There's plenty of buzz over this weekend's release of 300, with many analysts predicting that it will wind up with the biggest take of the year, despite its R rating. Based on the tale of the ancient battle of Thermopylae, the movie is described as an "unapologetically gory ripsnorter" by Gene Seymour in Newsday and as "the best example yet of the movie-as-comic-book" by Chris Kaltenbach in the Baltimore Sun. Peter Howell of the Toronto Star is but one of many critics who remark that it's a macho man's movie. "It's a total-immersion battle experience for eaters of red meat, worshipers of the male physique and lovers of extreme violence. ... If you wince at the sight of skewered bodies and decapitated skulls, then your money is better spent on a repeat screening of An Inconvenient Truth," he writes. Or consider this description from Amy Biancolli in the Houston Chronicle: "Prepare for a film that decapitates with conviction, splatters with glee, poses like a fitness mag, emotes like an opera, intones like a sportscaster and plays out like Homer in the age of comic books. It is to conventional cinema what graphic novels are to prose: mannered, trenchant and chesty." Clearly that kind of movie is not every reviewer's cup of tea. A.O. Scott in the New York Times writes it is "as violent as Apocalypto and twice as stupid." And Kenneth Turan warns in the Los Angeles Times: "Unless you love violence as much as a Spartan, Quentin Tarantino or a video-game-playing teenage boy, you will not be endlessly fascinated."
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