’300: Rise of an Empire’ Trailer

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Here’s the new trailer for 300: Rise of an Empire, the follow-up to Zack Snyder’s breakout hit 300. This one has been a long time coming, but now, after everything, the film and the new trailer might have new significance, again thanks to Snyder. The director is looking at this movie’s co-star, Callan Mulvey, as a likely villain choice for Batman vs. Superman. Does the footage below give any clue to how he might be used? Of course not, but those who’ve waited a long time for the 300 follow-up will want to have a look. Read More »

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The Turning

Omnibus films are tricky beasts. Their very structure tends to make them wildly uneven, particularly if the director and stars change between each segment. But even if the occasional dud is all but unavoidable, a couple of really great pieces can make the whole thing worth watching.

The Turning consists of seventeen interconnected shorts, each based on the short story collection of the same title by Aussie author Tim Winton. It’s too early to tell if any of them are any good, but the ambition on display, at least, is admirable. The director and star lineup is intriguing as well. Mia Wasikowska and David Wenham are among those behind the camera, and Cate Blanchett, shows up as the lead of one chapter, with Rose Byrne, Hugo Weaving, Richard Roxburgh, and Miranda Otto also playing roles. Check out the first trailer after the jump.

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As Garrett Hedlund continues his negotiations over the lead role of Kaneda in Warner Bros.’ Akira remake, the studio and director Jaume Collet-Serra are wasting no time filling in the other roles as well. Buried in one report about Hedlund starring in the film was a tidbit about Keira Knightley being approached for the project. Though her possible role has not been revealed, I’m guessing she’s up for the part of Kaneda’s love interest Kei, member of an underground rebel group.

Knightley’s involvement is far from a done deal at this point, as she’s yet to enter talks. Helena Bonham Carter and Gary Oldman, who were also given offers last month, apparently aren’t any farther along in the process either. Still, the fact that they’ve been approached at all suggests the filmmakers are hoping for a certain caliber of talent for the movie. (Not to mention a certain level of British-ness.) Knightley and Bonham Carter have both been nominated for Oscars in the past, and while Oldman has somehow escaped that honor, it’s not for lack of deserving. [The Hollywood Reporter via The Playlist]

After the jump, another potential project for Gary Oldman, while Jane Campion gets Holly Hunter, Elisabeth Moss, Peter Mullan, and David Wenham to sign on for her latest.

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Don’t let the cheery title fool you: Oranges & Sunshine actually tells a harrowing tale that’s all the more distubring for being true. In the first feature by director Jim Loach (son of The Wind That Shakes the Barley helmer Ken Loach), a social worker named Margaret Humphreys (Emily Watson) encounters a woman seeking answers about her past. As Humphreys digs deeper, she uncovers a massive conspiracy to deport thousands of abandoned kids from British children’s homes to brutal work camps in Australia. Hugo Weaving and David Wenham also star.

Though it sounds like something out of a Charles Dickens novel, the events are actually chillingly recent — the real-life Humphreys conducted her investigation in the ’80s and learned that these injustices had taken place during the ’50s and ’60s. Watch the trailer after the jump.

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While it has yet to be picked up for U.S. distribution, Oranges and Sunshine is opening in the United Kingdom in April and has already played a few festivals to generally positive reviews. It stars Emily Watson in the true story of a social worker who discovers that tens of thousands of children in the United Kingdom were forced to migrate away from their families and then struggles trying to reunite the broken families. Directed by Jim Loach, first time director son of Ken Loach, Oranges and Sunshine also stars Hugo Weaving and David Wenham both of The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Watch the trailer for this tear jerker and read the official plot description after the jump. Read More »

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We’ve been hearing rumors for the last year, but Warner Bros./Village Roadshow Pictures have finally begun to confirm some of the voice cast of Zack Snyder‘s animated adaptation of the popular children’s book series Guardians of Ga’Hoole.

Sam Neill, Geoffrey Rush, Hugo Weaving and David Wenham will lead the voice cast of Animal Logic’s 3D animated feature, which will also feature the voices of  Emily Barclay, Abbie Cornish, Emilie de Ravin, Ryan Kwanten, Jay Laga’aia, Miriam Margolyes, Helen Mirren and Jim Sturgess. Hugh Jackman had been rumored to be part of the production but appears to be MIA.

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Some of the voice cast for Zack Snyder‘s animated film based on Kathryn Lansky’s children’s book Guardians of Ga’Hoole has been announced in tonight’s edition of THR. The supporting voice cast includes Jim Sturgess (21), Geoffrey Rush (Pirates of the Caribbean), Rachael Taylor (Transformers) and David Wenham (300).

It has been rumored that Hugh Jackman, Hugo Weaving and Ryan Kwanten (True Blood) will make-up the voice cast lead roles, but that has yet to be officially confirmed.
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Movie Review: 300

300

Based on the graphic novel by Frank Miller (Sin City), 300 loosely depicts the Battle of Thermopylae where Leonidas I (Gerard Butler) and three hundred Spartans took on Persian King Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) and his massive army of one million soldiers. Zack Snyder, the director of the 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead, creates visually orgasmic landscapes out of Frank Miller’s two page spreads. Every shot is not only perfectly framed, but the definition of cinematic elegance.

However, the lifeless dialogue and two dimensional characters borders on the edge of boring and annoying. It takes about 45 minutes before the first epic battle sequence breaks out, and the build to this sequence is exhausting.
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