Bernie Goldmann

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300: Rise of an Empire Review


Fans of the 2007 Spartan war romp 300 probably won't care that this spin-off is even more chaotic and much murkier to look at. It still features armies of scantily clad muscle men grunting idiotic declamatory dialogue as they charge into cartoon-style battles against all odds. No, this isn't particularly subtle filmmaking: it's loud and brutal. And good for an unintentional laugh.

At the same time as Spartan King Leonidas (a briefly glimpsed Gerard Butler) is leading his 300 men to battle against Xerses (Santoro), Greek General Themistocles (Stapleton) approaches Leonidas' wife Gorgo (Headey) for help facing Xerses vengeful military commander Artemisia (Green) on another front at sea. Themistocles' main officers are Aesyklos (Matheson) and Scyllias (Mulvey), whose son Calisto (O'Connell) secretly joins the army as they set sail for an epic ship-based battle against Artemisia's fearsome forces. And there are two more watery conflicts to come, each more outrageous than the one before, as Artemisia taunts Themistocles seductively while dispensing fiery death and destruction at every turn.

The addition of two strong women adds a bit of interest here, but the focus is still on the bare-chested men, even if only three or for of them actually emerge into proper characters. Headey's chief contribution is a rambling voiceover narration explaining everything for us, while Green's wry smirk and momentous glower let her steal every scene. By contrast, the men seem rather feeble. Stapleton is manly and commanding, but not hugely charismatic. Rising-star O'Connell barely gets two decent scenes. Santoro is hilariously grouchy eye candy. And everyone else is clearly expendable.

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Premiere Of Warner Bros. Pictures And Legendary Pictures' "300: Rise Of An Empire" - Red Carpet

Guests and Bernie Goldmann - Celebrities attend premiere of Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures' "300: Rise Of An Empire" at TCL Chinese Theatre. - Los Angeles, California, United States - Tuesday 4th March 2014

Guests and Bernie Goldmann

Mirror Mirror Review

Both lavishly produced and light-hearted in tone, this fractured fairy tale aspires to be The Princess Bride, and actually gets it right from time to time.

While it's too uneven and corny to be a classic, it's still a lot of fun.

After the King disappears, his daughter Snow White (Collins) is raised by her conniving step-mother (Roberts), who plots with her right-hand man (Lane) to steal the kingdom from Snow. Then handsome Prince Alcott (Hammer) arrives and shakes things up, immediately falling for Snow, which sends the queen into even crazier fits of jealousy. She sends Snow into the woods to be eaten by a mythical beast, but Snow instead befriends a gang of dwarf bandits (Povinelli, Klebba, Saraceno, Prentice, Gnoffo and Woodburn), who teach her how to fight back.

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Land of the Dead Review

George Romero inhabits a peculiar realm in American cinema. He is both a political provocateur, championing the cause of the common man, and the king of zombie gore, the lowbrow art of human disembowelment, decapitation, and so on.

Land of the Dead is Romero's fourth zombie picture, a sequel of sorts to his last "...of the Dead" picture, Day of the Dead. It all began, of course, with the infamous '60s shocker Night of the Living Dead - now a denizen of the public domain and released by every fly-by-night DVD company around - which combined social commentary and, at the time, shocking gore. It was a combo that inspired a whole genre, the zombie-athon, and countless imitators, very few of which are as inspired as any of Romero's. (The engaging and referential Shaun of the Dead comes closest.)

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Raw Heat Review

Somewhere between Remington Steele and James Bond, Pierce Brosnan had a little lull in his career... that is, if you can call eight years a lull. Made in the dead center of that lost decade, Brosnan turns in a lifeless, blood-drained performance in Raw Heat, a tepid psychological thriller that feels borrowed from such films as Fatal Attraction, Basic Instinct, and Color of Night -- the worst parts of each.

Stop me if you've heard this one before: Female psychiatrist (JoBeth Williams) finds herself falling for a tall, dark stranger (Brosnan), only one of her crazy patients (Virginia Madsen) claims that stranger is actually a madman! Do you believe the rich, sexy widower or the nutcase who keeps showing up when fires are started and blood is thrown all over your kitchen.

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Bernie Goldmann

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