Upcoming Theatrical Releases
300: Rise of An Empire
Director: Noam Murro
R; 102 mins.
Based on Frank Miller’s latest graphic novel Xerxes and told in the breathtaking visual style of the blockbuster “300,” this new chapter of the epic saga takes the action to a fresh battlefield-on the sea-as Greek general Themistokles (Sullivan Stapleton) attempts to unite all of Greece by leading the charge that will change the course of the war. “300: Rise of an Empire” pits Themistokles against the massive invading Persian forces led by mortal-turned-god Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro), and Artemisia (Eva Green), vengeful commander of the Persian navy. (Synopsis by Warner Bros.)
Check out my full review later this week on The Dagger.
Mr. Peabody & Sherman
Director: Rob Minkoff
PG; 82 mins.
Mr. Peabody, the most accomplished dog in the world, and his mischievous boy Sherman, use their time machine – the WABAC – to go on the most outrageous adventures known to man or dog. But when Sherman takes the WABAC out for a joyride to impress his friend Penny, they accidentally rip a hole in the universe, wreaking havoc on the most important events in world history. Before they forever alter the past, present and future, Mr. Peabody must come to their rescue, ultimately facing the most daunting challenge of any era: figuring out how to be a parent. Together, the time traveling trio will make their mark on history. (Synopsis by Fox)
Thankfully there’s enough of the deadpan humor of the original. Unfortunately, the animation has been jazzed up a little too much. The cardinal sin of “coming-out-of-the-screen” 3D is employed, and it’s a little too slick overall. Watchable, but not memorable. Rent it.
PG-13; 80 mins.
Tim Jenison, a Texas based inventor, (Video Toaster, LightWave, TriCaster) attempts to solve one of the greatest mysteries in all art: How did 17th century Dutch master Johannes Vermeer (“Girl with a Pearl Earring”) manage to paint so photo-realistically – 150 years before the invention of photography? The epic research project Jenison embarks on to test his theory is as extraordinary as what he discovers. Spanning a decade, Jenison’s adventure takes him to Delft, Holland, where Vermeer painted his masterpieces on a pilgrimage to the North coast of Yorkshire to meet artist David Hockney and eventually to Buckingham Palace, to see the Queen’s Vermeer. (Synopsis by Sony Pictures Classics)
Penn and Teller take to the big screen with a forensic, scientific approach to a documentary. Fans of their Showtime series know that the duo is fascinating when applying their talents to solving problems. This movie is an extension of that theme and is largely satisfying in its execution. See it.
Upcoming DVD Releases
12 Years a Slave
Director: Steve McQueen (III)
R; 134 mins.
Based on an incredible true story of one man’s fight for survival and freedom. In the pre-Civil War United States, Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free black man from upstate New York, is abducted and sold into slavery. Facing cruelty (personified by a malevolent slave owner, portrayed by Michael Fassbender), as well as unexpected kindnesses, Solomon struggles not only to stay alive, but to retain his dignity. In the twelfth year of his unforgettable odyssey, Solomon’s chance meeting with a Canadian abolitionist (Brad Pitt) will forever alter his life. (Synopsis by Fox Searchlight)
It won the Academy Award for Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Adapted Screenplay. Do I need to tell you to go see this? See it. Now.