Marketa Lazarová

At its core, Marketa Lazarová is the story of two rival clans in early 13th century Bohemia: the primitive Pagan raiders the Kozlíks, lorded over by a brutal patriarch; and the slightly more civilized Lazars, led by an opportunistic father who, while unwilling to participate in the bloody raids perpetrated by the Kozlíks, is more than happy to swoop in after the fact and scavenge for anything he might think could be of value.

Gangs of Wasseypur

For over half a century, a small city in northern India has been the site of a seemingly endless war between rival crime families. Anurag Kashyap’s exploration of the town’s endless cycle of violence spans generations and wonders if anything can stop the flow of blood. The small town of Wasseypur is located in northeastern…

The Conqueror

Genghis Khan is certainly one of the great figures in the history of the world. When you say “Mongolia,” he’s the first person of whom you’re likely to think. He conquered China, swept westward, and eventually had a chain of shopping mall formal wear rental stores named after him. Were it not for Genghis Khan’s…

Centurion

Neil Marshall has basically been making the same movie his entire career, tweaking the formula here and there, refining the process, but ultimately still turning in survival horror about a group of well-trained individuals who find themselves facing overwhelming odds behind enemy lines. Dog Soldiers saw British special forces troops besieged by werewolves in a…

Aguirre, The Wrath of God

There are a lot of directors who work with that special someone of an actor forging a partnership that becomes legendary within the cinematic world. Martin Scorsese had Robert DeNiro. ohn Ford had John Wayne. And German director Werner Herzog had Klaus Kinski. If you know anything about Klaus Kinski, this may seem a bit…

300 Spartans

The film strives for historical accuracy almost to a fault. If you don’t have a passion for history and for Greek (or Persian) history in general, then this film could seem a little draggy in spots, I suppose. It adheres tot he historic accounts almost tot he point of becoming a docudrama. Boredom never occurred to me, though, and I found the whole thing a thoroughly rousing adventure.

Little Big Soldier

Little Big Soldier returns Jackie to the period setting of his older movies, something he hasn’t done often since the late 1970s. The Myth saw Chan trying his hand at the sort of sweeping period epics that became all the rage in the wake of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Hero, and just not getting it right.

Warlords

Li has often been impressive, but rarely scary. This movie changes that, even as it clads him in a suit of armor I don’t doubt is historically accurate but looks ridiculous never the less.

Asoka

Big battles, small conflicts. Terrifying wars, charming flirtation. It’s all told with a sweeping sense of romance and adventure. And at the center of events that changed the world, there is a simple tale of doomed love. Like all epics, Asoka has it’s flaws, but I would still place it without hesitation among the very best epics ever made, and among the very best Bollywood films I’ve ever seen.

King of Kings

Problems abound, but in the end, I still found this a plenty pleasing epic tale where the best parts are in the least epic moments and within not the story of Jesus, but in the many subplots and supporting schemers.