CHICAGO – If you’ve ever wondered what the difference is between a director and a producer, let “47 Ronin” explain how the hierarchy of creativity hinders the evolution of even the most straightforward-sounding pitches. “47 Ronin” is the type of samurai movie set in Japan that features native actors speaking only English, while Keanu Reeves stars as an outsider clearly plunked into the picture for stateside star power.
CHICAGO – “Let us split darkness with the cries of Romans.” Boobs, blood, and betrayal — “Spartacus” must be back. Following up on the action of the beloved “Spartacus: Blood and Sand” and coming on the heels of the most critical acclaim in the history of the network (“Boss”), Starz hopes to keep momentum going with the well-made if ridiculous “Spartacus: Vengeance.”
CHICAGO – “Spartacus: Blood and Sand” is a ridiculous program, a mix of pretentious dialogue that thinks its more important than it is, elaborate battle sequences shot in slo-mo to hide the show’s budget, and historical inaccuracies on an epic scale. And yet it’s also remarkably enjoyable. It’s a guilty pleasure program that has developed a rabid following on Starz and should put the network on the map when it comes to original series with the help of an excellent Blu-ray release for the first season.