Paranormal/Fantasy Romance Author

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Movie Review – 300: Rise of an Empire

300: Rise of an Empire

Release: 07 March 2014
Starring: Sullivan Stapleton, Eva Green, Lena Headey, and Rodrigo Santoro
Director: Noam Murro
Genre: Action, Drama, war
Length: 102 min.
Rating: R

Basic Premise
Based on the comic mini-series Xerxes by Frank Miller, this is the continuation of the story started in 300 (2006). Themistokles must unite Greece in order to battle Xerxes and his blood-thirsty general Artemisia and keep Greece free.

Personal Note
It’s been a while since I’ve done a movie review post on my blog, but I felt this movie deserved one.

Review
This story is not a sequel to 300 because the story overlaps. While the events of Rise of an Empire are taking place, so too are the events of 300. Know that first. If it’s been a while since you’ve seen 300, you might want to refresh your memory before going to see Rise of an Empire.

If you liked 300, then you will definitely like Rise of an Empire. The story follows the Athenians instead of the Spartans this time around, which is why the men are wearing blue instead of crimson. That was my major hangup when watching the trailers because it made no sense after 300 made a big deal about the crimson of a Spartan…except the men in this move weren’t Spartans.

It’s the same story-telling style, same pacing (slow motion emphasis of particular scenes, etc), and the same gripping and bloody action of its predecessor. Like 300, Rise of an Empire earned that R rating. There is only one f-bomb the whole movie and several scenes of partial nudity as well (for the parents in the audience).

Though the movie was full of battling men, there was a edge of girl power that I absolutely loved. The strongest general in the Persian army is Artemisia — a woman. She is competent and feared and a warrior. As well, Lena Headey’s character Queen Gorgo had a much more empowering role this movie. She was QUEEN. Not a woman whose husband was king but an actual queen. In charge and running shit. Not only that, she was a Spartan queen, which meant she was kicking ass.

I look forward to owning this movie on DVD and watching it back-to-back with 300. I also look forward to seeing if there will be a third. The rule of storytelling dictates there has to be a third, but we’ll see.

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New Actor on My Fav Actors List

Karl Urban has joined the top ranks in the My Favorite Actors list. The list isn’t that long. I have actors I love to watch because they are pretty to look at but only a few actors actually count as favorites. Karl Urban is now one of them. I loved the man in Star Trek (2009) and Legion (2009) — in fact, he made Legion for me. He’s a fun actor with great range. After watching Dredd (2012), I like him even more.

Not because of that movie mind you. I waited for the DVD for a reason. Dredd was violence for violence’s sake and not that great on the plot and it left a lot of things unanswered, but whatever. According to the hubby, the movie stayed pretty close to the comic, which is another reason I’m happy I never bothered reading it.

The reason Dredd made me like Karl Urban even more is because of the helmet. He NEVER took off that helmet through the whole movie. Not once did you see his whole face. I didn’t even know it was him until the end credits started rolling. Once I saw his name, I recognized his voice, but I genuinely didn’t know. And that’s why he made the list. I absolutely LOVE when an actor puts aside his ego to play a role.

The top spot on the My Favorite Actors list belongs to Hugo Weaving — the infamous Agent Smith from the Matrix trilogy, or more recently Elrond in The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. The man got my attention with those movies. Hell I kept watching the Matrix Trilogy because I wanted to see what Agent Smith would do next. Hugo Weaving earned the top spot because of his role as V in V for Vendetta.

Before him, I had never seen an actor pull off so much extreme emotion. And he did it without showing his face to the audience. He made me see tears and anguish while wearing a mask with a permanent smile. His voice alone gave so much to the character that I stopped seeing the mask. To this day, I can’t look at a Guy Fawkes Day mask without hearing Hugo Weaving saying, “Remember, remember the fifth of November.” Just writing this paragraph makes me want to re-watch the movie for the (what has to be) five hundredth time.

For those who are curious, also on my list of My Favorite Actors is Robert Downey, Jr. He isn’t at the top, but he is on it and his role as Iron Man put him there. He’s not afraid to act behind a mask and no one better epitomizes Tony Stark than Robert Downey, Jr. That’s what I call PERFECT casting.

I have a favorite actresses list too, but that’s a topic for another post.

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Coming to Theaters 28 December

Coming to Theaters 28 December

Django Unchained (Action, Drama, Western – R)

Les Miserables (Drama, Musical, Romance – PG13)

Parental Guidance (Comedy – PG)

Coming to Theaters 21 December

Coming to Theaters 21 December

This is 40 (R – Comedy)

Zero Dark Thirty (R – Drama, Action)

Jack Reacher (PG-13 – Action, Crime, Drama)
The hubby and I laughed at this trailer when we saw it. An MP… really? I don’t think the scriptwriters know what MP’s do.

The Guilt Trip (PG-13 – Comedy)

Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away (Fantasy)

Coming to Theaters 30 November

Coming to Theaters 30 November

Killing Them Softly (Crime, Drama, Thriller – R)

The Collection (Action, Horror, Thriller – R)

Nothing for me this weekend. Guess I can relax at home.

Coming to Theaters 23 November

Coming to Theaters 23 November

For those who like me will be dodging the Black Friday crowds by hiding in a movie theater, here’s what will be in theaters…

Rise of the Guardians (Animation, Family, Adventure, Fantasy – PG)
I have wanted to see this since I saw the movie poster for it way back when. I just love the concept. I also love that Santa Claus is a big, burly Russian dude with tattoos. Go Santa. That is badass. I’m even more impressed that it has a great cast and what looks like a great plot. We shall see.

Life of Pi (Adventure, Drama – PG)
The hubby and I want to see this. I admit I just want to see it because of the tiger in the boat. It looks amazing and heart wrenching. I’m sure we’ll enjoy it.

Silver Linings Playbook (Comedy, Drama – R)

Rust and Bone (Drama, Romance – R)

Coming to Theaters 16 November

Coming to Theaters 16 November

Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2 (PG13 – Adventure Drama Fantasy Romance)
This is my guilty pleasure so of course I’ll be going to the last one.

Anna Karerina (R – Drama)
Never read the book and have never seen any of the movies. No need to break that streak. 😛

Coming to Theaters 09 November

Coming to Theaters 09 November

Skyfall (Action, Adventure, Crime, Thriller – PG13)
It’s a Bond movie so I’m going to go see it. 😀

Lincoln (Biography, Drama, History, War – PG13)
I’m not to gung-ho to see the actual history after the fictional paranormal version that was the vampire hunter movie. I’m sure it’ll be great, but it’s not for me.

A Royal Affair (Drama, History, Romance – R)

Starlet (Drama)

Coming to Theaters 02 November

Coming to Theaters 02 November

Wreck-It Ralph (Animation, Comedy, Family – PG)
This movie concept looks too cute. I’m looking forward to it.

The Man With the Iron Fists (Action – R)
This movie will either be really good or amazingly bad. Either way, the hubby and I have already put it on our definite list.

Flight (Drama – R)
I can’t watch this movie. Anything with plane crashes and I’m out. It looks like it’ll be a great movie though.

The ABCs of Death (Horror – R)
I just mentioned this because the poster looks cool. Anthology work with directors from around the world. I shall rent it when it hits DVD.

Movie Review: Cloud Atlas

Cloud Atlas

Release: 26 October 2012
Starring: Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugo Weaving, Keith David, Hugh Grant, Jim Broadbent, Jim Strugess, Donna Bae, Ben Wishaw, James D’Arcy, Xun Zhou, David Gyasi, and Susan Sarandon
Directors: Lana Wachowski, Tom Tykwer, Andy Wachowski
Genre: Drama, Mystery, SciFi
Length: 172min.
Rating: R

Basic Premise:
Based on the novel Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell, this sprawling epic follows the lives of separate individuals through the distant past and the far flung future as they each struggle to break the cycle of tragedy and lost love that plagues them all.

Personal Note:
Just the fact that this post is appearing on my blog after I said I wouldn’t be doing movie reviews any longer (except in special cases) speaks volumes to what I thought of this movie.

Review:
Thought-provoking plot, amazing acting, mind-blowing effects, and fantastic make-up. This movie is a must see. I don’t care what genres you prefer, this movie is one I would recommend for everyone.

Well almost everyone. It’s rated R for a reason. This isn’t for kids. There is bloody (and I do mean bloody), graphic acts of violence. The camera doesn’t shy away from splatter and carnage. There are f-bombs and nudity and sex acts. But none of that is a negative. It made the movie more visceral and tangible.

The cast might be star-studded but they all worked their asses off, each playing multiple roles throughout history and into the future while sometimes wearing impressive makeup. Stay after the movie ends to see the cast credits. They show each actor in all their different roles. Some were really surprising and gave me new respect for the actors.

I look forward to owning this DVD. I might even go see it in theaters again. This movie is funny. It’s violent. It’s tragic. It’s scifi. It’s historical. It’s intrigue and adventure. It’s a little bit of everything all at once. I mean that literally. All parts of the story are told all at once. You jump from the past to the present to the future to present to the past and all over again. While some might think that’s confusing, I didn’t find it hard to keep the storylines straight.

Even though the year hasn’t ended, I think I can safely call Cloud Atlas the best movie of 2012.

Coming to Theaters 26 October

Coming to Theaters 26 October

Cloud Atlas (Drama, Mystery, SciFi – R)
This trailer blew me away when I finally saw it. I can’t understand how it took me so long to see it though. I’d been living in movie theaters all summer and yet I didn’t see a trailer until I went to see Looper. Totally going to see this though.

Silent Hill: Revelation (Horror, Mystery, Thriller – R)
Yes! Going to see this. I enjoyed the first one. This is the perfect Halloween movie.

Chasing Mavericks (Sport, Drama – PG)
I’m pretty sure this movie will be really popular in Hawaii. I have no intentions of seeing it.

Coming to Theaters 19 October

Coming to Theaters 19 October

Alex Cross (Crime, Mystery, Thriller – PG13)
I’ve never read the books and have no real interest in this movie one way or the other.

Paranormal Activity 4 (Horror – R)
Oh God, not another one. I wonder if it’ll last as long as the Saw movies. If so, at least I have a general idea of when they’ll stop making them.

The Sessions (Drama – R)

End of Movie Reviews

Ever so often I phase out something on my blog. This time it’s movie reviews. I’m still going to the movies as often as I usually do, but I just don’t feel like writing reviews any longer. It’s easier to put a few lines of commentary in my FB status.

I might get the inclination to bust one out one day but not right now. Just so people don’t wonder where the movie reviews have gone, I decided to put up this post. As well, I wanted to post my final Top 10 list for my own records before I delete it out of the sidebar.

May – Aug 2012 Top 10
#1 – Avengers
#2 – The Amazing Spider-Man
#3 – Brave
#4 – Battleship
#5 – Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
#6 – Magic Mike
#7 – Ted
#8 – Prometheus
#9 – Dark Shadows
#10 – Snow White and the Huntsman

Coming to Theaters 12 October

Coming to Theaters 12 October

Argo (Drama, Thriller – R)
The hubby wants to see this. I’ll see it when it comes out on DVD.

Sinister (Crime, Horror, Thriller – R)
I kept getting this and Mama mixed up in my mind. I guess that lets you know how much I want to see this… which is not at all.

Here Comes the Boom (Action, Comedy)
I finally saw a trailer for this recently. It looks like a DVD movie. A fun DVD movie, but a DVD movie nonetheless.

Seven Psychopaths (Comedy, Crime – R)
I think I’ve seen this trailer and just blanked it from my memory because it was too stupid to waste space remembering it. Or something like that. No.

Another week of nothing for me.

Coming to Theaters 05 October

Coming to Theaters 05 October

Taken 2 (Action, Crime, Drama, Thriller – PG13)
I didn’t see the first one. I’m not going to see this one either. 😛

Frankenweenie (Comedy, Animation, Horror, SciFi – PG)
I’ve seen this preview I don’t know how many times and none of those times has interested me in this movie.

Pitch Perfect (Comedy, Music – PG13)
This is one of those movies where I only want to see the end. All the in-fighting and drama leading up to the end doesn’t interest me in the least.

Nothing for me this week.

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