Director Zack Snyder
's films are always visually arresting and sweetened with CG-eye candy. In Sucker Punch
, which opens in theaters today, Snyder takes us into the fantasy world of a young girl hatching an elaborate escape plan before she is scheduled to be lobotomized in a 1950s-era asylum.
Snyder might put style before substance, but his fantastical films immerse viewers in hyperrealistic worlds that are truly extraordinary. Before you see Baby Doll and her gal pals attempt a prison break from wonderland in Sucker Punch, pick up any of Snyder's previous films and escape the ordinary.
Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole:
Get beyond its tongue-twisting title and experience this underrated dark animated fantasy based on the books by Kathryn Lasky about two bands of battling owls. It's refreshing to see animation that doesn't follow the same Pixar-style template of cartoonish critters with big googly eyes. Instead, the owls are so photorealistic that you sometimes forget for a moment that you are watching something completely computer generated. This avian epic with some unexpected mystical moments is available on DVD, Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D.
This visionary live-action adaptation of what is probably the most popular graphic novel of all time almost never got out of development hell and the lawsuits holding up its release. Snyder somehow pulled off this epic set in an alternate 1985 during the height of the Cold War when a group of mostly retired vigilantes reconvene to investigate a conspiracy against them and uncover a sinister, world-ending plot. Billy Crudup's godlike Dr. Manhattan will make you see blue, and Jackie Earle Haley is creepy good as the man behind Rorschach's mask. Watchmen
is available in several incarnations on both DVD and Blu-ray, with or without the full Tales of the Black Freighter
motion comic woven in.
Adapted from the graphic novel of the same name by Frank Miller, this fictionalized retelling of the Battle of Thermopylae will have you rethinking that gym membership that you let lapse. Gerard Butler
plays growling King Leonidas who leads 300 super-buff, scantily-clad Spartans into battle against the Persian "god-king" Xerxes and his army of a million soldiers. The stylized violence and buckets of gore—as well as lovely Lena Headey as Queen Gorgo—are there to remind heterosexual men that, yes, it's OK to enjoy this beefy man-vs.-man action. 300
is available on both DVD and Blu-ray.
Dawn of the Dead:
Give Synder credit for being one of the few filmmakers to remake a classic horror film that, in some ways, is even superior to the original. This action-packed reimagining of George A. Romero's zombie apocalypse of the same name follows a group of survivors who hole themselves up in a shopping mall and are temporarily pacified by the creature comforts of a society that has gone to hell outside. Snyder's impressive film debut proved that "remake" doesn't have to be a dirty word in the world of cinema. Like all of his films, it is available on both DVD and Blu-ray.