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Reviews and SPOILERS

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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Thu May 06, 2010 6:53 pm

http://fp-max.blogspot.com/2010/05/centurion-testament-to-irish.html

Thursday 6 May 2010
Centurion; a testament to the Irish educational system

Before I watched Neil Marshall's Centurion, there was an ad from the Scottish Tourist Board. The slogan was "It won't take you long to see the best of Scotland", which is one of those slogans which seem brilliant until someone like me says "No, I imagine it won't". It's going to take the Scottish Tourist Board a bit more than that to counteract Neil Marshall's influence, which depicts Scotland as a wonderful place to go and get chopped to bits by lunatics. I was sort of surprised to see that he was able to make the film IN Scotland. I imagine that they told the Scots it was someone else directing and he went in disguise.

Marshall's got extensive form on this, you see. In Dog Soldiers, the SAS goes on manoeuvres in Scotland and gets eaten by werewolves. In Doomsday an elite British army squad goes to Scotland to find the cure for a plague, and gets butchered by cannibals. And in Centurion, the 9th Legion of the Roman Army goes to Scotland and gets wiped out to the last man by bloodthirsty Picts. I think that even the most easygoing therapist would start to see that Neil Marshall's a bit conflicted about Scotland. On the one hand, he keeps making movies set there; on the other hand, he's not doing the place any favours. Since he's from Newcastle-on-Tyne, I'm wondering if it's got something to do with borderland angst.

Dog Soldiers is a very clever little film that sets out to do something very simple and does it very well. SAS, werewolves; it's almost like an elevator pitch right there. And it works splendidly, partly because one of Marshall's little knacks is that he's quite good at doing male group dynamics; his teams of men feel true to life, and when you're throwing werewolves around, you want everything around them to be grounded in the familiar. It ups the ante properly. Doomsday is more of a guilty pleasure; there's too much plot somehow hammered into too much action and I honestly stopped trying to count the films it nicked scenes from (conspicuous steals are Aliens and Mad Max 2 - but if you're going to steal, steal from the best and do it with panache). It's still great fun while being shockingly gory and very disillusioned.

Centurion's not really as good as either. It's not at all a bad film, although my heart sank when I saw the credits, which are a bit too intrusive and fancy, to be kind about it. To be unkind about it, I said at the time that plainly they'd spent too much of the budget on the credits to get them redone less bombastically. Huge pseudo-bronze lettering flies through the snowbound Scottish landscape; it's all far too over the top for the movie which follows. The closing credits are actually worse; a headache inducing mess of bits flying in from all angles. Oh dear. But like I say, I reckon they cost too much to send them back.

The movie's fine if you don't think about it too hard, and if you're thinking too hard in an action adventure movie, that might be the first indication that you weren't thinking hard enough before you bought the movie ticket. There are three things which will have you going WTF. Firstly, how does Michael Fassbender's character escape from the Picts in the first place? It's never explained; you see him being captured in a remote outpost, you see him getting bashed up by the Picts, and then you see him running for his life, but there's no explanation of how he got to be on the run. I suspect there's a deleted scene which clears this up. Secondly, the 9th Legion gets wiped out almost to the last man in one attack. Even if you buy the idea that 5000 trained men could get that beat up in an ambush, you're going to wonder how the Picts could arrange to have vast rolling flaming boulders on tap; they're awesome, but implausible. And thirdly, how do the Pict trackers keep finding the ragged band of seven refugees who are all that's left? That doesn't make a lick of sense, no matter how much they go on about the superhuman tracking skills of Etain the tracker.

There's fun to be had with some of the casting. Dominic West is in it, and we first meet him in an armwrestling contest which he closes out by stabbing his opponent in the arm. That McNulty, a pain in the ass in every era. Olga Kurylenko plays the superhuman tracker, and in a welcome break from every other film I've seen her in, she DOESN'T show up in revealing/no clothing and make an unsuccessful pitch to be romanced by the male lead. In fact, she's wearing more clothes in this than all her other roles put together. Hard to say if this means she's developing as an actress, because they made her mute. I saw Imogen Poots credited in the opening credits and spent the whole movie looking out for her; I remembered her from 28 Weeks Later, and there's such a clash between what that name would make you expect and the way she actually looks that I really couldn't have forgotten her. She's shoehorned in near the end as kind of a happy ending delivery system, but Michael Fassbender goes through so much that you can't really grudge him a happy ending.

I'm going to give Marshall a pass on the Picts, who all speak Pictish, or rather bad Gaelic, in weird accents that sound Russian rather than Scottish or Irish. We haven't really got a clue what Picts sounded like and although it sounds wrong to my ears, I don't know enough to contradict the call. What's funny is that the most convincing Pictish comes from Fassbender; he's the only one of the main speaking cast who delivers the Pictish dialogue in a natural sounding way, which of course I attribute entirely to the fact that he grew up in Killarney where he was taught to speak Irish properly.

There's an extraordinarily bonkers twist ending, in which the corrupt Roman leadership decides that they have to cover up the loss of an entire legion by making sure there are no survivors to carry the news back to Rome; it's bonkers because it only makes sense in today's world of mass media and whistleblowing. This 117 AD; the public relations impact of a lone survivor announcing a calamity would be, well, nothing. And a whole Legion falling off the map wouldn't exactly have been the kind of thing you could keep from the only people whose opinion mattered. It's almost, though not quite, as unrealistic as the ending of Green Zone.
Posted by Max at 21:41
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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Thu May 06, 2010 7:01 pm

http://www.paulcryer.co.uk/2010/05/cinema-review-centurion/

Cinema Review: Centurion

Posted in Film Reviews on 06. May, 2010

Neil Marshalls Centurion

Neil Marshalls 4th film as director sees him bring us a Roman chase movie starring the up and coming Michael Fassbender in the lead role as Roman Centurion Quintus Dias. The basic synopsis is that Dias is the sole survivor of a Pic raid on his barracks, captured by the Pics, he then escapes and joins up with the Ninth (led by Dominic Wests Virilus). They are using a Pic scout (Olga Kurylenko) to find the enemy and wipe them out, but they are betrayed by the scout and wiped out baring a few survivors who have to go on the run and make their way back to the Roman lines.

Michael Fassbender will fast become a star going off his performances in this and things like Inglourious Basterds. He really is the star of the film and its central heart. His performance is more subtle than most of the others, shows more emotion and he has a confidence that carries the film. Certainly leading man material. Other performances are adequate, though many of the actors seem to believe that as it is a Roman ‘epic’ it is alright to play it very theatrically and just a little OTT. Olga Kurylenko really gets little to do apart from chase people around and kill them. Making her mute really stone walled the character into a corner character wise.

The movies biggest problem is that after about 20 or so minutes it turns into a rather standard chase movie but with characters you don’t particularly care about. The opening scenes focusing of Dias and his capture then escape are good, the battle scene with the Pics and the Ninth is gory, gruesome and fantastic. But at this point you’re just left with a group of bland characters, thank god for Fassbender!

The action in the film is what makes it entertaining, it is gore filled, head hacking off, graphic fun. Marshall handles the action well, getting in close enough to make you feel part of the action, yet allowing you to see what is going on. Marshall has also filmed Scotland in such a way that it really is eerily and starkly beautiful, a desolate freezing hell of a wasteland one minute, ranging forests and rivers the next.

Centurion for me is like many of Marshalls films. It can be really entertaining but never fully fufills its potential. The Descent perhaps being the only of his films that has. At least it isn’t the mess I found Doomsday and it is perfectly watchable, but I had hoped for more. Maybe Marshall has found his level, but I wish he’d push himself a little more.
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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Fri May 07, 2010 1:59 pm

http://www.cine-vue.com/2010/05/theatrical-releases-centurion.html

Friday, 7 May 2010
Theatrical Releases: 'Centurion'
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Centurion (18)
Neil Marshall
2010, UK
97 mins

Bernice Watson reviews British director Neil Marshall's latest 'love letter' to Scotland and its people, Centurion.

Starring British favourite Michael Fassbender (Inglorious Basterds [2009]) and Olga Kurylenko (Quantum of Solace [2008]), Centurion follows a band of grizzled, war-weary Roman soldiers stationed in Britain during the year 117 AD. After an ill-fated marsh across the border into Caledonia (modern-day Scotland), they become separated from the legendary 'Ninth Legion' and find themselves stranded deep behind enemy lines. Directed by British director Neil Marshall (The Descent [2005], Doomsday [2008]) Centurion quickly establishes itself as refreshingly superior to the standard, run-of-the-mill 'swords and sandals epic'.

Marshall masterfully captures the spirit of Roman expansion as its Empire's borders stretched well beyond what it could reasonably expect to maintain. Posted on the very edge of ‘civilisation’, the film's rag-tag group of Legionaries fight through snow and ice in the name of a city many of them have never (or more likely, will never) set foot in. As they move north into Caledonia they encounter the Picts, a race of fierce warriors whose guerrilla warfare tactics bring the invasion to a crawl.

Centurion's neutral palette of greys, browns and blues successfully complement the film's sombre, depressive tone. Marshall has carved a career out of his artful depiction of 'blood-letting', and his latest effort certainly doesn't shy away from realism in it's depiction of extreme violence and visceral death, daily realities of life as a Roman soldier. The art direction and cinematography featured in Centurion are particularly impressive, and at times reminiscent of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy's sweeping shots of desolate vistas. Similarly Quintus Dias’ (Fassbender) narration is hauntingly familiar, and despite being in English, successfully captures the spirit of Latin prose.

Marshall creates a delicate balance of sympathies in his audience, who may well find themselves torn between the seemingly brutal and ruthless Picts and the efficient, homesick Romans. The Picts are depicted (through the subjective eyes of their Roman victims) as monsters and barbarians. Yet it's hard to absolve the Romans, as invaders, of the obvious brutality and 'war-crimes' committed during their stay in Britain. In addition to those fighting on both sides there is the ever-present spectre of Rome, the political machine driving the invasion, to which its own men are distant pawns. Although Marshall has dismissed modern-day parralels with Centurion's 'invader vs. native' dynamic, it's difficult not to view the film as some form of allegory for the UK's recent foreign policy.

Michael Fassbender gives a wonderful performance as centurion Quintus Dias, thrust by fate into the unenviable task of leading his fellow soldiers back to safety. However, it is arguably Olga Kurylenko's grim intensity as Pict tracker Etain that steals the limelight. Both beautiful and terrifying, Etain represents everything 'foreign' and frightening about the Picts, without succumbing to caricature or becoming unnecessarily sexualised.

Though unlikely to trouble the majority of this year's other 'sword and sandals' entries (including big-hitters Clash of the Titans [2010], Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time [2010] and Robin Hood [2010]), Neil Marshall's Centurion represents an admirable British take on an already over-crowded genre, and marks a return to form for the director after the dissapointing Doomsday.

Bernice Watson

cine-vue film cinema new release centurion neil marshall scotland michael fassbender inglorious basterds olga kurylenko quantum of solace roman 117 ad britain ninth legion the descent doomsday swords and sandals epic empire civilisation legionaires caledonia picts guerilla warfare invasion palette extreme violence visceral cinematography monsters barbarians brutality war crimes spectre Rome political native allegory uk foreign policy quintus dias tracker etain clash of the titans prince of persia the sands of time robin hood genre
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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Sun May 09, 2010 10:05 pm

http://undesirablenumber1.blogspot.com/2010/05/mad-prophet-53-men-are-talking.html

On a different plane entirely, Centurion finds a bunch of very physically capable blokes running a lot. Set in the year 117AD, the Roman empire determines that their legions must press north and finally conquer all of Britain. The Ninth Legion comes up against a devastating attack by the native Picts, leaving nine soldiers to try and rescue their captured general deep behind enemy lines. They become fugitives from the deadly Etain, a mute Pict warrior woman whose keen instincts and ineffable determination make her unstoppable as a tracker.

History tells us that the Ninth Legion disappeared without trace, and this is Neil Marshall's interpretation of where the hell they got to. In a true invocation of that "The More Things Change..." trope, the Ninth are framed with the group dynamic of a bunch of squaddies. That makes the banter on offer quite reminiscent of Marshall's Dog Soldiers, and he gleefully places a group of very tough men against a menace that trumps them completely. While it's not derivative, Marshall doesn't exactly revolutionise the period drama except to make it more grisly and violent than most others. I've heard it put best by Simon Mayo- "insert tab A into slot B, but tab A is always a great big sword and slot B is the other person".
It never feels as routine as it actually is though- it's tremendously adrenalised and pacey. Moreover, it's buoyed by its performances. Marshall's stroke of genius here is The Magnificent Seven approach, casting great actors like Michael Fassbender, Dominic West, David Morrissey, Noel Clarke and Liam Cunningham in an ensemble, and only really brings Fassbender forward more than the others. That's probably because Fassbender is a great actor who's applying his talents outside of the traditional BAFTA fare of British film, making great appearances in Inglourious Basterds, Eden Lake and now this. More impressive though is Olga Kurylenko as Etain, giving a performance that's as nuanced as you can get when your character's tongue has been cut out and the full extent of your vocal performance is grunting and screaming bloody murder as you wipe out a bunch of soldiers.

Centurion is a satisfying historical action thriller that is probably Neil Marshall's most handsome film- it looks better than the other historical epic in cinemas, Clash of the Titans, and was undoubtedly made for a much lower budget. There's a great cast and a nice bit of historical speculation without ever selling the film as "the truth behind the legend" like so many other films of its type- more on Ridley Scott's Robin Hood at the end of the week. All I need to say about how the film engages its audience is that I was absolutely shattered before seeing a late screening of Centurion, and worried I'd end up falling asleep. I was rapt for all of its 97 minutes, and found it to be a rock solid action film that showcases some of the best of British talent.
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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Mon May 10, 2010 1:51 pm

http://www.kristenstewartlovers.com/centurion-in-uk-cinemas/717

Centurion in UK Cinemas
By Star on May 09, 2010 in Cinema

Neil Marshall is back for more overblown awesomeness as his new effort Centurion is released in UK cinemas today. Remember folks, don’t f&#! with the Ninth. I love the work of Neil Marshall as any regular reader of mine will know. Though he is mostly celebrated for 2005’s The Descent, I am most grateful to him for 2008’s Doomsday, so much so that I wrote a piece defending that film a few weeks back, which can be found here. It is therefore no surprise that I was looking forward to his new effort Centurion which sees him move out of the more horrific styled stuff he has done up until now. Instead the film is a swords and sandals low budget epic of sorts starring a wide range of British talent and also former Bond girl Olga Kurylenko as the lead villain, with the trailer hitting at what essentially boils down to Gladiator meets The Warriors. Though with added arrows fired at cocks.

Quintus Dias (Michael Fassbender) is a Roman Centurion who has had a fair bit of s$#! thrown at him lately. After his base is attacked by hostile locals the Picts, he is captured by them but set free just in the nick of time by the Ninth Legion, headed up by Virilus (Dominic West), much loved leader of this troop. Quintus joins with them in a mission to take out the Picts “by any means necessary”. However while on the march, they find themselves ambushed and the troop of 300 men are massacred leaving only 8, though Virilus one of these, has actually been captured. The remaining men, led by Quintus go on a mission to get Virilus back and then to get away to safety with their lives intact.

Centurion displays something that I have never seen with a Neil Marshall film and unfortunately its not a good thing. Up until now, he has done what so many others fail at and has had a damn satisfying ending with every film which manages to wrap up the plot while leaving you wanting more. While the plot is indeed wrapped up here, and though you may well want more, I don’t think you can call the last third of this film all that satisfying and this is something that may leave a bad taste in the mouth. Fairly late in the film we are introduced to a love interest for Fassbender’s character and while their relationship is dealt with by the actors well, they have a decent amount of chemistry, though Imogen Poots looks WAY too glamorous for the role, this both stops the film dead in its tracks, opens up one scene to a massive logic hole and also really telegraphs the ending of the film, something that again Marshall has never actually dealt with before. There have been some rumblings that Marshall was not entirely happy with the producers on the film and indeed this cut does feel rather compromised in the final act and I would be interested to see if some sort of alternative cut is made available in the future but for now, the way this disrupts the flow and the focus of the film is a real shame and something that can certainly hurt it in the future.

It is even more a shame that the film doesn’t stick the landing as to be honest, the first 2 acts are absolutely f#%@#&! fantastic and sees Neil Marshall working at his absolute A-game. Though distributed by Warner Brothers, this is a low budget British production and as such you may think that it could have the cheap look which low budget action films are often plagued by but while the film never exactly looks like a $100 million effort, the whole thing looks like a god damn FILM, and a very good looking one at that. Working with cinematographer Sam McCurdy who has lensed all his films, Marshall creates a cold, desolate landscape, indeed the opening titles make fantastic use of the incredible locations and sets this up straight away, and when the action starts it looks bloody, it feels gritty and it is just very cool to watch. I am also somewhat amazed that the film got a 15 certificate as while the violence is never super intense, the sheer amount of it, and the detail in certain shots (make-up effects maestro Paul Hyett also reteaming with Marshall for this project) is sure to lead to some great reactions in a crowd and will also along with Kick Ass, really open up some younger minds to the kinds of arm loppings and beheadings that they can look forward to in many films to come. The scenes are also directed well with clear action and some nice stylised shots making sure that you will remember these sequences long after the credits roll.

As I said earlier, the film essentially plays as a mixture between Gladiator and The Warriors, combining the honour, though also ignorance and foolish pride of the Romans, with an admitedly generic “got to get home from a long way away” type story and while it’s not the most memorable, it is helped a great deal by the performances and also the simple trick of having certain characters picked off at moments you won’t expect. Suffice it to say, not many of the wide range of actors in the film will be making it by the film’s end but with certain actors, you will really feel the pain. Michael Fassbender is already on his way to becoming a real star and this helps with that aim. Looking like he can handle himself but with a nobility which you can see the other men gravitating towards, his character could have been bland but with Fassbender, he becomes a hero you want to root for. Dominic West also plays this but with a bit more of the badass about him and the two make a decent double act. Liam Cunningham (a real “hey that guy”) has a nice arc in learning that his way of looking at things may not be always right and he brings a great amount of warmth and charm to his role. David Morrissey gets less to do than I expected, as do much of the cast if I am honest, but he gets some of the better lines of the film and also looks like he can handle himself. Noel Clarke and Riz Ahmed also make notable splashes though again it feels like their roles, along with JJ Field and Dimitri Leonidas have been cut down a fair bit for this cut. Olga Kurylenko may get no lines at all, her character has no tounge, but she is intense and really quite terrifying in her role and is as stong a villain as you could want, single minded, lethal and animalisitic, she is impressive.

Centurion is not, in my opinion, Neil Marshall’s best film but then I think Doomsday is so what do I know? What it is though is a brutal, bloody and damn entertaining genre film which I think any red blooded male will have a great deal of fun with. My only real criticisms come with some rushed plotting and an anti-climactic feel to the final third, something which I feel may be fixed to a certain extent with a future release of a vision that may be more of what Neil Marshall really wanted. For now though its a solid entry in his filmography which I will certainly be watching again many times which looks fantastic, has some decent performances and has a great deal of dismemberment. Which lets be honest, is all we really want. Eat Sleep Live reported.
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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Wed May 12, 2010 9:44 pm

http://ryderreviews.wordpress.com/2010/05/12/ryder-review-78-centurion-marshall-2010/

Ryder Review #78: Centurion (Marshall, 2010)
By ryderreviews

Centurion
Image from Wikimedia

* * * * * (out of 6)

In a remote corner of the world a mighty empire fights a losing war against a native people. Desiring both a final victory and an escape, a general orders one last surge; but when it goes horribly wrong the humiliated leaders do their utmost to cover it up. Is this ancient history or current events? I don’t know if Neil Marshall’s sword and sandals flick “Centurion” was meant to be an allegory for the war in Iraq, but either consciously or subconsciously it makes a good case, particularly when taking into account the modern speaking styles of the characters. Either way this is a brutal yet exciting drama that hangs over the edge into utter bleakness.

As the Romans fight the Picts in the early 2nd century AD, skilled fighter Quintus Dias (Michael Fassbender) escapes captivity after being the only survivor of an attack on an outpost. He runs into the 9th Legion, led by the ruthless general Virilus (Dominic West), who seek to wipe the Picts off the face of the earth. Betrayed by their native scout, the mysterious Etain (Olga Kurylenko), the legion runs into an ambush that wipes out all but eight, including Quintus, Virilus who is captured by the Picts, and six other soldiers. After a failed rescue of the general, Quintus and the other men have to run for their lives from Etain and her men, who can follow their every step.

Most known for his cult horror film “The Descent,” Neil Marshall gives this Roman tale an epic feel that recalls but never imitates “Gladiator,” helped by extraordinary locations in the Scottish highlands. Like Kathryn Bigelow, he only hints at the politics behind the scenes focusing on the soldiers in the field who face the consequences of their countrymen’s whims. While the Romans are the protagonists he never shies away from their own brutality, opening the possibility that they may indeed deserve their fate. His nihilism comes to the forefront as the film progresses and both sides become more desperate. In the end, both sides are fighting and dying in particularly grisly fashions for revenge or just to save face, in other words nothing.

While the action is in-your-face, the acting is quite the opposite, as all the characters hold back their rage they express through murder. Michael Fassbender has already proved himself a great actor, and only reaffirms his work here. The other soldiers, including West, Riz Ahmed, and David Morrissey, also do good work, but the standout performance is Kurylenko. She hardly looks like a Pict, but I was willing to suspend my disbelief for the embittered tracker. She has no lines, but conveys all her animalistic rage and sadness in her eyes. Though she is the villain, her silence makes her the true heart of the film.

The only weak spot in the film comes with a poorly added-in subplot involving the remaining members of a group staying at the home of an exiled witch (Imogen Poots). It’s written and played adequately, but comes in near the end. Worse, Marshall clearly wrote the sequence, perhaps under pressure by executives, to mollify the film’s bleakness and give the audience a glimmer of hope. Without it, perhaps the nihilism would be too much for some who don’t want to really admit that almost all of the wars in history have just been killing machines for the young with no true meaning or gain. Perhaps the truth was too much even for Marshall.

This entry was posted on May 12, 2010 at 9:56 am
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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Mon May 17, 2010 7:28 pm

http://www.indyweek.com/artery/archives/2010/05/17/stalking-the-norris-the-bloody-cinema-of-actionfest

But Norris isn’t due to show up until later in the weekend, which gives me plenty of time to enjoy the festival’s films and events. The opening number is Centurion, which has its world premiere at the festival. The latest from The Descent’s Neil Marshall, it starts Michael Fassbender in a considerably more heroic role in this tale of Romans on the run than his turns in Inglourious Basterds and Fish Tank.

So macho it makes 300 look like Strawberry Shortcake (typical line: “This is the stuff of legend, brother, and being a legend will get you laid!”), Centurion lacks the mythic grandeur of 300, replacing it with lots of blue-filtered scenes and characters mostly defined by exposition. On the other hand, virtually every scene involves some form of stabbing or decapitation, which should ensure it a heady cult on DVD (it currently lacks a U.S. release date).
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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Fri May 21, 2010 4:24 pm

http://actionfilmscomedies.suite101.com/article.cfm/neill-marshall-directs-in-ill-fated-ninth-legion-in-centurion

Neill Marshall Directs in Ill-Fated Ninth Legion in Centurion

May 21, 2010 Christopher Sharman
The Roman Ninth Legion march into Scotland to wipe out the Picts only to be massacred with a handful of survivors left trying to escape

Neill Marshall has achieved directorial success with Dog Soldiers and The Descent and now takes his particular brand of blood-soaked action back to the Roman times. He reunites with Liam Cunningham (who he had worked with on Dog Soldiers) and once again directs a story centred in Scotland.

The Romans Vs The Picts

In 117 AD the Roman Empire stretched across Egypt to Spain and as far east as the Black Sea, however, when it came to Scotland the Romans encountered an enemy like nothing they had ever fought before. The inhabitants used guerrilla tactics to fight, and kept the Romans from advancing. They were terrifying, savage and were made up of a number of tribes known as the Picts. Having grown weary of the Picts the Ninth Legion led by Titus Flavius Virilus (Dominic West) is sent north to kill the Picts’ king Gorlacon (Ulrich Thomsen), and along the way they rescue Quintus Dias (Michael Fassbender) who was previously captured by the Picts during a raid but managed to escape.

The Ninth Legion is being lead to the Picts by Etain (Olga Kurylenko) a tribeswoman who can track the Picts down even in the forests.

During a surprise attack the majority of the Legion is wiped out leaving only seven survivors, including Dias, left alive. After heading north to try and rescue Virilus one of the six kills Gorlacon’s son, before the survivors have to flee. In revenge Gorlacon sends Etain (who was working with him all along) and a group of Picts to hunt down and kill the seven before they can reach the Roman frontier.

Lots of Blood But Not Much Else

Neill Marshall is famous for his fondness for over-the-top gore which always falls just short of being too horrific or sickening. He also enjoys having his characters being hunted down by a superior enemy, this was demonstrated in Dog Soldiers, The Descent and Doomsday, and is a technique that has served him rather well in the past. Unfortunately whereas in the past it was always clear who the audience was supposed to be rooting for, Centurion never really gives the audience the opportunity to sympathise with any of the characters.

The film follows the seven survivors as they struggle to return to the Roman Boarder whilst being tracked down by Etain. It is hard to sympathise with the Roman soldiers because they are the attacking force, and the Picts are the ones defending their home. Etain was forced to watch her parents being killed by the Romans, and was raped and had her tongue cut out, so not surprisingly she is a little angry at the Romans and their Empire. However, her lack of development as a character means that the audience cannot really root for her. Although the remaining soldiers are unaware that one of their number killed Gorlacon’s son it still does not mean that they are blameless. The Ninth Legion (which is based on a story that goes that the 4,000 men marched into Scotland from Hadrian’s Wall and disappeared) has been sent to destroy the indigenous people and so it is difficult to sympathise with them when they are wiped out and the survivors have to flee.

The fight sequences are typical of what anyone who has seen a Neill Marshall film has come to expect, blood, eviscerations, decapitations, all shown in graphic but not gut-wrenchingly sickening ways. The actors themselves all do a descent enough job with Liam Cunningham stealing every scene and serving as the film’s comic relief. Regrettably Centurion seems a little muddled with no clear good or bad guys and the audience seems to be expected to sympathise with either the savage Picts or the invading Romans who have gotten their asses kicked and are now running for safety.

3/5

Not Marshall’s best work – for that watch Dog Soldiers
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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Mon May 24, 2010 11:26 pm

http://horror-movie-a-day.blogspot.com/2010/05/rec-2.html

At the same press event, I also got a chance to see the new Neil Marshall film Centurion, which isn’t horror (but IS bloody/gory as hell). I wasn’t sure what the film was going to be like - it started off like Gladiator, and having just seen Robin Hood, I was about to just take a rain check since [Rec] 2 was next and thus my ass would probably prefer not to sit in those goofy chairs at the Wilshire Screening Room for 4 straight hours. But I stuck with it, and was glad I did, because it’s actually more of a chase movie (not unlike Judgment Night), albeit with the medieval setting. Michael Fassbender is a terrific hero, and I also really liked Liam Cunningham (who played a similar character in Clash of the Titans). And I will never argue with putting 28 Weeks Later's Imogen Poots in a movie. I thought that the end was a bit abrupt, but it definitely delivers sword and sandal thrills with the best of them, and Neil infused the film with just enough humor (some a bit anachronistic, but that’s OK) for it to be humorous without becoming a joke. Highly recommended, especially if the PG-13 Robin Hood or King Arthur left you cold - at one point we just see like 30 bloody battlefield kills in a row.
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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Sun May 30, 2010 4:04 pm

http://www.cyprus-mail.com/reviews/film-review-centurion/20100530

Film Review: Centurion
By Preston Wilder Published on May 30, 2010

No-one actually snarls ‘Did you spill my pint?’ in Centurion – I don’t think they had pints in 2nd-century Britain – but this is what you might call ‘Did You Spill My Pint?’ Cinema: laddish, belligerent and fond of a fight, the bloodier the better. In real life, such behaviour is often reprehensible. For an action movie, it’s just about right – fearsomely effective, if not very elegant.

Elegance has never been the forte of Newcastle-born director Neil Marshall, who previously gave us underground zombies in The Descent and Mad Max-like car chases in Doomsday. Instead, his defining trait (apart from a full-blooded taste for gross excess and bone-crunching violence) has always been independence: like Luc Besson in France, albeit on a smaller scale, he makes regional, middle-budget action flicks aiming to compete with Hollywood in the global marketplace. Maybe that’s why his characters also tend to a kind of rugged existentialism. “I owe allegiance to no man but whom I choose,” says someone in Centurion, and our hero Quintus Dias (Michael Fassbender) – a Roman soldier fighting the Picts in the Wild North of Britain – puts it even more simply. “The gods have forsaken us,” he says. We make our own destiny.

If you wanted to get political, you could say Marshall’s worldview – both as a filmmaker and within the films he makes – is essentially libertarian, touting individual choice and the freedom of the entrepreneur. It’s worth getting a little bit political, because Centurion is set in a political conflict – the mighty, but corrupt, Roman Empire vs. the stubborn Picts whose guerrilla tactics (they strike hard and fast, then withdraw) are what we might call ‘terrorist’ – and it’s interesting that the film comes out for neither side, focusing instead on the individuals caught in the middle. It’s built like a monster movie with the woad-painted Picts as the savage Other, the chief monster being Etain (Olga Kurylenko), a feral tracker with a grudge against the Romans and superhuman hunting powers. She’s one with the land, able to read the ground and smell the wind, recalling a Roman officer’s rueful observation that “Even the land wants us dead here”.

‘Here’ is Scotland (also the setting for Doomsday, so maybe Mr. Marshall’s worked out a special relationship with the Scottish Film Board), treated like New Zealand in Lord of the Rings, a land of mist and mountains. An ambush in a misty forest is among the highlights, albeit turning into a long montage of carnage – split skulls, gouged eyes – that goes beyond anything Frodo and Co. had to face, the battlefield covered in “a slurry of blood, puke, piss, and the entrails of friends and enemies”. Centurion is pretty uninhibited when it comes to violence, though in fact there are hints of enforced cuts in various places: the murder of a child isn’t shown, understandably, nor (less understandably) is a sex scene that seems all but inevitable when Quintus and his men take shelter with a sultry necromancer. Given that the film was rated ‘15’ (not ‘18’) in Britain, you have to wonder if the sight of exposed flesh was too much for the UK Ratings Board, even though flesh being hacked and mauled was apparently okay.

There aren’t many clever twists in Centurion. A smarter film might’ve had our heroes kidnap the child and hold him hostage (he’s the son of the Pict chief) but here they just kill him, spurring a quest for revenge. Even when Quintus makes a plan, it counts for nothing (Etain finds them anyway). Brain is no match for brawn; Marshall’s world is macho, a soldier’s world of bar-brawls (“Get stuck in!”) and grace under torture. This is actually a B-movie, its genre being not so much the Braveheart-style historical as the Dirty Dozen template of an elite squad faced with a mission impossible. There’s the Indian, the token black (who literally ends up thrown to the wolves), the old soldier on his last tour – he had his eye on a little farm in Tuscany before this thing happened – and of course the laconic, inscrutable leader with hints of a dark past. Even this, however, isn’t really explored; as in Doomsday, Marshall likes to toy with genres, try them on for size, then move on. He lacks Tarantino’s ability to immerse himself, which is why he’ll probably never move beyond the well-made B-movie.

Still, there’s a lot to be said for the well-made B-movie – and Centurion, for all its flaws, has a certain uncompromising earnestness that’s almost endearing. It’s crude and messy but it’s made with passion, not by committee – a passion both for guilty movie pleasures and the Scottish landscape, the old warrior ethos, the Celtic wildness at the core of the British subconscious. I’ll continue watching Marshall’s bellicose action flicks, though I wouldn’t necessarily like to go drinking with him. Oi! You! Did you spill my pint?
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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Thu Jun 03, 2010 7:12 pm

http://www.colesmithey.com/capsules/2010/06/centurion.html

May 28th Episode
Centurion

While it's clear that writer/director Neil Marshall is still working out some kinks as an action/suspense storyteller, the promising filmmaker responsible for such cult classics as "Dog Soldiers" and "The Descent" has condensed a historic period war epic into a gritty and involving film. Set in 1st century AD northern Britain, when the Roman Empire commands an area that reaches from Spain to the Black Sea, the story follows from a brutal ambush on occupying Roman troops by a native tribe of "Pict" warriors--complete with great balls of fire. With their number reduced to a handful of soldiers, and their general captured, Roman warrior Quintus (masterfully played by Michael Fassbender) leads his men further north behind enemy lines in an attempt to free their General and outsmart the Picts that pursue them. Etain (Olga Kurylenko) is a mute Pict tracker and deadly warrior on a mission to avenge her parents' murder at the hands of Roman soldiers who also cut out her tongue. The movie boils down to an extended chase sequence that has the intrinsic effect of exposing the strengths and weaknesses of its well drawn characters. Gory, and tempered with just enough ancient political influence to give it substance, "Centurion" is a more gratifying experience than Ridley Scott's recent Britain-based adventure "Robin Hood."

Rated R. 109 mins. (B-) (Three Stars - out of five/no halves)


Last edited by greyeyegoddess on Sun Jun 20, 2010 5:32 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Fri Jun 04, 2010 8:41 pm

http://www.seanax.com/2010/06/04/siff-2010-pv-dispatch-4-%E2%80%93-a-centurion-in-scotland-and-an-angel-at-sea-week-three/

Jun 04 2010
SIFF 2010: PV Dispatch 4 – A Centurion in Scotland and an Angel at Sea (Week Three)

SIFF

Centurion (UK, dir/scr: Neil Marshall) – “My name is Quintus Dias and this is neither the beginning nor the end of my story.” With Michael Fassbender (crisply stalwart in Inglorious Basterds and hauntingly resolute in Hunger) as a loyal and valiant Roman Centurion and Neil Marshall (the once and future hope of savagely smart British genre cinema, thanks to Dog Soldiers and The Descent) writing and directing, I had great expectations for this Romans versus Barbarians warrior epic turned survival thriller. Set on 117 A.D., twenty years into the Roman invasion of Britain, as the guerrilla tactics of the Picts have stymied the Roman incursion into the northern highlands, it’s basically a lost platoon adventure with Fessbender as a bloodied but unbowed soldier trying to lead a small group of survivors from a brutally effective ambush back to safety. In other words, a classic Marshall set-up: a handful of professionals fighting off an attack from greater numbers or overwhelming power. Former Bond girl Olga Kurylenko glowers and slinks as a mute Pict scout and tracker who relentlessly hunts them through the dramatic landscape, looking less like a warrior queen than a 1st century cover girl, and Dominic West is the macho General Virilus (Marshall’s tribute to Life of Brian’s Biggus Dickus?) who gets to be all tortured martyr as he passes the torch to Quintus: “Get them home!”

Based on a 2,000-year-old legend (according the disclaimer at the end of the film), it’s brawny stuff, part The Naked Prey and part ancient The Lost Patrol, with great use of fog and dramatic landscapes and lots of bloody, brutal combat. Would that it had characters to match, or a story as interesting as its inspiration. Fessbender is all soldier and stalwart dignity—he even says “Fuck” with class (and he does so a lot)—but doesn’t have a personality to speak of, and while the obligatory scene when the men all swap names and backstories may have been Marshall’s tribute to the scores of platoon movies before it, it simply plays as lazy exposition. The men get lost in the muddy palette of earth tones (which in this case are brown, green and fog… lots of fog) and the staccato strobe-vision of battle scenes that simply confuses the action, and the story along with it.

Michael Fassbender is the half-naked prey in "Centurion"

Michael Fassbender is the half-naked prey in "Centurion"

Angel at Sea (Belgium), the narrative feature debut of Frédéric Dumont, is as devastating as anything you’ll see at SIFF. The emotionally teetering Bruno (Olivier Gourmet), a French bureaucrat straining to keep a failing international food program afloat in Morocco, pulls his youngest son Louis, a bright, sensitive lad, close for a secret. “I’m going to kill myself,” he confides in the boy and he expects the Lou to keep the secret. “Just you and me.” To paraphrase James Dean, the responsibility is tearing Lou apart. Gourmet’s childlike face, open and sad, and seesawing emotional instability give this portrait of a mental and emotional breakdown in a fragile adult a stab of tragedy, not just in his own vulnerability but the inhuman pressure that drags his son into his downward spiral into depression and helplessness. Unable to break his father’s trust, he becomes Bruno’s keeper, keeping watch on the study window from atop the lonely lemon tree in the front yard while his mother (Anne Consigny), preoccupied by her own distractions, slowly realizes the symbiotic connection between the two incommunicative men. It makes for a wrenching experience, made all the more poignant and painful by the criticism heaped on Lou as he holds his tongue rather than betray his secret. While it can be seen as a metaphor for the confusion and misunderstandings of adolescence, his turmoil is evocative enough on its own immediate terms.

The title of I Killed My Mother (Canada), the feature debut of 19-year-old writer/director/star Xavier Dolan, is not literal but it is accurate. Gay high-school teen Hubert (Dolan), in full rebellion of everything his middle-class mother (Anne Dorval) stands for, especially her middlebrow taste in fashion and furniture (which surrounds his hipster lifestyle in the trapping of a seventies sitcom), tells his classmates that his mother died. It’s not just some laugh line; it hurts when the lie works it way back to her, just as all his lies eventually do. Dolan’s perceptive portrait isn’t particularly nuanced but it does have the slap of honesty in its portrait of both the sneering arrogance and haughty exasperation of youth that knows it all and the emotional fragility under the caricature of middle class garishness that is his mother. And while the numerous awards it has gather on the festival circuit surely have as much to do with the young director’s age as it does his talent, that doesn’t detract from his accomplishment. It’s a promising first film from anyone, let alone a 19-year-old.

Centurion – Friday, June 4, 10:00pm, Neptune
Angel at Sea – Saturday, June 5, 7:00pm, Pacific Place; Sunday, June 6, 1:00pm, Pacific Place; Sunday, June 13, 3:30pm
I Killed My Mother – Sunday, June 6, 7pm at Egyptian
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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Fri Jun 04, 2010 8:55 pm

http://jasperaalbers.wordpress.com/2010/06/04/lessons-from-gladiator-%E2%80%93-the-centurion-review/

Lessons from Gladiator – the Centurion review
Published June 4, 2010

Centurion is a nice and decent film. It successfully combines historical epic with thriller and horror elements in a story about seven survivors from an ambushed Roman legion in Scotland. Director Neil Marshall had his biggest success previously with horror flick The Descent, in which adventurous young women explore a cave only to be torn to pieces by cave creeps, and in Centurion the blood flows and splatters excessively and artistically again. Marshall certainly masters the art of the graceful decapitation. Protagonist Michael Fassbender is always sensational, even if he does not get to do much. Olga Kuryleno is nice and nasty as the wolf-like Pict scout hunting the Romans and Dominic West (The Wire) is the best thing on screen as the Roman general, who is unfortunately killed way too early in the film. The only drawbacks are an unnecessary voice-over by Fassbender and a rushed through last act. The film is pretty short, so Marshall could have taken more time here. Also: the film looks fabulous, from the credit sequence to the first shot of a half naked and wounded Fassbender, stumbling through a white shot. This is the achievement of cinematographer Sam McCurdy, who deserves the credit.

But what Centurion most clearly demonstrates are the lessons learned from Gladiator. It is by now ten years ago that Ridley Scott revived the swords-and-sandals epic, and his massive success has led to a growing list of ever failing attempts to top it. There are Scott’s own Kingdom of Heaven and Robin Hood, Wolfgang Petersen’s Troy, Oliver Stone’s Alexander, Antoine Fuqua’s King Arthur, Zack Snyder’s 300 and now also Alejandro Amenábar’s Agora, which seems to be a complete film about the part of Gladiator that was the least interesting: the politicking in the forum (wake-up call Alejandro: ‘Agora’ is a Greek word, not Latin). Some of these films are decent, some are peculiar, and others are massive failures. The exact categorization changes per critic, but everyone agrees that Gladiator still stands out. Centurion is no Gladiator either, most of all because of the lack of scale and climax, but Marshall has taken a number of lessons at heart which make his film compelling and one of the little gems of my summer.

The first lesson concerns casting. Historic epics are not carried by poster-boy baby faces. No-one believes that Orloondo Bland (©️Mark Kermode, 2007) can defend Jerusalem against the hordes of Saladin. And if you cast Colin Farrell – who is a fine actor – as Alexander, than you must not put a blond wig on him. Clive Owen and Gerard Butler however are convincing as war-weary or war-lusty old warriors, scarred and battered leaders of men. Troy, for al its faults, had Brad Pitt perfectly casted as Achilles: the larger than life indestructible hero. Neil Marshall has looked well at Russel Crowe in Gladiator, and saw in Michael Fassbender an aristocratic but human titular centurion

The second lesson concerns wide establishing shots taken from helicopters. These can be made over massive CGI generated armies (Alexander, Troy), armadas (Alexander) and cities (Rome, Robin Hood). But if you do not have an enormous CGI budget, like Marshall for Centurion, you take them of the landscape. So Centurion shows a lot of mountains and forests and plains covered in snow, through which from a great distance we see the heroes running from their enemies. At times a bit too Lord-of-the-Ringsy, but it looks great and Marshall makes great user of the landscape of the misty and snowy Scottish highlands. That he can do grim wilderness could of course already be seen from the final sequences of the European (read: the not-happy-end) cut of The Descent. Exploit the qualities you have, rather than aim for the unachievable.

The third and final lesson concerns battle. Gladiator opened with the incredibly intense mud-strewn battle between Romans and Barbarians. It had us at “on my signal, unleash hell!’. Centurion also offers battle from within, close to the soldiers, chaotic, frentic and extremely bloody. It hurts. It is frightening and brutal and real. Robin Hood, Alexander and King Arthur lacked greatly in this respect. Kingdom of Heaven got close, but 300 went of course over the top. But then that was an adaptation of a graphic novel.

So Centurion has the major lessons learned from Gladiator: lead actor, wide establishing shots and brutal battle: the basic ingredients of a modern swords-and-sandals epic. That supporting characters are not all equally well developed and that the third act climax disappoints are only minor drawbacks. What remains is the image of Fassbender, captured by the Picts, tortured and pissed off: “I’m a soldier of Rome, I will not yield!”
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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Tue Jun 08, 2010 1:29 am

http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/article/siff-mini-reviews-centurion-agora-and-the-dancer-and-the-thief

SIFF Mini-Reviews: 'Centurion,' 'Agora' and 'The Dancer and the Thief'

A few words on my SIFF triple-feature
By: Brad Brevet
Published: Monday, June 7th 2010 at 6:25 PM

Last Friday I spent the hours from 4:00 PM to 11:30 PM watching three movies at Seattle's Neptune Theatre as part of the Seattle International Film Festival. The films included Spain's 2009 Foreign Language Oscar submission The Dancer and the Thief, Alejandro Amenabar's recently released Agora and Neil Marshall's forthcoming 2nd century actioner Centurion.

Following the long day of movies I posted on my Twitter account the following, "Today's Seattle Film Festival triple-feature: The Dancer and the Thief (C+), Agora (C) and Centurion (B+)." However, my opinion on the first two mentioned has since changed a bit.

Centurion

The third and final film of the night proved to be the best as Neil Marshall delivers a stand-out 2nd century actioner filled with his trademark blood and violence, great performances and much needed moments of levity. At 97 minutes it doesn't strive to be much more than a small story even though this is territory most filmmakers feel they need to accompany with lengthy speeches and massive set pieces. Instead, we're talking about a film with about a $15 million budget where most of the action is set in the grassy and muddy outskirts of the Scottish highlands as the attempted Roman conquest of Britain is underway.

Starring Michael Fassbender as Quintus Dias, the Roman centurion the title is referring to, we follow his path after being captured by Pict tribesmen, his reunion with Roman troops, the capture of their general (Dominic West), a failed rescue attempt and ultimately the hunting of Quintus and his group of fellow Romans by the Picts after their rescue attempt goes bad. It's pretty standard stuff, but it's pulled off in a way that makes it vastly entertaining for those in need of an adrenaline boost with enough beheadings, stabbings and blood-letting to satisfy your thirst.

The mere presence of Fassbender (Hunger) brings weight to the feature and the performance of Liam Cunningham as the Roman soldier named Brick is the source of most of the film's more light-hearted moments. On the other side of the fight, the most notable performance comes from Olga Kurylenko playing Etain, a tracker for the Picts whose lust for Roman blood can never be sated.

Aside from the pure action elements, I also enjoyed the ambiguity of good vs. evil. The film follows Quintus and the Romans as if they are the heroes of the story, but the story unfolds to reveal there really aren't any good guys as much as we are watching a story of revenge and survival. I didn't necessarily find myself cheering for one side or the other as much as I was just basking in the carnage. (Click here for pictures and trailers)

GRADE: B+
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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Tue Jun 08, 2010 2:15 am

http://www.talkingfilms.net/new-stills-from-neil-marshall%E2%80%99s-centurion


New stills from Neil Marshall’s Centurion

Posted on 06. Jun, 2010 by John in Featured, Movie News

Neil Marshall’s Centurion is one of the most anticipated sleeper hits of this year. Marshall is known for his work on films like the indie horror hit The Descent in 2007, then he came up with the horrible Doomsday. But I guess can’t really be forgiven for what he has done. But will he be able to come back with this one.
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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Sun Jun 13, 2010 2:12 am

http://knitmi.livejournal.com/140227.html

Saturday-June 12th, 2010, 10:23 pm

It's been a source of personal shame that I've lived in Seattle for years but haven't taken advantage of the annual Seattle International Film Festival, one of the largest film festivals in North America. During the first seven years I lived in Seattle, I saw exactly one SIFF movie (last year's meh Spring Breakdown).

This year, I was determined to watch lots of SIFF movies and ended up seeing 11 (well, 10 movies and an animated shorts fest). I siffed through the hundreds of offerings and picked movies based mainly on plot summaries and theater locations (I tried to see most of them at the Neptune, less than four blocks from my apartment, but I did venture to Capitol Hill's Egyptian and Queen Anne's Uptown Cinemas as well). I also avoided the depressing documentaries and "quirky" romantic comedies about love triangles that seem to be a staple of film festivals.

Each night, I treated myself to a tasty beverage as I walked or bussed to the theater, aiming to arrive about 30 minutes before showtime. I'd wait in the long ticketholders line (often spanning a block or more) with the other SIFF-goers in the inevitable Seattle June evening drizzle. SIFF volunteers would tear our tickets and hand us a ballot for the Golden Space Needle Audience Award for Best Film. We'd find seats and wait as the theater slowly filled up. Then before the start of the movie, a SIFF organizer would say hello, announce the sponsors, remind us to turn off our cell phones, and introduce the film's director/cast if they were in attendance.

Centurion

* Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yiQCofKrYAI
* Comments: The legendary Ninth Legion of the Roman Empire is ambushed and annihilated by the Picts (Celtic ancestors of modern-day Scots) in this entertaining, bloody romp. The cast (Michael Fassbender, Dominic West, Noel Clarke, David Morrissey, JJ Feild) is a HITG (Hey! It's That Guy!) bonanza of British film and television. Also, Olga Kurylenko's character and eye makeup are awesomely fierce.
* Fun fact: Writer-director Neil Marshall also did bloody!scary!good The Descent.
* Tasty beverage: Trabant Caramel Chai
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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Mon Jun 14, 2010 1:30 am

http://freemovie12.blogspot.com/2010/06/watch-online-free-centurion-english.html

Sunday, June 13.
Centurion English Movie 2010
Action Movie
Cast And Crew
English movie online Hollywood movie online Comedy movie Romantic movie online movie trailer movie review movie story free Centurion English Hollywood Film The film Directed by Neil Marshall.
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Dominic West, Noel Clarke, Olga Kurylenko
Director: Neil Marshall
Writer: Neil Marshall (writer)
Release Date: 27 May 2010
Genre: Action | Adventure | Drama | Thriller | War

Plot:
A splinter group of Roman soldiers fight for their lives behind enemy lines after their legion is decimated in a devastating guerrilla attack.

Movie Review: Centurion
What would ancient Rome have been like if everyone talked a little bit more like a mockney geezer than you might expect? That question, and others, is answered in Centurion, Neil Marshall's historical halfway-house between the graphic videogame violence of 300, and the regular violence of, you know, death that actually involves humans and hurts quite a lot.

The overall effect - as this tale of the disappearance of the Ninth Legion in Britain shows - is one of a videogame from 2035 that someone else is playing for you.

The dialogue won't be that much better (sample line: "Two years on the frontier - this is truly the asshole of the world"). And the plot will still be pretty basic - this is the simply the tale of a rag-tag bunch of Roman soldiers (among them The Wire's Dominic West, Michael Fassbender and Noel Clarke) who are fighting the savages in Scotland, find themselves the only ones left after a slaughter of their legion, and have to try to get home before the Scots (Quantum of Solace's Olga Kurylenko among them) catch up.

But boy will it look good - all sweeping Scottish scenery and lush snow-topped mountain ranges. It'll almost look real. Alas, they still won't put too much work into the characters, so you still won't really be bothered about who lives or dies, but on the other hand, the violence will really be full-on.

The latter is perhaps least surprising, considering this is the director of Dog Soldiers and Doomsday, but Marshall seems to have distilled violence down to such an art that not only does it not really feel violent any more (though to be fair, Tarantino was the one to get us on this track: violence that knows everything about spectacle but nothing about suffering), but it's not even that exciting either.

One notable fight scene sees Marshall dispense almost entirely with the idea of swords clashing, or spears missing, or arrows hitting shields. I guess we're meant to assume that's happening too, but Marhsall's not interested in it: we only see heads being crushed, spearing plunging deep, swords cleanly slicing limbs, and blood spurting out with vigour, the way the cinematographer would have wanted it.

It makes it all look like a rather fun - if easy - game. But I think I'll wait for the console to play it on.
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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Mon Jun 14, 2010 2:09 am

http://www.quietearth.us/articles/2010/06/10/Another-take-on-Neil-Marshalls-CENTURION

Another take on Neil Marshall's CENTURION

Posted on Thursday, June 10th, 2010 18:14:08 GMT by: Bob Doto
Posted under: movie review action thriller drama war adventure

Year: 2010
Directors: Neil Marshall
Writers: Neil Marshall
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Review by: Bob Doto
Rating: 5 out of 10

Neil Marshall’s latest pummel-fest, CENTURION, is a period piece set in 117 CE and follows the sole survivor of a Pict raid, a Roman soldier named Quintus (Michael Fassbender), as he attempts to save his Roman comrades along with himself from a ruthless Pict tracker named Etain (Olga Kurylenko) who, because of a severe childhood trauma at the hands of the Roman empire, has made it her business the slaughtering of every Roman she can get her hands on.

CENTURION is a film that wrestles with the idea and complications of the protagonist. Who’s good? Who’s bad? Marshall takes the standard high road—we’ve all got some good and bad in us—which ends up leaving me, however, unsatisfied. Yes, the Romans are an evil empire raping and pillaging villages just to expand their greedy hold on power, but, hey, the Picts weren’t so great either, right? I mean the Picts were brutal savages who believed in fairies, no? Civilization must carry onward, correct? I call BS.

It’s not that Marshall’s yin-yang take on life in general is wrong, of course we’re all riddled with positive and negative tendencies, but Marshall seems to ignore the fact that once we agree on this we can finally get back to supporting those who really need it…in this case the Picts. As much as Marshall would like me to believe that in the end we’re all the same, so why engage at all, I have to say that that’s a cop out. Clearly the Picts are the ones to be supported, if for no other reason that we can barely remember who they actually were in real life. The Picts were actual people, you know! But, Marshall clearly has picked a side in this battle by way of Quintus, and thus the Romans. Quintus is our main character, and lest we forget, Quintus was a soldier fighting for the empire. Please don’t expect me to sympathize with him now that he’s realized that, wow, empires are bad. How come he couldn’t realize that while he was slaughtering women and children during his golden fighting years? Pleeeeeeze.

You know, I’m kind of sick of the narrative whereby our “hero” is a guy with a horrible past, who shills for the man, and then happens to come to his senses all because a little female woo woo was dangling in front of him. AVATAR anyone? You know what I want to hear about? I want to hear about the woman or man who right out of the gate gave a right good middle finger to the Empire and did his or her best to help those unable to help themselves. I want to hear about a character who, before he got his ass kicked from every side, decided that empires suck, and we should disrupt them at every turn.

But no, after buckets of blood and innumerable severed body parts, we’re expected to see how everyone’s got a little badness in them, as well as goodness, and judging from Marshall’s ending, our best bet is to remove ourselves from the discussion entirely by finding a nice woman and moving into the woods while the world battles it out.

I give this film a five out of ten because it’s a weak attempt to parallel and then reduce each “side” in our current warring escapades to “not entirely good,” and then suggest that we each find a woman and live in the woods to get away from it all. We should do that anyway, but not before we kick the empires where it hurts.
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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Tue Jun 15, 2010 7:11 pm

http://www.clandestinecritic.co.uk/2010/06/notes-on-film-centurion.html

Tuesday, 15 June 2010
Notes On A Film: Centurion

Another week, another slice of B-movie fun. Centurion is a small British film with a British take on the swords-and-sandals genre. Neil Marshall, writer/director of Dog Soldiers, The Descent and Doomsday, likes putting people in peril; the only difference here is that the people are Roman legionnaires, the time is 2,000 years ago and the place is Scotland (or Caledonia).

The story of this film is a take on the unknown story of the Ninth Legion – the popular version is that they were destroyed by the Picts, although nobody knows exactly what happened. Marshall uses this as a springboard for an enjoyable action thriller: Centurion Quintus (Michael Fassbender) is the only survivor of the destruction of a frontier Roman fort in Scotland, and he is rescued by the Ninth Legion, led by Virulus (Dominic West), who has been ordered to destroy the Picts, only to be betrayed by a mute Pict woman warrior (a great turn from Olga Kurylenko) – an epic ambush in a forest that is reminiscent of Gladiator and 300, leaving only a few survivors to flee back to England before the Pict search party.

The film is populated with a great cast – Fassbender is really good as the man of resolve leading the survivors, West is great as the hard-fighting, hard-partying general, and the group of survivors is filled with some good turns from the likes of David Morrissey, Noel Clarke and Liam Cunningham. There is some possibly anachronistic but still fun ribald dialogue to show the camaraderie of the soldiers, some great action in the first half of the film (where all of the fighting is; the fight scenes are violent and bloody and raw, with swords and spears going through bodies all over the screen), and the scenery is amazing – the vistas of Scotland are beautifully captured, making the stark harshness of the freezing countryside feel believable, an environment that must have been alien to the Romans (I'm amazed people were able to survive in that cold at that time; I'm amazed Scottish people can live there now).

Centurion is not brilliant, but it is good at what it is – a crunchy, brutal, visceral, thrilling little film that is what it is, with some nice moments and an ending that fits the story that went before it. I enjoyed it and hope it finds its audience on DVD.

Rating: DVD
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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Tue Jun 15, 2010 7:41 pm

http://www.climbinghigherpictures.com/index.php/2010/06/15/featured/soldiers-on-the-run-centurion-early-review/

Soldiers on the Run… Centurion Early Review
Post image of Soldiers on the Run… Centurion Early Review

It wouldn’t be a summer movie slate without somebody wielding a sword. Sure it looks equal parts Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and King Arthur, but Neil Marshall’s latest hopes to reinstate the swords and sandals epic as a viable summer tent-pole. Does it have what it takes to make you forget about Alexander and Troy?

Centurion Review
By Ryan Hamelin
Movie Grade: B

Welcome to Britain in 117AD. The great Roman empire is nearing the end of its conquest of the known world, and has come up to a roadblock in the form of the Picts. Using guerrilla tactics, they have been able to halt the Roman advance almost entirely, and as the winter months wear on, word comes down from the Roman high command for a full frontal assault, courtesy of the renowned 9th Legion, to wipe the Pict scourge from the land and kill their leader, Gorlacon. Thrown into the mix is a young man named Quintus (Fassbender) who was saved by the Legion and intends to aide in their move into Pict territory as a de-facto protagonist.

This is the setting of Neil Marshall’s Centurion, and if it reminds you of some of the great period piece epics of old, that is by design. Coming off of the fan-boy embraced but critically flogged Doomsday, the director, most notably of the horror film The Descent, embarks on new territory here, treating the audience to a vast ancient wilderness and the journeys that the characters face within it. When the legion in ambushed in the forest, only a small group remains, and it wouldn’t be a far stretch to imagine the film as a cross between Gladiator and Behind Enemy Lines. You’ve seen chase films before, but when was the last time it was Roman soldiers getting chased by anything? Therein lies much of the originality, and energy of the film, and as Olga Kurylenko hunts down the remaining soldiers across the land, we are given a bit of a moviemaking history lesson, with every variation of an edge-of-your-seat tension moment making an appearance. It’s a tightly edited film, despite its setting, and comes in at just over an hour and a half. Because of this, it never overstays its welcome, but also skimps out on a lot of the character development you’d hope to get.

That’s not to say the script is bad by any means. In fact, it flows better than most, and even though you have the sneaky suspicion that important moments lie on the cutting room floor, there’s more than enough sustenance to get by. The real problem is with the narration. It’s one of those head hanging things that had to have grown from a good intention somewhere down the line, and has ballooned into a nightmare scenario here. Opening and closing voice over in a feature film can work fine. Even that is often hard to get right, as voice over dialogue walks a fine line between feeling cheesy and irrelevant. Here the narration continues throughout the film, often acting as repetition for the thoughts and emotions which the main character is already clearly displaying. Perhaps the studio didn’t think Michael Fassbender’s acting could support the whole film, I’m not really sure. All I know is that the air is let out of the room every time the voice begins to speak again, and it gets very, very close to ruining the experience.

What you do get is a fun road movie complete with all the blood and gore you could ever want. Seriously, the red stuff is flying fast and furiously here, enough so to even cause this desensitized reviewer to flinch on several occasions. The realism and the gritty nature of the movie work on its behalf rather beautifully at times, and its nice to see this kind of wholehearted passion on display in a Hollywood landscape which has grown steadily more corporate and sterile in recent years. I applaud the effort, and wish that studios would be willing to take more chances like this. Sure the movie isn’t the second coming of swords and sandals epics, but that doesn’t stop it form being a wholly satisfying one, and like I mentioned before, these days that’s saying a lot. I’ve heard rumor that they’re going to make the film available ahead of its theatrical release on Xbox 360 and PS3. If that’s true, then console owners, this is one pay-per-view purchase which is definitely worth renting with some friends.

Posted by ghm101 @ 15 June 2010
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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Tue Jun 15, 2010 8:58 pm

http://hollywood-spy.blogspot.com/2010/06/new-bonechilling-trailer-for-roman-epic.html

Tuesday, June 15, 2010
NEW BONECHILLING TRAILER FOR ROMAN EPIC "CENTURION"
Check out today's exclusive - the second bone-chilling and adrenaline pumped trailer for the Roman epic "Centurion" with Michael Fassbender as Roman legionary and Olga Kurylenko as Pict princess. Directed by Neil Marshall "Centurion" tells the story of the ill-fated Ninth Legion marching north to Caledonia to wipe out the Picts and their leader. Dominic West is also in the cast of the movie which will be probably be released in the USA at the end of summer (in late August).
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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Wed Jun 16, 2010 12:08 pm

http://twitchfilm.net/reviews/2010/06/imagine-2010-centurion-review.php

Imagine 2010: CENTURION Review

by Ard Vijn, June 15, 2010 7:39 PM

Neil Marshall has built a name for himself by making films about people invading someone else's territory and getting their "arses" thoroughly kicked. In "Dog Soldiers" it was elite troops versus Scottish werewolves, in "The Descent" it was a bonding group of girlfriends against an unknown species of cave dwellers and in "Doomsday" it was mercenaries vs. Scottish savages.

Which brings us to "Centurion" which features the exact same kind of story. This time the protagonists out of their league are a bunch of Roman soldiers, and the people they manage to piss off into a killing frenzy are eh.. Scottish savages again. Note that three out of these four films may be frowned upon by the Scottish Tourist Board despite impressively showing off the Scottish countryside.

So Neil Marshall should be careful lest people think he is a one-trick-pony. Does "Centurion" look a little too familiar for comfort? Or does it offer something unique? To answer that question in short: yes and yes... sort-of. Be warned as your mileage may vary: the Imagine crowd in Amsterdam gave this film a 6.43 out of 10, and those people can truly be seen as the film's core target audience...

The Story:

After 20 years of war Emperor Hadrian is fed up with failing to conquer Scotland from the Picts and orders a final push. The Picts have been successfully thwarting the Romans by using guerrilla warfare, so this time the Romans send 3000 soldiers northward to draw out the Pictish king Gorlacon's army. Helping them is Etain, a Pictish mute girl who has a reputation for being the best and most ruthless tracker in Scotland.

However, Etain secretly works for Gorlacon. The Roman army is led into a giant ambush and subsequently massacred, its general taken prisoner to be tortured by Gorlacon at leisure.

A small group of survivors led by centurion Quintus decides to try and rescue the general. But during the attempt they make a lethal mistake, and an enraged Gorlacon dispatches a war band led by Etain to track and kill every last Roman in Quintus' party. A deadly race to the Roman border begins...

The Movie:

The first things you notice when watching "Centurion" are the opening credits. Almost ridiculously flashy, these float above the desolate yet beautiful Scottish landscape, and you cannot help but wonder if this was supposed to be a 3D-film or not. Maybe it's meant as icing on the cake, but if you make the icing stand out this much you might want to make the cake itself pretty interesting as well.

In this case it's hard not to be enticed by the ideas behind the film, as Neil Marshall covers some historically interesting subjects.

Firstly: looking at a map of the Roman Empire it always seems strange that it ended at the English-Scottish border, and that the Romans were so fed up with the Scots that they finally built their own version of the Chinese Wall, from coast to coast, to keep the Picts out! That wall is known as Hadrian's Wall and parts of it can still be seen today (the whole Roman border is now actually a walking trail, with many Roman ruins along the way). So it's an interesting subject and a nice reminder of just how terribly effective guerrilla warfare can be.

Secondly: the Romans do seem to be sloppy with their armies. Looking through Roman records, some appeared to have simply disappeared from the face of the Earth. Neil's assumption that one of these might have gotten stuck (haha) in Scotland and that the Romans would not want to advertise that fact seems entirely logical. Maybe that sort of thing would even warrant retreating from a country and building a huge wall? Just thinking out loud...

So "Centurion" scores points with its setting. But after an interesting start which explains the total setup it just turns into a generic manhunt movie, nothing more and nothing less. Seeing an army of 3000 being slowly whittled to bits by alien terrain, terrible weather and a careful enemy would have been very interesting, but instead we get a single fight which is over in mere minutes, and after that it's just "Figures in a Landscape, Part 6" where once again a small band of people try to reach the border before the bad guys catch up with them. The fact that it's a manhunt film with Romans and Picts adds surprisingly little to it, so even if it's a pretty decent manhunt film it never brings something new to the table. For all intents and purposes these could have been people who escaped from (a prison) / (a POW-camp) / (slave labor) / (accidentally witnessing a mob execution) and are now being chased by (wardens) / (enemy soldiers) / (Egyptians) / (criminals).

Then there is the surprisingly high-level cast. Michael Fassbender and Olga Kurylenko play Quintus and Etain, the two adversaries who try to outwit each other, and both look good yet lack a certain charisma that you'd expect. We should be praying for Quintus to succeed but he's just "some guy" and not all that distinguishable from the others. It doesn't help that Michael has to do a voice-over as well which is always tricky, especially if you have a slightly nasal voice and your character doesn't have anything particularly interesting to say. And Olga should be frightening yet she never rises above angry and threatening.

Supporting roles go to an assortment of well-known faces, first and foremost of these being the famous Danish actor Ulrich Thomsen of "Festen" and "Adam's Apples" fame. He plays the Pictish king Gorlacon but... well, he has the exact same facial expression throughout the movie. That's sort of a waste of good acting talent.

Before I make it seem as if Centurion is a terrible movie, it isn't. The chase as such isn't bad, you'll feel for at least some of the characters, and (as in all Neil Marshall movies) the violence is gritty and ruthless with several flinchworthy moments. The desaturated cinematography and the art direction seem to conspire to make the audience feel as damn cold as possible, and the Scottish landscape is a natural stunner. As such it would be unfair to condemn this film, but by the time the gaudy end credits started to roll (just as disproportionally overblown as the opening titles) I couldn't help thinking about what I'd like to have seen but hadn't...

Conclusion:

It's a manhunt film which is not bad in itself, but the whole setting promises so much more than that and in the end the film never truly delivers. Frankly, even just looking at typical manhunt films I must say I've seen better. Couple this with a killer cast that has little to do, and you might feel vaguely unsatisfied with the end result.
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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Wed Jun 16, 2010 10:42 pm

http://finalgirl.blogspot.com/2010/06/new-stuff-double-feature-round-up-woo.html

Centurion

Writer/director Neil Marshall is a bit of a gift to genre fans. Since 2002's Dog Soldiers, he's developed a resume that finds each film to be more ambitious than the last, particularly in terms of scale. Cast sizes and set pieces in films such as Doomsday and Centurion have increased vastly over earlier efforts such as The Descent, but whether it's got a cast of 6 or 600, each movie still feels distinctively Neil Marshall. He's one of the few modern horror directors who's developing a syle to his work that's deeper than, say, the superficial music video-style editing techniques utilized by so many of his peers. He's more like John Carpenter- no matter the genre of the film, be it post-apocalyptic action, monster-driven horror, or historical thriller, there's a sensibility to his work that's distinctively his own. The fact that he has flitted between genres and varied the scope of his work indicates, to me anyway, a real love of film. It's as if each idea stems from the simple desire to make a movie of a specific type- like, he loves flicks like Mad Max, so he made Doomsday. Maybe I'm projecting because I'm a fan, I don't know...but his work seems to come from a purer, more old-school place than simply jumping into the machine that turns out s$#! like the Platinum Dunes movies.

Centurion takes us back to the 2nd century as the Romans attempt to conquer all of Britain. Roman soldiers find themselves deep behind enemy lines, pursued by Pict tribesmen who refuse to give up their land. As the number of Romans rapidly decreaes, a small band led by Quintas Dias (Michael Fassbender) attempts to retreat, but they're relentlessly pursued by a group of Pict warriors, including the fierce (and beautiful, duh) tracker Etain (Olga Kurylenko).

The landscapes are both bleak and beautiful, from the misty forests to the frigid mountaintops. Sure, you could create a Centurion drinking game based on the number of sequences where the camera sweeps up and over a vista as a line of people runs across a crest, but it's relentlessly gorgeous so who cares? All the aspects you've come to expect from a Neil Marshall film are here, from the action to the touches of humor to the gore, the blood, the gory blood, and the bloody gore. Centurion is damn entertaining, plain and simple- and yet again, I'm anxiously awaiting Marshall's next effort. Check it out this August. CHECK IT OUT I SAY.

LYLAS, Stacie Ponder at 11:38 AM
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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Thu Jun 17, 2010 8:31 pm

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/herocomplex/2010/06/los-angeles-film-festival-people-vs-george-lucas-monsters.html

"Centurion" (June 25, 8:30 p.m., John Anson Ford Amphitheatre)

Neil Marshall, the British writer-director of the 2005 horror film "The Descent," goes to the year AD 117 for his new film, "Centurion," which stars German actor Michael Fassbender as the soldier Quintus, sole survivor of a raid on a Roman frontier fort. He marches north with General Virilus and his legendary Ninth Legion, under orders to find and kill the Pict leader Gorlacon, but that is far easier said than done. In the harsh lands of Northern England, Quintus faces a desperate struggle to keep his small, battle-weary platoon alive behind enemy lines.

"There is a legend about a Roman legion that disappeared after going up against this really, really brutal clan called the Picts and this is Marshall's version of what might have happened. It's '300' versus 'Braveheart,' in a way, but it's very much a Neil Marshall film, very sharply written and action-packed."

Jones said the fangirls might want to take note that, like a leaner, less fantastical version of "300," this film doesn't skimp on abs of antiquity. "I make point to tell the ladies," Jones said, "that he is shirtless and sweaty throughout the movie."
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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Thu Jun 17, 2010 9:19 pm

http://blog.80millionmoviesfree.com/in-theaters/centurion-movie-2010-deadly-at-the-enemy

Jun
17
Centurion Movie: (2010) deadly at the enemy

History been so well adopted into movies and right now this movie Centurion comes with a fine tale about the past of AD 117. it was time when the roman are most devastating among the world and they did post more war with many of the countries to widen their emperor. Yeah it was time when the poverty more wins over and over and only the rare occasions they been undone. Here some of those times really made some of the aggressions for the enemy to really give up with seen the large number of Roman soldiers marching their way and it likely to defeat with out getting killed.

Centurion In the past this kind of war been posted over many of the countries and right around the black sea where the post of the empire begins to read and expanded the power. How ever in the most of the war thousands of innocents had been killed with the war but nothing really has made any issues for the roman army. It was when this guerrilla attacks been kept around the enemy line of these brave Roman soldiers and it was the most deadly part of the war they been experience so far.

Most of the fans are define to see Centurion movie more with the angle of hero’s who cant be kept alone with the defeat and they do tries their best to make sure they fight until the very end of their lives. The movie looks so awesome with these adventures and movie making does become more rather compulsive among the fans. The movie director do make it more finer with the aid of the past and the warrior act of the movie was so well combined with the main roles and it makes the whole movie a fine connectivity right among the start to end.

The warrior movies in past did speak in volumes about the history and these short of movies are capable of reaching to well obtained factional too. Neil Marshall was the director of this movie and he did write the movie as well as the directing too. It has been one of the movies every one kept their eyes on. Even with the time been of the party there been nothing forced. The movie does have the best of adventure and when goes ahead with the factional tale it does make every one more keen about seen it.

In this movie more of the cast been excellent and director did make his choices alone. Michael Fassbender, Noel Clarke, Dominic West, Olga Kurylenko is so cleaver in the movie and they do make it rather more succeeds with the plot and the directors thoughts are well entries into it. As the movie goes on adventures with the Roman front and the group of morale guerrillas are making sure them kept guessing. It was more a legendary story was based so with most of the attractions around it could possibly be one of the most wanted experience.
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