With its grindingly low-key tension and unusual perspectives, this Western has a chance to revamp the genre in intriguing ways. The first-rate cast adds plenty of depth to the usual roles, including a strong female point-of-view from Natalie Portman, who also produced the film. But some rather simplistic thematic touches undermine the originality, and the film never quite cracks through the surface to become something meaningful.
It's set in 1871 New Mexico, where Jane (Portman) lives on a hidden ranch with her outlaw husband Bill (Noah Emmerich) and their young daughter. But Bill's been badly injured, and the notorious scoundrel Bishop (Ewan McGregor) has vowed to track him down. For help Jane turns to her ex-fiance Dan (Joel Edgerton), an angry gunslinger who has never got over being abandoned by Jane all those years ago. He agrees to help her, and of course Bill isn't too happy about this, but he's too injured to protest. And Jane is so fiercely independent that she refuses to let her history with these two men define her future.
The premise is packed with all kinds of intriguing layers, but the script continually over-explains everything with a series of flashbacks to Jane's earlier encounters with Dan, Bishop, Bishop's hotheaded brother (Boyd Holbrook) and a particularly brutal desperado (Rodrigo Santoro). Not one of these people has even a hint of morality about them, which gives the actors a chance to inject a lot of complex texture into their performances. These are tough-minded men who never stop to think about the rule of law. And Portman's Jane is steelier than all of them, a woman who makes her own hard decisions in a place that doesn't let anyone off easily. Portman is terrific in the role, even if director Gavin O'Connor (Warrior) undermines her with his rather straightforward approach. Even so, her scenes with Edgerton and McGregor crackle with subtext.
Continue reading: Jane Got A Gun Review
Ben-Hur may be adopted but he's been loved by his parents - just as much as they love their biological son. Both boys live a privileged life in Jerusalem but as the boys grow up, Messala develops a secret rivalry to his brother which eventually leads to Messala betraying his family in the most brutal way.
Continue: Ben-Hur Trailer
Jane Hammond has always been an independent woman, but living in the developing West is precarious even for her. After a treacherous few years and constant aggravation from a nasty gang called The Bishop Boys, Jane marries a man by the name of Bill 'Ham' Hammond and things settle down.
However, when Hamm returns home badly injured after running into The Bishop Boys, Jane decides there's no other option but to face her past and take on the Colin McCann and the rest of the infamous gang. Jane contacts the only person she knows who she thinks will be able to help her, her ex-fiance and gunslinger Dan Frost. Recruiting Frost and returning to the family home, the three await the arrival of the gang. One way or another score will be settled.
Jane Got A Gun will be released in the UK from Spring 2016.
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.
Blu and Jewel's babies are growing up fast and developing an eagerness to learn about the world outside their Brazilian bird sanctuary run by kind owners Linda and Tulio. The free-spirited Jewel is also getting itchy feet, with the death-defying adventures of 'Rio' now wearing off, and is determined to venture out into the Amazon rainforest to meet other blue macaws and teach her children about life in the jungle. Joining them once again are their colourful avian friends Pedro, Nico and Rafael, and Luiz the bulldog who, just like Blu, struggle to adapt to the wild. On their new journey, Jewel meets her father after a long time apart, though he is anything but warm towards her slightly awkward mate. The in laws are the least of Blu's worries though as Nigel the evil Sulphur-crested Cockatoo is set to return once again with a revenge scheme on his mind.
'Rio 2' is the brilliant and wacky sequel to 2011's 'Rio' and sees the return of director Carlos Saldanha ('Ice Age', 'Robots') with a new co-screenwriter Don Rhymer ('Big Momma's House', 'The Santa Clause 2'). As well as all your favourite characters from the original movie, you'll get to see a lot more adorable new creatures as it hits UK cinemas in 3D on April 4th 2014.
Continue: Rio 2 Trailer
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.
Prepare for the bloodshed to continue, as the 300 series will continue.
Seven years after the original 300 caused students to yell “THIS. IS. SPARTA!!!” at every beer-fueled rager for months on end, we get the trailer for the sequel – that’s not really a sequel – 300: Rise of an Empire. The film has new direction – Noam Murro, taking over from Man of Steel’s Zack Snyder – and a whole new focus and as Murro has pointed out, this will not be a sequel per se – in. It will be more of a prequel and sequel at the same time in terms of the timing, the events take place before, during and after the events of 300. Instead, this new installment will shift its focus. Based on the graphic novel Xerxes by Frank Miller, the film will open with Greek general Themistocles getting ready to battle an invading army of Persians under the mortal-turned-god, Xerxes.
Check out the trailer for 300: Rise of an Empire below:
Continue reading: 300: Rise Of An Empire - Battles, Blood And Brand New Characters
Brace yourselves, the Sparta memes are coming
Right on the heels of “Man of Steel’s” release, the trailer for director Zach Snyder’s new movie has been released. “300: Rise of an Empire” is set to premiere on July 3 2014. Is this a sequel to 300? No! THIS. IS. SPARTA. Apologies, we couldn’t help ourselves. Anyway, this really won’t be a sequel. MTV News quotes Noam Murro – the film’s director, who is a newcomer to the franchise - as saying that this film takes place before, during and after the events of the last one – it just has a much broader scope.
Blu and Jewel live as an idyllic life as any blue macaw could wish for, raising their babies under the protection of their owners Linda and Tulio; two humans determined to keep the Brazilian jungle safe from the likes of the smugglers that previously endangered them. Rio bird parties are regular, and their flamboyant and unusual friendship group comprising of Pedro, a Red-crested Cardinal; Nico, a Yellow Canary; Rafael, Toco Toucan; and Luiz, a bulldog, are still with them enjoying their wonderful tropical lives. However, Jewel - a free spirit - wishes for nothing more than to venture into the wilderness of the Amazon rainforest; to raise their children among 'normal' birds and learn the ways of the wild. Used to being domesticated, adventure has never been a part of Blu's character and while struggling to adapt to his new surroundings, he finds himself intensely worried about the fate of his family. And when Nigel the evil Sulphur-crested Cockatoo makes his return, their new lives becoming anything but easy.
Continue: Rio 2 Trailer
New 300 movie runs parallel to original
Neither a sequel nor a prequel, 300: Rise of an Empire is set at the same time as the original movie 300 but this time, the action takes place on the sea. Once more, the stylized look of the movie takes its cue from the graphic novel by Frank Miller, USA Today reports, but the ocean setting allows for a vaster landscape in which the action can take place. The movie’s director Noam Murro explains that the new movie “is tied visually to the original,” but adds “there is a whole different choreography of fighting and war.”
In 300:Rise of An Empire, the Greek general Themistokles (played by Sullivan Stapleton) and his “common-man troops” fight the Persian army out at sea. Murro explains that the action takes place over a number of locations: “The opportunities for the six distinct battles are even greater with different locations and tactics.” The ‘few against the many’ arc is still present though, as it was in the first 300 movie. “It's hundreds vs. hundreds of thousands. It's about taking on the mightiest power of all with wisdom and tactics.” The mightiest army, in this case is led by Eva Green’s Artemesia, second-in-command to the mortal turned god leader Xerxes. “She does most of Xerxes' dirty work in this film. She's seeking revenge, and she does it well," Stapleton explains. "She's a force to be reckoned with."
Korean filmmaker Kim played with the Western genre before in his wacky 2008 pastiche The Good the Bad the Weird, and this film is just as chaotically uneven, mixing cartoon-style silliness with grisly violence. But the high-energy approach holds our interest, as does Schwarzenegger's immense screen presence in his first starring role since his political career. The film is far too jumbled to hold together, but its sardonic sense of humour makes it a decent guilty pleasure.
Arnie plays Sheriff Owens, who has a quiet routine in his sleepy Arizona-Mexico border town. So when a stranger (Stormare) appears, he sends his deputies (Alexander and Gilford) to investigate. Things get violent quickly, so he deputises a drunken veteran (Santoro) and a moronic gun-nut (Knoxville) to work alongside another deputy (Guzman). What he doesn't yet know is that the baddies are part of an elaborate plan to help a drug kingpin (Noriega) escape from a Law Vegas FBI Agent (Whitaker) and cross the border to freedom in Mexico.
The whizzy plot actually has promise as a straightforward action movie, but Kim throws so much nuttiness at the screen that we can't take anything seriously. The story zings from set-piece to set-piece without much concern for credibility or coherence. It's all very cool, especially the baddie's glimmering, super-fast prototype Corvette, which travels "faster than a chopper" on isolated country roads that are improbably smooth. And his climactic plan to get over the border is astonishingly silly, but played dead straight.
Continue reading: The Last Stand Review
Ray Owens is a police sheriff whose major crime fighting days are all but over when he swaps his job in the LAPD combating drug crimes for the much less strenuous post in the quite town of Sommerton Junction on the Mexican border, after a botched drugs operation left him feeling defeated when his friend and colleague ended up crippled. His comfort in his new post is challenged all too soon when the most formidable drug tycoon in the western world, Gabriel Cortez, slips from the clutches of the FBI. Cortez and his ruthless army head towards the Mexican border in Sommerton Junction at 250 miles per hour in a deadly modified Corvette ZR1 with a hostage, mercilessly shooting at the police officers attempting to arrest them and easily sweeping police cars out of their way. They are pursued by the entire law enforcement of America led by Agent John Bannister, though Owens is unwilling to bring his team into the fight at first, feeling not the officer he used to be. His reluctance becomes irrelevant anyway when he is told to take a backseat due to the lack of experience of his team; however Owens soon changes his mind and bands his modest taskforce together to forcibly take on the fierce drug gang themselves.
Continue: The Last Stand Trailer
In Atlanta, TV fitness guru Jules (Diaz) is about to reveal that she's pregnant by her celebrity dance show partner Evan (Morrison). Meanwhile, Holly and Alex (Lopez and Santoro) are looking into adoption even though they're not sure they're ready; Wendy and Gary (Banks and Falcone) are finally expecting after trying for years, only to be upstaged by Gary's dad (Quaid) and his much younger wife (Decker); and food truck operators Rosie and Marco (Kendrick and Crawford) rekindle their teen romance with unexpected results.
Continue reading: What To Expect When You're Expecting Review
What to Expect When You're Expecting is a comic adaptation of the New York Times' bestselling pregnancy advice book of the same name. The film centres around five couples whose lives are turned upside down when they learn of their forthcoming parenthood. Whilst Jules and Evan (a fitness guru and a dance show star, respectively) struggle to fit the demands of pregnancy into a busy showbiz lifestyle, the author Wendy finds herself in a spin when her body is held hostage by her rampant pregnancy hormones. Meanwhile, Wendy's husband Gary finds himself competing with his own father, who is expecting twins with his much-younger partner Skyler.
Blu (voiced by Eisenberg) is a blue macaw raised in Minnesota alongside a little girl Linda (Mann). Years later, bird-rescuer Tulio (Santoro) wants to take Blu back to Rio de Janeiro so he can mate with the last remaining female of the species, Jewel (Hathaway). But in Brazil, the courtship between Blu and Jewel gets off to a rocky start, not least because Blu never learned how to fly. And when smugglers steal them, they need a variety of locals (including Lopez, Morgan, Foxx and Will.i.am) to help them escape from a menacing cockatoo (Clement).
Continue reading: Rio Review
Robert Torres is an investigative journalist who's looking into the life of Saint Josemaria Escriva the founder of Opus Dei. Visiting Josemaria's homeland of Spain it doesn't take long to discover a link from Josemaria to his own father Manolo Torres who were friends in childhood and went on to attended the same seminary.
Continue: There Be Dragons Trailer
Blu is a rare macaw parrot who never learnt to fly, after all he's never had the need to use his wings, his owner Linda provides everything he needs. Together they live a happy life, but when a scientist informs Linda just how rare Blu is, they hatch a plan to mate Blu with a female Bird who lives in Rio de Janeiro.
Continue: Rio Trailer
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Jane Hammond has always been an independent woman, but living in the developing West is...
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