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'300,' '10 MPH' out on DVD

Category: 300 Reviews
Article Date: July 27, 2007 | Publication: Scripps Howard News Service | Author: BETSY PICKLE
Source: Scripps Howard News Service

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"300"

When you've seen visual spectacles like "300" at a theater, you always worry about how they'll play in the smaller confines of your den. At least in this case, there's no letdown.

This adaptation of Frank Miller's graphic novel about Sparta's King Leonidas (Gerard Butler) and his 300 warriors' valiant stand against the thousands sent against them by Persia's self-proclaimed god Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) at the ancient Battle of Thermopylae holds up no matter what size the screen.

That's because, for all the cutting-edge technology in which actors were filmed against a green screen, with backdrops and effects filled in later, "300" is also an intimate story about independence, integrity and the aesthetic power of a love scene with only 2 percent body fat per participant.

The taut script moves briskly from Leonidas' warrior upbringing to his current reign and its attendant frustrations with politicians such as Theron (Dominic West) to his passionate marriage to Gorgo (Lena Headey) to his strategizing at the Hot Gates. Historians may groan, but the free-flowing blood and boasting are involving.

"300" combines humor, heroism and heartbreak in a gorgeous package. Prepare to be entertained.

Rated: R.

Running time: 117 minutes

"10 MPH"

History tells us of countless adventurers who have scaled ever-higher peaks, attempted to circle the globe in sailboats and hot-air balloons or generally set out to push themselves in a way no one else has tried before. "10 MPH" is about a couple of guys who decided to cross the country on a Segway scooter.

What was important for Josh Caldwell and Hunter Weeks wasn't proving the efficacy of the Segway or setting a record by riding one 4,000 miles. It was showing that a couple of guys in their 20s numbly ensconced in a corporate lifestyle could break free of their comfort zone and take the risk of following their true passion: filmmaking.

The scooter trip was merely an excuse for hitting the road with cameras and diving into the world of independent filmmaking, complete with financial disasters and technical prowess that was more eager than accomplished. Yet their snail-paced journey gave them the opportunity to find others who have rejected the rat-race lifestyle and chosen to live and work in a way that feeds their souls, not just their stomachs.

Caldwell did the riding while Weeks followed with a crew of two (!), and they acknowledge their debts to Morgan Spurlock and Michael Moore. The end product is not a film of great drama or stunning insight, but it's an enjoyable tune-up for the psyche.

Released direct to DVD, "10 MPH" has found such a following that it will get a 20-city theatrical tour in August. Screening info may be found at www.10mph.com.

Rated: Not rated.

Running time: 92 minutes.

 


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