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Reviews and SPOILERS

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Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Mon Feb 22, 2010 4:05 pm

http://bestforfilm.com/2010/02/22/centurion/

Starring: Michael Fassbender, Dominic West, Olga Kurylenko

Director: Neil Marshall

Release Date: Apr 23rd 2010
Certificate: 18

Watching Neil Marshall’s Centurion is a bit like riding to work on a pack of angry squirrels; it’s not the most efficient of journeys, dear God it’s violent, but jeepers, it’s also damn enjoyable.

There’s a sure fire way of testing whether you will enjoy this film. Does the following opening scene appeal to you:

A Roman Centurion decides to have a big massive solider wee off the top of a battlement (why? Because he’s a freakin Roman solider and they can do whatever the hell they want, alright?). He gets out his Roman manhood, grunts in a Roman-y way and lets rip, like only a Roman can. Suddenly, out of nowhere, he gets stabbed from below – in the arse, just to confirm – right up his jacksey like a kebab with a helmet on. Mid wee. Down he falls. Probably into the wee. Let war commence!

Yes, or no? If the above sounds like damn good fun, then Centurion is for you (and definitely for us). If not, maybe go see The Princess and The Frog or something, where there’s decidedly less arse-stabbings (almost none).

Bringing The Legend To Life

Centurion explores the legend of the Ninth Legion; a tale in which approximately 5000 Roman soldiers -the legion – were massacred in Scotland by the Picts; a rival British army sick of Roman rule. Director Neil Marshall happily admits that he is not trying for historical accuracy with his film, that he wanted to use the legend as a starting point to make a Roman/British thriller.

Marshall’s tale follows a small gang of Romans who survive the horrific Pict attack. Led by Quintas Dias (Michael Fassbender), the men that are left have to try and rescue their leader (Dominic West) from the enemy before they are picked off one by one. The plot centres on the chase between the remaining soldiers, and the vengeful Picts who are determined to wipe out every last Roman they can find. Led by mute tracker Etain (Olga Kurylenko), there is no-one the Pict warriors cannot find, and soon the exhausted, wounded and desperate Romans have to decide, when should soldiers run, and when is the time to fight?

Don’t Try And Keep Count…

Centurion’s plot is very simple, it is essentially a chase movie with a lot – and we mean a lot – of violence. We don’t want to give everything away, but just don’t get too attached to many of the characters, because if there’s one thing Neil Marshall seems to like most, it’s people getting hacked to death. And to be fair, the fight scenes look and sound great – particularly the one-on-one battles between Etain (Kurylenko) and the Roman generals. The pans across the misty Scottish moors are both beautiful and effective, drawing us into an ancient world where tensions run high and blood runs – well, bloody everywhere.

Not Built In A Day

If we were to critique Centurion, it would be for its lack of interesting characters, and lack of character interaction throughout. There are the ‘good’ people, the ‘bad’ ones, and generally speaking everyone on screen does exactly what you think they’re going to do. Because of the lack of character depth, there’s not really a lot of opportunity for light relief; everyone is too busy being cliche ‘troubled soldiers’ to show any real flashes of humanity, which makes all the conversation rather one-note, and rather like this-

Soldier “I cannot go on”
Other Solider “We have to go on”
Soldier “You must leave me here”
Other Solider “I shall not leave you”
Soldier “Oh, alright then, cool, cheers mate” (maybe not so much the last line)

In essence, this is a armour-clanging, moody makeup and dripping-swords slasher, with some sophisticated shots and a lot of great action. It may not leave you particularly thoughtful after watching, but by thunder it’s entertaining. And at the end of the day, it makes you want to buy a sword. Which is always good, right?

Centurion is out here in April, will you be looking out for it?
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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Mon Feb 22, 2010 5:03 pm

http://sonicskepsi.wordpress.com/2010/02/22/centurion/

Centurion
February 22, 2010 · Leave a Comment

I attended the cast and crew screening of Centurion yesterday at Odeon West End in Leicester Square.

I was ADR Editor on the film and so was fortunate enough to meet some of the fine actors who appeared in it, including Michael Fassbender and Dominic West. The combination of some great acting performances shot within epic landscapes and tied together by several terrific fight sequences makes for a really entertaining movie. The soundtrack’s pretty damn good too!

I went along to the screening with a colleague of mine (who cut the FX) and our wives and, interestingly, the girls loved it, despite (or maybe because of?!) all the graphic gore and decapitation.

I remember when I worked on another one of Neil Marshall’s films, The Descent, a few years ago, there was a similarly-themed but much bigger budget film called The Cave that was released at about the same time. Despite it’s financial disadvantage, I believe “The Descent” went on to be the more successful of the two. Likewise with “Centurion”, I see that a big budget, Hollywood take on Roman history is to be released a few months later in the form of The Eagle of the Ninth. It will be interesting to see how the two films fare in comparison.

I wish Neil all the best of success with the film.

Centurion is released in cinemas on April 23rd.
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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Tue Mar 02, 2010 3:33 pm

http://shadowsontheweb.blogspot.com/2010/03/critical-week-hot-ticket.html

Monday, 1 March 2010
Critical Week: The hot ticket
The most eagerly anticipated press screening last week was Matthew Vaughn's raucous Kick-Ass, the fiercely independent adaptation of the non-super hero comic. All I can really say is that I am sure it will be a massive hit. The other big screenings last week were Paul Greengrass' thrilling Green Zone, starring Matt Damon and adapted from the bestselling book about the hunt for WMDs in Baghdad just after the 2003 invasion, and Neil Marshall's snappy Centurion starring Michael Fassbender in an action yarn from Britain's Roman era.
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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Thu Mar 04, 2010 12:30 am

http://www.heyuguys.co.uk/2010/03/03/watch-the-opening-scene-of-centurion/

Watch the Opening Scene of Centurion

Posted by David Sztypuljak on March 3, 2010

One of the movies that caught my eye last week was that of Centurion. Until then, I hadn’t seen or head anything about it and how that is rapidly changing. Centurion is scheduled for release 23rd April which isn’t a million miles away. Yesterday, we got invited along to a screening so you can expect our review towards the end of the month / early next.

Below the synopsis, we’ve got the opening 2 minutes of this new movie which from the trailer, looks fantastic. Let us know what you think in the comments below.th

Synopsis: Written and directed by Neil Marshall (THE DESCENT) CENTURION stars Michael Fassbender (INGLORIOUS BASTERDS, HUNGER), Dominic West (300, THE WIRE) and Olga Kurylenko (QUANTUM OF SOLACE, HITMAN).

A relentless, action-packed thriller in the tradition of APOCALYPTO, LAST OF THE MOHICANS and DELIVERANCE, CENTURION is set against a background of conquest and invasion and is the gripping story of a fight for survival…

AD 117. The Roman Empire stretches from Egypt to Spain, and East as far as the Black Sea. But in northern Britain, the relentless onslaught of conquest has ground to a halt in face of the guerrilla tactics of an elusive enemy: the savage and terrifying Picts.

Quintus Dias (Fassbender), sole survivor of a Pictish raid on a Roman frontier fort, marches north with General Virilus’ (West) legendary Ninth Legion, under orders to wipe the Picts from the face of the earth and destroy their leader Gorlacon.

But when the legion is ambushed on unfamiliar ground, and Virilus taken captive, Quintus faces a desperate struggle to keep his small platoon alive behind enemy lines. Enduring the harsh terrain and evading their remorseless Pict pursuers led by revenge-hungry Pict Warrior Etain (Kurylenko), the band of soldiers race to rescue their General and to reach the safety of the Roman frontier.

CENTURION also features an exciting supporting cast including JJ Field (TELSTAR), Liam Cunningham (THE WIND THAT SHAKES THE BARLEY, HUNGER), Noel Clarke (ADULTHOOD), Riz Ahmed (SHIFTY), David Morrissey (NOWHERE BOY) Imogen Poots (28 WEEKS LATER) and Dimitri Leonidas (TORMENTED).

Produced by Academy Award®️ Winner Christian Colson (SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE) and Robert Jones, CENTURION reunites Marshall with his key collaborators from THE DESCENT: Production Designer Simon Bowles and Director of Photography Sam McCurdy. The film was shot on location in Aviemore, Scotland and Farnham in Surrey.

CENTURION is a Pathé Productions presentation, in association with the UK Film Council, of a Celador Films Production, of A Film by Neil Marshall. CENTURION will be released for Pathé Productions Ltd. by Warner Bros. Pictures UK on 23rd April 2010.
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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Tue Mar 16, 2010 4:37 pm

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/film-reviews/centurion-film-review-1004075749.story

Film Reviews
Centurion -- Film Review
By John DeFore, March 16, 2010 01:55 ET

"Centurion"Bottom Line: Unpretentious swords-and-sandals film crafts a tight survival drama out of Roman Empire lore.
AUSTIN -- A refreshing answer to filmmakers who believe any swords-and-sandals film must be epic or at least overwrought, Neil Marshall's "Centurion" delivers some large-scale action but plays almost like a Roman-era Western in its depiction of a few soldiers trying to get home alive after the slaughter of their comrades.

If its scope and lack of marquee names limit its commercial potential, the serious-minded and well-crafted film will please genre devotees and intrigue history buffs. It also looks set to beat another similarly themed film, Kevin Macdonald's "The Eagle of the Ninth," into theaters this fall.

Leads Michael Fassbender and Dominic West are both veterans of "300," which like this film concerned the myth-shrouded defeat of a proud band of soldiers. But where the earlier film was all about the glory of combat (and of digitally enhanced abs), this one cares most about the battle's few survivors, struggling to keep the remnants of their Ninth Roman Legion alive while being chased by the Picts through what is now the northern part of Great Britain.

Marshall isn't uninterested in the battlefield, to be sure: In the film's first half, he stages enthusiastically gory scenes that, for audiences not averse to very tight framing and very quick cutting, effectively depict a conflict leaving most of this band of Roman soldiers dead.

But he is also eager to imagine a more intimate scenario, in which the son of a gladiator (Fassbender) tries to rescue survivors and get them safely through some beautifully photographed terrain to a Roman stronghold.

Viewers inclined not to side with empire-builders but with those they would conquer will be pleased here: While Fassbender is clearly the story's hero, Marshall's camera views the Picts with respect, and Fassbender's centurion is almost in awe of them as he attempts to plot a winding course away from their lead tracker.

Working with his regular cinematographer Sam McCurdy, Marshall delivers a picture with a dark, earthy style that suits the material well, making an easy transition from their well-received horror films ("Dog Soldiers," "The Descent") to more broadly accessible fare.

Venue: South by Southwest Film Festival
Opens: Friday, August 6 (Magnet Releasing)
Production company: Celador Films
Cast: Michael Fassbender, Dominic West, Olga Kurylenko, Noel Clarke, Liam Cunningham, David Morrissey, Riz Ahmed, JJ Feild, Dimitri Leonidas, Imogen Poots, Ulrich Thomsen
Director: Neil Marshall
Screenwriter: Neil Marshall
Executive Producers: Paul Smith, Francois Ivernel, Cameron McCracken
Producers: Christian Colson, Robert Jones
Director of photography: Sam McCurdy
Production designer: Simon Bowles
Music: Ilan Eshkeri
Costume designer: Keith Madden
Editor: Chris Gill
No MPAA rating, 97 minutes


Last edited by greyeyegoddess on Wed Mar 17, 2010 3:06 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Tue Mar 16, 2010 4:42 pm

http://blogs.indiewire.com/thompsononhollywood/2010/03/16/sxsw_gore-epic_centurion_makes_world_debut_at_fantastic_fest/

previous#SXSW: Gore-Epic Centurion Makes World Debut.

Monday night I squeezed into the last seat at Fantastic Fest’s midnight surprise screening of Neil “The Descent” Marshall’s Romans vs. Picts epic Centurion at the Alamo Draft House.

The good news: the movie kept me awake and Michael Fassbender and Dominic West are strong leads as the titular centurion and the general of the ninth legion, respectively. The bad news: the movie is a slightly cheesy period B actioner, rife with bloody, gory slo-mo fighting with squibs of gushing red blood and lopping off of heads. Think Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Only straight.

The men are far stronger than the ancillary action babes in fur and anachronistic hair and make-up. Think Raquel Welch in One Million Years B.C. Fassbender’s girl-interest sub-plot is plain silly.

At the Q & A, Marshall, a tall beefy Brit, said he was curious about the missing Roman ninth legion. He’s been working on this project for years. It’s coincidence that The Eagle of the Ninth is also coming out. He wanted to get the brutal violence of Picts vs. Roman warfare on screen. No holds barred. He clearly revels in talking about guts and gore, as did gushing AICN questioner Harry Knowles: “It floats my boat down the Amazon,” he said.

Both West and Fassbender had auditioned for Doomsday, and Marshall wanted to work with them on this Pathe/Warner Bros. funded production.

Magnolia has high hopes for this movie, which will go out via VOD. Here’s my '); //-->
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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Tue Mar 16, 2010 4:55 pm

http://www.quietearth.us/articles/2010/03/16/SXSW-2010-Review-of-Neil-Marshalls-CENTURION

SXSW 2010: Review of Neil Marshall's CENTURION
Posted on Tuesday, March 16th, 2010 19:57:02 GMT by: quietearth

Year: 2010
Directors: Neil Marshall
Writers: Neil Marshall
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Review by: rochefort
Rating: 7 out of 10

In "Centurion", the latest from director Neil Marshall, the year is A.D. 117. Quintus Dias (Michael Fassbender) is the commanding officer at one of a handful of Roman garrisons established throughout Northern Britain in an effort to subdue and conquer the Picts, who have been successfully repelling the Romans through a prolonged campaign of guerilla warfare. After a sneak attack which leaves Dias the only survivor, he's rescued by the famed Ninth Legion, led by General Virilius (Dominic West), who has been ordered by the Roman high command to end the resistance by any means necessary, and been given a mute Pict tracker guide (Olga Kurylenko) to lead them to Gorlacon, the Pict king, and to supposed victory. The Ninth is soon ambushed, and within minutes the Picts have slaughtered 5,000 of Rome's finest soldiers. After a botched attempt to retrieve Virilius from the Pict stronghold, Dias and the six only other survivors soon find themselves hunted by a tracking party through the cold and brutal British countryside.

There's a lot of geek love for director Marshall, and it's easy to see why. "Dog Soldiers" and "The Descent" are excellent B movies instilled with a sense of fun and innovation (and in "Descent"'s case, genuine scares) that calls to mind the early career of John Carpenter, a genre icon to whom Marshall is frequently compared. "Doomsday" was admittedly a cluttered and indulgent misstep, but in my opinion we'd probably have a much different opinion of that one if Marshall had simply eliminated one or two of the script's many tangential subplots (my vote would be to lose the medieval thing). And in all cases Marshall demonstrates a keen and fresh eye for action scenes; he's one of the few directors who can effectively blend a quick-cutting style with clean and clear frame composition, and is known for personally handling a lot of the work that would typically go to a second unit. The ambush of the Ninth is a prime example, the scene cutting from one bloody battle shot to the next with a rhythm that is almost march-like. It's a more subtle than flashy approach, but nonetheless proves that there are still ways to breathe new life into hack-and-slash fight choreography. So it's satisfying to note that "Centurion", while not a perfect film or even his best, seems to confirm that "Doomsday" was indeed just a blip on what is turning out to be an otherwise consistent and promising body of work.

One of the first things I couldn't help but notice here is the old-school approach to just about everything. There's no obvious CGI on display, not even to enhance the super-gory kills, and the location cinematography makes excellent use of the English and Scottish countryside. The costumes and makeup design are nothing short of eye-popping, especially for the Picts. Marshall's a Scotsman, after all, and knows his woad; the pagan punk face-paint and "Road Warrior"-esque ensembles are richly intricate and, by all accounts, as historically accurate as possible. The cast is uniformly solid too, Fassbender in particular further proving why he's increasingly in demand as a leading man, as the guy can do pretty much anything. West and Liam Cunningham also turn in fine work in supporting roles, but the real treat is Kurylenko. I'm admittedly biased since I think she's one of the hottest women on multiple planets, but here she's playing a woman from a culture that had an equal-opportunity philosophy about who could and couldn't go to battle. If you could swing a sword, you were in, and both Kurylenko and Axelle Carolyn (as a bloodthirsty Pict archer) sell their roles as warriors with absolute conviction, and are often more believably vicious than their male counterparts.

If there's a downside to the proceedings, it's a forgivable one. "Centurion" will inevitably be compared to other recent sword-and-sandals movies like "Gladiator" or "300", but was made for a fraction of either of those films' budgets. And while it avoids the narrative bloat of "Gladiator" and the stylistic overkill of "300", it also whets the appetite enough that you can't help but wonder what Marshall would have done with a more epic-sized pile of production money. The final twenty minutes or so seem a bit rushed, and don't really provide the emotional or kinetic payoff that we've been promised, and again I think this is due to budget limits, since everybody involved seems plenty capable. Thankfully, Marshall is astute enough to know where to put the gold. All of the key battle scenes are top-notch, each full of at least a couple of moments that bring the hurt with absolute authority. Lean and burly, "Centurion" is an encouraging step forward from a director who seems primed to be one of our best.
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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Tue Mar 16, 2010 8:41 pm

CENTURION

DOG SOLDIERS and THE DESCENT I love from top to bottom. DOOMSDAY - if you're high or drunk it can be a blast. It can also be an assaultive experience that can grate on you a bit.

CENTURION is just f#%@#&! great.

Essentially this is the story of the "legendary" Ninth Legion that apparently never existed, but if it had existed, this is essentially what may have happened. The story is epic. Thousands die. The Legion began with 3000 men. And well - it gets real bad.

And why is that?

Because the Picts were f#%@#&! scary awesome badasses. The Roman legions had never quite encountered an enemy quite like this. Imagine if the Braveheart folks got a chance to whupass on the Roman Legion - that's the film.

The lead is Michael Fassbender who you may remember as being awesome in INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS, 300 and his best work in HUNGER. His character, Quintus Dias is the son of a legendary Gladiator who won his freedom. Which basically means his dad was a badass. And Quintus learned the art of war from him. The result is a really wonderful character.

The amazing Pict Ambush of the the entire Legion column is spectacular. Heads exploding with the power of the blows... giant balls of fire tearing through the ranks, heads split in half. limbs torn off... it's just amazing.

Olga Kurylenko plays this Pict warrior woman from hell. Perhaps one of the all time great badass women in history.

After the ambush, the Roman General is captured and the surviving men of the 9th try to rescue him, it goes badly - and the rest of the film is essentially BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID - but unlike that film - where we never really see Lord Baltimore - Olga's Virilus is in play. The result is a thrilling film. Throughout this first screening the tired SXSW audience shook the walls with applause after many of the action sequences.

This is a harder film than the series ROME that HBO gave us - but it fits exactly in that universe. It is playing a second time at SXSW - and I think I may very well go again. I liked it that much.

I'll write a fuller review as it approaches release, but you need to mark this film as something to keep your eye on. Neil Marshall has rose to the occasion yet again!

Neil committed to making Michael Fassbender do his entire commentary track as Christopher Walken - cuz apparently Fassbender does a KILLER WALKEN - and wouldn't that just f#%@#&! be the bomb?

http://www.aintitcool.com/node/44309
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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Tue Mar 16, 2010 8:44 pm

http://flicksided.com/2010/03/sxsw-review-centurion/

SXSW Review: “Centurion”

You will love Neil Marshall’s Centurion — set to release in the U.S. this summer — if you…

Preferred the smaller The Fellowship of the Ring to the ginormous The Return of the King. Felt Gladiator was a little too poignant. Found 300’s eye candy a little too sweet. Think Michael Fassbender temporarily stole the show — while Cristoph Waltz was offscreen, of course — in Inglourious Basterds. Wonder why Dominic West hasn’t found more post-Wire work. Ogled the s$#! out of Olga Kurylenko in Quantum of Solace. Like gratuitously inventive violence, i.e. a guy with a spear in his gut jamming it threw himself to pierce an assailant who’s attacking from behind. If you’re not already sold, you might as well stop reading. If you are sold, you’re going to love this old-school chase movie with new-school camera techniques. You’ll specifically enjoy it because even though Centurion is about the barbaric Picts hunting down the remaining members of the Roman Ninth Legion, this is no history lesson. It’s meant to be a medieval roller coaster ride, and it certainly delivers plenty of escapism entertainment.

That being said, this is by no means a dumbed-down movie either. The script is just smart enough, and will likely appease cinephiles as much as it does college frat boys. I think moviegoers will appreciate the light-but-sensible storyline which relies on the weight of the situation and the talent of the actors, rather than beefy backstories and meaty exposition. I also think they’ll appreciate the cursing. 117 A.D. was a brutal time in human history. Warriors of that age might not have ever uttered the words “fuck” or “shit” like they did in this movie, but you know they were more foul mouthed than they are typically portrayed.

As much as I enjoyed the storyline, Centurion’s two biggest strengths are its cinematography/choreography and its star. This flick looked amazing, often pairing battle sequences and fights that felt new with Bourne-like camera work. I was blown away by the action in this movie. More often than not, today’s battle and fight scenes feel like retreads. Instead of simply relying on budget to create big battlefield spectacles, Centurion gets innovative with both the composition and the killing. Even if the reason for that innovation was necessity, it really made this barbaric bloodbath work.

As for Fassbender, the Irishman was every bit as bad ass as Gerard Butler in 300 and Russell Crowe in Gladiator. This guy is going to be a huge star. I was able to ask director Neil Marshall about him at the Q & A following the SXSW secret screening. Marshall raved about his star, stating that Fassbender is a “seriously impressive guy” who is “good at everything.” After seeing Fassbender’s most recent work, it’s hard to disagree with that statement. Meanwhile, the importance of West’s turn as the Ninth Legion’s original general reminded me of Guy Pearce’s pivotal role in The Hurt Locker. West’s short but crucial role really got you invested in this one during its early stages.

I can see people labeling this as Equilibrium to Gladiator’s The Matrix. I don’t think that will end up being a fair assessment. Sure, both Equilibrium and Centurion were shot in the UK on a smaller budget than The Matrix and Gladiator, respectively. But Centurion is by no means a poor man’s Gladiator. Instead, it’s more like an alternate version. A smaller, gorier, less serious look at a great Roman soldier’s fight for freedom. Centurion gets medieval on your ass…and you’ll like it.
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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Wed Mar 17, 2010 3:01 am

http://www.cinematical.com/2010/03/16/the-kind-of-movie-that-neil-marshalls-centurion-is/

The Kind of Movie That Neil Marshall's 'Centurion' Is

by Eric D. Snider Mar 16th 2010 // 5:15PM

Last night about 150 lucky South By Southwesterners were the first audience in the world to see Centurion, the bloody new action flick written and directed by Neil Marshall (The Descent, Doomsday). It was one of SXSW's famed "secret screenings," though both Marshall and Alamo Drafthouse owner Tim League both acknowledged that it was pretty much one of the worst-kept secrets ever. Officially, the event was called "Neil Marshall Presents" -- but since Centurion is the only movie he's been working on lately, there weren't a lot of other possibilities, unless his was going to present his home movies, or a slide show of his vacation, which, sure, probably would have also been awesome.

The movie is about Roman soldiers in the early 2nd century A.D., facing off against the Picts in Britain and trying to fight their way home. We'll have an official review later, but in the meantime I wanted to give you a feel for what type of movie it is. Please note that the following comments are not intended to indicate whether the movie is "good" or "bad." They are merely observations, designed to help the uninitiated viewer determine whether it is the kind of movie he or she would enjoy. I certainly had a good time with it.

Centurion is the kind of movie where a lot of people get shot with arrows.

Centurion is the kind of movie where people say things like, "You escaped the clutches of Gorlacon," and "I owe allegiance to no man but whom I choose," and "Now we are the prey."

Centurion is also the kind of movie where people say things like, "When will they learn not to f*** with the Ninth [Legion]?"

Centurion is the kind of movie where the sword budget was higher than the pants budget.

Centurion is the kind of movie where a dude who's been run through with a spear doesn't pull it out but simply aims the point of it at his enemy and impales him with it, too, while it's still stuck through his own body.

Centurion is the kind of movie that Gladiator would have been if Gladiator had been directed by Tony Scott instead of Ridley Scott.

Centurion is the kind of movie where you keep thinking there are going to be dragons, but then there aren't.

Centurion is the kind of movie where the Romans speak English with British accents, while the people living in the British Isles speak a language that requires subtitles.

Centurion is the kind of movie where the characters are named things like Virilus, Thax, Vortix, Maximus, and Imogen Poots. (Correction: Imogen Poots is actually the name of one of the stars, not a character.)
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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Wed Mar 17, 2010 3:03 am

http://www.myfeedme.com/article/9151452.html

Magnet Pulls In Monster and Centurion

Source:[Cinema Blend] Time:[GMT Mar 17 2010 12:13AM]

If you've been checking Cinema Blend this past week you'll have seen all kinds of news and reviews coming in from SXSW and ShoWest courtesy of our fearless leaders Josh Tyler and Katey Rich. Earlier today, Josh posted a review for Monsters, an alien infestation flick set in northern Mexico, sorely lacking in plot and the aforementioned aliens. But according to THR, Magnet Releasing was, "blown away by Monsters" and therefore is going to be bringing it to the general public. Exactly when and in what capacity, wide release, limited, or direct-to-DVD, has yet to be determined, but despite Josh's misgivings about the film, it sounds like there's enough positive going on for it to be enjoyable. Keep your fingers crossed for at least a limited theatrical release. Swept under the rug by THR is that Magnet also picked up director Neil Marshall's latest film Centurion which follows the legendary 9th Roman Legion on the path to their disappearance. Anyone who's seen the trailer for this will know just how awesomely badass it looks so this should be big news coming out of SXSW. There are very few reviews as of yet for the Descent director's latest effort, but chances are, with the muscle he had in front of the camera, and the talent he had behind it, Centurion will be a sure fire hit. More on when we'll be able to see Monster and Centurion for ourselves when the news becomes available.
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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Wed Mar 17, 2010 2:31 pm

http://austinist.com/2010/03/17/_sxsw_film_preview_centurion.php

SXSW Film Preview: Centurion

Probably the festival’s worst-kept secret, Monday’s midnight screening of Centurion was jam-packed despite the rain (after all, the screening was billed as “Neil Marshall Presents Secret Screening”, and it’s too early for Burst 3D just yet). If you’re a horror fan, you probably know Marshall best as Director of the utterly brilliant The Descent, or the cult hit Dog Soldiers. And despite the lukewarm response to his 2008 action flick Doomsday, anticipation has been building for Centurion since this trailer hit the web in early February. So it was elbow-to-elbow as we filed in to watch what would be the world premiere of the quasi-sword-and-sandals flick.

Michael Fassbender (Inglourious Basterds, 300) and Dominic West (The Wire) star as Roman soldiers trapped behind enemy lines after a brutal ambush decimates their legion. Hunted by the relentless Picts—led by a vicious warrior princess named Etain (Olga Kurylenko)—the small band of Romans must fight their way to freedom across an unforgiving Scottish landscape. And along the way (of course), they struggle to keep their friendship and honor intact.

In a lot of ways, Centurion is exactly what we expected it to be—which is to say, good. Full of cursing, fighting and gory kill-shots, it’s a gloriously violent action flick with just the right mix of historical interest, macho posturing and flaming arrows. But unlike, say, 300, Centurion is almost completely devoid of stylized CGI or glossy effects. The characters are at the forefront here, and the story is just as important as the battle scenes (it’s probably going too far to call it a purposeful allegory, but connections to any number of modern wars are easy to see, if you’re into that).

Sometimes the dialog is goofy, and sometimes the story feels rushed, but Fassbender and Kurylenko do well in their respective roles, and Marshall applies his organic visual approach to nearly every scene, from sweeping landscape shots to tightly cut battle sequences.

Centurion isn’t a genre classic on par with The Descent , but it’s a total blast and we enjoyed the hell out of it. You’ll get one more chance to see it tonight as it returns to the Alamo South Lamar for a second Midnight screening.
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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Wed Mar 17, 2010 3:06 pm

http://www.earthsmightiest.com/fansites/SwordsSandalsandSorcery/news/?a=6502

Early Reviews Are In For Centurion
The movie about the Ninth Legion got a sneak peek showing at the SXSW Festival
Well, Swords & Sandals fans, we've got two early reviews in for Centurion and they are somewhat different from each other. The SXSW Festival had a midnight surprise screening of the Neil Marshall film.

Here is some of what John Dafoe over at The Hollywood Reporter had to say:

"Bottom Line: Unpretentious swords-and-sandals film crafts a tight survival drama out of Roman Empire lore.

A refreshing answer to filmmakers who believe any swords-and-sandals film must be epic or at least overwrought, Neil Marshall's "Centurion" delivers some large-scale action but plays almost like a Roman-era Western in its depiction of a few soldiers trying to get home alive after the slaughter of their comrades.

Marshall isn't uninterested in the battlefield, to be sure: In the film's first half, he stages enthusiastically gory scenes that, for audiences not averse to very tight framing and very quick cutting, effectively depict a conflict leaving most of this band of Roman soldiers dead.

But he is also eager to imagine a more intimate scenario, in which the son of a gladiator (Fassbender) tries to rescue survivors and get them safely through some beautifully photographed terrain to a Roman stronghold."

Now, from the same screening, blog writer Anne Thompson, had her own feelings about the movie:

"The good news: the movie kept me awake and Michael Fassbender and Dominic West are strong leads as the titular centurion and the general of the ninth legion, respectively. The bad news: the movie is a slightly cheesy period B actioner, rife with bloody, gory slo-mo fighting with squibs of gushing red blood and lopping off of heads. Think Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Only straight."

DogsOfWar-Two slightly different takes on the movie. Both acknowledge some fairly gory and tough battle scenes but one emphasizes a compelling drama while the other shoots the storyline down. I find it very interesting the first reviewer is male and the second, female. Sounds like this will be a definite Guy Movie. I'm stoked!
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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Thu Mar 18, 2010 1:15 am

http://theplaylist.blogspot.com/2010/03/sxsw-review-centurion-another-bloody.html

3/17/2010
SXSW Review: 'Centurion' Another Bloody, Yet Soulless Neil Marshall B-Movie

The SXSW Film Festival had been low on surprise screenings, but on Monday, March 15th, a lucky group of about a 150 people — including yours truly — got to see what turned out to be the world "secret" premiere of Neil Marshall's "Centurion"at the Alamo Drafthouse starring Michael Fassbender, Olga Kurylenko, Dominic West (McNulty from "The Wire") and lovely, fair-haired up and coming British actress, Imogen Poots. But some audiences — and those without a propensity for mayhem and wanton bloodthirstiness — weren't so lucky.

We'd love to know who dubbed Marshall the heir apparent/second coming of genre filmmaking and why. While he crashed onto the scene with the engaging, but still overrated monster horror film, "The Descent," (though he already had one feature under his belt that mostly went unnoticed, "Dog Soldiers"), "Doomsday" was pretty much vapid, if unapologetically dumb, action/B-movie trash all about beheadings, blood, gore and enthusiastic displays of violence made for man-children.

And while Marshall has talent and we were hoping for the filmmaker to finally live up to his potential, his fourth feature film evinced that the director hasn't grown an iota other than being able to deliver a rock 'em sock 'em digital bloodbath (and obvious, easy to spot digital blood) that elicits cheers and hollering from easy to please male audiences.

Narratively facile and empty and essentially an action chase film with several scenes driving just towards big action, fight scene set pieces, to call "Centurion" even low-rent Ridley Scott is a bit of an insult to the man who made "Gladiator" and the even dull as nails "Kingdom of Heaven" (which we supposed we'd watch first if we had to choose at gunpoint).

Employing weak, structurally band-aid like voiceover, distracting and overuse of anachronistic f-bombs, plus a who-cares melange of accents, "Centurion" is quick to dispense with story and get to what it perceives to be the good stuff: sword disembowling, fisticuffs and arrows that zip through people's chests. The picture focuses on a splinter group of Roman soldiers (eventually led by Fassbender) who lose their General (West) and then fight for their lives behind enemy lines after their legion is decimated in a devastating guerrilla attack which is led by a traitorous super solider named Etain (Kurylenko) who is a mute, wolf-like unstoppable warrior.

And while that leads us up to pretty much the end of the first act, the rest of the picture is essentially a ragtag motley crew of soldiers on the run as they are hunted down by Etain and her ruthless warriors one by one. Some emotional through-line is attempted to be shoehorned in via Imgoen Poots' ostracized "witch" character who shelters Fassbender and two of his wounded men. A half-hearted, we-might-need-this-dramatic-touch-later romance begins to surface, but it feels so pointless and does nothing to help the story engine other than give the audience a reprieve from all the grunting, slaying and out-0f-breath sprinting.

While Marshall is a strong technical, action director (though the movie kind of looks like desaturated s$#! to be completely honest), he might want to consider second-unit work as the empty storyline just seems like an lame excuse for cool, genre-heavy swordplay and action without a ounce of depth, feeling or substance. Peter Jackson's "Lord Of The Rings" this is not. Not even close.

While genre fetishists will enjoy the picture, those that desire even the most basic story and half-baked compelling characters will likely feel completely undernourished. While Fassbender is obviously a fantastic actor, even his presence cannot save this ill-conceived effort that is just soulless, shallow and unengaging. It's almost shocking how little effort is put into creating characters you might emotionally invest in even on a primal level.

Make no mistake about it either, while Warner Bros. had a hand in funding the picture, it's very telling that the infinitely smaller Magnet Films — the B-movie wing of Magnolia Pictures — is releasing the film. Warner might actually assist with the marketing at some point, but the niche films Magnet generally releases (and some of them quite good), demonstrate the limited appeal of what many thought was going to be a big, successful studio picture. And even Warner knows that a bloodfest with no story is not going to cut it.

If you'd like to see the intelligent and thoughtful version of this story, wait until September to see Kevin MacDonald's "The Eagle of the Ninth," that should hopefully convey the same action thrills, but with a head, heart and soul. This is pretty much an empty picture unless you — like the Austinite named Harry Knowles said at the screening — get an "awesome" erection for pointless splatter. [D+].

Posted by The Playlist at 9:34 PM
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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Thu Mar 18, 2010 4:24 pm

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/farihah-zaman/sxsw-2010-land-of-the-ris_b_504354.html

SXSW 2010: Land of the Rising Fun
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The first time I walked into the Alamo Drafthouse, I really had no idea what I was in for. I was a fresh-out-of-college intern at a distribution company, paying my own way to the South by Southwest Film Festival on a whim, and decided to book it directly from the airport to a midnight screening of the action-packed Parkour movie District B13. As I stumbled, suitcase in hand, into the rowdy theater, a voice rang out from the back seat, "Something smells like Farihah!" It was my boss, and he was wasted, because when you go to a midnight show at the Alamo Drafthouse, that's what you do.

What followed was one of the most memorable movie nights of my life, as I proceeded to share a bucket of beer with my new coworkers and my enthusiasm for a badass movie with the kind of raucous audience I had only experienced at the choicest of Bollywood films in New Delhi, all while trying to comprehend from whence this magical place had appeared. The original Alamo was opened in downtown Austin in 1997 by Tim and Karrie League, who were able to open several other locations fairly quickly thereafter. Not only do servers bring pretty decent food and drink directly to your seat, something of an improvement over my usual sneak-in-a-six-pack standby, they also supplement first runs with a potent blend of classics, cult classics, obscure animated and experimental films you almost never see anywhere, interactive special events, and some truly bizarre B-movies and genre film.

This trip back to SXSW I arrived the night before the film festival started and was lucky enough to experience another of the Alamo's rad traditions before the theater was taken over for festival screenings: the singalong. A hip-hop singalong to be exact. On the other end of several whiskey sours, up on stage shaking it like a Polaroid picture to Outkast, I fell in love with the Alamo all over again. I remained very much in the afterglow a few days later while strapping myself in for the not-so-secret secret screening of Aussie filmmaker Neil Marshall's (The Descent, ) latest, Centurion. Like District B13, the film, which is based on the legend of a small legion of Roman survivors trying to fight their way out of the enemy Picts' territory in AD 117, was a great fit for one of the late-night genre slots at the Alamo.

While the film featured muddy politics, positioning itself vaguely as an anti-war film while also encouraging us to root for heroes of questionable morals, you really go see this movie to find out how many ways a head can explode (answer: wow). In addition to the glossy fountains of blood, the film hit a few higher-brow marks by showcasing critically lauded actors like Michael Fassbender (Fishtank, Inglourious Basterds) and Dominic West (The Wire), and of course some very impressive cinematography. Shot on location in Ireland, the beautiful backdrop is used to stunning effect, as the camera races over snow covered fields or captures the legion rising cautiously from under a carpet of leaves. Despite the zingy one liners and the gore, the writing in Centurion also has a slightly intellectual bent, and a surprisingly somber tone, that sets it apart from cinematically toothless historical action films like Troy.

I imagine that to some Austinites and longtime regulars of the festival my love letter to the Alamo might seem like a quaint statement of the obvious, and while of course not every experience there is mind blowing, I'm still amazed at the thrill of potential I feel when walking into the theater, the firm belief that every time really could be like the first time. The Alamo is one of the things I most look forward to when it comes to the SXSW experience; it is an Austin institution, keeps me from starvation during those break-free days on the festival circuit, and continues to program events I am loathe to miss long after I leave.
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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Thu Mar 18, 2010 4:29 pm

http://apassionforhistory.blogspot.com/2010/03/film-of-book-can-it-ever-be-as-good.html

Thursday, March 18, 2010
The Film of the Book - Can it ever be as good?

You wait fifty six years for a film and then two come along at the same time. What are the chances? Rosemary Sutcliff's book The Eagle of the Ninth has been an all time favourite of mine since I read it at school (which wasn't quite 56 years ago - that was when it was first published) and when I heard it was going to be turned into a film I was ecstatic. For me that story has everything: a spooky historical mystery at its heart - the disappearance of a Roman legion north of Hadrian's Wall - adventure, romance and a great setting. So I hurried off to find out all about the film... And discovered both of them.

First up, in April, is Centurion. This appears to be inspired by the story of the Roman Ninth Legion rather than actually based on Rosemary Sutcliff's book. It stars Michael Fassbender and Dominic West, two good reasons to go and see it, aside from the actual story. I like the idea of a plucky band of seven warriors fighting back against overwhelming odds deep inside enemy territory. (Shades of the King Arthur film with Clive Owen there.) The tagline "Fight or Die" certainly goes for the throat.

Then, in the summer, there is The Eagle of the Ninth, the film of the book, starring Channing Tatum and an all star cast. So what to do? Either or both? And at the back of my mind is that thought that always lurks when I go to see the film of a favourite book: Can the film possibly do the book justice?
I call this the "Frenchman's Creek" experience. Years ago there was a made-for-TV-movie of Daphne Du Maurier's Frenchman's Creek, a fabulous book that is on my all time favourites list. But oh dear, the disappointment and the disillusionment of the film! Sometimes it really is better to stay away from that movie screen and relish the printed word and the power of your own imagination.

What do you think? Did you read and enjoy Rosemary Sutcliff's book? Will you be going to see either of these movies? And have you seen a film of a book that equalled or exceeded the original?
Posted by Nicola Cornick at 12:58 AM
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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Thu Mar 18, 2010 6:12 pm

http://trendygossip.com/movie-reviews/sxsw-review-centurion/

SXSW Review: Centurion
March 18th, 2010 admin

Imagine a flick like Braveheart, 300, Gladiator, or King Arthur, only those films have just been stripped of all those boring scenes about kings and princes, peasants and slaves, taxes and trades, and all that jazz. The result would be a movie that looks a lot like Neil Marshall’s Centurion, a fast-paced, visually stunning, and action-heavy period piece that focuses on what matters most in a Saturday afternoon matinee: the good stuff. Boasting nary a subplot or an extraneous character to deal with, Centurion seems fully intent on delivering an old-school action adventure that tickles the eye without taxing the brain. And it succeeds on all counts.

It’s the story of Centurion Quintus Dias (Michael Fassbender), a trusted officer in the Roman army. Following a brutal attack by the barbaric Picts (ancient Scots are what they are, I do believe), Quintus finds himself stuck deep inside an enemy village — but not for long. Quintus’ escape is aided by the last few survivors of the legendary Ninth Legion, and together the small band of soldiers must make their way to a friendly border. Not only do they have a long way to go, but they also have on their tails a tenacious group of Pict trackers, which is led by the ferociously unwavering Etain (Olga Kurylenko).
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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Thu Mar 18, 2010 6:17 pm

http://www.cinematical.com/2010/03/18/sxsw-review-centurion/

SXSW Review: Centurion

by Scott Weinberg Mar 18th 2010 // 5:45PM

Imagine a flick like Braveheart, 300, Gladiator, or King Arthur, only those films have just been stripped of all those boring scenes about kings and princes, peasants and slaves, taxes and trades, and all that jazz. The result would be a movie that looks a lot like Neil Marshall's Centurion, a fast-paced, visually stunning, and action-heavy period piece that focuses on what matters most in a Saturday afternoon matinee: the good stuff. Boasting nary a subplot or an extraneous character to deal with, Centurion seems fully intent on delivering an old-school action adventure that tickles the eye without taxing the brain. And it succeeds on all counts.

It's the story of Centurion Quintus Dias (Michael Fassbender), a trusted officer in the Roman army. Following a brutal attack by the barbaric Picts (ancient Scots are what they are, I do believe), Quintus finds himself stuck deep inside an enemy village -- but not for long. Quintus' escape is aided by the last few survivors of the legendary Ninth Legion, and together the small band of soldiers must make their way to a friendly border. Not only do they have a long way to go, but they also have on their tails a tenacious group of Pict trackers, which is led by the ferociously unwavering Etain (Olga Kurylenko).

So that's it! A brief bit of monumental mayhem to kick-start the tale, just enough set-up to keep the main characters interesting, and a whole lot of escapes, chases, sword-fights, and flying arrows. (To those who may be unfamiliar with Marshall's previous films, I can warn you that Centurion is a rousingly gory affair. Those with an aversion to physical nastiness should look elsewhere.) Of course Centurion does slow down often enough to offer a few colorful character moments, but it never cuts away to a bunch of guys talking about the action from 500 miles away. This gives the flick a welcome sense of urgency; Marshall does a fine job of illustrating precisely how ruthless the "evil" Picts truly are. Even our hero and a captured Roman general (the always fun Dominic West) have no problem admitting that they're well outmatched and deep behind enemy lines.

Ever the genre fan, Marshall punctuates his action scenes with explosive geysers of blood, set against an ironically beautiful background, and with an impressive amount of attention paid to editing, timing, and orchestrating the action to its maximum effect. (There's a great sequence best described as "a chase up a mountain.") Aside from Fassbender and Liam Cunningham as a gruff veteran soldier, the five other survivors are a fairly interchangeable troop, but we're not exactly talking about a dramatic ensemble piece here; the Roman guys are suitably heroic, even if they're not exactly as colorful as a "dirty half dozen" might have been.

Michael Fassbender, however, does deliver an enjoyably effective lead hero. Not nearly as gruff and commanding as the heroes found in 300 or Gladiator, Fassbender's Quintus Dias is instead a quietly confident warrior. His butt-kicking abilities and leadership skills are undeniably evident, but his calm exterior is that of a soldier fighting to stay alive, and not one who craves an extra battle or two. Ms. Kurylenko is also quite entertaining as the inescapable tracker / warrior woman known as Etain. She has no dialogue whatsoever, but the actress has no problem conveying an insidious sense of menace. In fact, I'd say Etain is one of the coolest female movie villains we've seen in quite some time.

Whether or not Centurion is an improvement over Marshall's earlier flicks is up to the Marshall fans to decide for themselves, but I applaud the director who is willing (nay, intent!) on attacking a new sub-genre each time he touches a camera. He's like the Danny Boyle of Saturday Afternoon Matinees, and after seeing him tackle warring werewolves, claustrophobic carnage, post-apocalyptic anarchy, and now some old-school "swords and sandals" craziness, I (as always) look forward to what the filmmaker concocts next.
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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Fri Mar 19, 2010 1:29 am

http://www.filmschoolrejects.com/reviews/sxsw-review-centurion.php

SXSW Review: Centurion

Posted by Brian Salisbury (bsalisbury@filmschoolrejects.com) on March 18, 2010 Share

Neil Marshall's Centurion

If I learned one thing from the horror panel, which is absurd because I actually learned a surfeit of things from that panel, it’s that Neil Marshall is an incredibly smart guy. But as a horror film viewer, I would have to characterize my feelings toward him as tepid. I though The Descent was decent until the aggravatingly stupid “gotcha” ending ruined it. Admittedly I haven’t seen all of Doomsday but found what I saw to be overly derivative and, although it nearly got me crucified by my horror brethren, I have an active distaste for Dog Soldiers. But somehow I was still excited to see his latest film, Centurion, as a midnight screening. Would this be a masterpiece of genre storytelling or would Mr. Marshall once again fail to move me?

Centurion weaves the epic tale of Rome’s 9th legion. This was a legion stationed in the northernmost portion of the empire; modern day England. Rome found some of its greatest adversaries in the Pict tribe that inhabited this region. Masters of guerrilla warfare, the Pictish tribes attacked Roman garrisons in the dead of night and caused innumerable casualties. Centurion focuses on the fallout of a particularly nasty ambush they spring on the 9th legion. Their ranks decimated, only a handful of soldiers survive and must escape from enemy territory before they are butchered one by one.

I am happy to report that this is the first Neil Marshall film I have enjoyed from start to finish. That being said, it is by no means a great movie. It is a truly solid period piece that allows him to flex his horror chops while dabbling in other genres. Like Doomsday, it’s a little derivative of several other sources, Gladiator and the television series Rome for example, but the blend is somewhat unique and definitely entertaining. The script isn’t flawless, but the actors are able to carry the grander of the archaic speech without making it sound overly ostentatious. The story itself is also highly captivating; the wayward soldiers trying to make it home reminded me a lot of The Warriors which was pretty freaking cool.

The film also benefits from a pair of outstanding performances. Michael Fassbender plays Quintus, a centurion who is rescued by the 9th legion after being taken prisoner by the Picts. He ultimately becomes their leader when their general, played by Dominic West, is captured. Fassbender is a phenomenal actor. I am ashamed to say I didn’t take note of his talent until Inglorious Basterds, but the man is amazing. He has this old-world charm and class that makes him pitch-perfect for period films; guy looks like Don Draper in Basterds for crying out loud. And frankly, after Punisher: War Zone, I had no idea West was an honest-to-God actor. As a performer, he’s a little rough around the edges but he makes that work to his advantage with the character he plays. He’s a brute with a solidified sense of honor and the kind of machismo that is par for the course in a movie about ancient soldiers.

Look, Marshall is not reinventing the wheel here. Centurion is a taut, honed actioner with respectable production value and an adequate grasp of cinematography. But the performances and the violence are about the only elements that truly stand out. Good lord this thing is bloody; Marshall calling upon his horror roots to emphasize the shocking brutality of combat. All in all, it’s not something I would race out to see in theaters, but will make a completely satisfying rental once it hits video.
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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Fri Mar 19, 2010 1:48 am

http://www.ifc.com/blogs/indie-eye/2010/03/centurion.php

Indie Eye
At SXSW 2010, March 12-21, Daily Festival
"Centurion": A hundred bad guys with swords.
By Alison Willmore on 03/18/2010
Filed under: Reviews

Reviewed at the 2010 SXSW Film Festival.

I wish I found Hadrian's Wall half as intriguing as British writer/director Neil Marshall apparently does. The structure, located in northern England, was built by the Romans to defend their northern line against the tribes beyond it, and it's inspired the lesser two of Marshall's films -- 2008's camptastic "Doomsday," which imagines a future where a plague outbreak in Scotland leads to the wall being rebuilt for quarantine purposes, and "Centurion" (which played one of SXSW's secret midnight screenings), which is literally about Romans and Picts engaging in bellowing border skirmishes in 117 AD. It's a setting also being explored by Kevin Macdonald's upcoming "The Eagle of the Ninth," a film that plans to put a political spin on the ancient tale of imperialists and insurgents. "Centurion" doesn't really aim to be anything more than a loping B-movie, but still comes up hollow -- it's a striking-looking, blood-spattered chase over the forbidding Scottish countryside that's curiously spiritless.

Marshall's modus operandi is basically survival horror -- his four features to date have all been about a tough, outnumbered few struggling through hostile territory, soldiers vs. werewolves, cavers vs. crawlers, mercenaries vs. plague survivors, centurions vs. the barbarian hordes. "The Descent" remains his best work because of the unexpected complexity of the relationships between its characters, women whose history with each other includes rivalries, betrayals and resentment that bubble to the surface as the stakes are raised. "Centurion" instead has broadly drawn types -- the (ahem) virile General Titus Virilus (Dominic West), the soulful Quintus Dias (Michael Fassbender), the was-going-to-retire Brick (Liam Cunningham), and the mute, near-supernatural Etain (Olga Kurylenko), who poses as a tracker assisting Virilus' Ninth Legion in their search for Pictish leader Gorlacon (Ulrich Thomsen), only to lead them into an ambush that leaves all but a handful of the men dead.

I'm still not sure how anything in which Dominic West plays a character named Virilus isn't somehow fun, but in aiming for a grounded, subdued tone that's far removed from the cartoonishness of "300" (in which West and Fassbender both starred), "Centurion" ends up in an awkward spot, trying to earnestly deliver on lines like "I am a soldier of Rome! I will not yield!" while also striving to sell former Bond girl Kurylenko as a woefully unconvincing Pict warrior badass. Marshall's a fine director of action, and the film is rife with impressive footage of the mist-shrouded landscape and sequences of inventive, brawny violence, but to what end is all of that if you could can barely distinguish, much less invest yourself in, the characters involved?

"Centurion" will be released by Magnolia later this year.

[Photos: "Centurion," Magnolia, 2010]
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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Sat Mar 20, 2010 1:09 am

Just remember, "300" was slammed by the critics before it did what it did. I don't expect this film to do that, but just letting you know. As fans, you have to be able to take the good and the bad.

http://www.brutalashell.com/2010/03/sxsw-film-review-centurion/

SXSW Film Review: Centurion
19 March 2010

Centurion (2010)

SXSW 2010

Directed by: Neil Marshall

Starring: Michael Fassbender, Dominic West, Imogen Poots, Olga Kurylenko, David Morrissey

Review by: Britt Hayes

The general of the 9th legion of Roman soldiers, Virilus (West), has been given orders to take his men into Pict territory in what is now Scotland, and finally bring an end to the long-running war between Rome and the Picts. Rome has had its sights set on Britain, but the Picts, a native people who use the terrain and bows and arrows to their advantage, have long stood in their way. The Picts don’t f&#! around. This was a time when women were drafted into the military as long as they could wield a bow and arrow, and the most dangerous among the Picts are definitely their women.

The 9th legion is led into a trap and engages in an epic and devastating battle with the Picts, resulting in extensive casualties. Only seven soldiers remain alive, and General Virilus has been captured by the Picts. The remaining men, led by Quintus Dias (Fassbender), endeavor to rescue their esteemed General, fighting Picts, the elements, and betrayal along the way.

Fans will recognize Marshall as the director of one of the most important horror films of the last decade – The Descent. Don’t expect anything like that here. Centurion is a bloody historical action film based on the legend of the 9th legion. Marshall takes the question mark of that legend and weaves a tale all his own, forming his own history while integrating historical facts. As a viewer, you don’t question that this is a “what if” scenario, and Marshall does a great job of bringing you into his fiction.

That said, I didn’t care for the film. It saddens me that Marshall seems to be a one-off director. He started on such a high note with The Descent, but I was not a fan of Doomsday, and I’m not a fan of Centurion. That’s not to say that Centurion isn’t a good movie. I can see why people like it or would like it, and I can see myself drinking a six pack on a Friday night with some guy friends and having a good time with it. I enjoyed it in the theater, but the more I’ve had time to sit with it, the more I dislike it.

There’s a plot line with a love interest that could easily have 10 minutes trimmed off of it, and a nudge-nudge moment with mushrooms (no, druggies, not those) that is groan-inducing and needs to go. The landscapes used in the film are beautiful, but some of the shots gloss over them quickly, barely giving the viewer time to register what they just saw.

And that leads me to the real issue: the editing. There is an insane amount of quick-cutting during the action scenes making it impossible to determine what is actually going on. You can’t tell who is fighting who and what side they’re on. At first, I thought this may have been a girly, pedestrian complaint, but several other people at the screening echoed similar complaints.

Michael Fassbender is bland as Quintus Dias. He starts strong, but the longer he’s on screen the more he feels empty. There’s not an ounce of personality in his performance and could easily be replaced with another actor. None of the performances shine outside of Olga Kurylenko and the beautiful and unfortunately-named Imogen Poots. Kurylenko’s Etain is a bloodthirsty, mute Pict who has to carry an entire performance without being able to speak. It’s a heavy load, but she carries it effectively. Poots’ Arian is given little to do with a tedious little story line, but manages to make it work. You may remember Poots as the little girl from 28 Weeks Later. She’s hardly little anymore.

As horror fans, you’ll be pleased by the brutal kills and gracious amounts of blood, but some may be bored with subplots. Another bothersome quality is that the Romans speak with muted British accents, and the Picts, who lived in what is now Scotland, speak some kind of Gaelic with subtitles. Marshall stated in the Q & A after the screening that he wanted to make this a real period piece and exclude any weapons, costumes, make-up, et al. that wouldn’t be around during that time. Why, then, is Fassbender chewing gum in one of the first scenes? And why do all the soldiers use modern day profanity? If you want to know what to expect on a small scale before walking into Centurion, Eric Snider has a funny list over at Cinematical.

Centurion is a great take on an old legend, but suffers from poor editing choices and wearisome acting. This was the first “super secret” screening at SXSW, and as such, it was hardly secret. The screening was called “Neil Marshall Presents” but there was only one film Marshall had been working on, so it was no surprise. We all knew it was Centurion and we were all excited to see it. Perhaps our high expectations nullified most of the enjoyment we could’ve taken from it. Overall, Centurion is a decent film, but left me feeling tepid.
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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Sat Mar 20, 2010 2:59 am

http://www.film.com/features/story/sxsw-review-centurion-pretty-great/32797579

SXSW Review: Centurion Is Pretty Great
Action fans will love the new film from the director of The Descent and Doomsday.
Michael Fassbender as Quintus Dias - "Centurion" (2010)

C. Robert Cargill, Mar 19, 2010

A man runs half naked, his hands bound by rope and his skin bruised and cut, through -18 degree weather atop a frozen mountain. Chased by something we cannot see, he stumbles headfirst into the snow. He gets up immediately. "My name is Quintus Dias, and this is neither the beginning nor the end of my story." So begins the new blood-soaked historical tale from horror/action director Neil Marshall. Based on the mysterious end of the famed Roman 9th Legion, we follow as General Virilus (Dominic West) gets his marching orders to press farther into Pict territory (in Scotland) to bring about an end to the war that has long been in stalemate. Unfortunately for Virilus and his men, he's been led straight into a trap, and a particularly bloodthirsty pack of Pict rebels slaughter the 9th Legion down to what they believe is the last man. But from out of the carnage seven survivors rise and must attempt to free their beloved general -- who was taken prisoner by the Picts -- then make their way on foot back to the safety of the Roman lines. In winter. With no supplies. What follows is a brutal, fast-paced chase film through the hills of old Briton, in the days when Rome thought it could extend its reach there, only to discover that it was a bit too far, even for mighty Rome.

I was very careful with my choice of words earlier. This is a historical tale, not a historical epic. In fact, there is very little epic about it. It is small in scope, small in budget -- but equally small in ambition. This is not some sweeping historical film involving politics or intrigue or gargantuan battles. Instead, it is microscopic in focus. It wants to focus on these seven men and the harrowing few days they spend in the hills, hunted by a savage and unforgiving group of Pict trackers. More importantly, Centurion is a lot of fun. Structured much like a Western, it introduces us to our seven protagonists and puts them in fight after fight as a group of lethal horsemen try to run them down. The instances in which they decide to stop and take a stand are brief, bloody, and powerful, chock full of the ferocious violence that fans of historical action films are looking for. Heads explode, limbs get chopped off, spears pierce flesh -- all in gleeful abandon with cheers from the audience.

Marshall excels at making drive-in level B-movies with an A-list mentality. He knows how to frame beautiful shots and make simple locations and makeup look positively killer. You never look at one of his films and think about how little it was made for. His aim is to make fun, wonderfully inventive genre delights. This film even manages to evoke some of the images of his previous film, the underappreciated Doomsday, his Grindhouse-like send-up of early '80s postapocalyptic bliss -- angry, dangerous women in face paint; a giant, menacing wall; a run through the British wilderness; an untrustworthy government. This time around, however, he's not using these images and ideas in a tongue-in-cheek I loved this stuff when I was a kid sort of way. He's doing it for real and it all works.

Sadly, the film is far from perfect. The ending gets a tad convoluted with betrayals, weighed down by some overly predictable moments, and the dialogue is far from what anyone would call heady and insightful. But the final showdown is a gut-tightening, sanguine, action extravaganza that will delight action fans everywhere, and the breathless pace of the film as a whole never lets you get bored. Entertaining through and through, Centurion accomplishes everything it sets out to do and is well worth seeing on the big screen when it finally comes your way.

Grade: B
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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Sat Mar 20, 2010 3:01 am

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/farihah-zaman/sxsw-2010-land-of-the-ris_b_504354.html

This trip back to SXSW I arrived the night before the film festival started and was lucky enough to experience another of the Alamo's rad traditions before the theater was taken over for festival screenings: the singalong. A hip-hop singalong to be exact. On the other end of several whiskey sours, up on stage shaking it like a Polaroid picture to Outkast, I fell in love with the Alamo all over again. I remained very much in the afterglow a few days later while strapping myself in for the not-so-secret secret screening of British filmmaker Neil Marshall's (The Descent) latest, Centurion. Like District B13, the film, which is based on the legend of a small legion of Roman survivors trying to fight their way out of the enemy Picts' territory in AD 117, was a great fit for one of the late-night genre slots at the Alamo.

While the film featured muddy politics, positioning itself vaguely as an anti-war film while also encouraging us to root for heroes of questionable morals, you really go see this movie to find out how many ways a head can explode (answer: wow). In addition to the glossy fountains of blood, the film hit a few higher-brow marks by showcasing critically lauded actors like Michael Fassbender (Fishtank, Inglourious Basterds) and Dominic West (The Wire), and of course some very impressive cinematography. Shot on location in Ireland, the beautiful backdrop is used to stunning effect, as the camera races over snow covered fields or captures the legion rising cautiously from under a carpet of leaves. Despite the zingy one liners and the gore, the writing in Centurion also has a slightly intellectual bent, and a surprisingly somber tone, that sets it apart from cinematically toothless historical action films like Troy.
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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Sun Mar 21, 2010 1:15 am

http://wearemoviegeeks.com/2010/03/sxsw-review-centurion/


Mar 18, 2010

Posted by Travis in Film Festivals, General News, SXSW 2010 Movie Reviews | Comments (0)
SXSW Review: CENTURION

CENTURION is an epic story told on an intimate scale. It’s a war movie focused on the character-driven story, but doesn’t sacrifice the expectation of action. Written and directed by Neil Marshall, CENTURION delivers on multiple fronts, supplying moviegoers with a variety of weapons in its arsenal, intended to ensure a wider appeal than simply the violence-seeking male market.

Neil Marshall (DOG SOLDIERS, THE DESCENT) is known as a fan favorite filmmaker, delivering excellent action, thrills and solid stories. He’s taken us deep into the dark and terrifying depths of the cavernous unknown and now he takes us on a journey back in time, back into the Roman era. CENTURION is the story of a small group of Roman soldiers caught behind enemy lines, the only survivors of a vast legion of unstoppable Roman forces obliterated by a devastating ambush in the hills of Scotland.

Michael Fassbender (INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS) plays Quintus Dias, a second in command Roman officer who inherits control of the handful of survivors as they struggle to survive in harsh, unfamiliar terrain, ruled by the unpredictable combat nature of the Picts of Scotland. When the Pict King Gorlacon (Ulrich Thomsen) captures the Roman General Virilius (Dominic West) Quintus Dias leads his men on a suicide rescue mission into the heart of Pict territory.

Marshall clearly did his homework on this picture, delving into the details of the ancient time and place, rewarding his more demanding audiences with detail and texture. His Roman characters are allowed to speak with subtly varied accents, properly representing the fact that the Roman legions consisted of soldiers from all across the vast empire. On the other hand, his actors portraying the Picts speak a more appropriately strong and common accent as well as Gaelic when necessary for mood.

Initially, CENTURION delves into the intricacies of the Roman legionary forces, giving the audience a sense of its structure, a sense of its inner workings and hierarchy. The Roman army fought confidently with a traditional battle strategy. The Romans fought with honor, or so they believed. Unfortunately for them, the Picts saw fighting a war to defend their land and culture as less a question of honor, resulting in the guerilla tactics they employed. These unconventional tactics are what allowed the Picts to repeatedly fend off the Roman invaders.

One of the most epic scenes in CENTURION is the ambush of the Roman legion, perpetrated with the assistance of a Pict scout called Etain, played by Olga Kurylenko, who tricked the Romans into believing she was willing to lead them into victory over the Picts because her people had betrayed her. This scene depicts the utter terror and confusion these guerilla forces could inflict on the unprepared Roman soldiers. With little struggle and time, the entire legion is wiped out on a grand scale, leaving only the handful of soldiers who survived by mistake. Marshall’s story is inspired by the legend of General Virilus’ Ninth Legion, ordered to march into the Pict land and wipe them from the land, but the entire legion mysteriously vanished.

Michael Fassbender apparently can do no wrong, as his performance in CENTURION becomes yet another positive notch in his belt of acting achievements. Fassbender gives Quintus Dias a level of silent moral conflict that balances the character with his heroic status, able to kick some serious ass in combat. Meanwhile, Olga Kurylenko’s silent performance of the Pict tracker Etain, minus a tongue forcibly removed, screams badass female warrior with a vengeance. Convincing fight sequences that could make any guy watch in lustful awe and terror enhance Kurylennko’s performance.

CENTURION is a film that celebrates the strong female character as much as the Roman legend, featuring Axelle Carolyn as the equally formidable female Pict warrior Aeron. Equal to these performances is the gallant portrayal on General Virilus by Dominic West (300, PUNISHER: WAR ZONE). Quintus Dias meets Drusilla (Rachael Stirling) at one point, a Pict outcast who becomes a love interest for him during his efforts to survive.

The finely tuned editing of CENTURION is accompanied by intriguing costume work and cinematography that captures the rugged and beautiful bleakness of the snow-covered Scottish hills. The action itself is an effective combination of choppy closely shot edits, giving just enough chaos and claustrophobia to be convincing but not enough to induce motion sickness or a sense of displacement amidst the action. Audiences will be pleased with the mix of realism and style, while the sensationalist-seeking audiences should appreciate the acceptably ramped up level of blood and graphic violence.

Overall, CENTURION is a satisfying piece of historical cinema that offers action, drama and even a bit of controlled romance, even though its use is primarily a vehicle for the film’s ending. Fans of historical cinema should be pleased with the care taken in the story telling, while those seeking mere entertainment should find themselves satisfied with a well-made period war film.
Overall Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Tue Mar 23, 2010 1:03 pm

http://gordonandthewhale.com/sxsw-2010-review-centurion/

SXSW 2010 Review: CENTURION
Will Schiffelbein
by: Will Schiffelbein
March 23rd, 2010

Rating: 8.5/10

Director: Neil Marshall
Writer: Neil Marshall
Cast: Michael Fassbender, Dominic West, Olga Kurylenko

It’s not as though contemporary cinema is completely devoid of Roman period films. After all, it was only about ten years ago that GLADIATOR walked away with Best Picture at the Oscars. 300 could be described as similar in the eyes of studios, but Rome is incredibly unique when compared with Ancient Greece. So why do I feel as though we rarely get any good Roman soldier movies?

Neil Marshall, the genre genius behind THE DESCENT and DOG SOLDIERS, has returned to the screen to satiate my thirst with CENTURION. Not only did he satisfy my wanton desire for legionaries slaughtering pagan natives, he impaled my desires with a spear and a battle cry. In fact, I dug this movie a hell of a lot more than Ridley Scott’s Academy Award winning film. Check out my full review, after the jump.

CENTURION follows the mysterious Ninth Legion, which suspiciously disappeared in northern Britain in 117 AD. Marshall has taken this historical legend and turned it into a badass action flick. He’s cast Michael Fassbender as his lead, Quitus Dias, who commands what remains of his legion after it is ambushed by Pict rebels. Their first goal is to rescue their captured leader, General Virilus, who is portrayed by Dominic West. Chaos, violence, and revenge ensue.

The film’s narrative isn’t exactly attempting to give you something completely original. In fact, I can just imagine the pitch for CENTURION: SEVEN SAMURAI meets SPARTACUS. Instead of trying to innovate, Marshall has decided to simply improve on all that’s come before him. He’s ramped up the intensity tenfold and never gives his audience a chance to relax. He’s paced his film incredibly well, as he places his action scenes in just the right places to keep his viewers entirely invested in the picture.

And damn does he succeed with those action scenes. Marshall throws on the violence in the most beautiful way possible by refusing to pull punches, tossing on the blood, and inventing some fanciful ways to kill people. These sequences are incredibly taught and well shot, which really is a testament to Marshall’s skill as a director.

Fassbender continues to solidify his place at the top of my list of cinema’s best actors. Despite the film’s action orientation, Fassbender refuses to phone in his performance. He delivers yet another solid performance as Quintus Daius and proves that he can do literally anything in the realm of acting. Dominic West, who I was first introduced to through “The Wire,” brings an intriguing intensity to the role as General Virilus. The two are the film’s strongest performances by far and they completely overshadow any of the supporting cast.

In fact, therein lies one of the film’s few flaws. Once the Ninth Legion is ambushed, the audience is left to follow a small group of seven legionaries on a hell bent mission to rescue their General. However, we only really get to know Fassbender in any significant capacity worth mentioning. There is a minor subplot which attempts to explore a betrayal within their ranks, though it isn’t ever fully fleshed out. The other legionaries are glossed over, which is quite unfortunate as I would have liked a bit more insight into their motivations and histories.

Another weak element of the film arises out of a love interest for Fassbender, which pops up about half way through the film. It isn’t so much as unnecessary, as the girl serves a vital interest to the film’s conclusion, as it is underdeveloped. I would have liked to spend a bit more time with her in order to develop that emotional connection before we, as an audience, are required to be invested in her character in order to achieve any sort of payoff for their relationship.

And yet, all of my gripes wind up being quite insignificant to my overall thoughts. These flaws don’t impact the film in any sort of severe way, as the film’s conclusion contains a fantastic action sequence that delivers a massive reward for your two hour investment. CENTURION ranks up there with THE DESCENT in Marshall’s great, though limited filmmography. A stellar action flick, great acting, and an interesting historical piece makes this one worth watching when it hits theaters later this year.
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