Life-changing moments feature in each of the nine short films in this Australian anthology, and each is told with remarkable artistry and sensitivity. While the filmmakers use different styles of filmmaking, there's a clever connection between the shorts, as themes of inner longing are made resonant by earthy honesty. So even if each brief segment film feels like just a fragment of an idea, taken together the film is remarkably moving.
It opens and closes with the animated "Ash Wednesday", using the T.S. Elliot poem to explore the idea of communal memory. From here a variety of mini-stories unfurl, often using the same character names even though the films are dramas, comedies or documentaries, and many have no dialogue at all. The lighter clips include "Reunion", in which a couple (Cate Blanchett and Richard Roxburgh) are surprised that spending Christmas with his mum isn't as awful as expected. "Cockleshell" follows a young guy (Toby Wallace) who's obsessed with the girl (Brenna Harding) next door. And both "Big World" and "Boner McPharlin's Moll" take lively kaleidoscopic looks at how reality is often nothing like our idea of how things should be.
Other segments are dark and provocative, including "Aquifer", about a man (Callan Mulvey) who is pushed by a news headline to recall a painful childhood memory. Two young boys (Jakory and Jarli-Russell Blanco) have a creepy adventure while on a beach day out with their dad and uncles in "Sand". The most moving film is "Commission", in which a young man (Josh McConville) drives to the outback to tell his estranged dad (Hugo Weaving) that his mother is dying. The best performance comes from Rose Byrne in the eponymous "The Turning", as a trailer-trash wife and mother whose friendship with a rich woman (Miranda Otto) sparks a religious epiphany. And the most unforgettable short is "Long, Clear View", impressively directed by Mia Wasikowska, which follows a young boy (Matthew Shanley) playing with his dad's rifle.
Continue reading: The Turning 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.
Continue reading: 300: Rise Of An Empire Review
When Leonidas and his valiant army of 300 Spartans were wiped out by the vast forces led by Persian God King Xerxes, the rest of Greece now feel that their country has gained honour following their tragic loss. However, their battle is not over yet as Persia is rapidly sailing in for another invasion. Rival cities Sparta and Athens are forced to set aside their bitterness towards each other if they have any hope of victory - though with Xerxes on their tail with immortal power, their lives teeter on the edge. Nonetheless, the Greeks remained filled with a fierce determination following Leonidas' heroism and so Themistocles of Athens leads his naval fleet to war while Sparta's army prepares for another fight. How can they survive against a seemingly impervious God King and his female ally, the just as ruthless, sword-wielding Artemisia? Outnumbered and overpowered once again, there is still hope.
Continue: 300: Rise Of An Empire - Clips
Following Leonidas' honourable though inevitable death alongside his Spartan army of 300 at the hands of Persian God King Xerxes, the rest of Greece cannot help but feel a certain pride at the valiant effort. Now, with Persia quickly threatening invasion, rival cities Sparta and Athens must throw aside their differences and rally together to defeat their forces - but with an all-powerful king like Xerxes, their chances of survival look minimal. Nonetheless, filled with a newfound determination after Leonidas' heroic venture, Athens' naval fleet led by the admiral Themistocles set out to bring Persia down, as Sparta's army prepares another brave attack. They may be outnumbered yet again, but hope is the last thing Greece is going to give up.
Lena Headey discusses her role in '300: Rise of an Empire' and it seems there is a distinct female presence in the sequel to '300'.
300: Rise of an Empire promises to have a stronger female on-screen presence, which isn't exactly a difficult feat considering 300, released in 2007, was nothing but wash-board abs and a host of handsome men.
Lena Headey at Elle's Women in Hollywood event, held at the Four Seasons Hotel in L.A.
The sequel's list of equally butch men includes Jack O'Connell (Skins); Sullivan Stapleton (Gangster Squad); Hans Matheson (Sherlock Holmes) and Callan Mulvey (Zero Dark Thirty). David Wenham, Andrew Tiernan and Rodrigo Santora are reprising their roles from 300.
After a valiant but ultimately unsuccessful attack by Leonidas' army of 300 Spartan men on Persia's much larger army led by the 'God-King' Xerxes, the rest of the Greeks are at war with Persia determined to end their invasion and bring down their so-called God once and for all. Athens and their strong naval fleet, led by the admiral Themistocles, are forced to team up with Sparta, their civil rivals, and their formidable army though the Greeks are still ultimately outnumbered on a massive scale by Persia. However, with a determination instilled by a national pride in the sacrifice of Leonidas and his men, the Greeks enter in their new battle gladly and with a significantly reduced fear of their enemy.
'300: Rise Of An Empire' is the gritty, action-fuelled follow-up to 2007's '300' directed by Zack Snyder ('Dawn of the Dead', 'Watchmen', 'Man of Steel'). This sequel has been adapted from the graphic novel 'Xerxes' by Frank Miller and directed by Noam Murro ('Smart People'), though Snyder does make his return alongside Kurt Johnstad ('Act of Valor') on the screenwriting credits. With a multi-award winning epic to beat, 'Rise Of An Empire' looks to be a thrilling addition to this war saga and it is set to hit screens in the US on March 7th 2014.
Sam Neill and David Wenham - Sam Neill, David Wenham, Hollywood, California - Los Angeles Premiere of Legend of the Guardians The Owls of Ga'Hoole held at the Grauman's Chinese Theatre Sunday 19th September 2010
The Guardians of Ga'Hoole are sworn to protect the innocent from trouble and vanquish evil. Soren is a young owl who's grown up listening to his father tell the stories of The Gaurdians. His dream is to one day join his heroes and be a part of that noble life he's learnt so much about.
At 165 minutes, Australia is ambitious to a point -- and then, to a fault. You can actually point to two movies jockeying for position on screen (well, one full story and the seeds of another). And while I quite liked the primary story, the third-act coda struck me as fodder for a potential sequel I wasn't prepared to sit through at the time.
Continue reading: Australia Review
The plot doesn't matter (and even Crocodile Dundee took care of that). Irwin is the real show here - everything else just distracts from him. The movie is just another episode of his popular television series. While in the Outback, he gets up close and personal with spiders, lizards, crocodiles, and snakes. Speaking directly to the camera, he gives us a fairly useful education about these different animals while Terri provides additional commentary (think commercial spokesperson). It's all very interesting stuff and Irwin's humor and quick wit is enough to keep the lessons entertaining and the action scenes believable.
Continue reading: The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course Review
The epitome of everything that's wrong with $150 million B-movies, "Van Helsing" is an inane, soulless, 19th century vampire-hunting action flick of computer-F/X overkill and ham-fisted actors chewing on stale catch-phrase dialogue (when dialogue is even allowed) as if it's a mouthful of bubblegum with the flavor long gone.
Despite being inspired (if you can even call it that) by a character in "Dracula" and lifting a slew of monsters from other classic horror tales too, the picture has little story to speak of -- just a few minutes about Bram Stoker's bloodsucking Count using the electrifying re-animation technique of Mary Shelley's Dr. Frankenstein to zap life into thousands of his gestating offspring that hang in slimy pods all over his castle lair.
So since writer-director Stephen Sommers (who clearly blew all his talent on "The Mummy" -- as anyone who's seen "The Mummy Returns" can attest) couldn't be bothered with anything more than Cliffs-Notes plot and character development, I'm going to respond in kind -- not bothering with a structured review and instead simply listing examples of the twaddle and tripe that pass for script and storytelling in this laughable example of Hollywood's numbing, style-without-substance approach to summer movies.
Continue reading: Van Helsing Review
Bruce Springsteen will release rare tracks from 1966 in new album 'Chapter and Verse', which will accompany his autobiography 'Born To Run'.
Life-changing moments feature in each of the nine short films in this Australian anthology, and...
Fans of the 2007 Spartan war romp 300 probably won't care that this spin-off is...
When Leonidas and his valiant army of 300 Spartans were wiped out by the vast...
Following Leonidas' honourable though inevitable death alongside his Spartan army of 300 at the hands...
After a valiant but ultimately unsuccessful attack by Leonidas' army of 300 Spartan men on...
For his feature-directing debut, Jim Loach (son of Ken) tackles a big story with topical...
Oranges And Sunshine tells the story of Oranges And Sunshine Margaret Humphreys, a woman who...
Spectacular animation and a terrific voice cast go a long way to making this soaring...
The Guardians of Ga'Hoole are sworn to protect the innocent from trouble and vanquish evil....