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Tag Archive: Gerard Butler


eva green 300 rise of an empire poster

If you can get past 300: Rise of an Empire being another Zack Snyder movie, and another Zack Snyder 300 movie, you might just go to this one because it looks like it could be a solid popcorn movie.  But a better reason would be to watch Eva Green and Lena Headey face off in a fantasy action flick.

Rise of an Empire is loosely based on Greek battles before, during, and after the battle of Thermopylae, the focus of Frank Miller’s graphic novel on which the original 300 film was based.  History buffs will find it difficult to get past most of the costuming and strange masked legions of Xerxes and his allies.

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This movie trailer suggests Lena Headey’s Queen of Sparta is part of a plot to avenge the death of her husband from the original film, King Leonidas (Gerard Butler).  Eva Green plays Artemesia, based on an actual commander of the Persian navy, and the only female commander according to the Greek historian Herodotus in books 7 and 8 of his Histories.

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300 Rise of an Empire poster

The adaptation of Frank Miller’s graphic novel 300, based on the ancient Battle of Thermopylae, was met with both critical and popular success.  Known for its in-your-face blood-and-gore battle scenes, it may be the most graphic battle film ever made.

The original film starred Gerard Butler (Timeline, The Phantom of the Opera) as King Leonidas, Lena Headey (Game of Thrones, The Sarah Connor Chronicles) as his wife Queen Gorgo, and supporting genre actors David Wenham (The Lord of the Rings, Van Helsing) and Michael Fassbender (Prometheus, X-Men: First Class, Jonah Hex, Hex, Inglourious Basterds).

Headey and Wenham are back for 300: Rise of an Empire, and an interesting choice, Eva Green as lead character Artemesia.  As she did in her role in The Golden Compass, she is wielding bow and arrow, this time apparently as a villain.

Check out the first trailer for 300: Rise of an Empire:

Note the preview highlights Zack Snyder as director–his Man of Steel is in theaters this weekend and he directed the original 300.  300: Rise of an Empire is scheduled for a March 7, 2014 release.

C.J. Bunce
Editor
borg.com

Expatriate Erased original poster

When was the last time we saw Aaron Eckhart as lead actor in a movie?  As adman Nick Naylor trying to save big tobacco in the brilliant Thank You for Smoking? Eckhart is such a great lead actor-type that you wonder why he isn’t headlining more movies.  He’s the guy that had us all wearing “I Believe in Harvey Dent” badges after his performance as Two-Face in The Dark Knight.  He drew some critical acclaim for his role opposite Julia Roberts in Erin Brockovich.  And he served as a great bad guy opposite Ben Affleck in the superb Philip K. Dick adaptation Paycheck.  Finally Echkart gets his own action movie in Erased, a flick whose launch date was originally set for last year but now seems to be finally set for May 10, 2013.

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The first movie trailer for the screen adaptation of Les Miserables the musical (not to be confused with countless prior adaptations of the original Victor Hugo novel) is here.  The trailer features Anne Hathaway as she’s never been seen before as the desperate and sickly French worker Fantine, singing “I Dreamed a Dream.”

Check it out:

It all looks very epic and bleak–hence, the misery of the title.  I know audiences love the Fantine song but I’m thinking I would have marketed this more as a rousing war movie, as the best part of Les Mis the musical in my view were the big chorus numbers with the soldiers or the “Master of the House” bit.

Hathaway in Les Mis.

Epic historical costume dramas focusing on music have to work to find their audience, and once in a while, as with Amadeus, you score a hit that brings everyone to the theater.  Is Les Mis capable of that success?

Crowe and Jackman in Les Mis.

With as much as the adaptation of the musical of The Phantom of the Opera had going for it, with superb performances by Emmy Rossum (The Day After Tomorrow, Poseidon) as Christine, Gerard Butler (Timeline, 300, Tomorrow Never Dies) as the Phantom, Minnie Driver (The Riches, Ella Enchanted, X-Files, GoldenEye) as Carlotta, Patrick Wilson (Watchmen, A Gifted Man) as Raoul, Ciaran Hinds (The Woman in Black, Munich, Harry Potter VII, Pt 2, Ghost Rider II, Lara Croft II, Road to Perdition, The Sum of All Fears, Mary Reilly, Excalibur) as Firmin, and Simon Callow (Doctor Who, Amadeus, Shakespeare in Love, Howard’s End) as Andre, it did not receive the critical acclaim it deserved.  It will take an incredibly well done Les Mis film to out-do The Phantom, so this new film has a lot to overcome.  And even then it may take a lot to get folks to see it again but this time on-screen or less likely, see it on-screen without first seeing the musical.

Patrick Wilson and Emmy Rossum in the brilliant adaptation of the musical of The Phantom of the Opera.

Hopefully more interesting, and not yet revealed, will be performances by Sacha Baron Cohen (Talladega Nights, The Dictator) and Helena Bonham Carter (Alice in Wonderland, Frankenstein, Harry Potter series) as the horrible inn keepers.  But Hugh Jackman looks appropriately haggard as Jean Valjean and Russell Crowe looks uncharacteristically vile as the relentless Javert.  Amanda Seyfried looks just plain miscast as Cosette.  Can Hathaway pull off a singing and gritty role like Fantine?  She’s done serious work before and was great in the musical Ella Enchanted, although that was a comedy and didn’t require that she take herself seriously.  If she can pull this role off–a role that might as well be up there with the best known Shakepearean characters–it could catapult her into a different league of actresses and away from the typical modern 20-something roles.

Les Miserables hits theaters December 14, 2012.

C.J. Bunce
Editor
borg.com

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