Dragon Blade was inspired by historical events – and by inspired, I mean that Romans and citizens of many other countries used the Silk Road for travel and trade – but bears as much resemblance to facts as 300.
Cut by some 23 minutes, it’s a weird, never quite coherent epic that survives its engagement with its audience by being genuinely engaging thanks to solid performances by stars Jackie Chan, John Cusack and Adrian Brody.
East meets West in this epic clash for the Silk Road – the trade route between China and the West. When corrupt Roman leader General Tiberius (Adrien Brody) seeks to command the Silk Road, he is opposed by Huo And (Jackie Chan), whose trained warriors allie themselves with Roman General Lucius (John Cusack) and his legion of Roman defectors.
Check out the trailer following the jump. Dragon Blade opens on September 4th in select theaters and On Demand.
Brian Wilson is a genius. The scope and quality of the music he’s composed over his lifetime is testament to that. For a long time, he was a tortured genius.
Love & Mercy is Brian Wilson’s story and, unlike a lot of biopics, it doesn’t gloss over anything – Wilson has described it as ‘factual’ in a number of interviews since it was made. It is an absorbing look at Wilson’s life – as much of a look as can be covered in a couple of hours – and it one of the best biopics movies in years.
It’s not often that a movie title tells you exactly what you’re going to get in the title – and sometimes that can be a bad thing [*cough*Snakes on a Plane*cough*]. In the case of Hot tub Time Machine, though, the result is a comedy that’s both subtle and vulgar – and has heart.
It starts with an Indian geologist, Dr. Satnam Tsurutami [Jimy Mistry] alerting American geologist Dr. Adrian Helmsley [Chiwetal Ejiofor] of rising temperatures in the world’s deepest copper mine [handily already mined out]. This is tied into abnormally strong sun flares and sufficient neutrinos that they have a mutating effect… Well, you get the idea. Scientific technospeak sets up Helmsley’s warning to Carl Anheuser [Oliver Platt], an influential member of U.S. President Thomas Wilson’s [Danny Glover] team. Before you know it, the heads of the most powerful heads of state in the world have come to an agreement to find a way to ensure human survival after the apocalypse to come.
In the land of Malaria, things have changed since it was a sunny, happy place. Constant cloud cover and rain have ruined it for agriculture, so the king has decreed that the best way to survive is to develop an economy based on the creation of evil science. The country’s best mad scientists compete in an “Evil Science Fair” – and the king charges the rest of the world a [you should pardon the expression] king’s ransom to not use it.
Each mad scientist has an Igor – a hunchbacked assistant to gather materials and pull the power switch to put the finishing touches on their evil experiments. The film is built on the idea that one of these Igors [voiced by John Cusack] wants to be the scientist, not the Igor. When his master, Dr. Glickenstein [John Cleese] dies during the creation of a new weapon, Igor seizes his chance. With the aid [?] of his previous inventions – Scamper [Steve Buscemi], a suicidal immortal rabbit, and Brain [Sean Hayes], a robot with a brain in a jar – he decides to create life.
The idea of an Igor supplanting his mad scientist and succeeding is a good one, so it’s really a shame that this beautifully designed film [looking like some mad hybrid of Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas and a Tex Avery cartoon] is virtually humor-free. Even Jennifer Coolidge’s assortment of scientists’ girlfriends and Eddie Izzard’s unscrupulous Dr. Schadenfreude [who’s won seventeen Fairs by stealing the best efforts of his competitors – and delights in the misery of others] somehow fail to… ummm… come to life.
The animation, from design on, is extremely good, but in light of the paucity of laughs and any real sense of danger, it simply isn’t enough to recommend the film. In short, Igor could’ve used a lot more madness.