The polar vortices are still making this country a hassle to travel through, but the box office refuses to – if I may quote the most Arnold Schwarzeneggerest character in film history – chill. While January and February have long been dumping grounds for studios’ least impressive efforts, animated flicks like Frozen and The LEGO Movie, along with surprise hits Ride Along and Lone Survivor, have proven audiences will always make the trek to the cinema if the movies are worth it. But they’ll also stay their asses at home if the film is based around baffling volcano physics. No harm done, there.
March is the month where both Hollywood and the indie circuit really kick into high gear, parading out big budget spectacles, quirky comedies, action romps and yes, even a Tyler Perry movie. While we’ll be covering all of the month’s bigger films here, don’t forget to keep an eye out for more limited premieres (usually attached to a VOD release), including the fascinating documentary Jodorowsky’s Dune, Eugenio Mira’s tense and gorgeous thriller Grand Piano, E.L. Katz’s comedic thriller Cheap Thrills and Diego Luna’s historical biopic Cesar Chavez. How terrible for a month to be so overloaded with films. Now let’s put our best slo-mo foot forward and take a look at the possible Oscar hopefuls for next year. (Just kidding.)
300: Rise of an EmpireMore so than his Dawn of the Dead remake, 300 is the film that put Zack Snyder and slow-motion fight scenes on the map in a big way, and director Noam Murro has the somewhat unfortunate task of following that up with the CGI-heavy 300: Rise of an Empire. Not exactly an impulsive cash-grab sequel from Warner Bros., Rise of an Empire is years in the making, based on an upcoming graphic novel from the legendary Frank Miller, with a screenplay co-written by Snyder himself. So why does it still feel so flimsy?
The story is a prequel, with the action focused on the Battle of Artemisium, fought between the Greeks and the Persians. More specifically, we’ll see Themistocles (Sullivan Stapleton) and Queen Gorgo (Lena Headey) going to town against the man-turned-god Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) and Artemisia (Eva Green), the Queen of Caria. I’m guessing this one will be less inclined to stick to the history books and more inclined to stick spears into people’s necks with as artsy a blood spatter as possible. Sparta!!
Director: Noam Murro
Stars: Sullivan Stapleton, Eva Green, Lena Headey, Hans Matheson
Release Date: March 7