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Posts Tagged ‘White House Down’

Before I post my top ten movies of the year later in the week here are ten surprisingly good movies:

White House Down: The best Whitehouse home invasion movie of the year and much better than this years entry into the Die Hard franchise.White House Down

Mama: Effective and surprisingly good horror movie with a great performance form Jessica Chastain.Mama

Flight: Denzel Washington is immense and the plane crash scene is stunning.flight

Spring Breakers: A mess of a movie but an interesting an good looking mess.Spring Breakers

Oblivion: Despite the flimsy plot this is still a very watchable sci-fi movie largely thanks to the cast: Tom Cruise, Olga Kurylenko & Andrea Riseborough.OblivionThe Conjuring: James Wan’s horror is reminiscent of 70’s & 80’s horror and is all the better for it.The Conjuring

About Time: Richard Curtis’ time-travel rom-com is both funnier and less sentimental than I expected it to be.About Time

You’re Next: Another surprisingly good horror. It’s a little cheep and some of the acting is a little wooden but it gets away with it.You’re Next

The Counsellor: Don’t believe the reviews this is a great film that will people will come to like over time.The Counselor

Ender’s Game: Forget baggage and mixed reviews it is an entertaining and interesting movie.ENDER'S GAME

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This months movies are made up of sports biography, B movie horror, dumb action and gritty thrillers. I enjoyed them all, even the ones I didn’t expect to.

Rush: The true story of the rivalry between F1 drivers James Hunt and Niki Lauda during the 1976 season. Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Brühl are excellent as Hunt and Lauda. Ultimately it is a story about people not about racing making it suitable for audiences who are not F1 fans, the story is close enough to the real story to keep race fans happy.Rush

You’re Next: Having debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival’s Midnight Madness program two years ago the low budget home invasion slasher movie finally makes it to UK and American cinemas. The direction isn’t great, a lot of the acting is poor and the dialogue is often terrible. Despite this, I really enjoyed it largely for a likeable performance from Sharni Vinson and a plot that has just enough twists and turns.You’re Next

Riddick: A series of plot contrivances put Vin Diesel’s Richard B. Riddick back in a situation reminiscent of his first outing in 2000’s Pitch Black. Not as good as Pitch Black but a vast improvement on The Chronicles of Riddick.Riddick 2013

White House Down: Die Hard in the West Wing part two. Fun and funny, very knowing and self aware it is considerably better than Olympus Has Fallen and A Good Day to Die Hard. Channing Tatum, Jamie Foxx and James Woods are all on greet form and clearly having fun, Maggie Gyllenhaal is grossly underused.White House Down

Ain’t Them Bodies Saints: 1970’s Texas, an escaped convict heads home to see his wife and the daughter her has never met. The dreamlike narrative, long lingering visuals and muted tones have been compared to Terrance Malick, while less interesting than Badlands it is worth seeing for great performances from Rooney Mara, Casey Affleck and Ben Foster.Ain't Them Bodies Saints

The Call: Halle Berry plays a 911 operator and Abigail Breslin the kidnap victim she takes a call from. Silly, predictable and derivative thriller that is surprisingly enjoyable.The Call

Prisoners: Often stark and grim thriller about two abducted children from French-Canadian director Denis Villeneuve making his English-language debut. The story cleverly manipulates the viewers and has an interesting and timely subtext. The all star cast (Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis, Maria Bello, Maria Bello, Terrence Howard, Melissa Leo, Paul Dano) are all on great form. Too grey and grim to be completely enjoyable but certainly a compelling watch.Prisoners

Blue Jasmine: When her banker husband is revealed to be a crook, New York socialite Jasmine moves to San Francisco to live with her working class sister. Described by many as Woody Allen’s best movie in years, I’m not sure its better than Midnight in Paris, but its certainly good. Cate Blanchett and Sally Hawkins are both sensational. Anything less than a best actress and best supporting actress Oscar nomination would be a travesty.

Blue Jasmine

Runner Runner:Slick but lightweight crime thriller set against the backdrop of online gambling.  Justin Timberlake and Ben Affleck are both good but Gemma Arterton isn’t given much to do.  Its predictable and cliched but worse than that, it is unoriginal (its basically a pale imitation of Gilda)  and has nothing of interest to say on the subject.Runner Runner

The Movie of the month is:Rush movie poster

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Do you remember Deep Impact and Armageddon in 1998, Dante’s Peak and Volcano in 1997 or Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and Robin Hood in 1991? There are countless other examples, last year we had two takes on the Snow White fairytale with Mirror Mirror and Snow White and the Huntsman. Later in the year we will get to see how White House Down compares to Die Hard in the West Wing Olympus Has Fallen. Before that we have the recently released After Earth to pair up with Oblivion from earlier in the year:

The concept

Oblivion: In the future, one man (Tom Cruise) and his wife (Andrea Riseborough) remain on an abandoned earth to maintain the machines set to mine the planets natural resources.

After Earth: In the future, a man and his teenage son (Will Smith and Jaden Smith) crash land on an abandoned and inhospitable earth.

Oblivion and After Earth posters

The Talent

Oblivion: Despite a few missteps in recent years, Tom Cruise is still one of the biggest stars in the world as he has been since the late 80’s. the supporting cast includes Morgan Freeman, Olga Kurylenko and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister in Game of Thrones) , but the standout performance comes from Andrea Riseborough who is nothing short of amazing in a limited role.

After Earth: The film is book-ended and contains flashbacks with other characters the film is largely a two character movie. The two are played by superstar Will Smith and his son Jaden who you may remember from The Karate Kid. The girl in the flashbacks is played by Zoë (daughter of Lenny) Kravitz last seen in X-Men: First Class.Oblivion & After Earth The Talent

Whose behind the camera?

Oblivion: With just his second feature Joseph Kosinski again shows the visual flare he showed with TRON: Legacy, but again shows a lack of depth in his character development.

After Earth: Newsflash, the Emperor is but fucking naked. M.

Night Shyamalan is not a good director. The Sixth Sense (1999) is just about the most overrated movie of the last twenty years. The Village (2004) is okay and Unbreakable (2000) is a decent film. The rest of his output is forgettable at best.Joseph Kosinski and M Night Shyamalan

The Good

Oblivion: The movie is set within a believable Sci-Fi world. The film is shot largely on location this is enhanced by visual effects rather than dominated by them, this helps it look amazing. The acting is generally good and as mentioned above sometimes amazing.

After Earth: The film looks good and the action scenes are practically well handled.

The bad

Oblivion: The plot and the characters all feel a little thin and the twists and turns in the plot are telegraphed to the audience.

After Earth: The dialogue is terrible at best. The plot is thin and full of holes.

The Similarities

The two movies are both set on a largely abandoned earth and feature megastar actors with something to prove.

The differences

Oblivion is largely plot driven and plays out with a combination action adventure and mystery thriller. After Earth is more like a computer game where one character has to achieve a task within a timescale.Oblivion & After Earth

The Verdict

After Earth isn’t a terrible film and doesn’t deserve the critical pounding it has received. That isn’t to say it is a great film, it is deeply flawed and gets away with a lot thanks to its short running time and well choreographed action. Oblivion is surprisingly good, the end is either perfectly executed or a contrived cop-out depending on your point of view.

The best abandoned Earth movie from 2103 is:oblivion-movie-poster

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