weekend at Starz, like twice now. Pike Bishop says it looks like King's Quest IV, and I can't understand all the accolades it's getting for the visual style either. What say you, I Ching?"

I Ching: It will be advantageous to be firm and correct.

Well, I know I'm clear on this weekend's premieres - how about you?

Also opening this week at Starz is Stranded: I've Come From a Plane That Crashed on the Mountains, about a Uruguayan rugby team whose plane - ah, well, crashed on the mountains, the Andes Mountains to be precise, and the survivors of the accident who were forced to eat the ones who didn't make it in order to pull through. Sure to spur those "What would you do?"-type convos in the lobby on the way out, but for me, the real question is this: did they get to have sex with any of the bodies before chowing down?

Remember to stop by next week, when we'll be using the ancient calendar of the lost Mayan empire to help us understand Renee Zellweger's New in Town!

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