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Centurion reviews 2

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Re: Centurion reviews 2

Post by Admin on Thu Aug 26, 2010 11:33 pm

http://www.newsinfilm.com/2010/08/26/neil-marshall-centurion-movie-review/

Centurion Review

Published by Jeff Leins on August 26, 2010

Centurion posterReposted from the South by Southwest Film Festival.

Centurion, the latest from genre filmmaker Neil Marshall, is a brawny, fast-paced behind-enemy-lines chase drama that runs through a slightly predictable piece of historical fiction.

After a credit sequence flyover of some magnificent scenery, the camera descends on Quintus Dias (Michael Fassbender) fleeing across Northern Britain, bleeding, half naked, and bound at the wrists. He escaped the clutches of the savage Picts, a native race who attacked his Roman military outpost leaving him the sole survivor.

Dias briefly falls into the rescuing hands of the famed Ninth Legion, ordered to march into the empire’s outskirts and quell the guerrilla Pict rebellion circa 117 A.D. History will tell you the infantry unit mysteriously disappeared, but Marshall stages a brutal ambush with giant balls of fire and fierce warriors that slaughter the troops and capture General Virilus, played by the consistently charismatic Dominic West of “The Wire.”

Only Dias and a half-dozen men survive, stranded deep in Pict territory and pursued by their relentless tracker, Etain (Olga Kurylenko). Since Etain’s tongue was cut out by the enemy she’s mute, but Kurylenko delivers a menacing silent performance with her piercing eyes and deadly beauty alone. At the very least it spares the audience stock antagonist lines like “I’ll get you Quintus Dias if it’s the last thing I do!” Then again, this isn’t Doomsday…

The remaining legionnaires form a Seven Samurai-like squad, except the characters are unevenly fleshed out making it easy to predict who the Pict hunters will pick off first. Fassbender is strong in the inherited leadership role, bringing levels of intensity and a range of emotion you won’t see from go-to action hero Sam Worthington.

CenturionLike the first two battle set pieces, the stop-and-fight encounters are drenched in gore and tightly edited into slicing metal and finishing moves. Disposable characters are skewered on the tips of spears or run through with swords sending fountains of blood spurting out. Those looking for epic action will be satiated until Marshall pauses the violence for a last-minute romantic subplot that only serves the film’s rushed ending.

Expert cinematography captures the rugged conditions with beautiful sweeping landscape shots of mountainous terrain or cameras entrenched in the gritty hack-and-slash action sequences. With its confident visual style and strong attention to detail, you feel like you’re sloshing through the muddy waters or frigid snow banks with the soldiers. If only you cared about more than one of them.

3.5 out of 5.
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Re: Centurion reviews 2

Post by Admin on Thu Aug 26, 2010 11:37 pm

http://ourtownny.com/2010/08/25/centurion/

Centurion

Posted by Our Town on August 25, 2010 · View Comments

By Armond White

Why make a genre movie—any movie, really—without inspiration? Neil Marshall, the director of the horror film The Descent, now comes up with another late genre entry: his imagination evident in the redundant antiquity battle tale’s title, Centurion. Shadowed by Zack Snyder’s fascinating 300, Marshall adds nothing new to the basic plot, least of all the kind of genre delight Snyder evidenced and not the revisionist intelligence behind Walter Hill’s 1979 neo-gladiator movie The Warriors.

OK, Centurion isn’t a slog like Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood. There’s almost authenticity in this vision of Euro history, especially through Sam McCurdy’s dense cinematography layering darkness and mist—the overloaded atmosphere creates an almost original look. But everything else is hackneyed: even Michael Fassbender packing on pecs, abs and scowl to play Quintus Dias, the Roman soldier in 117 A.D. assigned to fight the Picts, the vicious primitive Celtic tribe.

Committed to exploitation-movie horror, Marshall heaps on the battle scenes, piling up carcasses as Dias defends his commander General Titus Virilus (Dominic West, whose doomed role gives him the chance to out-emote Fassbender) and leads his Ninth Legion army back home. These good actors don’t perfect warrior iconography like Gerard Butler in 300, partly because they’re less feverishly imagined. The script limits them to gruff Brit locutions and anachronistic vernacular (“Put the f#%@#&! knife down!”). Dias’ primary foe is a mute feral female, Etain (Olga Kurylenko), a vengeful, painted-face warrior. Action flicks have no cooler device than a woman scorned. Etain’s just a wraith with weaponry. “Her soul is an empty vessel, only Roman blood can fill it.” But Marshall hasn’t learned his Walter Hill lesson to make a woman as compelling as a man. Etain is merely relentless.

That’s also how Marshall directs the redundant action scenes. Whether battlefield skirmishes or forest ambushes, they’re all the same unmeasured mayhem. New rule: Only one decapitation per ancient action movie. It used to be a sign of the boldest battle film to show a head rolling off a soldier’s neck, through the air and across the screen. After Marshall and his F/X team throw in the second decapitation (with more to come), they’re not special anymore. This could be an offshoot of video-game excess, or it could just mean that Neil Marshall is mindless.

_
Centurion
Directed by Neil Marshall
Runtime: 97 min.
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Re: Centurion reviews 2

Post by Admin on Fri Aug 27, 2010 12:50 am

http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/entertainment_movies_blog/2010/08/movie-review-centurion.html

3/4

Movie Review: Centurion
Uncategorized — posted by otownrog on August, 26 2010 6:00 PM

The “soldiers trapped behind enemy lines” story has been a favorite since Xenophon followed Greeks home from deep in hostile Persia in “Anabasis,” in 400 B.C.

That’s the plot of “Centurion,” an old–fashioned quest epic set in Roman Britain. Beautifully filmed, given a lyrical lilt by virtue of a poetic voice over narration and featuring the brutal, personal and graphic violence that is today’s cinematic style, it’s a B-movie with a hint of history to it.

Michael Fassbender (“Inglourious Basterds”) stars as Quintus Dias, a soldier we meet on the run, through the snows of Northern Britain. He’s bleeding. He’s half-naked. And the Picts, the fierce people who hadn’t yet learned to distill Scotch whiskey, are after him.

Quintus Dias narrates that this has become “a new kind of war, a war without honor, without end.” Draw your own modern parallels here.

We flash back to the ambushes that put Quintus on the run, the rough-and-tumble Ninth Legion, led by a two-fisted general played by Dominic West of “300.” The Roman governor (Paul Freeman of “Raiders of the Last Ark) sends the troops out to “sow the Earth with our dead,” and sure enough, only a mismatched handful of the ambushed soldiers survived. Quintus Dias must lead them back to the frontier to safety.

Writer-director Neil Marshall (“Doomsday, The Descent”) smartly anchored the film around Fassbender, who makes a fin hero. Marshall fills the supporting cast with sturdy British character players — David Morrissey and Liam Cunningham among them. He pits the survivors against one another and against the elements, and pushes the surviving soldiers through the wilds of northern Britain (the wilds of Spain substituted for it) with a fury.

One misstep in all this is the woodlands scout, played by Bond beauty Olga Kurylenko as all hair and eye shadow and editing that doesn’t cover her discomfort at all the horseback riding and brutal fighting of the early scenes. She grows into the part’s fierceness — eventually. The equally lovely Imogen Poots shows up as a woodlands exile who may be friend or foe to the fleeing soldiers.

“Centurion” is a B-picture, predictable story arc and predictable action beats. You just know they’re going to have to leap off a cliff into a river, at some point. But it’s a darned entertaining outing from a director who knows action, loves narration and doesn’t share Hollywood’s fear of period pieces that don’t involve Greek gods.

See for Yourself
Centurion

Cast: Michael Fassbender, Olga Kurylenko, Dominic West, David Morrissey

Director: Neil Marshall

Running time: 1 hour, 35 minutes

Industry Rating: R for sequences of strong bloody violence, grisly images and language.
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Re: Centurion reviews 2

Post by Admin on Fri Aug 27, 2010 12:53 am

http://rdtwot.wordpress.com/2010/08/26/movie-notes-17/

Movie Notes
Posted on August 26, 2010 by Nick Norelli

I saw a movie last week called Centurion. It was like a cross between Gladiator and King Arthur only better than Gladiator and not quite as good as King Arthur. I ultimately judge all movies like that by Braveheart and they all inevitably fall short. All in all I thought it was decent and I wasn’t mad that I spent 90 minutes watching it.
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Re: Centurion reviews 2

Post by Admin on Fri Aug 27, 2010 12:54 am

http://cinematicallyjeff.blogspot.com/2010/08/biking-in-montana-eat-pray-love-maos.html

There's a startling sense of action and energy in the new action epic from Great Britain called CENTURION, with some brutal and bloody encounters, as it tells of a Roman soldier caught behind the enemy lines in the 2nd century as Rome is trying to conquer Britain. The plot consists of straight forward chasing and pursuing scenarios, and technically, the film will keep you awake and enthralled. However, this was filmed (as screened at SIFF) in a cheap looking video digital manner, with the action scenes looking grainy, grey, dark and herky-jerky--a technique that I really dislike watching. (Other similar movies filmed like this include QUANTUM OF SOLICE and a quarter of the recent SIFF films--a disappointing and annoying trend. I realize it's a cheaper way of filming, but it looks like s$#!.). GRADE--------- C+
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Re: Centurion reviews 2

Post by Admin on Fri Aug 27, 2010 1:42 am

http://www.sfexaminer.com/lifestyle/Substance-sneaks-into-Centurion-101617343.html

Substance sneaks into ‘Centurion’
By: Rossiter Drake
Special to The Examiner
August 27, 2010

Out for revenge: Michael Fassbender and Olga Kurylenko appear in “Centurion,” director Neil Marshall’s bloody and engaging war story. (Courtesy Photo)

SAN FRANCISCO — Inspired by the demise of the Roman Empire’s Ninth Legion, a legendary unit founded by Julius Caesar and thought to have met a bitter end nearly two centuries later in what is now Scotland, “Centurion” is less grandiose than Zack Snyder’s “300” but every bit as brutal. If the sight of severed limbs leaves you squeamish, you’ve been warned.

Those seeking a history lesson would be foolish to consult the latest, bloodiest offering from director Neil Marshall, whose past credits include the crudely effective “Dog Soldiers” (2002) and “The Descent” (2005), his claustrophobic venture into a subterranean abyss populated by flesh-hungry humanoids.

“Centurion” takes itself a bit more seriously than those — it’s based on a supposedly true story, after all — but Marshall, who also wrote the screenplay, is less a conventional humorist than one who revels in the absurdity of his ­goriest fantasies.

Here, the monsters are neither werewolves nor sun-starved cannibals but men and women mired in a thankless conflict, driven to savagery by either a lust for life or for vengeance.

Marshall’s sympathies seem to lie with the Romans, whose gregarious leader Virilus (Dominic West) is less politician than populist hero, more dedicated to protecting his men than the Empire’s fading aura of invincibility.

Marshall’s Ninth Legion is outmaneuvered by the Picts, a confederation of Celtic warriors bent on stamping out the Roman threat.

Quintus (Michael Fassbender), the steely son of a Roman gladiator, decries the natives’ guerrilla tactics as dishonorable, oblivious to the hypocrisy of the complaint, but no matter: When Virilus is slain by a Pict she-devil (Olga Kurylenko), it is Quintus who rallies his countrymen from behind enemy lines.

What follows is an unrelenting manhunt more reminiscent of Mel Gibson’s “Apocalypto” than Snyder’s swords-and-sandals cartoon, though Marshall wisely hits the brakes long enough to give his band of scurrying brothers richer, more complicated characterizations.

Heroes, like Quintus, emerge, and so too do self-serving snakes, but we come to understand both because they want the same thing — to escape with their lives.

Whether they deserve to is another story, and Marshall isn’t shy about sending heroes and villains alike to gruesome deaths. For some, that might be the only reason to see “Centurion” — the visceral thrill of violence, graphically observed.

But Marshall, as much a storyteller as a stager of geek shows, brings enough substance to the mayhem to give it power beyond a few lurid thrills. The movie, as grim as the war it depicts, affords us little reason to smile, but sufficient reason to care.

MOVIE REVIEW
Centurion ★★★

Starring Michael Fassbender, Dominic West, Olga Kurylenko, David Morrissey
Written and directed by
Neil Marshall
Rated R
Running time 1 hour 37 minutes
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Re: Centurion reviews 2

Post by Admin on Fri Aug 27, 2010 2:16 am

http://www.dailycal.org/article/110100/_centurion_wallows_in_trite_macho_spectacle

'Centurion' Wallows in Trite Macho Spectacle

By Ryan Lattanzio
Daily Cal Staff Writer
Thursday, August 26, 2010

Roman soldiers, evidently, had the manners of medieval tavern boozers. They spit on each other; they play bishop; they cold-cock like it's shaking a hand; they even pee in barrels and give each other swirlies.

From a Roman historical perspective, "Centurion" is not just revisionist: It's vandal-ist. Writer/director Neil Marshall takes plenty of liberties and doesn't seem to care about it. I don't actually know much about history, but I do know that history this is not.

For a budget of 10 million pounds (that's a billion 'merican dollars, right?), British filmmaker Marshall anglicizes and agonizes through the muck of the Ninth Legion warring with Celtic tribes, known collectively as the Picts. Most of these characters are imparted with low-culture English parlance. The Picts swap their native language, which has dissolved over time, for Gaelic.

As in his 2005 horror film "The Descent," Marshall plants a stake firmly into genre picture territory, and also into his characters' extremities. "Centurion" is really, really violent, but in the tradition of underwhelming pornography, we are often denied the cumshot: i.e., a man gets decapitated but we don't see the moment of impact. Cinematic blessing, or curse? I'm not sure.

As for the story, here's where things get murky: It's A.D. 117 and General Virilus (Dominic West of "The Wire"-McNulty goes all Roman Empire, baby) leads the Ninth Legion in defense of its territory against the Picts. Michael Fassbender is a centurion-a staffer for the legion rather than a contributor-called Quintus Dias who is miraculously good at surviving tribal onslaughts. What follows is a dick-measuring contest, of "300" girth, and a meat fest so damn rotten that I won't divulge the plot any further except for this listicle: Blood, babes and biceps, all on horseback.

Though the Romans are supposed to be civilized, it's nearly impossible to distinguish their savagery from that of the Picts, save the token blue war paint on the Celts' faces. YouTube sensation Antoine Dodson could sum up the Romans best: "Hide your kids, hide your wife, hide your husband, 'cause they're raping everybody out here."

These men are the saltiest salt of the earth, like a gladiator you'd see at the Coliseum or a driver you'd run into at a truck stop bathroom. Their rippling Roman musculature (never thought I'd say that literally) is blinding. They wear their characteristic sex chromosome like the Y on a Letterman jacket.

The most malefic moments recall the tropes of recent apocalyptic films, like when the garrison is ambushed by balls of rolling hellfire. But in "Centurion," these scenes are barely thrilling. The blue, smudgy lens evokes an aesthetic as inspired as that of the "Twilight" series. You might find yourself swatting around your face: It's hard to waft away the rank effluvia of testosterone.

Even harder to wash is the glib dialogue. Marshall borrows from the book of Historical Epic Platitudes with lines like "time to die" or "my bones ache for Rome." But I give him the olive branch for best line of the year, as Quintus Dias whizzes with a lady-friend present: "Where I come from it's considered rude to interrupt a man mid-flow." Sometimes, "Centurion" feels like I'm the one being interrupted mid-flow.

Like watching a couple of dudes spotting a heavyweight lifter at the gym, "Centurion" barely works as a diversion. There's no character to grok, no heart rate acceleration to be had and nothing to be gained. Mr. Marshall, exploding heads do not a movie make.
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Re: Centurion reviews 2

Post by Admin on Fri Aug 27, 2010 2:23 am

http://www.moviemobsters.com/2010/08/26/review-centurion-2010/

Review: Centurion (2010)
Posted By Bartleby On 26 Aug 2010. Under 2010, 2010, 3 Stars (Fantastic),

Running time: 97 minutes

Rated R for sequences of strong bloody violence, grisly images and language.

Written and directed by: Neil Marshall

Starring: Michael Fassbender, Dominic West, Olga Kurylenko, Imogen Poots, David Morrissey, Andreas Wisniewski, Dave Legeno, Axelle Carolyn

If Neil Marshall’s Centurion can be believed, than the Celtic tribe of Picts, circa 117 AD, were some quite nasty customers. If your interest runs in the study of medieval weapons and battle tactics, including the way a tribal blade can ruefully tear away at a victim’s esophagus, then this bonzo collection of gore, guts and guerrilla warfare might be right up your alley. Even if those grittier bits don’t take, then fans of the historical epic might still want to get in line. Marshall, ever a canny observer of macho carnage, delivers his tale of a buggered Roman battalion behind enemy lines in bold, bloody strokes that feel immediate and real.

Taking place in Roman occupied Northern Britain, Centurion tells the story of a small handful of Roman soldiers who survive a surprise ambush by Pictish warriors—led by the scout turned traitor Etain (Olga Kurylenko)—and then must make their way across the Scottish hills, evading the Pict hunting party while trying to save their captured commander and themselves. Think of it as The Warriors meets Last of the Mohicans Vs. Gladiator. Marshall is so taken with the details of the time period that often the costuming, set design and cinematography obscure the individuality of his characters. Their fates tied together, the motley group of six survivors are almost indistinguishable from one another. Only Fassbender (Hunger) as the heroic Quintus Dias and Kurylenko as the feral, vengeful Etain make any kind of lasting imprint upon the memory. What does make an impression is the way Marshall stages his man-on-the-run tale, which manages to entertain at the same time it accurately evokes the cold, inhuman dread of extended warfare.

Although it’s going to be dismissed in some circles as just a tiresome bit of grueling battle porn, that’s far away the truth from what Centurion actually is. Horrifically violent for sure, the film is never exploitative or as indulgent as many of its brethren are (the toonish 300 comes to mind). In fact, while the sound effects guys must have had a ball figuring out how to replicate the sound of a garroted neck falling in sallow earth, we only see quick visual flashes of the moment of impact. Instead, Marshall often focuses in on the facial expressions of those inflicting the damage. There’s a fearsome immediacy to watching Etain’s sadness and rage as she decapitates a soldier that could never be captured by simply watching the blade pass along the throat .When West’s Virilus and his men are set upon by the Picts in the film’s bombastic ambush sequence, Marshall encapsulates the entirety of the Roman occupation of Britain in one barbaric collapse. This is one of the finest medieval battle scenes in film, and the sense of loss and desolation when it’s over are be worthy of a more somber picture.

Instead of keeping that tone, though, Marshall ramps up the quest of Quintus and his men to get back home. The rest is a fast-paced, single-minded race for survivial. It doesn’t feel like the overheated contents of a two-dimensional graphic novel, but instead hearkens backwards in cinema history to films like The Naked Prey, Jeremiah Johnson and even the silent film version of The Most Dangerous Game. Unlike Zach Snyder, whose output keeps to comics and video games, Marshall seems to have an extensive, intimate knowledge of the history of action filmmaking. The camera cranes across in wide-shots of the Scottish hills, capturing Quintus and company scrabbling like rabbits, while Etain stands like a phantom reaper, looking down on them. As the film progresses, the narrative hits rocky terrain, and by the time we reach the climax, it has all but unraveled. The script is so focused on Quintus, and in contrast, his female Pictish counterpart, that when their struggle is resolved, there’s nowhere else to go.

So, yes, Centurion has started to run out of steam by the time it winds down, and a more textured script, willing to explore the binding ties of men in wartime, might have served it better. Then again, it’s hard to say if it would have the same visceral thump it possesses now. Fassbender gives a strong and believable performance as a man trying to hold onto some sense of moral intuition when his enemies have stopped making sense to him. The men who surround him are little more than faces seen by firelight, or racing, mud covered visages, caught in the heat of combat. Imogen Poots as a suspected sorceress who gives the men refuge provides Centurion with the only traces of softness, compassion and grace that it has. Kurylenko is the scene stealer as a woman whose life was destroyed by the Romans before it had even truly begun, and although her severed tongue prevents her from uttering a word she makes her body language shout bitter, unspoken rage that echoes across the harsh wilderness. West has little more than a small role, but in it he gives a face to the decadence and unfettered lust of Rome the empire.

This is Marshall’s fourth foray into the sub-genre of survival thrillers. His last three, Dog Soldiers, The Descent, and Doomsday were all variations on the theme of what happens to the primal side of human nature when its continued existence is threatened. All were worthy pictures, with Descent being the best of the lot because of the way it attacked genre conventions and our expectations about cinematic aggression. After Centurion, which probably follows as second best of that motley group, this particular well is probably dry. I suspect, Marshall might have done that on purpose. Centurion is so brutal and forthright, so dedicated to the darker, hidden face of savagery, that I think it means to have the final word on the subject of ‘band on the run’. It isn’t often that a single film aspires to gut punch a particular narrative into submission, but Centurion does just that, grinning through bloodied teeth with an irreverent sort of joy.
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Re: Centurion reviews 2

Post by Admin on Fri Aug 27, 2010 2:30 am

http://www.boston.com/ae/movies/articles/2010/08/27/centurion_movie_review____centurion_showtimes/

Centurion
‘Centurion’ doesn’t go for the kill
Michael Fassbender plays Quintus Dias who leads a band of soldiers on a rescue mission in “Centurion.’’ Michael Fassbender plays Quintus Dias who leads a band of soldiers on a rescue mission in “Centurion.’’ (Magnet Releasing)
By Wesley Morris
Globe Staff / August 27, 2010

You want a movie in which starving second-century Romans dine on the contents of a dead elk’s stomach to be equally ravenous. But “Centurion,’’ a chase film written and directed by Neil Marshall, is a tame venture. Oh, there is blood and gore. Flaming arrows, spears, and knives have no problem finding their way to the back of a mouth. The profanity is delightful. And the general atmosphere is grim. The movie just isn’t terribly inspired.

“Centurion’’ takes us back to the days of the Roman conquest of Britain. The Roman Ninth Legion was looking to expand the empire into territory now known as Scotland. When an insurgent group of native tribesman, the Picts, captures one General Virilus (Dominic West), a handful of his soldiers attempt a rescue. The leader of this operation is a centurion named Quintus Dias (Michael Fassbender). Quintus has a high threshold for pain — he’s a gladiator’s son.

Tensions intensify between the Romans and this somewhat barbarous set of Picts after a soldier kills a Pict leader’s boy. From there, it is, as they say, on. The Picts sic on the Romans their top huntress (Olga Kurylenko), a mute warrior who leads a well-armed, well-pelted caravan to track them down. How a woman this physically slight manages to be so hard to kill is a mystery. But taking a page from the Milla Jovovich “Resident Evil’’ playbook, Kurylenko furrows her brow to convey that she intends to hurt you.

Along the way, a betrayal occurs, bodies pile up, and clichés are spoken (“We live united or die divided’’). And Marshall brings it all off with relentlessness and humor. The laughs are spent mostly on West’s macho general. (David Morrissey plays a Roman soldier, and Imogen Poots plays a woman with a bone to pick with the Picts.) Marshall tosses in a good joke concerning Hadrian’s Wall and even displays a flash of restraint (I, at least, was OK being spared the details of the wolf attack). What you miss from “Centurion’’ is the sense of spirit and thrill of surprise of his previous films, which include “Dog Soldiers,’’ “The Descent,’’ and “Destroyer.’’

No vampires lurk in the heather of the film’s Caledonian moorlands, as they did in the caverns of “The Descent.’’ And the kinetic and referential mayhem of the too-easily-dismissed “Destroyer’’ fails to turn up. “Centurion’’ is Marshall unplugged — and unsaturated. The movie has been made to look colorless and dry — this is one of the few action films to call out for lotion. The predominant grays and faded blues do make one urination scene theoretically funny.

You just wish there was a degree of subversion to save the film from reminding you of certain Uwe Boll productions. (Allusions to the affairs of current military superpowers feel tenuous at best.) Marshall’s movie is far more competent than, say, Boll’s “In the Name of the King’’ but less fun. Barring the occasional hurtling spear, there’s no more to “Centurion’’ than meets the eye.

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Re: Centurion reviews 2

Post by Admin on Fri Aug 27, 2010 2:34 am

http://blog.allmovie.com/2010/08/26/centurion-the-amg-review/

Centurion: The AMG Review

August 26th, 2010 | 11:58 pm est | Jason Buchanan

Fearless Roman soldiers take on fierce guerrilla warriors in Centurion, director Neil Marshall’s brutal and exciting historical action adventure. With sweeping camerawork that gives the action an appropriately majestic scope, inventive battle scenes that don’t sacrifice coherence for style, and tough characters that aren’t just cardboard cutouts, it’s got all of the elements that make a Marshall film great, wrapped up in an original story that remains fresh and exciting despite its familiar trappings. In short, Centurion is everything that Marcus Nispel’s Pathfinder wanted to be, but executed by a filmmaker with genuine talent for storytelling.

The year is A.D. 117. Despite the growing strength of the Roman Empire, a fierce tribe known as the Picts has prevented Hadrian’s armies from conquering northern Britain. The Picts offer a devastating display of their guerrilla power when they raid a Roman frontier fort, and Quintus (Michael Fassbender) just barely manages to escape with his life. Thirsting for revenge, Quintus joins General Virilus’ Ninth Legion as the squadron begins traveling north on a mission to find and kill Gorlacon, the leader of the Picts. That mission is complicated when the Picts ambush the Ninth Legion and capture General Virilus, leaving his men stranded behind enemy lines. Now, as Quintus and the surviving members of the Ninth Legion are hunted from the shadows, they prepare to make one last, desperate bid to save General Virilus and reach the Roman frontier before being captured or killed by the Picts.

With Centurion, Marshall brings all of the elements that his fans have come to expect from the director — tough-as-nails characters, bloody action, stylized visuals, and impossible odds — together in a way that helps to instill a familiar story with a sense of urgency and originality. Whereas Marshall’s previous film, Doomsday, was essentially a hybridized remake of Escape from New York and The Road Warrior, Centurion doesn’t wear its influences so readily on its sleeve, and for that reason it’s the director’s own abilities — not his influences — that help to distinguish and define the film. Likewise, by setting the movie against the backdrop of an ongoing war that’s hit a stalemate, and pitting the more traditional Roman army against a breed of warriors who don’t abide by the accepted rules of combat, Marshall draws some interesting parallels between that conflict and a certain quagmire in the Middle East that will prove especially tantalizing to history buffs. Like the very best genre filmmakers, he’s got more on his mind than making our pulses race.

But, fortunately for his audience, Marshall hasn’t gone entirely political; it’s obvious that his primary goal with Centurion is to entertain, and in typical fashion he accomplishes that goal with energy to spare. Not only is Centurion a gorgeous film to look at, it’s constantly chugging forward at a pace that keeps us involved with the story while we anticipate the next big action scene — which is never too far off. Anyone familiar with Marshall’s filmography knows he’s a writer with a knack for creating strong, swaggering characters, and with Centurion he continues that tradition by not only playing up the macho camaraderie of the Roman soldiers, but also pitting them against a fierce female huntress who is easily their equal on the battlefield. And despite her striking similarities to a certain tribally tattooed cannibal from Doomsday, Olga Kurylenko gives the taciturn character of Etain an added dimension thanks to a thematically rich scene that not only reveals the source of her stoic rage, but simultaneously articulates the ambiguity of war by putting it into a personal context. Likewise, Kurylenko’s unchecked vengeance provides an ideal contrast to Fassbender’s dutiful, honor-bound soldier, resulting in a unique dynamic that helps to distinguish Centurion from the glut of other period adventures.

Perhaps the most satisfying aspect of Centurion, however, is the fact that just when we think we’ve got it all figured out, Marshall plays a wild card that sends the story careening off-course from the mental map we’ve laid out in our heads. And even though his sudden change of direction doesn’t elevate the film into groundbreaking territory, it does show that a pinch of unpredictability can go a long way in maintaining an air of freshness, and reminds us why Marshall remains one of the few genre directors with the ability to package influence and innovation into a product that feels more like a natural evolution of film, rather than an inferior rehash of familiar ideas.
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Re: Centurion reviews 2

Post by Admin on Fri Aug 27, 2010 7:58 pm

http://bostonherald.com/entertainment/movies/reviews/view/20100827bloody_good_centurion_delivers_gore_galore/

Bloody good ‘Centurion’ delivers gore galore
James Verniere By James Verniere
Friday, August 27, 2010 - Updated 7 hours ago

CENTURION: A-

If you liked “300,” say ave to “Centurion,” the tolchockingest ancient-Roman-set film in ages.

As one filmmaker proudly observes, it’s got “gore, a bit more gore, then a sprinkling of blood on top.”

Written and directed by Neil Marshall (“Dog Soldiers,” “The Descent,” “Doomsday”), the film is yet another high-powered hybrid from the former “Splat Pack” member.

Michael Fassbender of “Inglourious Basterds” leads a band of Roman soldiers, survivors of a deadly Pict raid upon the legendary 9th Roman Legion, across breathtakingly beautiful and forbidding Caledonian mountain terrain to escape the clutches of Pict assassins led by “she-wolf” Etain (Olga Kurylenko).

On this level, “Centurion” also resembles an American Western in which U.S. soldiers flee war-painted, rampaging Indians, a sort of Celtic “Last of the Mohicans.”

The action begins in A.D. 117 and appropriately enough in medias res with a devastating attack upon a remote Roman garrison on the wrong side of what will be Hadrian’s Wall in a part of Britannia that will become modern-day Scotland.

Later, the bloodied Centurion Quintus Dias (Fassbender) desperately flees brutal Pict captors, his hands bound, barefoot and tunic-less, across rocky, snow-and-tree-covered ground.

The Picts, we learn, have been using “guerrilla tactics” to pick off far superior Roman occupying forces. (Sound familiar?) The Picts strike hard, then pull back and disappear within their dense, dark forests, using the land as an ally.

Among the other survivors are fellow legionnaires Bothos (David Morrissey), Brick (Liam Cunningham) and Macros (Noel Clarke) and cleaver-wielding Syrian camp cook Tarak (Riz Ahmed).

Along the way, the Romans must scale towers of rock, drink hot stag blood, leap hundreds of feet into raging waters, fend off ravenous wolves, all while being chased and cut down.

On a brief rest stop, they encounter Arianne (the gorgeous Imogeen Poots), a “necromancer” and healer banished to woodsy solitude by the cruel Pict King Gorlacon (Ulrich Thomsen).

Beautifully shot by Sam McCurdy (“The Descent,’ “Doomsday”), “Centurion” is a throwback to the great Roman legionnaire and gladiator movies, but with prosthetics and “300”-style digital makeup effects. If you want to see what fighting with bladed weapons very likely looked like, behold this display of beheadings, dismemberments, throat slittings and arrow piercings. It is pure gorehound heaven.

The Romans speak Brit-accented English, while the Picts speak Scots Gaelic with subtitles. Etain, who sports fox pelts and blue war paint and wields a deadly, halberd-like spear, does not speak because her tongue was cut out after she was gang raped as a child by Roman soldiers. Still, she is her king’s “wrath,” a barbarian angel of death. Get a load of her.

Rated R. At AMC Loews Boston Common, Regal Fenway Stadium and suburban theaters.

(“Centurion” contains extreme, graphic violence.)
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Re: Centurion reviews 2

Post by Admin on Fri Aug 27, 2010 8:06 pm

http://www.csmonitor.com/The-Culture/Movies/2010/0827/Centurion-movie-review

Centurion: movie review

'Centurion' is set in 2nd-century Britain where a Roman legion finds itself hunted by a band of vicious warriors bent on their demise.

Olga Kurylenko plays Etain, the scariest of the Pict barbarians pursuing Roman legionnaires through what is now Scotland.

By Peter Rainer, Film critic / August 27, 2010

If you thought "300" was one of the greatest films ever made, if slo-mo arrows piercing armored chests is your idea of a good time, by all means make haste to "Centurion."

Set in the 2nd-century Roman Empire, when men were men and launderettes were scarce, it's about a mud-caked band of Roman soldiers who are pursued across what is now Scotland by the local barbarian horde, the Picts. Given how scurvy they look, the Picts should have a scarier monicker. I felt the same way about the Sith in the "Star Wars" series.

Scariest of the Picts is Etain (Olga Kurylenko), a temptress in animal furs who works for the Romans only to reveal herself as a double agent and the deadliest of trackers. She's more she-wolf than wench. Because the Romans cut out her tongue years before, she's mute – not entirely a bad thing given the caliber of dialogue in this film.

Her opposite number is centurion Quintus Dias (Michael Fassbender), a survivor of the Roman Ninth Legion, whom we first see in a flash-forward sprinting half-naked through snow. Fassbender clearly worked out for this role, and he wants us to know it. His Quintus can also speak perfect Pictish (which, according to the press notes, is actually Scots Gaelic). Speaking of press notes, I pass along a quote from the film's producer, Robert Jones, extolling its singular virtue: "Gore, a bit more gore, then a sprinkling of blood on top."

Actually, he's selling his film, which was directed by horror maven Neil Marshall ("The Descent"), a bit short. In some ways "Centurion" is closer to what its effects designer terms "a Roman 'Die Hard.' " It also, in some of its torture sequences, seems to be reaching for contemporary, war-on-terror relevance. This part I could have done without. When in Rome, let's not drag in Abu Ghraib.

"Centurion" is essentially a chase film, with Etain and company in pursuit of an ever-diminishing cadre of Roman warriors – including stalwart Bothos (David Morrissey) and goofy Thax (JJ Feild) – led by Quintus. Since Etain isn't exactly love-­interest material, the filmmakers work in a witchy woman, Arianne (Imogen Poots), to do the honors. She's a banished Pict, hence a potential friend. It's amazing the lengths to which filmmakers will go to work a little nuzzling into a scenario that's about as potentially romantic as a sumo wrestling match.

Marshall is big on desaturated imagery, which imparts to the film's copious amounts of hemoglobin the look of squid ink. He also favors speeded-up helicopter shots of vast vistas and slow-motion carnage. He fetishizes violence, it's true – the close-ups of throat slashings and body piercings are almost abstractly rendered. But compared with, say, Mel Gibson's "Apocalypto," which featured this sort of stuff in practically every frame, Marshall's film is downright Disneyish.

Kevin Macdonald, the director of "The Last King of Scotland," is soon coming out with "The Eagle of the Ninth," which also dramatizes the mysterious fate of the Roman Ninth Legion. The blood-bucket quotient, one hopes, will be lower. No word yet about the fate of the Picts. Grade: C+ (Rated R for sequences of strong bloody violence, grisly images, and language.)
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Re: Centurion reviews 2

Post by Admin on Fri Aug 27, 2010 8:07 pm

http://frontrow.dmagazine.com/2010/08/centurions-paper-thin-drama-is-not-worth-suffering-through-the-stylized-gore/

Centurion’s Paper-Thin Drama Is Not Worth Suffering Through The Stylized Gore
By Peter Simek August 27th, 2010 3:06pm

Angelika Film Center 5321 E. Mockingbird Ln. Dallas, TX 75206
Dates
Opens Aug 27

A great deal of time in the Roman-era war movie Centurion, written and directed by Neil Marshall (Doomsday, Dog Soldiers), is spent dwelling on hacking, dripping, slicing, and stabbing. The camera zooms in as arrows go through eyes, hands fall off arms, and axes chop at necks until the victim’s head is loose. Part of the film’s mission, it would seem, is to show ancient combat as it was, all in the name of historical realism. The problem with Centurion, however, is that the blood and guts are not supported by a story that transcends their visual effect. The movie is so loaded down by its taste for disgusting gore, that the story – about a handful of Roman soldiers being hunted down by Pict natives in Northern England – seems almost incidental, if inconsequential.

The Romans in question are part of a legion of soldiers stationed on the northern British frontier during the time of Emperor Hadrian. On patrol, their unit is ambushed by Pict warriors, who slaughter all but a handful of men. These men, led by Centurion Quintus Dias (Michael Fassbender – Inglorious Bastards, 300), try to rescue the captured Roman general, only to kill the chieftain’s son by mistake, thus inciting the chief to launch a hunting party to chase them down. The party is led by Aeron (Axelle Carolyn), a mute warrior woman with frazzled hair, a Hollywood body, and a costume that seems pulled from the Xena: Warrior Princess dressing room. She is some kind of sorceress, and as she hunts down the men, there is some overdubbed dialogue that blabbers about the life of soldiers, the nature of war, etc. In terms of dialogue and characters we never really get out of the realm of boyhood adventure story. On its own terms, that’s fine, and there are some moments in the chase that are genuinely compelling. But the real problem is that it is never clear what kind of movie Centurion wants to be.

The first clue comes in the form of the opening credits, which are big and bold in a Lord of the Rings-style font, and like the start of some big adventure story, they fly across the screen as an aerial camera swoops across the majestic northern English countryside. The title graphics, however, seem cheap and under-produced, like Centurion is some big blockbuster that didn’t quite raise the funds for its budget. Then, the film cuts to the first scene that takes place in a Roman garrison that looks like a stage set. A Roman soldier wanders the walls, reflecting about the state of things like a sentry in a Shakespearean drama. So we are going to get a war movie that keeps its focus on the strong characters that propel the story? Not really. Centurion proves to be neither blockbuster nor historical drama, instead settling for something more like a dramatized match of Dungeons and Dragons. Which means it may eventually find cult appeal in some circles, perhaps with aficionados who keep jars of fake blood ready.
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Re: Centurion reviews 2

Post by Admin on Fri Aug 27, 2010 8:09 pm

http://www.ugo.com/movies/centurion-review

Romans vs. Picts. History vs. Action.
Much like the Roman Empire, Neil Marshall's Centurion may extend its reach a little too far.
By Jordan Hoffman 4 hours ago

You will like this if...

You love blood, swords and gorgeous half-naked women in the snow.

You won't like this if...
You'd like a pure action picture, or an interesting treatise on Empire, but not a mish-mosh of both.

Centurion
Credit: Magnolia Pictures

* Products: Centurion
* Genres: Drama, Thriller
* Director: Neil Marshall
* Writer: Neil Marshall
* Cast Members: Dominic West, Michael Fassbender, Olga Kurylenko

There are few things higher on the list of things I love seeing in movies – but hope never to see in real life – than arterial sprays. When a carotid artery is lacerated on film and blood violently ejects and 75% of the audience sucks in air through their teeth, well, for some reason, I find this a thing of curious beauty.

The envelope-pushing British director Neil Marshall must agree with me, as his newest film, Centurion treats arterial sprays like Sex and the City treats shoes.

As Centurion opens it threatens to be a standard historical epic, elaborating on the fabled “lost Ninth Legion” that invaded North Britain never to return. When the first moments of action are a spear through the testicles and an arrow knocking a head into a bell, it literally sounds the tone of this film: ridiculous, over-the-top violence.

As pure action, Centurion works well. The cinematography is grainy and distinctive and the performers – Dominic West, Michael Fassbender and Olga Kurylenko – all look fabulous wielding weapons and destroying things. It’s this heavy style, however, that prevented me from ever taking the movie seriously.

Centurion pays lip service to concepts of duty, honor and betrayal, but it is hard to let these cartoonish characters under your skin. “Many good people died,” intones an exhausted man at the end of the film. Really? I didn’t see any.

There are trace elements of subversive themes in this film which are there, I think, to lead the audience to question where their sympathies lie. Are the invading Romans good? Shouldn’t we be siding with the Picts, trying to defend their land? Somewhere buried in the frenzied editing, bombastic music and blood might be some Verhoeven-ish concepts of Empire and Heroism. Yet, instead of character or historical introspection we get seven more arterial sprays.

Then again, I signed up for arterial sprays, so I shouldn’t be complaining.

There is a stretch in the second act where the movie becomes a stripped-down chase story. (Indeed, there is an explicit references to Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid that works nicely.) Had Marshall stayed with a straight through line and focused more on this feeling of dread, as he did in his near-masterpiece The Descent, I think we’d have a much more successful movie. As it is now, it is a confused historical film that doesn’t know what it wants to say but is, luckily, still a lot of fun.
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Re: Centurion reviews 2

Post by Admin on Fri Aug 27, 2010 8:09 pm

http://wcco.com/movies/centurion.review.fassbender.2.1882645.html

Aug 27, 2010 10:59 am US/Central
Movie Blog: 'Centurion' Bland Despite Grue

Set in the Scottish Highlands during the height of the Roman Empire, Centurion is not as unappealing as a steaming plate of haggis, nor as tasty as a cool class of Johnnie Walker Black Label. Oddly enough, this bloody action-adventure flick is as bland as, say, a full English breakfast.

British director Neil Marshall presents the tale of Quintus Dias (Michael Fassbinder of Inglourious Basterds), a Roman soldier in 112 AD who survives an attack by the Picts (a Gaelic forerunner to the Scots).

After being rescued by fellow Romans, he survives yet another Pictish guerrilla attack, this one a major slaughter. With six other survivors, Dias sneaks behind enemy lines in search of their captured Commander Titus Flavius Virilus (Dominic West, McNulty from The Wire).

Unsuccessful, they decide to head south (towards Hadrian's Wall, which is just under construction), while a group of Picts are hot on their trail, led by the fierce mute tracker Etain (the foxy and freaky Olga Kurylenko of Quantum of Solace).

The Scottish scenery is gorgeous, and the CGI bash/smash/slash effects are effectively gross (as haggis). But there's too much down time, and the dialogue is hammy, which is a shame when you have talents like West and Fassbinder at your disposal.

There are some thrills in Centurion, but not nearly as many as one of Marshall's previous efforts, The Descent, which has three unbeatable factors: spelunking, attractive ladies, and cave monsters!

Rent it, and skip Centurion.
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Re: Centurion reviews 2

Post by Admin on Fri Aug 27, 2010 8:11 pm

http://www.pegasusnews.com/news/2010/aug/27/movie-review-centurion/

Friday, August 27, 2010
Movie review: Centurion

by John P. Meyer

Get ready for a manly man's movie with a heart. (Several hearts, actually.)
Photo, taken 2010-08-27 11:13:25

With its snow-against-gloom color palette, flash cut ('n chop!) editing, and hyper-sharpened cinematography, Neil Marshall's Centurion at times looks a lot like 300 or Gladiator — certainly not a bad thing for lovers of arted-up action cinema. Combine this with its exotic setting (2nd century A.D. Great Britain) and you've got a rip-snorting, blood-letting, sword-and-sandal tale that should appeal to a decently wide fanboy audience. (But probably only after it makes it to DVD, given the limited theatrical release.)

It's sort of an historical epic, as long as you realize we're using the term "historical" really loosely: I doubt that the fate of Imperial Rome's 9th Legion was anything like what's depicted in the film. (But it sure makes for a great adventure tale.)

Centurion Quintus Dias (Michael Fassbender, late of Fish Tank) finds himself in command of a small surviving cadre of legionnaires in the icy hinterlands of northern England. (The movie was actually filmed in northern England and Scotland, by the way, and it looks damn icy and damn hinterland-y.) Their legion has been wiped out by a band (make that an ARMY) of ferocious, barbaric Picts. (Picts? Really???) The Pict commander is a nasty, dirty fellow who will do pee-pee in the bucket of water that's used to torture a fellow with. (Man, that is low.) Even worse is the sexy (in a death-wish, "cut me baby!" sort of way) Pict tracker lady, Etain (Bond girl Olga Kurylenko): You don't want to get on her bad side or she'll slice your good side CLEAN OFF with a broadsword—and smile (evilly) while she's doing it.

Dias must somehow lead his band of seven (starting count!) soldiers back to Roman-controlled territory while evading the bloody Picts. I mean, that's basically your story line.

Throw in a couple of universally-valid "war is bad mojo" references (waterboarding, friendly fire incidents), add a smidgen of romance (involving Dias and a witchy necromancer played by Imogen Poots), and you've got yourself a manly man's movie with a heart.

(Several hearts, actually.)
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Re: Centurion reviews 2

Post by Admin on Fri Aug 27, 2010 8:12 pm

http://www.ology.com/screen/opening-today-centurion-takers-kill-last-exorcism

Centurion

Honestly, I don’t know much about this other than it stars the awesome Michael Fassbender and was directed by the guy who made The Descent. Oh and JIMMY FREAKING MCNULTY. I know my love of The Wire might be obnoxious, but trust me; it’s not half as obnoxious as your not having watched The Wire (if you have watched The Wire, my apologies, you’re wonderful). I bought tickets to this days ago. I wish I was kidding. I have a problem.
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Re: Centurion reviews 2

Post by Admin on Fri Aug 27, 2010 8:26 pm

http://www.philly.com/dailynews/features/20100826_Centurion_imagines_fate_of_doomed_Roman_legionnaires.html

Posted on Thu, Aug. 26, 2010

‘Centurion’ imagines fate of doomed Roman legionnaires

By Gary Thompson
Philadelphia Daily News

Daily News Film Critic

If you took a few hundred two-liter soda bottles, filled them with fake blood and sprayed the cast of "Centurion," you'd be director Neil Marshall.

Throats are slit, heads severed and limbs lopped liberally in "Centurion," each grievous wound accompanied by a gusher of blood, the better to appreciate the nature of combat between Roman legionnaires and their barbarian foes north of Hadrian's proposed wall in 117 A.D.

"Centurion" is a speculative work of history built around the mystery of a Roman army that really did disappear while fighting along the northern frontier (now Northern England and Scotland).

In this telling, the army is massacred in an ambush. A small band of Romans survive, and are pursued across a wintry highland landscape by Pict riders, creating one long, breathless chase.

"Centurion" has been described as a knockoff of "Apocalypto" and "Gladiator," and it's true that director Marshall is a lusty borrower (the movie is also very "Lord of the Rings" in its use of landscape).

Marshall, who grew up watching Hollywood westerns, also bites off a chunk of "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid." The fleeing soldiers are bedeviled by a tracker (Olga Kurylenko) of almost supernatural skill, and when they are pushed at last to the edge of a cliff, they escape by leaping suicidally into a gorge of rushing water.

So he steals from the best, with the best, but Marshall ("The Descent") is also a talent in his own right. His movies (also "Dog Soldiers") have vivid atmosphere, energy and momentum. He's comfortable with ensemble casts, and works successfully with actors (Dominic West, Michael Fassbender) to define characters with a few bold strokes.

"Centurion" must establish its characters quickly, because it kills them just as fast. Fassbender plays a surviving officer who inherits a small band of soldiers and tries to lead them south to safety.

Without, it must be said, a great deal of success. The movie's distinguishing feature is its grim fatalism, rare for a pure action movie. We come to realize that in this bleak and brutal frontier world, there will be nothing that will look, to our modern eyes, like a happy ending.
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Re: Centurion reviews 2

Post by Admin on Fri Aug 27, 2010 8:27 pm

http://www.thelmagazine.com/TheMeasure/archives/2010/08/27/your-weekend-at-the-movies-wondering-if-takers-will-be-as-good-as-taken

Centurion: Speaking of genre wallows, writer-director Neil Marshall certainly aims for the pulp-cult cheap seats with his energetic mish-mashes like The Descent and Doomsday, but that has yet to translate into much of an actual cult beyond, I assume, some enthusiastic nerds. Case in point: his 300ish knockoff rates distribution from the arthouse-sized Magnolia Pictures and not, say, Screen Gems (who are busy finally releasing Takers). Good for Magnolia for indulging in a little Eurotrash, but too bad Centurion is Marshall's weakest movie yet, an intermittently entertaining but centerless tale of Roman warriors fighting their way back home through enemy territory (which they were previously trying to maraud). Marshall isn't a bad action director, but Centurion feels, even more than the bonkers Doomsday, like the work of someone who likes crazy gore more than people. Also, Doomsday made good use of the poor man's Kate Beckinsale, while Centurion makes middling use of not only the poor man's Milla Jovovich, but the excellent Michael Fassbender. [The rich man's Tom Hardy? -Ed.] [Also as an aside can we talk for like a splitsecond about how the Olga Kurylenko character is basically Magua from probable greatest film of all time The Last of The Mohicans? -Ed. again]
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Re: Centurion reviews 2

Post by Admin on Fri Aug 27, 2010 8:28 pm

http://www.heavy.com/movies/horror-movies/2010/08/full-release-movies-24/

Centurion – Centurion has many things going in its favor. The story of a group of Roman soldiers fighting for their lives after being decimated behind enemy lines by a guerrilla attack, the movie is filmed liked a more realistic 300. Yes, I know 300 was based on a skirmish, but no one’s performing slow motion dropkicks in Centurion. As the titular Centurion, Michael Fassbender shows everyone why he is being cast in seemingly every movie now. Also, while it may be argued that Neil Marshall hasn’t directed a breakout movie yet, all three of his feature films so far (Dog Soldiers, The Descent, Doomsday) are considered modern day classics of their genres. If this is playing in your town, give it a shot. If you haven’t seen the trailer yet, catch it here.
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Re: Centurion reviews 2

Post by Admin on Fri Aug 27, 2010 8:31 pm

http://www.moviesonline.ca/movie_review_detail.php?id=14888

Centurion Movie Review
Posted by: The Dude

Neil Marshall likes his movies a certain way. He always seems to tell tales of small groups of survivors in situations far graver than they could possibly imagine. Then he likes to pepper that up considerably with rampant abuse of ultra violence and profanity, because who doesn't like a f@&#$%!' R-rated movie? He continues this trend with his latest film, Centurion, the first of his motion pictures to not begin with a "D" (Dog Soldiers, Descent, Doomsday).

Centurion tells the story of Michael Fassbender, a soldier in the Roman army circa 90-something AD. His General is Dominic West, whom most know from The Wire, but who I will forever associate as Jigsaw in Punisher: War Zone. The Roman Army in the UK, not very well liked, and on a mission that somehow involves the hot chick from Hitman and the last Bond movie, who wisely is made a mute aside from war grunts. She's all dolled up in Braveheart-lite face paint, so you can probably figure out what she's up to faster than any character in the movie can.

So they're on a march when completely out of nowhere they're attacked! There's a battle, and some other stuff happens… I'm not gonna lie to you, I saw this movie three months ago, and even looking at my notes, I can't remember seeing it. That's probably a large problem when you think about it. For both the movie and my temporal lobe.

Anyway, Fassbender winds up leading the group of survivors, one of which is Marshall's good luck charm Liam Cunningham, who will hopefully one day make it to the end of one of his films. (Spoiler alert, but let's be honest, the moment you see him onscreen you know he's not seeing the end credits). They manage to find their captured general, who tells Fassbender he is in charge of what's left of the army, and they need to get back to Rome.

Thus begins a long haul through mud and darkness and violence and dirt, and countless helicopter shots that once again proves my favorite filmmaking maxim: If we're gonna pay for the helicopter, we're gonna USE the helicopter! One observation from my notes, it basically followed the same beginning as Ridley Scott's recent Robin Hood, and as much as Centurion disappointed me, it was nearly as angering as that cash grab. There's also a bit more narrative cohesion involved than with the other mach flick of the moment The Expendables, so another plus in its' corner.

Overall the film isn't so much bad as bland. I'm a little disappointed in Neil Marshall, who has a flair for macho film making. (A feat even more remarkable to consider for The Descent, where it was all females!) Here, though, he seems to have selected a monochromatic palate to imply old times, which instead begs for more scenes shot in daylight.

His violence is lean and brutal (Rambo-like levels of brutality), but it never adds up to anything than just a cool moment. It feels out of place, but not nearly as much as the ridiculous profanity. Seriously, to open a movie with a Roman soldier talking about "The asshole of the earth" tells you right off the bat the kind of classy movie you're dealing with. Again it's cool, and should work, but kinda doesn't.

I'm disappointed. Neil Marshall has made three solid flicks, one a genuine knock out of a picture, but all fun. This movie is missing that sense of fun, having replaced it with unnecessary brutality and excess flash. Sure the actors are pretty, and never terrible, even hot mute Russian girl. Fassbender is always an appealing lead, this will neither help nor hinder his cause to get more work. It's just, this feels like a movie we've seen done before. It's been done better and it's been done worse. But when the movie's coming from one of the few talented action guys out there, you expect a little more than this warmed over Ridley Wannabe.

Centurion opens in some theaters across the country, and is available on your On-Demand network, too! Technology!)
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Re: Centurion reviews 2

Post by Admin on Fri Aug 27, 2010 8:33 pm

http://www.nj.com/entertainment/movies/index.ssf/2010/08/centurion_review_barbarians_at_the_multiplex.html

'Centurion' review: Barbarians at the multiplex
Published: Friday, August 27, 2010, 8:15 AM
Stephen Whitty/The Star-Ledger
MAGNET RELEASINGAxelle Carolyn in "Centurion," which tells the tale of war in ancient Rome's northernmost outpost, Brittania.

We all know what the usual Hollywood sword-and-sandal movie involves: chromed armor, valiant soldiers, imperial glory and everyone looking like a titled British actor.

Well, the gory and grimy “Centurion” is not the usual Hollywood sword-and-sandal movie.

To begin with, it’s set in Rome’s northernmost outpost — Britannia — in the early years of the second century A.D.

The armor is battered. So are the soldiers.

And glory is nowhere to be found.

The soldiers still sound British — or Irish — but then, this is a U.K. production from Neil Marshall, the filmmaker who hit with that spelunking spooker “The Descent.”

And what he’s put on-screen here is raw enough to make even “Gladiator” look like “Spartacus.”
Movie Review Centurion (R) Magnolia (97 min.) Directed by Neil Marshall. With Michael Fassbender, Dominic West. Now playing in New York and on video on demand.

Ratings note: The film contains graphic gore, violence and strong language.
Stephen Whitty's review: TWO STARS

That’s not a bad thing.

Rome may have been lovely for the wealthy, but for soldiers off fighting the barbarians, life was filthy and fierce. And it’s refreshing, too, to see a classical epic filmed as if it were a B-movie Western. Which, in a way, “Centurion” is.

Our hero’s entire outpost has been wiped out by unfriendly natives. The cavalry that rescued him has been massacred as well. Now all he can do is try to escape — even as his enemies silently track him.

If you could bring back Sam Peckinpah and Warren Oates to make it, I’d see that oater right now.

Of course, in this case, the “cowboys” are centurions, and the painted “savages” aren’t Native Americans, but the Picts, an ancient English people. But otherwise, the story remains the same.

It’s the other ways that Marshall has modernized it that feel wrong.

Like an almost adolescent-boy glee in gore. (If you like closeups of arrows going into eye sockets, this is the movie for you). And jittery editing, which reduces hand-to-hand combat to a blurry whirl.

And while the movie is politically modern, too — the Romans are on a purely politically-driven mission — that also muddies the waters. We’re meant to root for the centurion’s escape, but his army is just as brutal as the people they’re fighting — and the Picts, who didn’t look for this war, are merely defending their land.

It’s difficult to keep up the suspense when, by most moral yardsticks, these fleeing Romans deserve to be caught.

A sharper script, or more distinctive characters would have helped. But Dominic West’s Roman general is just one more manly-man-among-men and Michael Fassbender’s centurion a blank slate (albeit a muddy one). Too many scenes are merely guys in furs killing guys in armor.

Visually, the film does take you into a different world. The shots of these misty, mystical forests are truly striking, and at least one character — Olga Kurylenko at Etain, a Pict tracker — is certainly memorable. And it’s nice to see some of the pretentious polish scrubbed from the noble Romans and their Empire.

It’s just that, a half-hour in, I was rooting for the barbarians.
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Re: Centurion reviews 2

Post by Admin on Fri Aug 27, 2010 8:35 pm

http://www.televisionwithoutpity.com/mwop/moviefile/2010/08/centurion-its-like-history-onl.php

Centurion: It's Like History, Only Awesomer
by Zach Oat August 27, 2010 6:00 AM

If you've seen any of director Neil Marshall's films -- Dog Soldiers, The Descent, Doomsday -- you've been looking forward to this movie, whether you know it or not. The man does great horror and over-the-top action, so the idea of yet another movie from him about characters in hostile territory, fighting for survival, seems like a sure-fire winner. And, man, Centurion is that.

Inspired by the legend of the disappearance of Rome's 9th Legion, Marshall has come up with a tale of a centurion who escapes capture by the Scottish Picts only to accompany the legion back across enemy lines to wipe them out once and for all. Of course, that doesn't go according to plan, and in a scene reminiscent of The Last of the Mohicans, the legion is wiped out, save a small band of survivors. Now, they have to make it back to the nearest fort before the Picts find them and kill them. So it's basically Gladiator meets Braveheart meets Wrong Turn, where the Braveheart guys are the ones who live in the woods and eat people, and if that doesn't sound awesome to you, I haven't explained it well enough.

The action is spread out, and separated by some decent stretches of running across beautiful highland landscape, but when it happens, it's bloody and great. Axes in heads, blood spurting, the works. Michael Fassbender, who was so fantastic and droll in Inglourious Basterds, doesn't get much time to crack jokes as an intelligent, educated fighter who has to rise to leadership. Dominic West plays the General who leads the 9th, and is so comfortable among his men that he is occasionally mistaken for a common soldier. Former Bond girl Olga Kurylenko is mute throughout the movie, but her silent Pict warrior is brutal and bloodthirsty, and may be a sign of her potential as an action star. (There's also a gentle Pict witch who helps the Romans out as they run, but she's played by Imogen Poots, and I can't type her name without laughing.) If I were Channing Tatum, or anyone involved with The Eagle of the Ninth, I would be very worried about following in this movie's footsteps, because it's another near-perfect film from Marshall... or at least, near-perfectly entertaining.

Did you see Centurion? Let us know what you thought below!
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Re: Centurion reviews 2

Post by Admin on Fri Aug 27, 2010 8:37 pm

http://www.mania.com/centurion-movie-review_article_124869.html

CENTURION Movie Review
Something May Be Gaining On You

By Rob Vaux August 27, 2010

Centurion Movie Review
© Magnolia Pictures

If Neil Marshall missed a step with Doomsday, he surely regains it with Centurion. Lean, riveting, and taking no prisoners, it indulges only sporadically in the derivative references which sank his previous effort, and makes up for the lapses with the same crackling tension which marked Dog Soldiers and The Descent.

His topic is ancient Rome, though not the same sword-and-sandals Rome which marks most historical epics. He takes us to the wilds of northern England, where the famous Ninth Legion vanished without a trace some 2,000 years ago. Centurion posits a possible explanation for their eventual fate—slaughtered at the hands of Pictish tribes in the midst of grinding the mightiest army in the world to a standstill—but it doesn’t largely care about the specifics. Instead, it uses the battle as a means of exploring the honor and savagery on both sides, wrapped up in a first-rate chase picture.

The bulk of the action starts after the Ninth buys it, wiped out on the road by an enemy who knows the woods too well. A cluster of survivors gather under the leadership of Quintus Dias (Michael Fassbender), and—following an abortive attempt to rescue their general (Dominic West)—high tail it back to the Roman lines. Unfortunately, their efforts result in the death of the Pictish leader’s son, sending the tribe into a frenzy and the hounds of hell on their path. With a mute, vengeance-obsessed tracker (Olga Kurylenko) behind them and miles of frozen wilderness in front of them, it becomes a game to see how many will survive to the closing credits.

Marshall peppers the chase with a number of sharp set pieces, spattered in blood and reveling in the kind of savagery that frankly scares big-budget Hollywood to death. Centurion never goes overboard, however, keeping the bloodshed in staccato rabbit punches rather than Piranha-style excess. The brutality works as stimulus response, but also because we connect to the characters on both sides of the equation. The Picts have real grievances; the Romans just want to survive.

Marshall declines to judge either side. He simply puts them in motion and lets the audience decide whether anyone merits our sympathies. At times, we feel for everyone and no one, so bound up in the inherent drama that any outcome holds copious interest. Among other things, it means that we can entertain the real possibility that no one will survive, with an accompanying elevation in the suspense.

Centurion compliments the chase with a solid visual look, as the Legionnaires’ distinctive uniforms contrast sharply against the woods and snowscapes in which they find themselves. Marshall adopts the same film stock used by every historical adventure since Saving Private Ryan. Though not particularly original, it matches the storyline well, while giving the vistas a harsh, unforgiving tone that further bonds us to the figures scurrying across it.

A few late-inning dramatics muddy the waters a bit, particularly a convenient savior in the form of a local witch (Imogen Poots) and some standard-issue Roman scheming tacked onto the finale.

Marshall can’t avoid riffing on the classics either, most notably in a re-creation of the cliff scene from Butch and Sundance which could have used a twist or two to spice it up. But the director remains true to his own vision far more often than cribbing someone else’s, and though comparatively humble in its intents, he attains a great deal more here than many of overstuffed A-list adventures earlier in the summer. Keep it quick, keep it simple and respect your material; you might just end up blowing everyone’s socks off. Marshall has learned this lesson well, and Centurion benefits from his experience.
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Re: Centurion reviews 2

Post by Admin on Fri Aug 27, 2010 8:38 pm

http://www.nypost.com/p/entertainment/movies/rome_gets_pict_on_jau3JdmqogPnoYjc4LIHMN

Rome gets Pict on

Last Updated: 9:54 AM, August 27, 2010

Posted: 12:29 AM, August 27, 2010

MOVIE REVIEW

CENTURION The empire strikes out. Running time: 97 minutes. Rated R (gruesome violence, profanity). At the Angelika, Houston and Mercer Streets.
* *

The Romans hit Britannia and Britannia hits back in "Centurion," a film that begs to be classified in the historical/epic category, or maybe the allegorical/self-important file, but actually belongs in the lawnmower/weedwhacker class.

Snickety-snack go the heads, and limbs juicily part company with torsos, like so many dandelions in a rapidly reddening field. We're in the Britain of A.D. 117. Demoralized Roman centurions are locked in an endless war with a plucky gang of guerrillas -- the Picts -- who want nothing more than to be left alone.

"This is a new kind of war -- a war without honor, a war without end," we are told, and, "This place is the graveyard of ambition," a remark meant to excite chin-stroking critics aware of the cliché about Afghanistan being "the graveyard of empires."

To put it bluntly, says one Roman, "This place is the a - - hole of the world." Come on guys, you're on a holiday on a scepter'd isle. Can't you learn to eat, pray and/or love?

Captured by the Picts, one soldier (Michael Fassbender, who played the German-speaking English officer in "Inglourious Basterds") escapes and joins forces with a dwindling band of fellow Romans. These worthies seek to rescue their cheerfully rageful general (Dominic West of "The Wire"). They also want revenge against a traitor -- a hellfire-driven Pict woman (Olga Kurylenko, the Bond girl in "Quantum of Solace") who pretended to be on the Romans' side but (surprise, surprise) was actually just waiting for her chance to slaughter Romans for destroying her village.

Sack, pillage, repeat. Heads will roll. And bounce. And be stuck on pikes. For a while, I respected the severity of writer-director Neil Marshall's outlook -- the whole filth-encrusted piece is the color of a bruise. But for all the blue-painted faces (of the Picts), this film is no "Braveheart" or "Avatar." For which side are we supposed to be cheering? Marshall tells the story from the Roman point of view, but invaders and defenders are equally savage.

The quieter moments, when the soldiers sit around the campfire and try to make us care about them as individuals who want to fight their way back to friendly lines, ought to give some resonance to the decreasingly thrilling arterial spray of the battles, but they don't. They're just dull interludes that veer between clunky Cecil B. DeMille declamation ("That is my task. That is my duty") and equally clunky modernisms. I'm having trouble figuring out what would be the Latin equivalent of lines like "put the f - - - ing knife down."

Even if the movie had more shadings, though, Marshall's political point would undo his he-man action-flick format. If you're looking for a rallying cry to make the emotions sizzle, "Quagmire!" isn't it.
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