Welcome to the Screening Room, the movies at home edition. I'm Russ Simmons. Shawn Edwards is working for you in Hong Kong and will be back with us next week.
1) 300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE (R)
After seven years, Hollywood finally got 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 anEmpire" may be the toga party you're looking for.
Shawn says, "Stunning visuals and over the top action carry the load."
RUSS: 2 Popcorn Bags
SHAWN: 3 Popcorn Bags
2) WINTER'S TALE (PG-13)
“Winter’s Tale” is a supernatural romance set in Edwardian New York, starring Colin Farrell and Russell Crowe. Based on the bestselling novel, this peculiar fantasy walks a knife’s edge between sentimentality and downright campiness.
If you can keep from rolling your eyes at some of the film’s ridiculous elements, “Winter’s Tale” could prove oddly entertaining.
Shawn describes it as, "Just an awful movie experience. Bad script. Terrible acting. And poor execution. Not to mention that non of it made any sense."
RUSS: 2 Popcorn Bags
SHAWN: 0 Popcorn Bags
3) ENEMY (R)
Jake Gyllenhaal gives an excellent performance in the dual role of a history professor AND his doppelganger in the eerie art house thriller, “Enemy.” A puzzling, dark and moody horror flick, it tiptoes around themes of identity and desire. It doesn’t make a lick of sense, but it’s intriguing.
RUSS: 3 Popcorn Bags
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