“Remember Us.” That was part of a quote uttered by David Wenham’s Dilios in Zack Snyder’s 2006 blockbuster film, ‘300.’ It was about paying tribute to the men who died in the battle against Xerses and the Persian Empire before he himself would continue the fight a year later.
With the main cast all but dead in the original, how does one make a follow-up? Given eight years to think, the producers have come up with ‘300: Rise of an Empire,’ where stories of the past and present are mixed in to coincide with the timeline of the original. Where the first ‘300’ was visually stunning, hypnotic, bloody, and yet enjoyable, this new take is only half of that; mainly brought on by the bravado performance of Eva Green.
As Snyder is back as a producer and co-writer, having given the directing duties to director Noam Murro (Smart People). Most of the cast from the original are gone, except for Queen Gorgo (Lena Headey), Delios (David Wenham), Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro).
Adapted from Frank Miller’s graphic novel ‘Xerxes,’ this new take follows the story of Athenian general Themistokles (Sullivan Stapleton from the British TV series Strike Back), who’s responsible for the course of the war between the Greeks and the Persians. As a politician and soldier, he commands a great deal of power and his words carry a lot of weight when convincing others to fight the good fight. While he doesn’t utter the words “This is Sparta” to enlist an army, his showmanship on the battle fields is met with adoration.
When Queen Gorgo refused to aid Themistokles in uniting the Greeks after no one came to aid her fallen husband Leonidas, Themistokles has to take the battle to the sea where he believes his a tactical advantage. His early victories forces Xerxes to send out Artemisia (Eva Green), the vengeful commander of the Persian navy.
Eluding death after each battle seems to bring out mutual respect between Themistokles and Artemisia, but in the end, each knows that one has to fall for the other to move on.
A lot has changed since the original came out and one would think that the addition of 3D would enhance the visuals for this film but it really doesn’t. Except for a few scenes involving Xerxes, the film is more about how much blood and gore can be spilled and be talked about than the story itself of Athens and the Greeks fighting to preserve democracy. Gone is the charisma that was displayed by Gerard Butler’s Leonidas and his men. In Stapleton’s Themistokles, we see a man hellbent on winning the war without having any time to relax.
While Stapleton and the other newcomers (Callan Mulvey, Jack O’Connell) do their best sword fighting over and over, the film is saved multiple times from boredom by the presence of Eva Green. As Artemisia, she is the heart and soul of the film. From her bloodthirsty revenge to her combat skills, Green steals every scene without going over the top. In particular battle sequence, the costume, designed by Alexandra Byrne, is just a showstopper.
Other aspects of the film that works are the flashbacks of some of the characters. The films needed to show substance to go along with the slow motion fight sequences and bare-chested nameless actors.
In the end, ‘Rise of an Empire’ holds up on the strength of Green. Fanboys of the original will be eat this up and hope, if this film is financially successful, that producers can come up with a way to make a film where Artemisia and Leonidas met in the past.
March 7, 2014
Set for theaters in the U.K. on April 11th, a new trailer for Biyi Bandele’s Half Of A Yellow Sun has been posted online.
Based on author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie‘s Orange Prize-winning novel of the same name, the film stars Thandie Newton, John Boyega, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Anika Noni Rose, Joseph Mawle and Genevieve Nnaji.
The film weaves together the lives of four people swept up in the turbulence of war. Olanna (Newton) and Kainene (Rose) are glamorous twins from a wealthy Nigerian family. Returning to a privileged city life in newly independent 1960s Nigeria after their expensive English education, the two women make very different choices. Olanna shocks her family by going to live with her lover, the “revolutionary professor” Odenigbo (Ejiofor) and his devoted houseboy Ugwu (Boyega) in the dusty university town of Nsukka; Kainene turns out to be a fiercely successful businesswoman when she takes over the family interests, and surprises herself when she falls in love with Richard (Mawle) an English writer. Preoccupied by their romantic entanglements, and a betrayal between the sisters, the events of their life loom larger than politics. However, they become caught up in the events of the Nigerian civil war, in which the lgbo people fought an impassioned struggle to establish Biafra an independent republic, ending in chilling violence which shocked the entire country and the world.
March 7, 2014
Through Kellogg’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Web-Slinging Game, three new clips from The Amazing Spider-Man 2 have been released online. Narrating each clip is Spider-Man co-creator Stan Lee.
Directed by Marc Webb, the sequel stars Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx, Dane DeHaan, Campbell Scott, Embeth Davidtz, Colm Feore, Paul Giamatti, Sally Field and B.J. Novak.
We’ve always known that Spider-Man’s most important battle has been within himself: the struggle between the ordinary obligations of Peter Parker and the extraordinary responsibilities of Spider-Man. But in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Peter Parker finds that a greater conflict lies ahead.
It’s great to be Spider-Man (Andrew Garfield). For Peter Parker, there’s no feeling quite like swinging between skyscrapers, embracing being the hero, and spending time with Gwen (Emma Stone). But being Spider-Man comes at a price: only Spider-Man can protect his fellow New Yorkers from the formidable villains that threaten the city. With the emergence of Electro (Jamie Foxx), Peter must confront a foe far more powerful than he. And as his old friend, Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan), returns, Peter comes to realize that all of his enemies have one thing in common: OsCorp.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 hits theaters on May 2, 2014.
March 6, 2014
Deadline is reporting that Idris Elba is in the final stages to “perform the role and provide the voice of the killer tiger Shere Khan in Disney’s live-action take on The Jungle Book.”
Directed by Jon Favreau, the film is a mix of live action and VFX that is being overseen by Rob Legato.
The site states that “Disney is moving very quickly as it is in a race with Warner Bros on versions of Rudyard Kipling’s public domain title. The rival project is still looking for a director after Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu dropped from the project.”
According to wiki, “In Disney’s 1967 animated adaptation of The Jungle Book, Shere Khan enters the story about two-thirds of the way through the film. His voice was performed by George Sanders, while his singing voice was provided by Thurl Ravenscroft. He was designed and animated by animator Milt Kahl. The inhabitants of the jungle fear him. His presence in the jungle compels the wolf pack to send Mowgli away, since Shere Khan will kill him because he is human. Man’s gun and Man’s fire are the only things Khan fears.”
Elba was last seen in Elba as late South African leader Nelson Mandela in Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom and Thor: The Dark World. He will next be seen opposite Taraji P. Henson in No Good Deed.
March 6, 2014
With a return to the spotlight with roles in Blue Caprice, Go For Sisters, the upcoming Blackbird, and The CW series, The 100, “Original Grey’s Anatomy cast member Isaiah Washington will be making a return to the veteran ABC medical drama seven years after his controversial exit,” states Deadline.
Washington will reprise his role as Dr. Preston Burke when he appears in a May episode that will mark the departure of fellow original Grey‘s co-star Sandra Oh, who played his former love interest Dr. Cristina Yang.
He left at the end of the third season (2007) when Burke called off his nuptials with Yang on the day of their wedding.
“It’s important to me that Cristina’s journey unfolds exactly as it should. Burke is vital to that journey. He gives her story that full-circle moment we need to properly say goodbye to our beloved Cristina Yang,” Grey’s creator/executive producer Shonda Rhimes said.
His departure from the series stemmed from the controversy he faced when accused of using homophobic slur in reference to gay co-star T.R. Knight in October 2006 and flamed the controversy with ill-advised comments about the incident at the Golden Globes.
Since he left the show, Washington had a role in the short-lived NBC series ‘Bionic Woman,’ starred opposite Forest Whitaker in ‘Hurricane Season,’ and had episodic roles in ‘Law & Order: LA ‘and VH1′s ‘Single Ladies.’
Here’s some scenes involving Preston and Christina
March 6, 2014
Source: Shadow and Act
Two clips from screenwriter and Academy Award winner John Ridley‘s directorial debut “Jimi: All Is By My Side,” the Jimi Hendrix biopic starring Andre 3000, has been posted online.
Set to hit theaters in May, the film will also make its U.S. premiere at SXSW, which will run from March 11-16.
Distributed by Open Road Films and XLrator Media, OutKast’s André Benjamin stars as Jimi Hendrix in this revealing biopic. Covering a year in Hendrix’s life from 1966-67 as an unknown backup guitarist playing New York’s Cheetah Club to making his mark in London’s music scene up until his Monterey Pop triumph, the film presents an intimate portrait of the sensitive young musician on the verge of becoming a rock legend. “Jimi: All Is By My Side” also features a stand out supporting cast including Hayley Atwell, Imogen Poots, and Ruth Negga.
First shown at the 2013 Toronto Film Festival, “Jimi: All Is By My Side” is produced by Darko Entertainment’s Sean McKittrick (“Bad Words”), Jeff Culotta, and Danny Bramson, Freeman Films’ Brandon Freeman and Anthony Burns, Subotica’s Tristen Orpen Lynch, and Nigel Thomas of Matador Pictures, with Darko’s Edward H. Hamm, Jr., and John Ridley as executive producers.
Ridley won an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for his work on Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave, which also won the Oscar for Best Picture.
March 6, 2014
Coming out this week is ’300: Rise of an Empire,’ the sequel to Zack Snyder’s ’300.’
Based on Frank Miller’s latest graphic novel “Xerxes” and told in the breathtaking visual style of the blockbuster “300,” this new chapter of the epic saga takes the action to a fresh battlefield—on the sea—as Greek general Themistokles (Sullivan Stapleton) attempts to unite all of Greece by leading the charge that will change the course of the war. “300: Rise of an Empire” pits Themistokles against the massive invading Persian forces led by mortal-turned-god Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro), and Artemesia (Eva Green), vengeful commander of the Persia.
For Zack Synder, it’s a return to the film that gave him his big hit after directing ‘Dawn of the Dead.’ As the writer and director of ’300,’ the film took in over $450M worldwide and led him bigger projects such as ‘Watchmen’ and ‘Man of Steel.’
At a recent press conference in Los Angeles where cast members Lena Headey, Eva Green, Jack O’Connell, Callan Mulvey, director Noam Murro, and producer Deborah Snyder also attended, Zack Snyder talked about working with Noam on this film, where he’s serving as the co-writer and producer.
Zack, what was it about Noam’s directorial background that drew you to him as your successor?
Zack Snyder: When Noam came to us to talk about the idea of making the movie.., because we had the script, and we knew that I was going to go do ‘Man of Steel’ and there was, no way, honestly, I was going to be able to do anything. It was a big decision to say “Oh, well maybe we should get another director to direct the movie”. So, we started to talk about directors, and Debbie (Snyder) had worked with Noam on a TV commercial back in Toronto, and we talked. She had been a big fan of Noam’s, and still is of course, and now in this new incarnation. That originally initiated the idea that we might work with him, and then he came and told us a little about what he wanted to do with the movie… Frankly, it was a lot of the things that I had said to these guys all those years ago when I was pitching the original movie. What I felt was symmetry in the full circle aspect of it. Then he did this cool presentation, and then we felt like he had the, sort of, vocabulary to make something cool, and he has. That’s how we sort of came to it.
How do you keep this story exciting without using the robotics and sophisticated weaponry? When you’re talking about a period like this, and it’s a big action movie, and we’re so used to seeing robotics and big action?
Zack Snyder: I mean, truthfully, there’re robots in the movie. I’m kidding. Kurt (Johnstad) and I, and he can speak for this too, when we were working out 300 originally, it was a thing that we just thought was cool. Clearly there is cool action, and stories to be told that don’t take place necessarily in a sci-fi environment, or an environment that need. We have a great tradition of historical films that make for good drama and action. We have an amazing fight choreographer, and stunt coordinator, Damon Caro. One of his favorite languages is swords and soldiers, and may be better than… well perhaps I won’t say that (laughs). I think when Kurt and I talk about it, these are things that we find cool. So, by the time Noam gets it I hope the spirit is infused with the energy anyway, that might help this to be interesting visually.
There are a lot of family relationships in the film; not only between father and son, but everyone else. They had their motivations on things that had happened to their families, and defending family. Can you talk about the element of defending and protecting your family, and having the honor with the defense type of thing that runs throughout the course of the film?
Zack Snyder: I think what Kurt and I were talking about when we originally started talking about how we would incorporate the different characters, and make them do what they were going to do in the movie. I think it’s always like “Oh, the dad, or the kid, the wife, the mother.. “, those are strong things that we always talk about. For us, it’s just sort of talking about the origins of the story; that these guys go into battle for their families, or their children. I think it’s easy stuff to win. It made its way into the story pretty easily.
What more can you say about the film?
Zack Snyder: I guess, well, look, we have an amazing cast and you can see that they’re funny and smart and physical and amazing actors. We have an awesome director who made I think a picture that, it is true that when we made 300, in truth, a lot of the movie was also created with economic restrictions. We had this idea of the style of the movie we wanted to make, and we knew it was a boutique-y movie; we thought it was a movie for kind of a small audience that would be into this kind of crazy, comic-booky sword and sandals movie. It was kind of a genre that didn’t exist – you know, there are sword and sandals movies and comic book movies, but there wasn’t the rules of mashing those things up wasn’t really [around]. And Frank had done it in the comic book, and to me when I read the comic book, it was oh, this is an amazing comic book, I remembered, and I the cool thing about what these guys have done and the movie has done is that it took that language without a comic book, because Frank hasn’t finished it, but sort of with Frank’s inspiration flowing across, frankly, her and I first and then Noam and now these guys, that what he did in that book is kind of echoed across in the movie. And I think that’s what he did, because I was not 100 percent sure when we first – when we finished 300, it’s like, well, they all died, I guess that’s it. We didn’t really think there could be another movie. But I think when Frank came and said this other thing happened on the same three days as Thermopylae, we were like, what? That’s cool. And actually it’s really fun for me to see these two movies kind of exist now next to each other. We were talking about how, oh, you could cut them together, actually, if you were ambitious – and maybe some fans will do that. But it’s really satisfying for me because in a way it’s come full circle for me.
March 6, 2014
Dimension Films (The Weinstein Company) has released the first trailer to Frank Miller’s ‘Sin City: A Dame To Kill For,’ the follow up to Robert Rodriguez and Miller’s 2005 film, ‘Frank Miller’s Sin City.’
The film stars Josh Brolin, Eva Green, Mickey Rourke, Jessica Alba, Bruce Willis, Rosario Dawson, Jaime King, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Dennis Haysbert, Christopher Meloni, Jeremy Piven, Ray Liotta, Juno Temple, Stacy Keach, and Julia Garner.
Co-directors Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller reunite to bring Miller’s visually stunning “Sin City” graphic novels back to the screen in “Sin City: A Day to Kill For.” Weaving together two of Miller’s classic stories with new tales, the town’s most hard boiled citizens cross paths with some of its more notorious inhabitants. Josh Brolin as the physically-altered Dwight (played by Clive Owen in the first film), who is hunted down by the only woman he ever loved, Ava Lord (Eva Green), and then watches his life go straight to hell.
Sin City: A Dame to Kill For opens on August 22nd.
March 6, 2014
Marvel Studios have released a 4 minute clip for their upcoming Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which opens internationally on March 26 and in North America on April 4
Opening internationally starting on March 26 and in North America on April 4, the sequel stars Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Redford, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Cobie Smulders, Frank Grillo, Georges St-Pierre, Hayley Atwell, Toby Jones, Emily VanCamp and Maximiliano Hernández.
After the cataclysmic events in New York with The Avengers, Marvel’s “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” finds Steve Rogers, aka Captain America, living quietly in Washington, D.C. and trying to adjust to the modern world. But when a S.H.I.E.L.D. colleague comes under attack, Steve becomes embroiled in a web of intrigue that threatens to put the world at risk. Joining forces with the Black Widow, Captain America struggles to expose the ever-widening conspiracy while fighting off professional assassins sent to silence him at every turn. When the full scope of the villainous plot is revealed, Captain America and the Black Widow enlist the help of a new ally, the Falcon. However, they soon find themselves up against an unexpected and formidable enemy—the Winter Soldier.
4 minute preview
Black Widow featurette
300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE
In theaters March 7
Blackfilm.com presents 300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE “300 Minute” Giveaways
“300: Rise of an Empire,” told in the breathtaking visual style of the blockbuster “300,” is a new chapter of the epic saga, which takes the action to a new battlefield—the sea.
The story pits the Greek general Themistokles against the massive invading Persian forces, ruled by the mortal-turned-god Xerxes, and led by Artemisia, the vengeful commander of the Persian navy.
Knowing his only hope of defeating the overwhelming Persian armada will be to unite all of Greece, Themistokles ultimately leads the charge that will change the course of the war.
Enter for a chance to win thematic promotional items or movie passes from the upcoming film 300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE “300 Minute” by entering the blackfilm.com daily giveaways. Enter by tweeting @blackfilm #300Minute or send an email at email@example.com with 300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE “300 Minute” in the subject line. Winners will be notified via email.
(1) daily prizes beginning on Monday, March 3:
3/3 – 1 300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE One Sheet
3/4 – 1 300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE Black Flat Bill Hat
3/5 – 1 300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE Spartan Helmet Bottle Opener
3/6 – 1 300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE T-Shirt
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***Hollywood Movie Money is a free admission voucher to see a predetermined film (300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE) redeemable nationwide starting 03/07/14 through 04/03/14 in any theater excluding AMC Theaters.