The weekend warriors of March 7, 2014 includes 300: Rise of an Empire and Mr. Peabody & Sherman and the limited releases of The Grand Budapest Hotel and Grand Piano. Box Office Battlefield is a recurring rundown of all the movie releases for the weekend. Every week, movie studios select candidates to enter the glorious battlefield for your hard-earned dollars. Box Office Battlefield is here to help you decide which movie(s) will take priority over the others.
Last weekend, Liam Neeson smashed The LEGO Movie to pieces. This weekend two new contenders take to the grand cinema arena to fight for glory. Can the Greeks over take a boy and his time traveling dog? THIS IS SPARTA! This is the Box Office Battlefield:
300: Rise of an Empire (Rated R) 102 min – (Directed by Noam Murro) Starring Sullivan Stapleton, Eva Green, Lena Headey, Rodrigo Santoro, Hans Matheson, and Jack O’Connell
Synopsis: Greek general Themistokles leads the charge against invading Persian forces led by mortal-turned-god Xerxes and Artemisia, vengeful commander of the Persian navy.
Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics – 44% • Audience – 76%
If all you’re looking for is hyper-stylized violence, loads of CGI blood, half naked men with washboard abs, and boobs then you will not be disappointed. But if you would like to feel the same kind of excitement and joy when you first saw 300 you’ve set your expectations too high (read my full review here). Rise of an Empire tries very hard to mimic the appeal and integrity of its predecessor, but our heroes are far to uninteresting to care about their journey or what they are fighting for. But fear not, Eva Green is here to ease your woes. She doesn’t save the film completely, that’s a tall order for anyone, but she does make it tolerable enough by creating a character so ruthless, fearsome, sexy, cunning, and threatening that her performance alone is worth your time. MATINEE IT IN 3D!
Mr. Peabody & Sherman (Rated PG) 92 min – (Directed by Rob Minkoff) Starring Ty Burrell, Max Charles, Stephen Colbert, and Leslie Mann
Synopsis: The time-travelling adventures of an advanced canine and his adopted son, as they endeavor to fix a time rift they created.
Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics – 76% • Audience – 80%
DreamWorks Animation can be hit or miss, but it never fails to bring a colorful world into the lives of animation fans. Mr. Peabody & Sherman does irk me when it tries to forcibly infuse pop culture and catchy lingo into its dialogue, but it’s not as irritating as Shrek. The main problem with Peabody is having to factor in time travel. No film is safe when it comes to time travel, and DreamWorks daring to dip their toes into the pool is ambitious for them. However, the movie is mostly fun and introduces some fun characters along the way. MATINEE IT!
The Grand Budapest Hotel [Limited – LA/NYC] (Rated R) 99 min – (Directed by Wes Anderson) Starring alph Fiennes, Tony Revolori, F. Murray Abraham, Saoirse Ronan, Léa Seydoux, Tilda Swinton, Jude Law, Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Willem Dafoe, Adrien Brody, Jeff Goldblum, Jason Schwartzman, Harvey Keitel, and Edward Norton
Synopsis: The adventures of Gustave H, a legendary concierge at a famous European hotel between the wars, and Zero Moustafa, the lobby boy who becomes his most trusted friend.
Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics – 89% • Audience – 90%
Wes Anderson, either you love him or hate him, but you cannot deny the level of caliber the cast of Budapest is. Now I do not like Anderson’s earlier works, but Fantastic Mr. Fox and Moonrise Kingdom have won me over and Budapest makes it a trifecta. From Anderson’s visual eye to the delivery of everyone in the cast, Budapest will keep the cinematic auteur in the good graces of moviegoers for a long time. SEE IT!
Grand Piano [Limited] (Rated R) 90 min – (Directed by Eugenio Mira) Starring Elijah Wood, John Cusack, Kerry Bishé, and Tamsin Egerton
Synopsis: Moments before his comeback performance, a concert pianist who suffers from stage fright discovers a note written on his music sheet.
Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics – 87% • Audience – 54%
Grand Piano looks absolutely fantastic, and Elijah Wood has been killing it in the indie thrillers as of late – see Maniac. Now I haven’t seen this due to the limited release, but to see Frodo intensely playing away on a grand piano for the majority of a film in a battle of life or death has success written all over it. The trailer looks like Grand Piano will deliver far more than I could possibly ever imagine. MATINEE IT!
Despite the original 300 opening to an astounding $70 million back in 2007, the reviews for this follow up have not been so kind. Although many moviegoers may welcome the ridiculous over abundance of violence, there is still a hard R rating that will deter those under the age of 18. Rise of an Empire will most likely be the sought after film of the weekend, but Mr. Peabody is rated PG. I’d like to wager a guess that young kids will be paying for tickets to see Peabody but going to see 300. So as it stands, I believe the victor for this weekend shall be:
Winner: Mr. Peabody & Sherman
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