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You can’t keep a crazy Persian king down. And thus, after getting his ass handed to him by 300 Spartans in Zack Snyder’s 2006 hit “300,” Persia’s self-styled God-king Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) is back for another helping of Greek butt kicking. This time around he’s brought along vengeful gal pal Artemisia (Eva Green), a Greek orphan who has a major grudge to settle with her fellow countrymen, especially those vaunted Spartans. And so the stage is set for another Hellenic bloodbath, this time on the seas and with the Spartans playing background noise. Taking the lead is Athenian General Themistocles (Sullivan Stapleton), a master tactician who may have just bitten off more than he can chew when Artemisia brings the entire Persian Navy to battle. Directed by relative newcomer Noam Murro, who does a hell of a job despite having only the moderately budgeted 2008 movie “Smart People” under his belt, »
“I was the client contact and handled the on-set supervision for Scanline in Bulgaria,” explains Scanline VFX Supervisor Bryan Hirota. “Once principal photography wrapped I stayed in the La office and supervised the teams there. Danielle was in Vancouver nearly full-time and supervised the teams in that location. Given her experience working in the Munich office for a number of years it made sense for Danielle [Plantec] to oversee the work sent there as well. Stephan oversaw all Flowline simulation.” Orchestrating the visual effects for the stylish historic epic helmed by Noam Murro (Smart People) was Richard Hollander (Wall•E). “I’ve known Richard for many years so it was easy to establish a dialogue with him while we were in Bulgaria during principal photography »
- Trevor Hogg
It is fitting that Hateship Loveship features the most awkward romantic chemistry between two lead actors of any film in 2014 (a year that has already brought us the insipid Winter’s Tale and Breathe In) since it also has one of the most awkward titles of any film in recent memory. Yes, the film’s title is abbreviated from the title of an Alice Munro short story that requires you to take a deep breath before mentioning it: Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage. However, what may have blossomed on the page does not quite gel in an elongated feature-length format, despite a surprisingly strong effort from a subdued Kristen Wiig.
The actress plays Johanna, a caretaker who performs her duties with the utmost care and precision, like a shier version of Anthony Hopkins’ loyal butler from The Remains of the Day. After an old lady she nannies dies, Johanna still »
- Jordan Adler
In March, the Above Average channel debuted a trio of new series as part of its spring content lineup. It has now added a fourth with Swimming Lessons, an animated comedy about a middle-aged deadbeat who takes a job teaching beginners-level swimming. Swimming Lessons' protagonist is Mr. James, who is "an inch away from rock bottom" after losing his job and his life. He moves back home and picks up four swimming students, each of whom is defined by his or her most dominant personality trait. There is a spoiled rich kid who is one step from Stewie Griffin, a train wreck named Dear Baby Jesus, a fat child who needs to get exercise before he has a heart attack, and a weirdo with voices in her head. Swimming Lessons has picked up the Wednesday slot previously occupied by the three-episode Idiots Guide To Smart People
Visit Tubefilter for more great stories. »
- Sam Gutelle
Who can say no to cake? Apparently not Jennifer Aniston. Following the massive success of her R-rated comedy We're The Millers, Aniston has signed on to headline and executive produce an indie dramedy called Cake. And she's bringing a bunch of friends on board for the ride. What began as a Black List script with buzz is now an indie production with a dazzling ensemble. The Wrap reports Sam Worthington, Anna Kendrick, Chris Messina, Felicity Huffman (Desperate Housewives), William H. Macy (Shameless), Marianne Jean-Baptiste (Secrets & Lies), Britt Robertson (Delivery Man), Lucy Walters (The Brass Teapot), Camille Mana (Smart People), and Manuel Garcia Rulfo (Bless Me, Ultima) have all joined Cake's cast. THR adds that The Good Wife's Mamie Gummer, daughter of Meryl Streep, has also signed on. Penned by Patrick Tobin (No Easy Way Out), Cake will center on Claire (Aniston), a bitter woman who is absorbed in »
Sam Worthington, Anna Kendrick, Chris Messina, Felicity Huffman, William H. Macy. Britt Robertson, Lucy Walters (“Shame”), Camille Mana (“Smart People”), Manuel Garcia Rulfo (“Bless Me, Ultima) and Oscar-nominated actress Marianne Jean-Baptiste (“Secrets & Lies”) will join Jennifer Aniston in the indie movie “Cake,” TheWrap has learned. Daniel Barnz (“Won't Back Down”) will direct from Patrick Tobin's script, which was voted to the 2013 Black List. Also read: Jennifer Aniston in Talks to Star in New Line Comedy ‘Mean Moms’ (Exclusive) Aniston will play an acerbic woman named Claire who becomes fascinated by the suicide of Nina (Kendrick), a woman in her chronic pain. »
- Jeff Sneider
Welcome to the third and concluding portion of the long interview I did with Dan Harmon a couple of weeks ago in Los Angeles. In part 1, Harmon discussed the initial process of his return to “Community” and the beginning and end of his feud with Chevy Chase. In part 2, he talked about some of the specific goals of “Community” season 5 and the non-impossibility of a season 6 (and a movie). In part 3, our focus mostly shifts away from “Community” to deal with Harmon’s other show of the moment, the Adult Swim animated sci-fi comedy “Rick and Morty,” a kind of dark, twisted spin on the Doc Brown/Marty McFly relationship from “Back to the Future,” only where Rick is an alcoholic sociopath and Morty is the learning disabled grandson he takes horrific advantage of. (I reviewed it earlier this year.) We talk at times about the differences and similarities between the two shows, »
- Alan Sepinwall
If you choose your favorite bands based on their obscurity, the following video is not for you. (Unless you have a sense of humor. Do music snobs have a sense of humor?)
For everyone else, the comedy network Above Average has created a guide to interacting with the world’s most picky music fans. It’s the second installment in their tongue-in-cheek Idiot’s Guide to Smart People series, and it’s quite humorously spot-on.
The video opens by explaining to viewers (a.k.a. “idiots”) that “it takes a smart person to love music in a way that takes »
- Amber Ray
Welcome to Screen Rant’s “Geek Picks,” where we collect the finest movie-related geekery from around the Web. Today you’ll find everything wrong with Goonies in 8 minutes or less; Dredd with puppets; the idiot’s guide to smart people: music; if Google was a guy (part 2); 8 bit Happy Gilmore; and The Art Of Love. All that and more on this edition of Sr’s Geek Picks!
If you have any Geek Picks of your own, please send them to srgeekpicks(at)gmail(dot)com and you could be featured in a future post!
The Idiot’s Guide to Smart People: Music (Ep. 2 of 3)
Only smart people can love music in a way that takes all the fun out of it.
Everything Wrong With Goonies In 8 Minutes Or Less
Click to continue reading Sr Geek Picks: Everything Wrong With ‘Goonies,’ ‘Dredd’ With Puppets, & More!
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- Justin Vactor
Above Average continues to churn out new series at a rapid pace. The YouTube channel run by Saturday Night Live production company Broadway Video has debuted a new content slate, which includes three new series. The first new series to debut is Monkey Love, an animated comedy about a male chimpanzee who masquerades as a human woman in order to find love. The first man on his docket is a dopey dad played by Jeff Goldblum, and future guests include Aidy Bryant, Kate McKinnon, and Tim Meadows. As you might have guessed from the description, Monkey Love is, um, unusual. The other two entries in Above Average's new content slate play things much closer to the belt. The Idiot's Guide To Smart People is also animated; it teaches the 'ignorant' among us how to talk politics, religion, and music with the so-called 'smart' people of the world. Naturally, The Idiot's »
- Sam Gutelle
Togas-to-go and abs to die for atop the UK box office, while Grand Budapest Hotel books in a surprise third
• More from UK box office
Seven years after the original 300 film, and with Gerard Butler's slain character missing this time around, it was by no means certain that audiences had an appetite for second helpings. But backers Warners and Legendary Pictures will be plenty happy with the opening numbers for 300: Rise of an Empire in the Us and internationally. In the UK, the film, from director Noam Murro (Smart People) and starring Australian actor Sullivan Stapleton (Animal Kingdom), achieved a robust £2.76m debut. While that's well down on 300's opening salvo – £4.75m including previews of £784,000 – it's not bad for a film that seemed short of marketable elements other than the 300 brand name.
Rise of an Empire knocked The Lego Movie off the top spot after a three-week run. »
- Charles Gant
300: Rise of an Empire speared its competition and kept on raking in the dollars on its opening weekend.Warner Bros. and Legendary’s hyper-stylized 3-D sequel earned an estimated $45 million from 3,470 theaters. Despite lackluster reviews, audiences turned out in droves to watch Eva Green’s Atremisia and the rest of the scantily clad warriors take to the sea for battle in the $108 million pic. Smart People director Noam Murro took the helm from Zack Snyder this time around — though Snyder produced and wrote the film. Audiences (62 percent male) slapped the epic with a B Cinema Score.The lure of IMAX helped. »
- Lindsey Bahr
Sullivan Stapleton is about to become a big ticket in the U.S. Warner Bros. Pictures' "300: Rise of An Empire" where he plays Themistokles alongside Eva Green as Artemisia, has now earned an estimated $45 million on its debut weekend. The film which as a $110 million production budget, averaged $12,983 from 3,470 theaters, while overseas the adventure has grossed over $87.8 million. "Smart People" helmer Noam Murro directs from the script by original "300" director Zack Snyder and Kurt Johnstad, based on the graphic novel by "Xerxes" by Frank Miller. In second, DreamWorks' "Mr. Peabody & Sherman" also performed well with around $32 million grossed from 3,934 theaters, averaging $8,261. The animation voiced by Ty Burrell, Max Charles and Stephen Colbert, has earned $65.8 million from international territories, and holds $145 million production budget. Third place "Non-Stop" from Universal showed a 46% change in its sophomore weekend with $15.3 million earned. Liam Neeson and Julianne Moore star in the Jaume Collet-Serra action »
Eight years after Zack Snyder revived the sword-and-sandal subgenre and inspired millions of men to revisit the gym with his adaptation of Frank Miller's 300, he has scripted a return to ancient Greece. Directed by Noam Murro (Smart People), the movie 300: Rise of an Empire is a self-indulgent video game fantasy at best.
The film opens with a recap of the events of 300 and an introduction to Themistokles (Sullivan Stapleton), the new lead, who's head of the Greek army. The action proceeds to explain how Themistokles is not just the hero who led the Greeks to victory over Xerxes, but was himself responsible for the enmity held by Xerxes toward the Greeks.
Artemisia (Eva Green) is introduced as the leader of Xerxes' forces, and the two commence with a series of battles consisting of ships crashing into each other as warriors fight to the death on top of the sinking wrecks. »
- Mike Saulters
The new film 300: Rise of an Empire is a follow-up, of sorts, to 300 (2006). Zack Snyder is still the lead writer on this new incarnation but the director of the new film is Noam Murro. Murro’s only prior feature directing experience was a film called Smart People (2008) and it is a good guess you didn’t see it as it grossed less than $10M domestic. It is interesting that the new film bookends its predecessor. The timeline of 300: Rise of an Empire starts prior to 300 and ends after it. You don’t see that very often. The people making this movie clearly expect the audience to grasp that complexity with little difficulty and in the current spoon-fed culture that Hollywood is known for that is a bit impressive. The creators here boldly launch into a visceral tale that parallels not only the initial film’s violence and visual »
- Steven Gahm
Some films are content being a prequel, and others are happy being a sequel. But 300: Rise of an Empire is having none of that. Instead, the film begins in the first act of Zack Snyder‘s original 300 and carries on past that film’s mass Spartan demise. So yes, it’s essentially The Bourne Legacy of films about Greek warfare. Themistokles (Sullivan Stapleton) is a Greek general aware of Xerxes’ (Rodrigo Santoro) imminent invasion and struggling to rally the various Greek states together to present a uniform front. Sparta ignores his pleas and instead sends 300 of their bravest off to battle (and we all know how that turned out), so Themistokles is forced to make do and form the best navy he can muster. His enemy equal on the sea, Artemisia (Eva Green), leads the Persian naval forces that once again outnumber their Greek foes by a wide margin. The »
- Rob Hunter
The first 300 was an uncompromising paean to glorious graphic-novel imagery, infused with music-video sensibility and CGI magic. Zack Snyder’s adaptation of Frank Miller’s bloody tale, which chronicles the Spartans’ noble defeat at Thermopylae in 480 B.C., splattered the box office in 2007, grossing $201.6 million and making Gerard Butler’s abs more famous than Gerard Butler. 300: Rise of the Empire is a prequel, sequel, and side-quel to that tale.
- Jeff Labrecque
After a modest February, things should start picking up across the board at the box office as we enter March. This weekend, Warner Bros. and Legendary’s macho sequel 300: Rise of an Empire debuts against DreamWorks’ animated family pic Mr. Peabody & Sherman. Clearly neither are going after the same audience, and both are primed to hit decent $30 plus million debuts, but the Greeks versus Persians sword-and-sandals epic is going to win the weekend and redeem the genre from Pompeii’s and Hercules’ poor 2014 box office showings.
Here’s how things might play out:
1. 300: Rise of an Empire — $45 million »
- Lindsey Bahr
Although it probably works just as well as its 2006 predecessor, “300: Rise of An Empire” seems a lot siller than “300,” perhaps because it takes itself a lot more seriously. Working from a script by the original “300″ team of Frank Miller, Kurt Johnstad and Zack Snyder, director Noam Murro (“Smart People”) inherits the first film’s gold-dipped, speed-ramped camerawork and its penchant for heroic largesse. But “Rise of an Empire” lacks director Snyder’s shrewd deconstruction of cartoonish hagiography, undermining the glorious, robust escapism of testosterone-fueled historical reenactment with an underdog story that feels almost too reflective to be rousing. Watch. »
- Todd Gilchrist
Few recent tentpoles have lent themselves less naturally to a sequel than Zack Snyder’s “300,” a movie in which nearly all the major characters died, while a brief coda showed a unified Greek army about to lay waste to the remnants of Persia. But Snyder and co-writer Kurt Johnstad handily surmount that problem in “300: Rise of an Empire,” which offers a “meanwhile, back in Athens” story to complement the Spartan narrative of the first film, along with an even higher quotient of impaled torsos, severed limbs and rippling Mediterranean musculature. Anchored by Eva Green’s fearsome performance as a Persian naval commander whose vengeful bloodlust makes glowering King Xerxes seem a mere poseur, this highly entertaining time-filler lacks the mythic resonances that made “300” feel like an instant classic, but works surprisingly well on its own terms. Arriving in theaters on the box office fumes of “The Legend of Hercules” and “Pompeii, »
- Scott Foundas
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