Screening Room: “300: Rise of an Empire,” “Mr. Peabody and Sherman”

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KANSAS CITY, Mo--  It looks like it's a good weekend for the new films at the box office. FOX 4 film reviewers Russ Simmons and Shawn Edwards give us their take on 300:Rise of an Empire and Mr. Peabody and Sherman.

1) 300: Rise of an Empire (R)
Warner Brothers

It’s taken seven years, but Hollywood has finally gotten around to making a sequel to the blockbuster sword and sandal hit, “300.” The earlier action fantasy, based on the graphic novel by Frank Miller, presented unique visuals in its fantastical depiction of a battle between Greeks and Persians in 480 BC.

The sequel, "300: Rise of an Empire" is an over-the-top comic book movie that is so saturated with computer generated violence that it appears to have employed an army of graphic artists just to create oceans of gushing blood. The gory mayhem is so relentless that it loses its effectiveness after the first ten minutes.

Australian actor Sullivan Stapleton takes the lead role of Athenian commander Themistocles...and his performance is stiffer than his iron spear. Gerard Butler is sorely missed this time around. Luckily, Eva Green gives a memorably wicked turn as the evil Artemisia, leader of the Persian forces. If she could grow a mustache, she'd be twirling it.

While the otherworldly visuals are admittedly impressive, "300: Rise of an Empire" leaves much to be desired in virtually every other way.

The hyperbolic dialogue is laughable and the movie has almost no sense of humor. But if all you demand of a movie is graphic, non-stop R-rated swordplay and you don't care about historical accuracy, then "300: Rise of an Empire" may be the toga party you're looking for.

Shawn says, "Exhilarating. Love this style of movie. Right on par with '300.'"

RUSS: 2 Popcorn Bags
SHAWN: 4 Popcorn Bags

2) Mr. Peabody & Sherman (PG)
Dreamworks

"Mr. Peabody & Sherman" is a computer-animated comedy based on the time-traveling characters from the old "Rocky and Bullwinkle" TV show. Ty Burrell from TV's "Modern Family" provides the voice of the brilliant scientific pooch who loves history as much as he loves corny puns. Other actors in the voice cast include Stephen Colbert, Leslie Mann, Stanley Tucci and Mel Brooks.

While it lacks some of the original TV cartoon's sophisticated humor that flew over kids' heads, it is a fast moving and warmhearted comedy that might actually get the youngsters interested in learning more about Leonardo Da Vinci and George Washington. We won't be talking about it when next year's Oscar nominations come around, but it's still a fun, engaging family flick.

Shawn calls it, "A bit goofy but fun. Charming but awkwardly out of date. Decent animation but spastic storytelling."

RUSS: 3 Popcorn Bags
SHAWN: 3 Popcorn Bags

Also opening this week, “Stranger by the Lake” is an erotic French thriller, “Spinning Plates” is a documentary about three unique restaurants.

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What's our criteria for reviewing a film and awarding the popcorn bag ratings? Click here:  http://link.fox4kc.com/1fu5fMn

Follow on Twitter: @fox4kc @RussSimmons1 @sedwardskc

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