Warner Bros.(NEW YORK) -- You walk out of 300: Rise of an Empire feeling like you were just at a Gallagher show, only swap the watermelon remnants for fake movie blood. When the original 300 came out in 2007, the fancy 3D technology of today didn’t exist, so this time around the filmmakers use every possible opportunity to make that blood fly right at you. I wouldn’t be surprised if at least half of the film’s budget was for red dye and corn syrup. Even the film’s poster is a blood-red tidal wave enveloping the main character, Themistokles. Let that be a warning to all: the subtitle to this film should have been There Will Be Blood.
Not that the target audience of 300: Rise of an Empire will be complaining. They’re going specifically for all of the blood, and severed limbs, and killer horses that graphically crush skulls beneath their hooves. And that crowd won’t be disappointed, oh no. This orgy of battle-porn panders right to its audience without shame. But it’s not a one-trick skull-crushing pony -- there’s enough here even for the friends or dates dragged unwillingly to see this sequel to enjoy.
300: Rise of an Empire doesn’t pick up where 300 left off, after the battle of Thermopylae. It focuses on another conflict happening at around the same time, involving clashes not between Spartans and Persians, but between the Greek and Persian navies. The story focuses on two new characters: the aforementioned Themistokles (Sullivan Stapleton), who commands the Greek ships, and his beautiful but deadly Persian counterpart, Artemisia (Eva Green, last seen in Dark Shadows).
We’re meant to be rooting for the Greeks here, but Artemisia is by far the most interesting character in the story. She’s a woman hell-bent on revenge, and Green does a great job portraying her as a dark, manipulative warrior who uses her sword, not her sexuality, to crush foes. In the hands of a less skilled actress, Artemisia probably would have devolved into an overly sexualized cliché. The same could be said of returning Spartan Queen Gorgo, played again by Lena Headey. Though they’re the only two women in the film, these ladies aren’t relegated to the meek damsel-in-distress roles you normally find in movies like this.
Director Noam Murro also deserves kudos for being able to deliver Zack Snyder’s trademark look and feel. Snyder wrote and directed 300, and serves as writer/producer this time around. But fans of the visually stunning and innovative original won’t notice Snyder’s absence from the director’s chair -- which is pretty impressive, considering this is only Murro’s second feature film (his first was the 2008 comedy Smart People).
There’s a lot to like in 300: Rise of an Empire. It looks great and delivers on the action, though personally, I would have enjoyed a little more heart to the story. I didn’t really find myself emotionally involved at any point and some of the plotlines fail to connect, like a father and son we’re supposed to care about. But this isn’t Gladiator, nor do I think that’s what this is aspiring to be. 300: Rise of an Empire is all about blood, battles, and strong babes, and on that level it doesn’t disappoint.
Oh, and for maximum enjoyment, see it in 3D. While I’m not typically a fan of the technology or the higher ticket prices, it’s worth it here. The battle scenes are crisp and clear, and it’s not hard to follow the action. Arrows and spears flying at your face, blood squirting past your head every couple of minutes -- this is what 3D was made for, right?
Entertainment Weekly(NEW YORK) -- When Angelina Jolie was cast as the lead in Maleficent, she was game to completely morph into the villain. After all the makeup had been applied and her costume was in place, only one of her six children was unafraid of her new look: her 5-year-old daughter, Vivienne.
Her cool demeanor landed her the role of young Aurora in the film.
"We think it's fun for our kids to have cameos and join us on set, but not to be actors. That's not our goal for Brad and I, at all," Jolie told Entertainment Weekly for its new issue. "But the other 3- and 4-year-old [actors] wouldn't come near me. It had to be a child that liked me and wasn't afraid of my horns and my eyes and my claws. So it had to be Viv."
Also making appearances in the film are her kids Pax, 10, and Zahara, 9.
"I had to walk by them being very mean," said the star, who added that the kids appear in the famous christening scene. "Of course, I wanted to stop and wink at them!"
However, she did have to cajole Pax a little bit. When he first saw his mother in her costume, he ran away.
"I thought he was kidding, so I was pretending to chase him until I actually found him crying," she said. "I had to take off pieces [of the makeup] in front of him to show him it was all fake and not freak out so much."
She also talked to her family about taking the role before she formally accepted it. Despite their initial reaction of, "She's so scary!" Jolie said that they eventually warmed up to the idea.
"The next day, I heard Shiloh getting into a fight with another kid, defending Maleficent, saying, 'You don't understand her!'" Jolie said. "They got into a bit of an argument and I thought, 'That's the reason to do the film.'"
Hollywoodreporter.com(NEW YORK) -- Shailene Woodley doesn't have a type.
In a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Woodley was asked about dating and her love life.
"I fall in love with human beings based on who they are, not based on what they do or what sex they are," she explained.
Indeed, Woodley, 22, seems to be very into making personal connections with those around her. Someone who is quick to hug strangers ("It's kind of like, 'Hey, I'm real. You're real. Let's connect,'" she said), the actress is poised to enter a new phase of her career with the impending release of her film Divergent.
Though the actress who said her religion was "the Earth, man," was hesitant to take the role, Jennifer Lawrence advised her to reconsider.
"[She] said, 'You must do it. You will not regret it for a second. Yes, there are some hard things, but there are so many beautiful things that will come from an opportunity like this,'" Woodley said.
Not that she'll be splurging much.
Woodley said she doesn't have a permanent home, forages for fruit with her friends, refuses to wear fur or diamonds for ethical reasons and insists that she only wears vintage clothing.
"I'm going to be a citizen of this planet, and I'm going to do my responsibility and live in stride with nature instead of constantly fighting against her," she said.
In the not-so-distant future, fans may get the opportunity to taste-test some of Woodley's recipes. Asked about her plans for the next few years, she explained that she's not married to the idea of solely acting.
"I might open a restaurant, and it's going to be like restaurant in the morning, dance club at night," she said. "Who knows!"
Courtesy Moe Abourched of MSM Luxury Estates(LOS ANGELES) -- A day after it was revealed that the Jenner mansion seen in Keeping Up with the Kardashians is not the family home at all, Kim Kardashian is coming clean about the family’s use of fake houses.
Answering a fan’s question on Mobio Insider about whether it was true the Kardashians use “fake houses” for their reality show, Kardashian explained that they use exteriors shots of different homes for “security purposes.”
“My old home in Beverly Hills was really my home & I would get people showing up at all hours ringing my gate & had to call the police on several occasions,” Kardashian wrote. “People hoping [sic] the gate & scaring me. It was so unsafe. The hollywood star tours would stop by too, bc they recognized my home from our show. After that we realized how unsafe it is to show the exterior of our homes. So now we use different homes for the outside for security purposes.”
But, she added, “When we film inside, thats obviously our real home.”
News that the Jenner house seen on the show is not the real family home first broke Wednesday when the Los Angeles mansion was listed for sale for $6.25 million and pictures of the interior did not match the sleek, modern interior of Kris Jenner‘s home as seen on television. The real family home is actually 20 miles away.
Whenever the “fake” mansion sells, the Kardashians may have to pretend they live in a different house, since the new owners could deny the reality family use of the exterior shots.
ABC/ RON TOM(LOS ANGELES) -- Simon Cowell became a first-time dad a few weeks ago, and he's apparently enjoying the experience. In his first interview since the birth, Cowell tells TV's Extra, "I was born to be a dad."
Cowell says he was in London working on Britain’s Got Talent when he got a call from his pregnant girlfriend, Lauren Silverman, in New York City. “Phone rings at half past five in the morning, 'I’m about to give birth [said Lauren],' so we had to find a flight, which we did, and I got there with two hours to spare.”
The music mogul admitted he cried when his son Eric was born, and told Extra he was surprised by the love he immediately felt for his son. “I actually said to Lauren beforehand, 'What if I like the dogs more than him?' -- and she said, 'You're gonna be absolutely fine,' and then literally within seconds of him being born, I got it.”
Cowell tells Extra the baby barely cries, but he can't say the same for his wife. “Lauren's actually been crying more than Eric," he jokes, "So I've had to put one of those pacifiers in her which she likes. Has to be fed every three hours, otherwise she gets a little bit grumpy, and Eric's absolutely fine.”
Eric is named after Cowell's late father. "I look at him, Eric, and I think of my dad all the time, so it's a really good thing,” Cowell told Extra. The couple plans to bring the baby to London soon to meet his grandmother.
And Simon doesn’t want to stop at just the one child either. He admits, “I wouldn't rule out [more children]...I had a brother when I was younger, so I kind of think it’s cool to have two or three…"
PRNewsFoto/MTV Networks International(NEW YORK) -- The nominees for the MTV Movie Awards were announced Thursday morning, and you can't be blamed if you initially mistake the list for the recent Oscar nominees.
12 Years a Slave, American Hustle and The Wolf of Wall Street are all nominated in the Movie of the Year category, along with The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.
Conspicuously absent in the Movie of the Year category is Gravity, starring VMA favorite Sandra Bullock. She picks up a nod in the Best Female Performance category, along with Amy Adams, Lupita Nyong'o, Jennifer Lawrence -- for The Hunger Games, not American Hustle -- and Jennifer Aniston, for We're the Millers.
Best Male Performance nominees include Bradley Cooper, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Leonardo DiCaprio, Matthew McConaughey, and Josh Hutcherson, for The Hunger Games.
This being the MTV Movie Awards, we've also got nominees in categories like Best Scared-as-S**t Performance, Best Shirtless Performance, Best Fight, Best Kiss, Best Villain, and Best #WTF Moment.
Jason Merritt/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Just days before her new reality show premieres on OWN, Lindsay Lohan has landed another TV gig.
CBS announced Wednesday she'll guest star in an episode of 2 Broke Girls, airing April 14. She'll play a soon-to-be-bride named Claire Guinness, who turns to Kat Dennings' Max and Beth Behrs' Caroline to make her wedding cake. However, Claire has a hard time making decisions.
Last fall, Lohan guest starred on the HBO comedy Eastbound & Down. Her reality show, simply titled Lindsay, premieres Sunday night on OWN.
Fernando Leon/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- We know which celebrities will compete on the new season of ABC's Dancing with the Stars. But which stars turned down the opportunity to strut their stuff in the ballroom?
Us Weekly claims to have the answer. The magazine says there were a few musicians who declined an invitation, including country artists Clint Black and Travis Tritt.
Pop star Austin Mahone was asked to compete but he couldn't do it due to his busy schedule. Us Weekly further states that Martha Stewart, Glee star Heather Morris, and actress/comedienne Caroline Rhea all said no, too.
The cast of Dancing with the Stars' 18th season was announced Tuesday. It includes Drew Carey, Danica McKellar, Paralympic Games snowboarder Amy Purdy, and Olympic ice dancers Meryl Davis and Charlie White. They'll dance for the first time on March 17.
Fox(NEW YORK) -- For most kids today, this will probably be their first run-in with the characters of Mr. Peabody and Sherman, who were first introduced in segments during the Rocky and Bullwinkle TV cartoons of the 1950s and 60s. Mr. Peabody, you may recall, is a glasses-wearing beagle that not only talks, he’s the smartest creature to ever live. Sherman is his 7-year-old glasses-wearing adopted son. Together they live in a killer penthouse apartment in a big city. They also frequently travel back in time because, of course, Mr. Peabody invented a time machine. Remember, he’s really smart.
The basic premise involves Peabody, Sherman, and Sherman’s classmate, Penny, traveling back in time and experiencing famous moments in history first-hand: Hey, there’s Leonardo da Vinci painting the Mona Lisa! Whoops, we’re in the middle of the Trojan War! Over there, is that Marie Antoinette? Let them eat cake! And so on.
The device is a sneaky way to make history fun for kids, kind of like cheese sauce on vegetables, and I bet most parents will probably appreciate a little extra learning tucked into a Saturday matinee. For kids, it won’t feel like homework. There are plenty of jokes where various things fall out of various butts -- and let’s be honest, many adults will enjoy that, too. Adults should also enjoy the distinct Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure vibe that happens whenever history and time travel are combined.
History lessons aren't the only thing Mr. Peabody & Sherman teaches: there are lessons about inclusion, bullying, and name-calling, which parents may also appreciate. But they feel a little shoe-horned in and obvious. At one point, you may feel like there’s a neon sign hanging over the movie, flashing, “THIS IS THE MORAL OF THE STORY.”
Like most marquee animated films these days, Mr. Peabody & Sherman fulfills the unwritten animation rule that recognizable names must voice the characters. Modern Family’s Ty Burrell stars as the title beagle, and at times you can hear the dorky dad from the ABC sitcom squeak through, though not in a distracting way. His daughter on the show, played by Ariel Winter, here plays Penny, the female foil to clumsy, earnest young Sherman, played with charming precociousness by 10-year-old Max Charles. Other familiar names jumping in on the action include Stephen Colbert, Leslie Mann, animation mainstay Patrick Warburton, Allison Janney, Stanley Tucci, and Mel Brooks in a brief appearance.
Animated movies today are pretty much required to work on two levels -- one that’s goofy and silly and shiny enough to hold the attention of children for 90 minutes, and another that’s hip and smart and a touch subversive enough to hold the attention of adults for the same amount of time. Mr. Peabody & Sherman strikes the right balance of bathroom jokes and historical humor. It lacks a bit of the originality of The Lego Movie and it doesn’t have as much heart as Frozen, so it likely won’t become a classic or an Oscar nominee. But it will keep both children and parents entertained long after the popcorn is finished.
Kevin Winter/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- You've seen the most retweeted picture ever -- Ellen DeGeneres' star-filled selfie -- obviously. But did you know DeGeneres set the goal herself during Oscars rehearsals?
DeGeneres made sure to have her cameras at the rehearsal process. The video recorded a closer look at the host's candid and casual comedic ways.
During a meeting with her team, DeGeneres fretted as she discussed the selfie stunt.
"I think if I just say I'm trying to break the record of most retweeted picture, I really hope that everyone jumps in this picture," she said. "I keep thinking, I mean, that would be amazing if everyone really gets in."
The jokes were non-stop throughout her crew meetings, stage practices, photo and video shoots.
The recordings also captured her whereabouts backstage on the night of the event, greeting celebrities like Jennifer Lawrence and Channing Tatum with warm hugs and banter. Then lauding Lupita Nyong'o for her heartwarming speech:
"Oh my God," she told the actress. "You won an Oscar and it was a beautiful speech. It was beautiful."
The Oscars show was successful on multiple fronts. It reached the highest ratings for an Oscars telecast in more than 10 years, with an audience of 43.7 million.
As for the selfie: Success! Less than an hour after she posted it @TheEllenShow, DeGeneres' photo surpassed the previous record of 780,000 retweets set for a President Obama tweet after his re-election. The instantaneous surge even caused technical problems for Twitter.
As of Wednesday, the tweet had more than 3 million retweets.