CHICAGO – “Drinking Buddies” director Joe Swanberg’s latest release of the same star wattage is “Happy Christmas,” an even lower-fi story than the Olivia Wilde beer comedy, steered even more by the casting that it was able to assemble. However, with this movie Swanberg doesn’t so much worry about having a story that could be confused with a more mainstream romantic comedy if it were to have a bigger budget.
Film Review: ‘300: Rise of an Empire’ Gets Its 3D War On
CHICAGO – The rewriting of history in comic book movie form – not that’s anything wrong with that – continues with “300: Rise of an Empire.” Ancient wars are brought to life through a combination of mythology, six-pack abs, 3D blood spurts and comprehensive special effects, which can be better than history.
Nothing is unexpected in “300: Rise of an Empire” that wasn’t expressed in the previous “300” film. The sequel is a series of war proclamations and battle, only to regroup for more speeches and then more conflict. Most of it happens on the sea, which allows for some exaggerated computer generated ships and their minions – at one point a horse rides among the rolling vessels. But all the blood, bodies and baring breasts are intact, richly presented in action packed 3D. For fans of the previous film, there is everything expected in the sequel, with no subtlety or explanations necessary.
Centered around the second Persian invasion of Greece, from about 480-479 BC. Xerxes of Persia (Rodrigo Santoro) wants revenge on Themistocles of Athens (Sullivan Stapleton) for the killing of his father. Xerxes becomes a demigod in this revenge transformation, egged on by Artemisia (Eva Green), a former Greek who has pledged allegiance to Persia and runs the naval operations.
Xerxes has initial success in the Battle of Marathon, and marches on to take Athens. In the calm before the next storm, Artemisia seeks negotiation in the form of lovemaking with Themistocles. When that fails to bring the peace, the stage is set for the climatic Battle of Salamis, an epic naval battle just south of the fallen Greek capital. Game on, or in this case, war on.
The Emergence of Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) in ‘300: Rise of an Empire’
Photo credit: Warner Bros. Pictures