Movie Of The Day: Alexander (2004)

Back in 1964, the huge financial failure of The Fall Of The Roman Empire pretty much single-handedly buried the big-budget peplum genre, and it wasn’t until forty years later that new attempts at grand American sword and sandal epics were made. Indeed Gladiator‘s success back in 2000 slowly revived interest in the genre, which led to the release of no less than three such films in 2004: King Arthur, Troy and Alexander.

Existing in three (very) different cuts, the film is obviously based on the life of Alexander The Great and follows the Macedonian king through his childhood, youth and tenure as king, his loves, conquests and relationships with friends and family. Directed by Oliver Stone (W.), who co-wrote the film with Laeta Kalogridis (Pathfinder) and Christopher Kyle (K-19: The Widowmaker).

Alexander stars Colin Farrell (Pride And Glory), Angelina Jolie (Changeling), Val Kilmer (Felon), Anthony Hopkins (Fracture), Jared Leto (Chapter 27), Rosario Dawson (Eagle Eye), Jonathan Rhys Meyers (The Children Of Huang Shi) and Christopher Plummer (Closing The Ring) among others. Trailer and review after the jump. Continue reading

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Cleopatra: The 3D Musical

Prolific director Steven Soderbergh (the Ocean’s movies) is setting up a 30 million dollar 3D musical on the life of Cleopatra, the famous Egyptian queen. For the role, the filmmaker is hoping to reunite with his Ocean’s Twelve actress Catherine Zeta-Jones, while Hugh Jackman (Deception) is in talks to play Marc Antony, Cleopatra’s lover.

The best-known film about the supposedly beautiful queen is undoubtedly the 1963 epic Cleopatra. Soderbergh’s next, the two-part Che Guevara biopic, will premiere in the US in December, and he will release several other films before the Cleopatra project, including The Informant, The Girlfriend Experience and his Liberace biopic.

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New sword and sandal flick gets its star

Will Smith has been cast in the role of Nubian pharaoh Taharqa in The Last Pharaoh, the forthcoming peplum from little-known British director Christopher Miles (The Clandestine Marriage). Written by Randall Wallace (We Were Soldiers), the film will reportedly center on Egypt’s conflict with Assyria from 677 B.C. onwards.

Unlike a lot of people I’ve been very impressed with quite a few of the recent ancient/medieval epics, so  I think this could turn out to be a pretty good film and Ancient Egypt hasn’t been depicted in a serious film for a very long time. Still, one must wonder how Christopher Miles became involved with such a grand scale film.

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