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Movies playing this week: From time travel to epic battles


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Playing this week: '12 Years A Slave,' ' 300: Rise Of An Empire,' 'Mr. Peabody And Sherman,' more

MANILA, Philippines  This week’s films will take audiences back in time to ancient Greece, to pre-Civil War America, and with the help of a genius canine, anywhere in the past.

Take your pick from this week’s new releases:

12 Years A Slave

Harrowing historical drama 12 Years A Slave is based on the real life 19th century memoir of a free man Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), who is abducted and sold into slavery.  In the 12th year of his struggle to survive and stay alive in the hands of a cruel slave owner (Michael Fassbender), he comes accross a Canadian abolitionist (Brad Pitt), with the power to change his fate.

The film is one of the most critically acclaimed works in this year’s Hollywood awards season, earning the best picture awards at the recently held Oscars and Golden Globes.

The film earned from 96% critics in Rotten Tomatoes, while 92% of viewers liked the film.

A critic on RogerEbert.com praised the film for it’s presentation of history in a “personal and immediate” manner. 

12 Years a Slave is a somber, meditative, almost poetic film that delivers the horrors of bondage stripped down and head-on.”

300: Rise Of An Empire

After 300 warriors fell in the first film, the sequel brings the battle to a different arena – the sea. In this latest installment, Greek general Themistocles leads his army against Persian invaders ruled by mortal-turned-god Xerxes, and led by a vengeful Persian naval commander Artemisia.

The film earned a 59% rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes, with of 98% of viewers wanting to see it.

A review on Variety noted that the sequel provides a “meanwhile, back in Athens” story which complements the first movie’s Spartan tale. The review also lauded actress Eva Green for commanding the Persian naval fleet and the film itself.

“If 300 was largely a boys-only affair, Rise of an Empire very much belongs to the women — specifically one woman named Artemisia (Green), who sports a warrior’s stoic countenance and the blazing azure stare of a femme very fatale.”

Mr. Peabody And Sherman

DreamWorks’ animated film Mr. Peabody and Sherman follows Mr Peabody, the most intelligent being in the world, who also happens to be a talking dog with an adopted human son Sherman. With the goal of enriching his son’s knowledge of history, he invents a time machine, which allows them to witness the world’s greatest moments first hand.

In a twist, their adventue goes awry and the father and son tandem must “rewrite history in order ot save the universe.”

Critics on Rotten Tomatoes gave the movie a 92% rating, saying the film offers a “surprisingly entertaining burst of colorful all-ages fun, despite its dated source material and rather convoluted plot.” Meanwhile, 92% of viewers are looking forward to watching the film.

According to an early review on Mirror, the film is a “perfect half-term entertainment.”

“This is an animated delight, offering plenty of glossy 3D action for kids and enough gags and adventure to keep parents happy.”

Open Grave

Open Grave follows the horrific tale of a man who wakes up to a living nightmare. With no memory of who and where he is, the man wakes up in a pit filled with rotting corpses. After escaping from the pit, he ends up in a nearby house where other confused and terrified strangers have sought sanctuary.

Together, they uncover the mystery of their identities.

The movie earned a dismal 18% from critics on Rotten Tomatoes, while 44% of critics liked the film. 

A review by Hollywood Reporter was all praises for the film’s “promising opening sequence.” The rest of the film, however, “fails to live up to the juiciness of the original premise.”

“Making awkward use of flashbacks and devolving into familiar territory involving ominous medical experiments and, yes, zombies, the film increasingly relies on the sort of cheap scares endemic to such mediocre genre efforts.”

12-12-12: The Concert For Sandy Relief

“12-12-12” was a fundraising concert held for the benefit of victims of Hurricane Sandy, which struck the US East Coast in October 2012.

The concert held December 12, 2012 in Madison Square Garden featured artists Bon Jovi, Eric Clapton, Dave Grohl, Billy Joel, Alicia Keys, Chris Martin, The Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, Eddie Vedder, Roger Waters, Kanye West, The Who, Paul McCartney, among others.

The documentary earned a 64% rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes, while only 34% of viewers enjoyed the film.

– Rappler.com

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