No movie that opens with Gerard Butler being beheaded, even off-screen, can be all that bad, and so maybe I shouldn’t be surprised by the not-so-bad-ness of director Noam Murro’s 300: Rise of an Empire. I still am, considering how little fun I had at Zack Snyder’s smash-hit predecessor from 2007, yet personally speaking, it’s not hard to identify what makes this CGI-heavy bloodbath an overall better time – a much better time – than 300. But we’ll get to her momentarily.
Going to the cineplex this weekend? Every Friday morning at 9 a.m. you can listen to Mike Schulz dish on recent movie releases & talk smack about Hollywood celebs on the Quad City Rocker 104.9FM, with the fabulous morning team of Dave and Darren. The morning crew previews upcoming releases, too.
Or you can check the Reader Web site and listen to their latest conversation by the warm glow of your computer.
Never miss a pithy comment from these three scintillating pundits again.
Friday, March 7, 2014: With Dave enjoying a morning off, Darren and Mike discuss "Non-Stop" and "Son of God," preview "Mr. Peabody & Sherman" and "300: Rise of an Empire," and do a postmortem on Sunday's Oscar ceremony ... all in under ten minutes. See how much time is saved when Darren's co-host isn't there doing Liam Neeson impressions?! (Kidding, David. You know you're loved.)
Last night, at the tail end of her opening monologue, Academy Awards emcee Ellen DeGeneres took a moment to acknowledge the year's tight race for Best Picture, and stated that “anything can happen” regarding the evening's biggest prize. “Possibility number one: 12 Years a Slave wins Best Picture,” she said. “Possibility number two: You're all racists.”
Which, it turned out, was a possibility voters were not willing to face.
Every Academy Awards season, the idea of adding a Best Casting category appears to gain some traction among film journalists and professionals. (This past autumn saw the limited release of a documentary – Tom Donahue’s Casting by – devoted to the subject, and Woody Allen, whom one would’ve thought indifferent to the Oscars at best, even wrote an open letter to the Hollywood Reporter in support of a casting trophy.) I’m personally fine with restricting the ceremony to the two dozen categories we dohave, but if such recognition were to be included, voters could do worse than to consider Amanda Mackey and Cathy Sandrich Galfond – casting directors for the enjoyably ludicrous Non-Stop – for the prize. To be sure, it doesn’t take much wit to suggest that Liam Neeson play a grieving alcoholic with a bad temper and a gun. But casting, as two beleaguered flight attendants, 12 Years a Slave’s abused slave Patsey opposite Downton Abbey’s rigid Lady Mary? Now that’s witty.