REVIEW: PRIDE & PREJUDICE & ZOMBIES

CAST

Lily James (Cinderella)
Sam Riley (Maleficent)
Jack Huston (American Hustle)
Bella Heathcote (Dark Shadows)
Ellie Bamber (The Falling)
Millie Brady (Legend)
Suki Waterhouse (Insurgent)
Douglas Booth (LOL)
Sally Phillips (Bridget Jone’s Baby)
Charles Dance (Dracula Untold)
Jack Huston (The Longest ride)
Lena Headey (Game of Thrones)
Matt Smith (Terminator Genisys)
Emma Greenwell (Dare To be Wild)
Aisling Loftus (Mr. Selfridge)

In 19th century England, Colonel Darcy (Sam Riley) travels to the home of a wealthy family to investigate rumors of a newly infected zombie. He arrives at the home and sits with the family before taking out a small vial containing carrion flies as a means to detect the undead. When the flies land on the house’s patriarch, Darcy kills him. Assured that no one else could have been infected, he leaves. One of the young girls in the house retreats upstairs to check on the niece of the recently dispatched zombie. She discovers the niece devouring a servant; the niece then proceeds to attack her. The Bennet sisters—Elizabeth (Lily James), Jane (Bella Heathcote), Kitty (Suki Waterhouse), Lydia (Ellie Bamber), and Mary (Millie Brady)—have all been sent to China by their father (Charles Dance) to learn in the art of weaponry and martial arts. Mrs. Bennet (Sally Phillips) wants her daughters to be married off to wealthy suitors. As it turns out, the Bingley family has moved in nearby and are throwing a ball, wherein Mrs. Bennet hopes that the young and handsome Mr. Bingley (Douglas Booth) will win over one of her girls. Elizabeth, on the other hand, doesn’t want to seek a husband.
The Bennets attend the ball. Bingley instantly sets his eyes on Jane. When Elizabeth overhears a disparaging comment about herself from Mr. Darcy, she walks outside tearfully and encounters Mrs. Featherstone (Dolly Wells), now a zombie. Before Mrs. Featherstone can converse with Elizabeth, she is killed by Darcy. A horde of zombies then attack the party, prompting the Bennet sisters to fight them off. Mr. Darcy instantly becomes smitten with Elizabeth when he witnesses her in combat.

The Bingley sisters invite Jane over for tea at Netherfield. Mrs. Bennet forces her to go on horseback, thinking she will be invited to stay overnight due the oncoming rainstorm. While on the ride, Jane encounters a zombie and fires her gun. The gun backfires leaving a bite-like wound on her hand. She kills it but then spots a zombie woman with her child. Jane hesitates and is attacked by the zombie. At Netherfield, Mr. Darcy orders her confined to her room, in fear that she may have been bitten. While in Jane’s room, Mr. Darcy releases his flies to detect a zombie, but Elizabeth catches each fly with her hand and returns them now dead to Mr. Darcy.

The Bennets are visited by Parson Collins (Matt Smith), who intends to marry one of the sisters. He initially sets his eyes on Jane, though he is told that she is with Mr. Bingley. He then tries to seduce Elizabeth, and proposes to her, but states that she must give up her life as a warrior, something that she adamantly refuses to do. Mr. Collins later decides to settle with Elizabeth’s friend Charlotte (Aisling Loftus).

After Jane recovers, the sisters attend another ball thrown by the Bingleys. There, Elizabeth meets a soldier named Wickham (Jack Huston), who seems to be charming and polite. He tells Elizabeth that he has history with Mr. Darcy and does not wish to further challenge him. Another group of zombies attack the party, resulting in Bingley injuring himself, and Mr. Darcy joining Elizabeth in fighting the horde. Elizabeth travels with Mr. Wickham to the In-Between, an area outside of walled-in London but inside a royal moat, to a church filled with zombies, who feed on pig brains to keep themselves from going completely savage. Mr. Wickham wants Elizabeth to join him in helping the zombies. He also suggests that she run away with him, but she remains conflicted. Elizabeth and Mr. Wickham then meet with Mr. Darcy’s aunt, Lady Catherine de Bourgh (Lena Headey), a notorious zombie killer with major authority and wealth, to try and persuade her to come to peace with the more “civilized” zombies. Mr. Darcy and Lady Catherine blatantly refuse. When she arrives home, Elizabeth is told that Mr. Darcy has convinced the Bingleys to move away. When Mr. Darcy approaches Elizabeth with a proposal of his own, she expresses her outrage at his actions and fights him in a duel. Mr. Darcy pins her to the ground, but offended by her accusations and hatred towards him, he lets her go and leaves.
screen_shot_2015-10-09_at_12_41_55_pm_0
Mr. Darcy writes Elizabeth a letter to apologize for his actions and to state that he separated Jane and Mr. Bingley for fear that Jane only wanted to marry Mr. Bingley for his wealth, having overheard Mrs. Bennet drunkenly mention it. Mr. Darcy also mentions that Mr. Wickham had tried to elope with Darcy’s fifteen-year-old sister for her fortune. Mr. Darcy’s letter states that he is battling zombies in London, and that they have overrun the walled city. Elizabeth is then cornered by Lady Catherine and her bodyguard Wilhelm (Ryan Oliva). Lady Catherine states Mr. Darcy has been intended to marry her sickly daughter, Anne, from their youth and confronts Elizabeth about rumors over Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy. When Elizabeth denies it, Lady Catherine instigates a fight between Elizabeth and Wilhelm in place of Lady Catherine who Elizabeth has refused to fight. Elizabeth overpowers Wilhelm. Afterwards, Lady Catherine decides to protect Elizabeth’s family from approaching zombies and takes them to her estate. Elizabeth later finds out that Mr. Wickham ran off with her younger sister, Lydia and decides to go rescue her.

Elizabeth joins Mr. Darcy in London and helps him battle the undead. Mr. Darcy encounters Mr. Wickham at the old church and rescues Lydia in the basement. While fighting Mr. Wickham, Mr. Darcy impales him and reveals a bite mark on his chest, revealing Mr. Wickham has been undead all along. When a horde of zombies, who had been living normally until the pig brains they had been eating were switched with human brains by Mr. Darcy storm the cellar, Mr. Darcy escapes with Lydia.

While heading for the last bridge from London, Mr. Darcy and Mr. Wickham fight once more with Wickham gaining the upper hand. Before Mr. Wickham can kill Mr. Darcy, Elizabeth rides in and chops Wickam’s arm off and knocks him unconscious. Mr. Darcy rides with Elizabeth across the bridge as the army destroys the last remaining bridge to keep the zombies trapped within the In-Between on the inside of the moat. Mr. Darcy is injured in the explosion and is rendered unconscious. Elizabeth tearfully admits her love for him. After Mr. Darcy recovers, he finds Elizabeth and they share their first kiss, agreeing to marry. The two have a joint wedding with Mr. Bingley and Jane, officiated by Mr. Collins.

In a mid-credits scene, the now one-armed Mr. Wickham is leading the zombies toward them, ready for war.Despite mixed reviews for this horror/period drama mash-up based on the bestselling novel of the same name, I for one thoroughly enjoyed it. A romp from start to finish, this isn’t what casual cinema-goers who haven’t read the novel might expect – less zombie apocalypse, more Austen pastiche; the movie crackles with the tension between Sam Riley’s Mr Darcy and Lily James’ almost unbearably desirable Elizabeth Bennett. However, it is arguably ex-Doctor Who and real-life paramour of Lily James, Matt Smith, who pretty much steals every scene he is in; his interplay with James, Riley, and the Bennett paterfamilias (a patrician Charles Dance), as well as his typically bonkers manner, are absolutely delightful, and as Mr Collins, the unfortunate gooseberry in the relationship between Elizabeth and pretty much every man she meets, his performance alone makes this worth watching.

 

 

 

Advertisements

REVIEW: THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS: CITY OF BONES

CAST

Lily Collins (Mirror Mirror)
Jamie Campbell Bower (Sweeney Todd)
Robert Sheehan (Season of The Witch)
Jemima West (United Passions)
Kevin Durand (Dark Angel)
Lena Headey (Game of Thrones)
CCH Pounder (Avatar)
Jared Harris (The Quiet Ones)
Jonathan Rhys Meyers (Dracula)
Aidan Turner (The Hobbit)

New York City teenager Clary Fray begins seeing a strange symbol, worrying her mother Jocelyn Fray and her mother’s friend Luke Garroway. Later, at a nightclub with her friend, Simon Lewis, Clary is the only person who sees Jace Wayland killing a man, who he claims is a demon. Meanwhile, Jocelyn is abducted by two men, Emil Pangborn and Samuel Blackwell, but she is able to call Clary and warn her about someone named Valentine. Jocelyn drinks a potion putting her in a comatose state. Returning home, Clary finds her mother missing and is then attacked by a demon. Clary kills it, and then Jace appears. Jace explains that he and her mother Jocelyn are both Shadowhunters (also called Nephilim), half human half angel warriors that slay demons and rule over the downworlders. Clary has inherited her powers, including the ability to use runes.Madame Dorothea, the Fray’s neighbor and a witch, deduces that Pangborn and Blackwell seek the Mortal Cup, one of the three Mortal Instruments given to the first Shadowhunter by the Angel Raziel. It allows normal humans to become half-Angel Shadowhunters. Simon, now able to see Jace, arrives and they go to Luke’s bookstore. Pangborn and Blackhell are interrogating Luke there, who claims he cares nothing for Jocelyn and only wants the Mortal Cup. The trio escapes to the Shadowhunters’ hideout, the Institute, where Clary and Simon meet two other Shadowhunters Alec and Isabelle Lightwood, and their leader, Hodge Starkweather. He reveals that Valentine Morgenstern, an ex-Shadowhunter who betrayed the Nephilim, now seeks the Mortal Cup to control both Shadowhunters and demons.Hodge instructs Jace to take Clary to the City of Bones so the Silent Brothers can probe Clary’s mind for the Mortal Cup’s location. The Brothers uncover a connection to Magnus Bane, the High Warlock of Brooklyn. Bane says Jocelyn had him block the Shadowhunter world from Clary’s mind. Vampires then kidnap Simon from Magnus’ party for downworlders. Clary, Jace, Alec, and Isabelle trail them to their hideout and rescue him but are outnumbered. Werewolves (that share a truce with the Shadowhunters) intervene and save them. These are led by Luke. At the Institute, Clary shares a romantic evening with Jace, ending in a kiss. When Simon confronts Clary about it, she downplays the incident, angering Jace. Simon confesses to Clary that he is in love with her, leaving her feeling guilty because she does not reciprocate his feelings.Clary realizes the Mortal Cup is hidden inside one of Madame Dorothea’s tarot cards that were painted by her mother. The group goes to Dorothea’s apartment but she has been replaced by a demon sent to steal the Cup. Simon and Jace kill it, but Alec is critically wounded. Clary retrieves the Mortal Cup and they return to the institute. Clary gives the Mortal Cup to Hodge who betrays them by summoning Valentine Morgenstern and giving him the cup. Valentine reveals he is Clary’s father and wants her to join him. She escapes through a portal that transports her to Luke’s bookstore. Luke, revealed to be a werewolf, confirms that Valentine is her father, and says Clary had an older brother named Jonathan who was killed. Luke and his werewolf pack return to the Institute with Clary to fight Valentine, who has summoned an army of demons through a portal he created. Simon and Isabelle close the portal with help from a repentant Hodge, who sacrifices himself. Meanwhile, Magnus Bane arrives and heals Alec.Clary and Jace fight Valentine, who claims both are his children. They refuse to join him and, following a battle, Clary pushes him through the portal after giving him a fake Mortal Cup. The portal is destroyed, and Jocelyn is rescued, but she remains in a coma at the hospital. Clary tells Simon that someday someone will love him. Clary heads back home and uses her new-found powers to repair the apartment. Jace appears on his motorcycle, confessing he needs her and wants her to return to the Institute. Realizing that she belongs in the Shadowhunter world, she goes with him and they ride into the distance.The film has had some very harsh critics and after seeing the movie, I don’t understand it. Luckily I ignored the bad critics and I liked it.

REVIEW: TERMINATOR: THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES – SEASON 1 & 2

SarahConnorChronicles

MAIN CAST

Lena Headey (Game of Thrones)
Thomas Dekker (Heroes)
Summer Glau (Arrow)
Richard T. Jones (Godzilla)
Brian Austin Green (Anger Management)
Leven Rambin (The Hunger Games)
Garret Dillahunt (Winter’s Bone)
Shirley Manson (Knife Fight)
RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Owain Yeoman (Supergirl)
Sonya Walger (Flashforward)
Nick Wechsler (Roswell)
Dean Winters (Brooklyn Nine-Nine)
Charlayne Woodard (The Crucible)
Tony Amendola (Annabelle)
Sasha Roiz (Caprica)
Jonathan Sadowski (Friday the 13th)
Brendan Hines (Lie To Me)
Catherine Dent (Taken)
Alessandra Torresani (The Big Bang Theory)
Tiya Sircar (The Vampire Diaries)
Andy Umberger (Angel)
Lee Thompson Young (Smallville)
Neil Hopkins (Lost)
Peter Mensah (Spartacus)
Bruce Davison (High Crimes)
Karina Logue (Scream: The Series)
Craig Fairbrass (Cliffhanger)
Dean Norris (Breaking Bad)
Zack Ward (Transformers)
Busy Philipps (The Smokers)
Leah Pipes (The Originals)
Jon Huertas (Sabrina: TTW)
Mackenzie Brooke Smith (Supergirl)
Dorian Harewood (Earth: Final Concflict)
Stephanie Jacobsen (Alex Cross)
Adam Busch (Buffy)
Richard Schiff (The Cape)
Eric Steinberg (Stargate SG.1)
Todd Stashwick (The Originals)
Rebecca Creskoff (Bates Motel)
Carlos Jacott (Firefly)
Samantha Krutzfeldt (A Mann’s World)
Connor Trinneer (Stargate: Atlantis)
Chad Lindberg (The Fast and The Furious)
Chad L. Coleman (Arrow)

When we first heard that FOX was making a Terminator series, we mostly groaned and rolled our eyes. It just sounded like a bad idea and a cynical ploy to capitalize on a flagging movie property. What’s more, when you think of Terminator, you think of big movies with huge effects and action sequences that set new standards. You don’t think of “Terminators of the Week” battling on smaller screens with tighter budgets.

 It was the first regular episode after the pilot that I feel the show really came into its own. That’s when the tone of the series was established, the more deliberate and introspective pace. Summer Glau’s performance as Cameron changed a bit.
 It’s the mark of a good show when, one by one, all of your issues are accounted for. In the episode Heavy Metal John does what he has to do despite Sarah’s overprotection. He’s becoming the leader he needs to become, and when Sarah says it’s too soon, Cameron says something to the effect of “Is it? The world ends in 4 years…” At the same time, Sarah came to value Cameron’s strategic value. She might not trust her (and should she?), but she no longer denies her the tactical advantage they have when using her.
As for the missing Terminator parts, the show picked up the ball there and ran with it. Agent Ellison finds the missing hand, and destroying the Terminator Cameron disabled becomes a great scene and establishes the use of thermite. When a show proves to you that it’s got the bases covered, and that it isn’t being sloppy with its storytelling – it gains your confidence and makes tuning in each week that much more satisfying. Terminator pulled this off in just nine episodes – which is remarkable considering they had only so much time and never planned on having such a short season because of the writers strike. There were a number of stylistic flourishes throughout the show that demonstrated how the series was different from the movies, and that this wasn’t going to be a show that was afraid to strike out on its own. Sarah’s dream where she assassinates the creators of the atomic bomb was particularly inspired. Bruce Davison (as Dr. Silberman) describing in awed rapture the events from T2 was a terrific bridge between this series and one of the most famous sequences of the entire franchise. The series ended on a high note, with Johnny Cash’s “The Man Comes Around” playing while a Terminator does what Terminators do. Only this time it’s done in a stylistically original way. It’s another scene that serves as an example of how the show stepped out on its own. It shows a level of creative maturity not usually found in franchised properties.
Then there’s the introduction of Brian Austin Green as Derek Reese. This was a decision that had us – and other fans – concerned that the show was making a big mistake. Why Green? It seems there could have been dozens, if not hundreds of other actors to take on this role. Actors who didn’t play the keyboard wielding dweeb on Beverly Hills 90210. Yet, again, the show proved worthy of our confidence and trust. Green did an excellent job, and played Reese not as your standard badass, but instead a man of emotional depth who had been turned into a soldier because the world around him fell apart.
Green’s best moments came in the finale. First, he uses a little girl to creatively settle a hostage situation. Then, he takes John to the park to celebrate his birthday. Without getting specific, there’s a touching moment, playing on the time travel device. “Happy Birthday,” Derek says, and leaves it at that. It’s an emotional note that was never quite achieved in the movies – and proof that the episodic format allows for greater complexity and character development than we’ve seen in the franchise. It’s also encouraging that the characters had become so resonant in these early episodes – and bodes well for the future.
No one likes to see a good show go under, especially just as it’s approaching new heights, and the recent cancellation of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (2008-2009) proved almost equally disheartening. At least the latter had a fighting chance, though: the mid-season replacement pulled down great numbers at first, but its popularity rapidly declined during the initial nine-episode run. Higher production costs didn’t help matters, either…yet Chronicles was renewed for a full-sized second season, where it expanded the series’ mythology and tossed in a few stand-alone episodes. Featuring plenty of terrific characters, tense action and special effects on par with Hollywood blockbusters, there was plenty to like…but roughly a month after the season finale aired, it was confirmed that the series wouldn’t return.
Nonetheless, this second and final season stands as one of the better stretches of television in recent memory. In an accompanying behind-the-scenes featurette, creator Josh Friedman admits that the cast and crew had no idea that Season 1 would end where it did—but you’d never know from watching, since the series stops and re-starts so seamlessly. Opening adventure “Samson and Delilah” kicks things off in a major way, punctuated by a gripping slow-motion sequence set to a musical cover by Shirley Manson of Garbage fame. Speaking of Manson, she’s front and center this season as Catherine Weaver, the mysterious leader of ZeiraCorp, a growing corporation with an interest in advanced technology. She’s eventually joined by former FBI agent James Ellison (Richard T. Jones); Ellison acts as her head of security and a mentor to ZeiraCorp’s experimental computer, who’s known as “John Henry”. Though more intelligent and efficient than the world’s greatest minds put together, this powerful entity is still a child learning about the the world and the humans in it.
Naturally, such a vague company—especially one with its hands in high-tech gadgetry—soon ends up on the radar of Sarah Connor (Lena Headey), who continues to forge onward with her son John (Thomas Dekkar), John’s uncle Derek Reese (Brian Austin Green) and Cameron, a Terminator sent from the future to aid them. New to the crowd are Jesse Flores (Stephanie Jacobsen) and Riley Dawson (Leven Rambin); both serve as love interests to Derek and John respectively…but like Catherine Weaver, they seem to have somewhat questionable pasts. Far more than the typical good-versus-evil formula that typically dominates modern sci-fi, The Sarah Connor Chronicles takes a decidedly different approach: it focuses on human existence and emotion as much as firefights and chase sequences. The formula works amazingly well during this season of 22 episodes.
 After the blistering “Samson and Delilah”, things don’t let up for a while. “Automatic for the People” introduces Riley and takes our heroes inside a nuclear power plant—but a major clue is unearthed, as Sarah discovers a list of events, places and other clues about Skynet, the company that Sarah believes will bring about Judgment Day. “Mousetrap” is a standout episode for a number of reasons: not only does it push the story further onward, but it’s one of the more suspenseful and exciting episodes in the bunch. “Allison from Palmdale” stands tall as a solid origin story for Cameron, while the extended “Goodbye to All That” sends John and Derek on a field trip with a Terminator model 888 in hot pursuit. These episodes—and several others, of course—show how much Season 2 has expanded the story’s scope. Well over half the episodes are shot on location in various parts of California and beyond—and with the vague threat of ZeiraCorp looming overhead, tension remains high throughout the first half of the season.
As the season’s second half approaches, things start to get a little cloudy…both for the narrative itself and the show’s ratings, which gradually slid as the season progressed. “Self-Made Man” and “Alpine Fields” are two stand-alone episodes designed to draw in new fans, as the creative team felt that a continuous thrust forward would hurt the series’ chances of survival. Unfortunately, these two episodes are some of the least impressive: while decent enough on their own terms, they feel completely out of context and arrive at the wrong time. These may have added a few viewers, but I imagine they probably confused and frustrated those expecting the series to continue its steady pace forward. Nonetheless, “Earthlings Welcome Here” gets things back on track…but within the context of the series’ original broadcast dates, it may have come too late. This would be the last episode before the holiday break, with Chronicles returning two months later in the dreaded Friday night timeslot…which television fans refer to as “the kiss of death”.
It’s sad, really, because The Sarah Connor Chronicles really got back on its feet from that point onward. “The Good Wound” was much better suited to draw in new fans than a stand-alone episode: taking several cues from Terminator 2, this Sarah-centered adventure re-acquaints us with an important figure from her past. The next several episodes flesh out story elements introduced earlier in the season, as Sarah, John, Derek and Cameron set out to solve a mysterious factory explosion in the desert. After “Some Must Watch While Some Must Sleep”, Chronicles sprints to the finish line: Jesse and Riley’s pasts begin to unravel, John Henry and ZeiraCorp’s true intentions are revealed, Sarah and company head off into unfamiliar territory and several major characters meet their doom. It all culminates with “Born to Run”, which ends the series on a high note, tying up several loose ends but leaving others to the imagination. Poignant, clever and almost hopeful, it’s a fitting farewell to a series that was killed off too early.

Regardless, Warner Bros. has given The Sarah Connor Chronicles a strong send-off on DVD, as this second season arrives in a fully-loaded six-disc collection. The series’ crisp cinematography and ambitious sound mix—both of which feel more like big-screen efforts than typical TV fare—are supported by a solid technical presentation, while fans can also look forward to a collection of entertaining and informative bonus features. Though Friedman’s excellent series now joins the gone-too-early ranks

REVIEW: THE ADVENTURER: THE CURSE OF THE MIDAS BOX

CAST

Michael Sheen (Passengers)
Sam Neill (Jurassic Park)
Lena Headey (Game of Thrones)
Mella Carron (Brooklyn)
Ioan Gruffudd (Ringer)
Keeley Hawes (Othello)
Aneurin Barnard (Elfie Hopkins)
Tristan Gemmill (Casualty)

Mariah Mundi has no choice but to unite with the enigmatic Will Charity when his family is kidnapped by an unknown enemy. Their adventure leads them to the mysterious and majestic Prince Regent, a huge steam-powered hotel on a small island at the furthest reach of the Empire. Mariah, with the help of Charity must unravel the secrets of the island to find the truth behind the disappearance of his family, and prevent Otto Luger from getting his hands on the mystical and powerful Midas Box.The story unfolds quickly, and for a low(ish) budget, independently produced film, I was left impressed with how high the standard was set from the scripting to wardrobe. The Victorian costumes are lovely, the paltry use of CGI not one bit detrimental to the visuals. The plot was original, where unexpected developments abounded, and while technically a young adult movie, it was more than mature enough for any age to enjoy. It may not be the absolute best in the genre when compared to other period sci-fi/adventure films, yet this still held its own nicely.

REVIEW: 300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE

5051892138604_l

CAST

Sullivan Stapleton (Blind Spot)
Eva Green (Dark Shadows)
Lena Headey (Game of Thrones)
Hans Matheson (Sherlock Holmes)
Callan Mulvey (Batman v Superman)
David Wenham (Van Helsing)
Rodrigo Santoro (Lost)
Jack O’Connell (Unborken)
Andrew Tiernan (The Pianist)
Igal Naor (Green Zone)
Andrew Pleavin (Inception)
Peter Mensah (Spartacus)
Luke Roberts (Reign)


After its victory over Leonidas’ 300, the Persian Army under the command of Xerxes marches towards the major Greek city-states. The Democratic city of Athens, first on the path of Xerxes’ army, bases its strength on its fleet, led by admiral Themistocles. Themistocles is forced to an unwilling alliance with the traditional rival of Athens, oligarchic Sparta whose might lies with its superior infantry troops. But Xerxes still reigns supreme in numbers over sea and land.

7 years of waiting has paid off. 300: Rise of an Empire is thoroughly satisfying. The violence in this film makes you grin with glee from ear to ear despite considering yourself a seasoned veteran of gore films. 300: Rise of an Empire is not just about the sea battle, but masterfully takes us through several flashbacks without jeopardizing the story and turning it into a mess. The film also leaves enough room to create several believable characters, most prominent of all the real historic female naval general Artemisia, wonderfully played by Eva Green. Green plays Artemisia with an authoritative aura that has warrior written all over it. Xerxes takes a back seat this time, but we do get a glimpse into his past and who the man once was.

At the end of the day, if you hadn’t already come to this realization 7 years ago, you need to now: 300 is a work of art, not a historic movie. It is the film adaptation of Frank Miller’s graphic novels and thus sticks to the literature both in story and in art design. Hence the oversized moon. Hence the ridiculous blood splattering. When viewed in this context, it is almost impossible to find flaws in these two adaptations, as they masterfully bring the graphic novel to vibrant life.

Last but not least, 300: Rise of an Empire offers breathtaking setpieces and backdrops, and is arguably more grand than the original 300 film, although of course we aren’t treated to the plethora of enemies and fantastical creatures as the first film did. Nevertheless, a well done and truly satisfying sequel. My only gripe is that the final duel should have been far more epic, and the soundtrack could have used some of the familiar thematic choirs of 300. Still, a 5, out of 5 stars.

REVIEW: 300

CAST

Gerard Butler (The Ugly Truth)
Lena Headey (Game of Thrones)
Dominic West (Punisher Warzone)
David Wenham (Van Helsing)
Vincent Regan (Lookout)
Michael Fassbender (Prometheus)
Tom Wisdom (Dominion)
Andrew Pleavin (Inception)
Andrew Tiernan (The Pianist)
Rodrigo Santoro (Lost)
Stephen McHattie (Watchmen)
Peter Mensah (Spartacus)
Michael Sinelnikoff (The Lost World)
Patrick Sabongui (The Flash)

In the Battle of Thermopylae of 480 BC an alliance of Greek city-states fought the invading Persian army in the mountain pass of Thermopylae. Vastly outnumbered, the Greeks held back the enemy in one of the most famous last stands of history. Persian King Xerxes lead a Army of well over 100,000 (Persian king Xerxes before war has about 170,000 army) men to Greece and was confronted by 300 Spartans, and several hundred Arcadians. Xerxes waited for 10 days for King Leonidas to surrender or withdraw left with no options he moved. The battle lasted for about 3 days and after which all 300 Spartans were killed. The Spartan defeat was not the one expected, as a local shepherd, named Ephialtes, defected to the Persians and informed Xerxes of a separate path through Thermopylae, which the Persians could use to outflank the Greeks.

300 is basically  just one epic fighting scene after another. Most noticeably is the camera work and the visual effects. Every shot seems like it was intended to be a work of art. The colors, the characters, the costumes, the backgrounds… every little detail has been given so much attention. During the big fights you’ll also instantly notice the unique editing. There are a lot of “time slowdowns” throughout the battles which show what exactly is happening. Fatal wounds that slowly leak blood spatters in the air, decapitated heads traveling in slow-motion across the screen… it’s all there.

The story on the other hand isn’t very complicated, in the sense that the whole movie could probably be described in a sentence or two. The dialog is simple and most often talk about moral values like freedom and honor.

For me the good outweighs the bad by miles. From the second the movie started it grabbed me and didn’t let go. Every battle, every scene of the movie had me at the tip of my chair. Everything from the strong acting to the wondrous visuals to the war-shouts of the soldiers was just so stunning… it was truly a wonderful experience.I did not one single moment felt like the movie lacked anything.

REVIEW: GAME OF THRONES – SEASON 6

MAIN CAST

Peter Dinklage (The Boss)
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Headhunters)
Lena Headey (The Purge)
Emilia Clarke (Terminator: Genisys)
Kit Harington (Pompeii)
Aidan Gillen (The Dark Knight Rises)
Liam Cunningham (Dog Soldiers)
Carice van Houten (Black Book)
Natalie Dormer (The Forest)
Indira Varma (Human Target)
Sophie Turner (X-Men: Apocalypse)
Nathalie Emmanuel (Fast & Furious 7)
Rory McCann (Hot Fuzz)
Maisie Williams (Cyberbully)
Conleth Hill (Serena)
Alfie Allen (The Other Boleyn Girl)
John Bradley (Patient Zero)
Tom Wlaschiha (Valkyrie)
Gwendoline Christie (Star Wars: The Force Awakens)
Hannah Murray (Dark Shadows)
Jonathan Pryce (Stigmata)
Kristofer Hivju (After Earth)
Michiel Huisman (The Young Victoria)
Michael McElhatton (Blow Dry)
Iwan Rheon (Misfits)
Dean-Charles Chapman (Will)
Isaac Hempstead Wright (The Boxtrolls)
Jerome Flynn (Ripper Street)
Iain Glen (Tomb Raider)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Daniel Portman (Outcast)
Natalia Tena (Harry Potter)
Max Von Sydow (Conan The Barbarian)
Ellie Kendrick (An Education)
Alexander Siddig (Star Trek: DS9)
Ian McShane (Hercules)
Keisha Castle-Hughes (Star Wars – Episode III)
Kristian Nairn (Ripper Street)
Gemma Whelan (Gulliver’s Travels)
Joseph Mawle (Abrham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter)
Diana Rigg (The Avengers)
Julian Glover (Troy)
Finn Jones (Iron Fist)
Art Parkinson (Dracula Untold)
Owen Teale (King Arthur)
Patrick Malahide (Fortress 2)
Joe Naufahu (Power Rangers RPM)
Ben Crompton (All or Nothing)
Brenock O’Connor (Dickensian)
Charlotte Hope (The Musketeers)
Elizabeth Webster (Cockneys vs Zombies)
Tim McInnerny (Notting Hill)
Bella Ramsey (The Worst Witch 2017)
Michael Condron (High-Rise)
David Bradley (Harry Potter)
Tamer Hassan (Sucker Punch)
James Faulkner  (Underworld: Blood Wars)
Toby Sebastian (The Hollow Crown)
Clive Russell (The 13th Warrior)
Brian Fortune (The Inside)
Jacob Anderson (Adulthood)
Jessica Henwick (Iron Fist)
Ian Whyte (Prometheus)
Luke Roberts (300: Rise of an Empire)
Murray McArthur (The Last Legion)
Anton Lesser (Wolf Hall)
Roger Ashton-Griffiths (The Brothers Grimm)
Eugene Simon (Casanova)

Following their escape from Winterfell, Sansa Stark journeys to the Wall, while Theon Greyjoy returns to the Iron Islands. In Winterfell, Ramsay Bolton secures his claim on the North by killing Roose and Walda Bolton and his new-born half-brother. At the Wall, Melisandre resurrects Jon Snow, who is reunited with Sansa; they gather loyalists and a battle ensues. Aided by the Knights of the Vale, the Starks defeat the Bolton forces. Sansa feeds Ramsay to his hounds and Jon is proclaimed the King in the North. At King’s Landing, Jaime Lannister and the Tyrell army attempt to liberate Margaery and Loras, but Margaery capitulates to the High Sparrow and Tommen forges an alliance with the Faith. During Loras and Cersei’s trial, Cersei uses wildfire to burn the Great Sept, killing the High Sparrow, Margarey, Loras, Mace, Kevan, and Lancel, while Tommen kills himself after witnessing the events. Unopposed, Cersei is crowned Queen of Westeros. Ellaria Sand and three of Oberyn Martell’s daughters kill Doran and Trystane Martell and seize control of Dorne, and Olenna meets with Ellaria to discuss an alliance. In Braavos, Arya continues her training with the Faceless Men, and soon regains her eyesight. When she refuses to accomplish a mission, the Waif is ordered to kill Arya, who kills her instead. Arya reasserts her identity as a Stark and returns to Westeros. In the Riverlands, the Hound pursues the Brotherhood Without Banners for massacring the people who saved him. He finds Lord Beric Dondarrion executing his quarry, and is asked to join the Brotherhood traveling north. Jaime Lannister besieges Riverrun and takes the castle, killing the Blackfish after forcing Edmure Tully to order a surrender. Walder Frey celebrates the victory before being killed by Arya. Beyond the Wall, Bran Stark trains with the Three-Eyed Raven but alerts the Night King, who launches an attack of White Walkers. Bran and Meera escape and are rescued by Benjen Stark. Sam Tarly, Gilly, and Little Sam travel to the Citadel at Oldtown, stopping to visit Sam’s family. In Essos, Daenerys Targaryen is captured by Khal Moro who takes her before the khals; she burns them alive and takes command of the Dothraki. Tyrion Lannister brings a short-lived peace to Meereen, which is reinforced when Daenerys returns and flies her dragons into battle against the slavers. Yara and Theon arrive and pledge allegiance to Daenerys after Euron Greyjoy kills their father and usurps leadership of the Iron Islands. Jorah Mormont departs to find a cure for greyscale and Daario is left in command of Meereen, while Daenerys sails for Westeros. Game of thrones is without a doubt the best show on tv ever! Hooked from the very beginning. Season 6 is packed full of beautifully shot battle scenes and exquisite smaller moments, all of which showcase the immense talent of the entire cast and crew.