Review: Pompeii (dir. Paul W.S. Anderson, 2014)

There are several movies coming out this year that are set in ancient Greece or Rome (or, if not in Rome itself, then at least within the Roman empire). Pompeii is the second of those films to get a theatrical release (and the first to get a theatrical release in Canada, since The Legend of Hercules never opened up here), and it’s not too hard to see why the studio wanted to get it out there as soon as possible, before all the other, and presumably better, films come along.

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Newsbites: The ancient and/or biblical edition!

1. Brett Ratner isn’t the only director working on a movie about Hercules. Renny Harlin, whose credits include Die Hard 2 (1990) and Exorcist: The Beginning (2004), plans to start shooting Hercules 3D three months from now, and to release the film in March 2014 — or about five months before Ratner’s film. Harlin says his film will be “not a comic book, cartoony fantasy thing. It’s closer to Gladiator than flying horses.” Interestingly, Ratner himself was once attached to the film that Harlin is now directing. — Hollywood Reporter

2. After several years of hiccups and delays, Kasi Lemmons’ adaptation of the musical Black Nativity is finally in production. Fox Searchlight issued a press release last week to announce that cameras were rolling — or whatever cameras do in this increasingly digital era — and it also confirmed an earlier report that Tyrese Gibson has joined the cast, though it did not say who his character will be. — BlackFilm.com, ComingSoon.net

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Review: Alien vs. Predator (dir. Paul W.S. Anderson, 2004)

Homer Simpson once declared that alcohol was the source of, and the solution to, all his problems. 20th Century Fox might have something similar to say about diehard fans of the Alien and Predator franchises, who have waited 15 years to see these sci-fi beasts duke it out onscreen, ever since the two biggest space monsters of the Reagan era were first pitted against each other in a Dark Horse comic book. Frustrated by all the delays, hardcore Alien and Predator fans have stirred up some pretty bad buzz over Alien vs. Predator, yet they are also the most likely to brave the bad buzz and check the film out for themselves.

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