7:00 PM, 3rd May, 2014
300: Rise of an Empire is the follow-up to the 2007 film 300 – just in case you didn’t notice the similarity in the film titles – with Zack Snyder, who directed and co-wrote the original film, acting as writer and producer this time around. So to cut a long review short, if you hated/liked/loved 300 then you are most likely going to hate/like/love 300: Rise of an Empire.
Based on Frank Miller’s latest graphic novel “Xerxes” and told in the amazing visual style of 300, this new chapter of the epic saga takes the battlefield to the sea as Greek general Themistokles (Stapleton) attempts to unite all of Greece by leading the charge that will change the course of the war. Themistokles is pitted against the massive invading Persian forces led by mortal-turned-god Xerxes (Santoro) and Artemesia (Green), vengeful commander of the Persian navy.
The content of Rise of an Empire takes place before, during, and after the events of 300, and also covers some of the back story of Xerxes and how he became ‘the God King’. As with 300, if you are going to watch this film then you really should do it on the big screen so you can fully appreciate the styling. And, of course, the ANU Film Group is the best place to do that, so don’t miss it.
8:52 PM, 3rd May, 2014
Some might say that the reputation of vampires has been somewhat tarnished over the last few years. Instead of vampires being scary blood-sucking beasts, they have become caring creatures who fall in love and glisten in the sunlight. This film sits somewhere in the middle. Gone are the days when holy water, crucifixes, and other church relics were used to repel vampires, but you won’t find them galloping up trees, dashing through the woods or just spending their time working on looking forlorn either.
A mother and daughter flee London and seek refuge in a run-down coastal resort. The mysterious Clara (Arterton) meets lonely Noel (Mays), who provides shelter in his deserted guesthouse, Byzantium, and schoolgirl Eleanor (Ronan) befriends young Frank (Jones) and tells him their lethal secret. They were born 200 years ago and survive on human blood. As knowledge of their secret spreads, their past catches up with them… with deathly consequences.
What really works here is the dark mood of the film and the engaging characters. The heroes are flawed and complicated, while the villains, for the most part, have motivation and even sympathy (which doesn’t necessarily come easily for a murderous, vampiric prostitute). If you like vampire movies then this is a must-see. However if your interest in vampires doesn’t include a willingness to see quite a bit of the ‘red stuff’ then maybe re-watching episodes of “Buffy” or the Twilight films might be the way to go to avoid extended periods of eye-covering.