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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Movie Of The Day: Melinda And Melinda (2004)

A writer, director and sometimes actor who’s enjoyed considerably more success abroad than in his own country but is nevertheless regarded as one of the greatest filmmakers of all time and able to attract big names to his projects, Woody Allen (Vicky Cristina Barcelona) is an incredibly prolific and rythmic worker, churning out one film a year like clockwork. Melinda And Melinda marks his 2004 offering, though it was released in 2005 in numerous countries.

Actually two stories in one (thus the title), the film has two playwrights arguing about whether life at its core is tragic or comic. One of their friends thus suggests a challenge by setting the premise of a troubled woman crashing a dinner party and asking whether the subsequent events would evolve into a tragedy or a comedy. Naturally, we see both options unfold at the same time.

As is common for Woody Allen films, Melinda And Melinda stars a substantial amount of notable people including Radha Mitchell (The Children Of Huang Shi), Chiwetel Ejiofor (Redbelt), Will Ferrell (Step Brothers), Jonny Lee Miller (Aeon Flux), Amanda Peet (The X-Files: I Want To Believe), Chloë Sevigny (Zodiac), Wallace Shawn (Kit Kittredge: An American Girl), Josh Brolin (American Gangster) and Steve Carrell (Get Smart) among others. Trailer and review after the jump. Continue reading

Mark your calendars for From Paris With Love

Director Pierre Morel (Taken) has recently started shooting From Paris With Love, a thriller starring John Travolta (Hairspray) and Jonathan Rhys-Meyers (The Children Of Huang Shi). Written by producer Luc Besson (Taken) and Adi Hasak (Shadow Conspiracy), the story follows a young US Embassy employee who teams up with an American secret agent on a dangerous mission.

Pierre Morel’s first film District B13 (original title Banlieue 13) was all badass action and no plot, but Taken, which you should really check out, turned out to be one of the year’s best surprises, so if he continues in that vein, I’m quite looking forward to From Paris With Love, which should premiere in France by the end of 2009.

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