300: Rise of an Empire (2014) – Movie Trailer

300: Rise of an Empire is the sequel to 2007′s 300 and is directed by Noam Murro and starring Sullivan Stapleton, Rodrigo Santoro, Eva Green, Lena Headey (Game of Thrones). The Greek general Themistocles (Sullivan Stapleton) battles an invading army of Persians under the mortal-turned-god, Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro). 300: Rise of an Empire opens on March 7, 2014.

Rio (2011) – Movie Review

Rio is a fun animated film from the creators of "Ice Age". As the name suggested, the film primarily focuses on the colorful and vibrant city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

SPOILER WARNING: Plot and/or ending details follow.

Jewel, Blu and Rafael in "Rio"
Jewel, Blu and Rafael in "Rio"

Blu (Jesse Eisenberg) is a rare blue macaw who was kidnapped by poachers when he was still a chick. When the truck carrying the smuggled birds accidentally drop the crate carrying Blu, a girl named Linda (Leslie Mann) picks him up and look after Blu. They live a quiet life at a bookstore in Moose Lake, Minnesota until a scientist from Rio, Túlio (Rodrigo Santoro) learns about Blu, a male macaw and another female macaw who was spotted in South America. As these two are the last of their species, the only way to save the species is by putting them together, thus, sending Blu to Rio de Janeiro which nonetheless set up an adventure of the lifetime for Blu and his owner, Linda.

As Blu is domestically kept as a pet, he never learns how to fly. In Rio, he needs to learn how to confront his fear of flying while trying to escape from the poachers and their pet cockatoo Nigel (Jemaine Clement) with the help of their new friends Rafael the Toucan (George Lopez), Luiz the bulldog (Tracy Morgan), Pedro the Red-crested Cardinal (will.i.am) and Nico the Yellow Canary (Jamie Foxx).

No doubt, Rio is an entertaining animated film for the young and old alikes with vivid visuals, colorful characters and lively Samba music which along the way introduces us the beautiful city of Rio de Janeiro. Like the city, Rio is like Mardi Gras — flashy, bold and lively. However, with the film using more slapstick humors than anything witty clearly shows it is made for the general audience.

Overall, Rio isn’t exactly a masterpiece like animated films from DreamWorks or Disney-Pixar as it tried too hard to emulate them. It wasn’t even anywhere near "Ice Age" but it will surely bring a smile to your (or your kids) face and perhaps your whole family.

My ratings: 7 out of 10.