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    Derrick Ferguson

    Movie Review: 300: Rise Of An Empire

    300-Rise-Of-An-Empire-wallpapers-2The story goes that Warner Brothers executives, delighted with the open weekend box office numbers of “300” immediately wanted a sequel.  Apparently they hadn’t taken the time to watch their own movie. It’s taken them eight years to figure out how to do a sequel to that movie and to give the filmmakers credit, they haven’t simply reshuffled elements around from the first movie. There’s an honest effort here to give us new characters in a new situation but 300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE still didn’t give me that same feeling I had when I first saw “300”. I fell so much in love with that movie I wanted to marry it and take it home to meet my mother.

    But that rush of adrenaline I got when I saw “300” came mainly from the visuals which were unlike anything I had seen before in movies. That’s because back in 2007 when”300” was released, the digital backlot technology/method of filming movies was still fresh and eye-popping. The only other movies I had seen using that technology were “Sin City” and “Sky Captain and The World of Tomorrow”. Since then we’ve had  “Speed Racer” “The Spirit” “Avatar” “Immortals” and half a dozen other movies utilizing digital backlot techniques. So my eyes have become accustomed to the look over the years. That’s not to say there aren’t some incredible visuals in 300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE. There are. It’s the story that doesn’t match the visuals.

    300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE did intrigue me at the start in that this isn’t your ordinary sequel or prequel. It tells a story that tells of events taking place before, during and after “300” It starts off with Gorgo, Queen of Sparta (Lena Headey) narrating to an army of Spartan warriors the story of how the war between Persia and Greece began, throwing in the origin of the Persian god king Xerxes I (Rodrigo Santoro) as a bonus. We’re also introduced to Artemisia (Eva Green) who is quite literally the woman that made Xerxes the god king he is now. She’s also the commander of his 1000 ship fleet and the best thing about the movie. More on that later.

    300-A-Ascensao-de-Um-Imperio-24Nov2013-15Themistocles of Athens (Sullivan Stapleton) is attempting to unite Greece’s squabbling city states in order to present a unified nation to fight Persia but has no luck. The politics of all this is murky at best and really just gets in the way of what the movie wants to do: get to the numerous blood-saturated CGI sea battles that are the real heart of the movie. And when I say blood-saturated, I mean it. When somebody gets slashed with a sword, that worthy just doesn’t bleed. A geyser of blood throws a sheet of blood all over the screen. There’s a nice scene where Themistocles goes to ask Queen Gorgo for Sparta’s help which from the dialog I guess takes place right after Leonidas (Gerard Butler in footage from “300 is seen here and there during the movie) has gone with his 300 to hold the Persians at The Hot Gates. Rebuffed by Queen Gorgo (which is a pretty mild way of putting it.) Themistocles determines to take his 200 ships and handful of desperate warriors and go meet the Persians at sea.

    300-Rise-of-an-Empire-03jan2013-03And that’s about all the set-up you need in order to watch the movie. Everything after that is bloody carnage. Halfway through the movie it seems to have forgotten that Queen Gorgo is supposed to be telling the story as we’re seeing events and hearing dialog that she couldn’t possibly know about. And you should be warned that the violence in 300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE is not the stylized, balletic action of “300” In this one it’s much more brutal and savage and I can’t remember the last movie where I’ve seen so many heads and limbs chopped off. In one scene Artemisia is carrying bunches of severed heads by the hair as if they were Pathmark shopping bags.

    And this brings me to the best thing about the movie: Eva Green. Whenever she’s not on screen you’ll be eagerly waiting for her to come back because Artemisia is the best character in the movie. She’s far more intelligent, formidable, skilled and ambitious than anybody else and I’m willing to bet that like me, by the time you get to the halfway point you’ll be wondering why the whole movie wasn’t about her. She’s the kind of bad guy you secretly root for; the one that you hope ends up winning in the end. In fact, if 300: RISE ON AN EMPIRE had Artemisia and Queen Gorgo going at it, it would have been an immensely more interesting clash of characters as Sullivan Stapleton’s Themistocles is such a block of wood it’s excruciating. He spends most of the movie making speeches about honor and loyalty and loving your family and land that sound uncomfortably similar to the ones Leonidas made but Stapleton doesn’t even come close to the white hot energy Gerard Butler had. In fact, the only scene where Stapleton’s character comes alive is in a sex scene with Artemisia that turns into an attempted rape but we’re not really sure who’s raping who here.

    300-rise-of-an-empire-2So should you see 300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE? If you saw and liked “300” this is pretty much more of the same, only at sea and far bloodier and violent. I’d say try and catch a matinee if you can so this way you won’t feel robbed. It’s got spectacular visuals and that equally spectacular Eva Green performance going for it in its favor so enjoy.
    300: BATTLE OF ARTEMESIUM

    2014

    Warner Bros./Legendary Pictures

    Directed by Noam Murro

    Produced by Zack Snyder, Gianni Nunnari, Mark Canton, Deborah Snyder and Bernie Goldmann

    Screenplay by Zack Snyder and Kurt Johnstad

    Based on “Xerxes” an unpublished graphic novel by Frank Miller

    Rated R

    102 Minutes

     

    The post Movie Review: 300: Rise Of An Empire appeared first on Transmissions From Atlantis.

    Movie Review: 30 Minutes Or Less

    51-SFHZn4cLThe R-rated comedy has been making a comeback in recent years and some of them have been quite notable such as “Tropic Thunder” “The Hangover” “Next Day Air” “The Wedding Crashers” “Superbad” “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” “Pineapple Express” and “Horrible Bosses” All of which I’ve seen and all of which I recommend to you before you waste your time on 30 MINUTES OR LESS.

    Not that it’s really all that bad a movie.  The plot actually is one that provides plenty of material for either comedy or suspense.  Two adult delinquents, Dwayne (Danny McBride) and Travis (Nick Swardson) need $100,000 dollars to hire a hit man to kill Dwayne’s dad (Fred Ward) who hit the lottery for $10 million bucks.  Dwayne’s dream is to open up a tanning salon/whorehouse and he’s terrified that his dad is going to burn through the whole $10 mil before he drops dead and thereby depriving Dwayne of the chance to waste the money.

    The two get an idea; get hold of some innocent guy and strap a bomb to his chest and send him to rob a bank.  If he doesn’t do it or gets caught, they’ll blow him up.  The innocent they pick is Nick (Jesse Eisenberg) a pizza delivery guy who just cannot get the hang of the “30 Minutes or Less or It’s Free” policy.  Dwayne and Travis call him up to deliver a pizza to them.  When Nick arrives he’s jumped and knocked out by the gorilla mask wearing duo.  When Nick wakes up he’s wearing a vest rigged with explosives buckled to his torso.  He can’t take it off without it blowing up.  He’s given ten hours to rob a bank or ka-boom.

    Jesse_Eisenberg_30_Minutes_or_Less_imageRight then and there, they lost me.  In ten hours even a moron could figure out a way how to get out of that situation.  And considering that the movie is titled 30 MINUTES OR LESS I figured that in a bit of sadistic cruelty, Dwayne and Travis would give Nick just 30 minutes or less to rob the bank.  That would have made for a tighter, more intensive plot.  But with ten hours to kill, it gives the screenwriters time to bring in unnecessary characters and scenes that have nothing to do with the story and seem inserted into the movie just to get that R rating.

    Jesse Eisenberg is actually quite funny at times and the biggest laugh he got out of me is when his girlfriend asks him a question about Facebook.  He has good chemistry with Aziz Ansari who plays his best friend Chet who helps him rob the bank.  They have some scenes together that are pretty funny and I wouldn’t mind seeing them together in another, better comedy.  There was a couple of moments where they almost had a Richard Pryor/Gene Wilder kinda vibe going back and forth and I think they do have the potential to be a good movie comedy team.  But not if they keep doing movies like this one.

    951020 - 30 Minutes or LessIt’s Danny McBride who sinks this movie for me.  It seemed to me as if he couldn’t make up his mind if he’s in a comedy or a straight-up crime thriller.  Especially in the last 20 minutes or so of the movie where the violence escalates wildly out of control in proportion to what we’ve been watching for the previous 60.  But it’s always good to see Fred Ward again and in the brief scenes he has, especially his showdown with the hit man hired to kill him (Michael Pena) he shows why he’s been around in the business for so long and why he’s so much fun to watch on screen.

    So should you see 30 MINUTES OR LESS?  Well, if you do decide to check it out, it’s only 83 minutes long so it’s not like you’re gonna blow a whole afternoon or evening on it.  I’m not saying it isn’t funny.  It’s just not funny enough for me.  It may be for you.

    2011

    Columbia Pictures

    Directed by Ruben Fleischer

    Produced by Stuart Cornfeld and Ben Stiller

    Screenplay by Michael Diliberti

    Based on a story by Michael Diliberti and Matthew Sullivan

    Rated R

    83 minutes

     

    The post Movie Review: 30 Minutes Or Less appeared first on Transmissions From Atlantis.

    Earth Station One Episode 203 – Surprising Deaths in Fiction

    Earth Station One Ep 203It’s time for the ESO Invitational Dead Pool! Mike, Mike, the award-winning author Bobby Nash, and Derrick Ferguson review some big-league fictional deaths that defied prediction and influenced storytelling forever. Plus, we also strap writer Adam Lance Garcia to The Geek Seat to see if the Green Lama can save him, and we share stories about our wonderful weekend at Con Nooga. All this, along with the usual Rants, Raves, Khan Report, and Shout Outs!

    Join us for yet another episode of The Earth Station One Podcast we like to call: Surprising Deaths in Fiction

    Table of Contents
    0:00:00 Intro / Welcome
    0:05:57 Rants & Raves
    0:23:11 Interview & Geek Seat w/ Adam Lance Garcia
    0:48:21 Surprising Death in Fiction
    1:47:32 Dr Geeks Moment of Science
    1:49:00 ESO Khan Report
    1:58:57 ESO Shout Outs & Show Close

    Link
    The New ESO Amazon.com E-Store
    ESO on iTunes
    ESO on Stitcher
    The New ESO Window Sticker
    Make-A-Wish Foundation
    Scairy Tales Noir
    Bobby Nash
    Zombies vs Robots: No Man’s Land
    SCI FI Bloggers Article
    The Green Lama: Scions
    Adam Lance Garcia
    Adam Lance Garcia on Twitter
    Adam Lance Garcia on Facebook
    Big Morning Buzz Live
    Derrick Ferguson
    Dillon by Derrick Ferguson
    Derrick Ferguson on Facebook
    Snow Falls

    ESO Khan! Appearances
    Mar 15-16 MGA Comic Con (Macon, GA)
    ESO (Bobby, MikeG)

    Apr 25-27 Trek Trax Atlanta
    ESO (MikeG)

    Apr 26-27 Knoxville Comic and Anime Con
    ESO (Bobby)

    May 23-25 TimeGate
    ESO (Bobby, MikeF, MikeG)
    DGEEK (Dr. Geek)
    13HR (DebbieV)

    May 30-Jun 1 Alabama Phoenix Festival (Birmingham, AL)
    ESO (Bobby)

    Jul 23-27 SDCC
    ESO (MikeG)

    Aug 8-10 Boston Comic Con
    ESO (MikeG)

    Aug 29-Sep 1 Dragoncon
    ESO Network (All)

    If you would like to leave feedback or a comment on the show please call the ESO feedback line at (404)963-9057 (remember long distance charges may apply) or feel free to email us @ esopodcast@gmail.com

    The post Earth Station One Episode 203 – Surprising Deaths in Fiction appeared first on Transmissions From Atlantis.