Tuesday Releases: 300: Rise Of An Empire & Winter’s Tale

JUNE 24TH, 2014

300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE // Eva Green is a sexpot. Taking on the role of the villain Artemisia in the somewhat sequel to “300” (more of a side-quel as the timelines run parallel), “300: Rise Of An Empire” proves that Eva has the sinister vivacity that makes her a highlight under the right circumstances. Without her, the film would have been extremely lacking, so kudos to the casting director, allowing Eva to basically carry the film, helping to bring out memorable performances in Sullivan Stapleton as Themistocles and Rodrigo Santoro as King Xerxes. Apart from one steamy, erotic tumble with Stapleton, for the most part, Eva commands the role simply with her domineering presence and impeccable delivery. But take her out of the limelight and you are left with a patchwork quilt of Greek mythology ideas that just barely get the filmmakers vision across.

The film opens as a prequel, telling how King Xerxes became the God of Persia at the hands of Themistocles  prior to bringing the fight to Sparta’s King Leonidas (Gerard Butler) and his 300 soldiers in the first film. Themistocles becomes the guiding force of the Greek’s navy, taking the fight to Xerxes’ right hand woman, the aforementioned Artemisia, at sea, despite their obvious disadvantage in being outnumbered. Setting itself apart from its predecessor by being at sea, the film uses the stylings of the first Frank Miller adaptation but adds some of its own flair. Where the first film’s production design was mostly oranges and reds, with the ocean theme, the design leans more on aquatic colors like blues and greens. The reds are still seen with each swing of a blade or shot of an arrow, producing ridiculous crimson sprays of blood as if a paintbrush loaded with red paint was whipped across a canvas. Despite its reliance on over-the-top, stylized violence, “300: Rise Of An Empire” is just different enough to remain memorable and launches Eva Green that much further into the spotlight.

Enemy-header

ENEMY // The doppleganger storyline has never been more intense or more confusing than in director Denis Villeneuve’s latest film, “Enemy”. In “Prisoners”, Villeneuve directed Jake Gyllenhaal to one of the best performances of his career, so it was only natural for these two to pair up again. This time around Gyllenhaal plays a lowly history teacher named Adam who lives a boring life amidst a monotonous relationship with Mélanie Laurent. When one of his coworkers recommends him a movie one night, he discovers one of the extras looks exactly like him. Adam begins researching the actor, whom he finds is Anthony Claire. Despite his mother telling him that he is an only child, Adam’s curiosity gets the best of him and in scaring Anthony’s pregnant wife over the phone, the two eventually meet and discover they are physically exactly the same. Bordering on the thriller genre, Anthony plays a twisted game, making Adam borrow him his clothes so he can mess around with Laurent.

Without much explanation in the plot, the film relies heavily on the actors’ performances. Gyllenhaal delivers two breakout performances, bringing the doppleganger performance to a new level. Sarah Gadon steals the show, however, as she digs into the jealous wife emotions and reflects so much of her performance under the surface that it truly causes the audience to think. Loosely adapted from José Saramago’s novel “The Double”, the film version takes some interesting visual turns to tell the story and brings an ending so startling and bizarre it will cause you to run to the nearest computer and Google what it means. Although “Enemy” will be missed by most casual viewers, those willing to invest the time will not be disappointed. However, fair warning, if you have a strong phobia of spiders (particularly tarantulas) I would highly recommend you avoid this film.

New Releases
300: Rise of an Empire
Blood Ties
Enemy (2014)
Rob the Mob
Winter’s Tale
Wolf Creek 2 2-denied2-small

TV Box Set

  • The Boondocks: Season Four
  • The Bridge (US): Season One  huluplus
  • Dragon Ball Z: Season Five
  • Duck Dynasty: Season Five
  • I Spy: The Complete Series
  • Jack Taylor: Set Two
  • Lost Girl: Season Four
  • Masters of Sex: Season One  
  • NYPD Blue: Season Six
  • Orphan Black: Season Two  
  • Witches of East End: Season One
Special Editions/Other Releases
  • Afternoon Of A Faun  2-denied2-small
  • Anita: Speaking Truth to Power  
  • Basketball Girlfriend
  • The Black Book
  • Britten’s Children
  • Bumblef–k, USA
  • The Chef, The Actor, The Scoundrel
  • The Coed And The Zombie Stoner
  • Deadly Revenge
  • The Dependables
  • Dora’s Magical Sleepover
  • Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me  2-denied2-small
  • Fracknation
  • A Hard Day’s Night: Criterion
  • Jane Austen’s Emma
  • The Legend Of Six Fingers
  • Marina
  • Maybe Tomorrow
  • Monsters From Beyond The Sun
  • The Ouija Experiment
  • Pandora’s Promise  
  • Redwood Highway
  • Repentance  2-denied2-small
  • Screamers: Something Waits…
  • $ellebrity  AmazonPrime
  • Sharp (2013)
  • Some Velvet Morning  
  • Stravinsky In Hollywood
  • The Wedding Video  2-denied2-small
  • What Richard Did
  • The Woman In White

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