If you can label up-and-coming director Zack Snyder anything, it would be a visual storyteller. Or, more accurately, a visual story re-teller. He has tackled some of the most impossible re-tellings, from his feature film debut, a remake of the classic zombie flick Dawn of the Dead, to his upcoming film adaptation of Alan Moore's ground-shattering graphic novel Watchmen. But it was another graphic novel adaptation, Frank Miller's 300, that launched Snyder's career and proved that he could maintain the authenticity of a story while innovating the medium used to tell it. Following the novel frame-for-frame, 300 tells a dramatized account of the Battle of Thermopylae and recreates Miller's fantasy Sparta by combining intense live action with the freedom to go to visual-effect extremes. The result is what Richard Roeper called "gorgeous to behold." Perhaps wasted on cinemagoers interested in character development and dialogue, 300 has found its place among readers who appreciate a live-action adaptation that still feels like a comic book, oglers who appreciate Gerard Butler's pecs and anyone desensitized enough to appreciate mindless, gory, over-the-top violence. Awesome. So, while the Blu-ray may be mind-blowing, there's nothing quite like seeing Persians get kicked into a bottomless pit on the big screen, which makes the Inwood's midnight showing of 300 pretty cool. Visit landmarktheatres.com.
Fri., Sept. 19; Sat., Sept. 20, 2008