"Constantine" Premier

Maybe they were saving themselves for the upcoming Academy Awards, but it seemed as though Hollywood didn't want to come out and play last Wednesday night.

On offer was the red carpet premiere of "Constantine," the newest big-budget flick from Warner Bros., which sees Keanu Reeves do battle with both heaven and hell.

Adapted from the DC Comics series "Hellblazer," the movie is a supernatural thriller steered by director Francis Lawrence in his feature directorial debut.

English-born Rachel Weisz ("The Mummy," "About A Boy") plays a police detective who needs Reeves' help and Tilda Swinton ("The Beach," "Vanilla Sky") is delightfully ethereal as the angel Gabriel.

The result is a well cast, well directed, well written movie with eye- popping special effects that threaten to steal the show.

But Reeves' character and performance help ensure the film is not simply a celebration of impressive visuals. Appearing in almost every scene, his portrayal of a reluctant exorcist out of favor with God is engaging and convincing.

At Wednesday night's premiere at Grauman's Chinese Theatre, Reeves was joined by the extended cast of "Constantine," including Gavin Rossdale, Djimon Hounsou, Shia LeBeouf and Max Baker. But it was Reeves who satisfied the fans who waited three deep behind the barriers outside the theatre in the drizzling rain.

As Reeves posed for pictures and signed autographs he must have been aware he was the only A-lister in attendance with the exception of Gwen Stefani, who arrived displaying her usual sense of impeccable style despite the uninspiring weather.

Weisz did not attend and if any other noteworthy Hollywood stars were invited, they did not show.

After the screening, guests partied at the stylish Geisha House restaurant on Cherokee and Hollywood, where the music was loud, the bar served sushi to order and attendees were given the opportunity to exorcise a few demons of their own as they played the video game version of the film. Stefani posed for photos with the cast and director, but if Reeves was there, he kept well hidden.

Constantine is rated R and is now playing in cinemas across Los Angeles.