Based on a Frank Miller (Sin City, The Dark Knight) graphic novel, Zack Snyder (Dawn of the Dead) fleshes out 300, the stylized and kinetic telling of the battle of Thermopylae, where three hundred Spartans faced off against over 100,000 Persians; Gerard Butler (Beowulf & Grendel, Phantom of the Opera) stars as Leonidas, clashing violently against wave after wave of Xerxes' men, monsters, and giants. On DVD and Blu Ray. Now with Rifftrax!
Based on the Dark Horse comic of the same name, Pathfinder is another screen adaptation, about the titular Viking boy raised by Native Americans, who has to fight with his adopted tribe to repel the invaders from his native country.
The writers (Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright), director (Edgar Wright), and stars (Simon Pegg and Nick Frost) of Shaun of the Dead do for action movies what they did for zombie films with Hot Fuzz, which offers the same quality of character comedy and culminates as a raucous action picture that would do any Hollywood action director proud (and puts quite a few of them to shame). Based on the popular award for inventive, self-inflicted death, The Darwin Awards stars Joseph Finnes (Shakespeare in Love) as a man obsessed with the Darwin Awards and Winona Ryder (A Scanner Darkly as the claims investigator who helps him find potential Darwin Award winners before they expire. The independent Everything's Gone Green is a slacker comedy about a guy who gets fired and dumped and finds a very green way to get ahead, Whole New Thing is a quirky film about a formerly home schooled thirteen year old and his relationship with the forty-two year old teacher at his new school, and James McAvoy (Last King of Scotland) plays a college freshman who wants to compete on a quiz show to win the girl of his dreams in Starter for 10.
James Gandolfini (The Sopranos' Tony Soprano) and John Travolta (Battlefield Earth, Be Cool) are detectives hunting the Honeymoon Killers, played by Jared Leto and Salma Hayek, in Lonely Hearts. Gabriel Byrne (The Usual Suspects, Miller's Crossing) stars in Played with Vinnie Jones (Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels), a story of gangster revenge. Pariah is another revenge story, about a couple attacked by Neo-Nazis who need to settle the score in order to feel at peace. A ballerina strives to leave her impoverished station in Puerto Rico, but only finds work in a strip club in New York in Yellow.
Firehouse Dog is about the only family friendly film this week, the story of a rundown firehouse that adopts a new mascot... though Roving Mars, the documentary of the Mars landing, will please anyone with an interest in space.