Offering further explanation and depth to the political tides turning within the story of the 300, we meet warrior turned politician Themistokles (Sullivan Stapleton). Following Themistokles journey across Greece and surrounding territories the stage is set as Persian forces led by Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) and naval commander Artemisia (Eva Green) march and sail closer still. Defending Greece will take a combined effort on all fronts, but is it already too late? Directed by Noam Murro and partially written by Zack Snyder, Rise of an Empire is an ambitious piece that strives for the look, feel, and texture of 2006′s 300, and for the most part mission accomplished. Pseudo film noir comic book stop motion blood spattering to the max certainly makes this 2014′s bloodiest major release to date, but in many regards makes this feel like a one trick pony. And, while it’s a little hard to digest the somewhat simpleton dialogue, our principals seem to recite their lines with such seriousness, that that in itself is an accomplishment. Totally gratuitous sex will keep the fan boys titallated, and setup for a part three seems inevitable. It’s big loud and unapologetic, hmmm, maybe a matinee for graphic novel fans? 300: Rise of an Empire is rated R.
Alcoholic, depressed, and caught in a self imposed tailspin, air marshal Bill Marks (Liam Neeson) is a target for airline terrorist/hijackers. While crossing the Atlantic Bill is called to action as a series of mysterious text messages indicates certain death to passengers aboard his flight; that is unless Bill is able to transfer $150 million into an off-shore account. Relying on his own pure resourcefulness, and the good nature of one passenger (Julianne Moore) and a flight attendant (Michelle Dockery), Bill might just be able to stop a major catastrophe, then again, hey may already be too late. This is a bit of a curiosity, while the story itself isn’t exactly the sharpest and the overall dialogue has the tendency to induce eye rolls, the acting strength of Neeson and Moore alone is just enough to pull up on the yoke and keep this popcorn chomper from turning into a total nosedive. Meanwhile, hopes of a mind bending psychological thriller hang in the air like a fog (thinking Fight Club here), sadly as we near the final act these hopes dissipate as cheap thrills are what keep this no brainer aloft. Bottom line, great cinema, no, entertaining for what it is, yes; just don’t think too hard on the plot and be prepared to fist pump U-S-A! U-S-A! Non-Stop is rated PG-13.
Seasoned CIA spook/cleaner Ethan Renner (Kevin Costner) is a highly skilled badass for the U.S.; but, with the recent diagnosis of a fatal cancer, his outlook on life is shifted amd a desire to connect to his wife and daughter is now a priority. Alas top agent Vivi Delay (Amber Heard) has other plans for Ethan, she needs him to stop one more set of international terrorists, The Albino and The Wolf (Tomas Lemarquis, Richard Sammel). Balancing home life and work life has never been easy for Ethan, but perhaps this last job will pay off with big dividends? Partially written by Luc Besson this latest spy/action thriller has all the bits we’ve come to expect from films such as Taken, Die Hard, The Transporter and so on; unfortunately, the actual dialogue and execution of all of these bits just comes across as stale, formulaic, derivative, and laugh worthy. Meanwhile the discord between plot lines and haphazard story structure makes things messier, by the final act eye rolls and question marks probably sum things up best. Questionable editing and production choices increase the cheap factor further. More of a rental or a pass all together. 3 Days to Kill is rated PG-13.