Swords and Sandals

Ben-Hur (2016)

Now, everyone will compare this film to the multiple-Oscar-winning 1957 epic Ben-Hur starring the majestic Charlton Heston (and his supporting cast of very white teeth). The truth is, this story has been told several times, starting in the silent era, so making a new version is as valid as, say, making another Tarzan movie. After …

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Hercules (2014)

Hercules (Dwayne Johnson), half-man/half-god (or so we are told), is famous across ancient Greece for his amazing feats of strength and badassery. Still, he doesn’t want the accolades or the fame, as he and his posse of warriors walk the land as mercenaries-for-hire. There’s Autolycus (Rufus Sewell), his childhood friend; Tydeus (Aksel Hennie), a strangely …

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Immortals (2011)

As the Gods watch from high above, Hyperion’s (Mickey Rourke) army cuts a warpath through Greece, fully intending to find and use the Epirus Bow to free the Titans from their prison far beneath Mount Tartaros. The only thing standing between Hyperion and the bow is a man called Theseus (Henry Cavill), who has been …

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Pompeii

Cheeseball disaster flicks are a category unto themselves. They are all about spectacle and special effects: Volcanoes go boom! Meteors hit major landmarks! The earth opens up and swallows entire civilizations! And, almost always, the hero kisses the girl at the end, and the dog survives. Pompeii rakes through history to find a spectacle worthy …

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Gladiator

This is an Epic with a capital “E”, that’s for sure. Swords, and tigers, and blood, oh my! Actually, a lot of blood. Muddy armies hacking each other to bits (literally), people cut in half, penetrating arrows, and watch for the double-sword decapitation (“Aaaahhh!” gasps the audience in appreciation). I don’t think I’ve been so …

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300

I’ve thought Scotsman Gerard Butler was a manly-man hottie ever since seeing his sensitive yet swarthy self in movies such as Beowulf & Grendel, Dear Frankie, and, yes, even Phantom of the Opera (where he gave good eye, despite the mask). My attention perked up when I heard he was playing Spartan King Leonidas, and …

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Alexander

Wait a minute, nobody around here has reviewed Alexander yet?  Not one of us rushed right out to see Oliver Stone’s epic masterpiece?  No one even wanted to see Colin Farrell’s bits and pieces on the big screen?  Huh.  I guess it’s up to me to explain how Alexander both succeeds and falls flat, creating …

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