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300: Rise of an Empire Review


Weak

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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300: Rise of an Empire Hollywood Premiere

Mark Canton and Gianni Nunnari - 300: Rise of an Empire Hollywood Premiere at TCL Chinese Theatre - Hollywood, California, United States - Wednesday 5th March 2014

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

Gianni Nunnari and Mark Canton - 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

Gianni Nunnari and Mark Canton
Gianni Nunnari, Noam Murro and Mark Canton

Immortals Review


Weak
Like 300 on acid, this outrageously violent Greek mythology epic bludgeons us into submission as we become increasingly frustrated by the flaky plot, thin characters and incoherent craziness. But it's so amazingly designed that we can't look away.

Theseus (Cavill) is a peasant being groomed for greatness by the god Zeus (Evans, or Hurt in human guise). And Greece needs him, because the mad King Hyperion (Rourke) is on the rampage looking for the all-powerful Epirus Bow so he can release the imprisoned titans and kill the gods. But Theseus will need the help of virginal seer Phaedra (Pinto) and slave sidekick Stavros (Dorff), because the gods are forbidden from intervening.

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'Immortals 3D' Los Angeles premiere at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live

Gianni Nunnari and Mark Canton - Gianni Nunnari and Mark Canton Los Angeles, California - 'Immortals 3D' Los Angeles premiere at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live Monday 7th November 2011

Everybody's Fine Review


Weak
Cloying sentimentality threatens to overwhelm this quiet character study about a widower trying to reconnect with his children. Despite the solid acting and wrenching drama, this over-slick film never connects emotionally.

Frank Goode (DeNiro) is rattling around his empty house after his wife dies.

His kids are all grown and out on their own, and none of them can be bothered to keep in touch. When they all cancel coming to a family dinner, Frank decides to pay them surprise visits, taking a road trip to see artist David (Lysy) in New York, ad exec Amy (Beckinsale) in Chicago, musician Robert (Rockwell) in Denver and dancer Rosie (Barrymore) in Las Vegas. But none of their lives are quite what he's been led to expect.

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From Dusk Till Dawn Review


OK
If you have the faintest idea what this movie is all about, I'd appreciate a call. As best I can tell, the lowdown is this: guns, hostages, a Winnebago, Mexico, breasts, booze, vampires, and gore...lots and lots of gore.

"Not for all tastes" is an extreme understatement, as From Dusk Till Dawn is the most obscenely violent and distasteful film to come along in years. Basically an Evil Dead set in Mexico, this Quentin Tarantino-Robert Rodriguez collaboration tells the sketchy story of the Gecko brothers (Tarantino and George Clooney, taking a rest from ER to cut up people in another medium), a couple of fugitives on the run to the border. On the way, they pick up a family as hostages: lapsed preacher Jacob Fuller (Harvey Keitel), daughter Kate (Juliette Lewis), and son Scott (Ernest Liu). In the Fuller's RV, they make it to a Mexican strip bar, only to discover it's run by vampires. (Thankfully, it makes a great place for an old-fashioned bloodletting.) Plot is clearly incidental to the film.

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