Something was in the water in spring 2006 that, to the tune of $210 million, convinced viewers that six-packs in slow motion was a landmark cinematic event. I did not care so much for Zack Snyder’s 300 and no amount of post-film appreciation for stars Michael Fassbender and Dominic West has made me want to give it another try. Now Frank Miller’s story (and that confounding action style) continues in 300: Rise of an Empire where
the weird gold dude with the face rings Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro, Karl from Love, Actually) and his ruthless naval commander Artemisia (Eva Green, Dark Shadows) invade Greece, who counter with a force led by general Themistokles (Sullivan Stapleton, Gangster Squad). Word out of civilization major markets is that Green is stellar (when hasn’t she been?) and that the film is surprisingly self-aware. We shall see. I’ll be reviewing this one for next Friday’s Asheville Scene.
The week’s most…well, flat out most offering is Generation War. Originally a three-part, 270 minute German TV miniseries, it’s now being screened in U.S. theaters in two separate installments. The films concern five adolescent German friends in 1941 whose lives are interrupted by WWII. The final product won the top German TV prizes for best miniseries and will soon be seen on BBC2. The Carolina is showing Part One at 12:30 and 6:15 with Part Two at 3:00 and 8:30. No word on whether a 2-for-1 ticket special is being offered, but if I hear anything I’ll post it here. Look for my review in the Living section of Friday’s Citizen-Times.
March is a big month for Ty Burrell. In addition to the 5th season of Modern Family winding down he plays a mustachioed Interpol agent in Muppets Most Wanted on the 21st, but first voices the lead in Mr. Peabody & Sherman. One of the Rocky & Bullwinkle side shows, the world’s smartest dog and his adopted son (Max Charles, a sorta regular Family Guy contributor) get their own movie, a route that didn’t work out so well for their headlining pals. From the ubiquitous trailers, the story appears to concern the titular stars using the WABAC machine to travel through time and fix the boo-boos made by Sherman while trying to impress dinner guest Penny (Ariel Winter, Burrell’s daughter Alex on their ABC sitcom). Director Rob Minkoff was a co-director on The Lion King, but I haven’t seen one of his films since 1999’s Stuart Little. The script comes from Craig Wright, who has some Lost and Six Feet Under episodes on his CV.
Fleeing the Scene
Robocop and In Secret are the only films of note that won’t be around come Friday. Others getting the boot are About Last Night, Pompeii (that was fast…), Ride Along (that was not fast…), and the failed experiment that was the Super-Sized, R-rated version of Anchorman 2.
Newly minted Best Picture winner 12 Years a Slave now comes in a convenient take-home edition, as does Wong Kar-Wai’s solid Ip Man biopic The Grandmaster.
As a big Spike Lee fan and an advocate for the Korean original, I’m looking forward to seeing the English-language remake of Oldboy regardless of how awful people say it is. Cold Comes the Night holds less appeal, though Bryan Cranston playing a criminal with a European accent could be amusing.
Also, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire hits stores on Friday as opposed to Tuesday. Riddle me this, parents: is that so Wal-Mart, Target, and the like can hold special non-school night events to celebrate the occasion?
On Netflix Instant
Many of the titles in March’s deluge of fresh offerings have been around the digital block once or twice, but we’re glad to have (most of) them back. For our convenience, they’ve been sorted into the following helpful categories:
Questionable literary adaptations
Movies that would eventually get remade
Steps, steps, and more steps
Those defying categorization include:
That’s Eva Green? I thought it was the pale chick from “Twilight”, a total turn-off for me. But I salivated over Eva in “Kingdon of Heaven”, so I may just give this comic-book-as-history a go. I did like “300”, historical inaccuracies and all, especially making Xerxes 8 feet tall.