The new “Godzilla” focuses on delivering a spectacle worthy of the King of Monsters, while also honoring dramatic themes and concepts for which the original 1954 Japanese classic and the 1956 American version starring Raymond Burr were famous for. Curiously enough, however, the new film misses the mark because, among other things, there’s simply not enough monster movie mayhem and far too little fun.
Along with the epic scope and apocalyptic imagery you might expect from a cinematic telling of the biblical story of Noah, director Darren Aronofsky brings tremendous humanity and depth of emotion to his interpretation of the story. It’s that commitment to depicting human feeling in the film that proves to be the most compelling aspect of Aronofsky’s work here, as brought to life by a dream cast of performers led by Russell Crowe, who delivers his most engrossing performance in years.
Focusing on events that take place before, concurrent, and after the events of the original 300 film, 300: Rise of an Empire works so hard to look and feel like its predecessor that it feels more like discarded scenes and plotlines from the original cobbled together into a feature, rather than a stand alone film.
As a romantic historical epic filled with gladiatorial combat, romance, revenge, and eye-popping spectacle, “Pompeii” would have been a cinematic triumph … had it been made and released prior to “Gladiator.”
Clash of the Titans without the budget, Gladiator without the spectacle, Immortals without the style, God of War without the wicked fun, “The Legend of Hercules” imitates many much better sword and sandal epics in film and video games and exceeds none of them. It’s painful to watch, and not because of the fight scenes.
Easily the weakest of Peter Jackson’s cinematic epics set in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth fantasy realm, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug often feels leaden and belabored, as it lacks any of the dramatic intensity and momentum of its Lord of the Rings predecessors.