June 29, 2013, - 10:11 pm
The new movie I liked best this week isn’t the one with a lot of hype. It’s a small Jason Statham film with release in fewer theaters. But all things are relative. Here’s what I thought of all the new releases, debuting in theaters this weekend:
* “White House Down“: I already saw this same movie in March. Then, it was called, “Olympus Has Fallen” (read my review). And although this retread of that plot is a little more fun, it’s also a lot more politically correct . . . annoyingly so.
In Olympus, there was a White, ideologically nondescript President. In this one, there is Barack Obama parading as Jamie Foxx parading as “President Sawyer.” But it’s definitely Obama. He’s pretentious, brings the troops home from Afghanistan, idiotically makes a deal to withdraw all U.S. troops from the entire Middle East, has a partially-read Nelson Mandela book sitting on his mantel in the White House residence, negotiates with Iran, and makes a peace treaty between Israel, France, Russia, the United States, and all Muslim nations, including Iran. Yup, we’re supposed to believe peace with Iran is possible if we only negotiate with them and pull all troops from the entire Middle East. Dumb. Oh, and we’re supposed to believe that the President sent investigators to Iran, and found “no nuclear weapons there,” as the movie tells us. Yeah, that’s the ticket. No Iranian nukes, no such aspirations. And if you believe that, I have some land in Tehran (or Hollywood) to sell ya.
Absolutely ridiculous is the plot point that the defense industry and “military-industrial complex” are behind the plot to take over the White House and kill the President because they don’t want the peace treaty to happen, as it will kill business for them. Riiiight. ‘Cuz that’s waaaaay more believable than terrorists being Muslims . . . which has never ever happened. The movie makes a point to tell you that the world and the media mistakenly believe it’s Arabs and Muslims, when it isn’t. ‘Cuz again, they would never ever be involved in terrorism. Never. Also, did I mention that the terrorists in the plot in this movie are “right-wing” domestic terrorists? They include a “right-wing sociopath,” a “Special Forces veteran of black ops,” and a man who shot up the Post Office because there are too many Blacks working there. The Speaker of the House, who is also in on it–and ends up being a major bad guy. He justifies his involvement in trying to kill the President by telling the President, “You’re selling this country out to the Arabs.” Yup, as if those of us who know that this current President (as did the one before him) is, in fact, doing that, would plot to bomb the White House and kill the Prez. Did Janet Napolitano (who went to the Washington screening of this movie) write this crap?
Among the plot similarities between “Olympus” and “Down”: both movies have a member of the President’s Secret Service personal protection detail who is in on the plot to bring the President down, kill him, blow up the White House, and get the President’s secret codes to launch nuclear weapons. Both movies have the White House getting horribly damaged through explosives and shootings and the President nearly dying when the Joint Chiefs are gonna blow up the White House, but the President avoids this at the last minute. Both movies have idiots at the Joint Chiefs of Staff war room doing the wrong thing. Both also have the preposterous plot holes of the bad guys getting to bring guns into the White House and virtually every single member of the Secret Service detail and uniformed Secret Service at the White House killed or otherwise incapacitated at the hands of only a few guys. Just not believable. Oh, and one surviving Secret Service agent–in this movie, a Secret Service agent wannabe–saves the day in Rambo/Die Hard-like fashion. In Olympus, it was Gerard Butler. In this, it’s Channing Tatum.
Please, Hollywood, come up with something new.
The plot: Channing Tatum is a ne’er-do-well who saved the nephew of the Speaker of the House when they were serving in Afghanistan. As a reward, he’s given a job guarding and protecting the Speaker. But he wants to become a Secret Service agent protecting the President, so he goes to the White House for an interview with the world’s ugliest and most annoying female Secret Service agent–America-hater Maggie Gyllenhaal (who said America deserved 9/11). Here’s a tip: when applying for the Secret Service, if accepted, your first stop is the Secret Service Academy for several months of training. After that, agents spend years in the field as Secret Service agents before they are considered for the President’s personal protection detail. It’s not a job you can interview for from outside the agency because you know someone. Just doesn’t happen.
Anyway, Tatum doesn’t get the Secret Service job, but he’s brought along his estranged young daughter in an effort to impress her because she’s into politics, the White House, and President Jamie Foxx Obama. While they are still at the White House, technicians working on the President’s personal movie theater are really terrorists with guns they unbelievably got into the White House. First, a janitor, who unbelievably got a gun and explosives into the U.S. Capitol building blows up the Rotunda. Then, the terrorists at the White House take over. Surprisingly, there are only about 30 people, including tourists, in the entire White House (in this absurd movie), and they are all herded into a single room, including an anti-President Foxx TV talk show host, who is conservative and obnoxious/annoying. He gets killed, and everyone laughs.
Meanwhile, Channing Tatum is separated from his daughter (she went to the bathroom) when the terrorists strike, and he spends the whole rest of the movie trying to find and save her and save the President.
Yes, there are funny lines (and scenes, including one with the Presidential limo) in this movie and it’s entertaining–much more so than “Olympus Has Fallen”–but mostly it’s just a giant absurdity and rehash of a movie I saw just months ago. And, above all, it’s a Tatum-produced effort to make himself into an action hero a la the 1980’s movies. But it’s a hard buy despite the hard sell. Tatum’s no Jason Statham. Not even close.
The one thing I did find believable: when President Jamie Foxx is on the run for his life and every second counts, he stops to change his shoes to his precious, prized Air Jordans, which he wants to save. Priorities. You can bet the Obamas have a lot of the same kind of priorities, which is why people like Jay-Z infect the White House and the Presidency.
Watch the trailer . . .
* “The Heat“: Sandra Bullock plays an uptight, perfectionist, but highly achieving and ambitious, FBI agent. Melissa McCarthy is a let-it-all-hang-out, sloppy Boston cop. They initially hate each other, but are forced to work together to catch a drug lord. And after a long set of arguments and hijinks against each other, they become buddies as in a raunchy male cop buddy movie. Yay, feminism!
Yes, there are funny lines, and I laughed. But not as much as I expected to. The movie is mostly boring, stupid, and predictable. It’s not a good cop buddy movie, regardless of the gender of the lead roles. And Melissa McCarthy’s “Laugh at me ‘cuz I’m a fat slob, and therefore funny” act gets tired. And beyond five minutes, it isn’t funny. Just grotesque and slovenly.
Mostly, this movie was lame. But, hey, they got a big paycheck. Cha-ching. It may be called, “The Heat.” But there’s no truth in advertising here. There’s nothing hot about this predictable time-waster. In fact, it left me cold.
Watch the trailer . . .
* “Redemption” (Hummingbird): I liked this Jason Statham movie the best out of all the new releases, this weekend. But all things are relative. Originally called Hummingbird, it’s about Joey Jones (Statham) a veteran of some Middle East war (either Iraq or Afghanistan, apparently), who went nuts, fled from a court-martial, and is now just a homeless drunk on the streets of London.
Thugs beat him and a homeless girl he watches over and loves. When the thugs chase him, he escapes through the roof of a building into a penthouse apartment, which just happens to be unoccupied for the summer, as its occupant, Damon (apparently a gay, big name photographer), is spending the summer in New York. So Statham stays there and brings himself “back to life,” cleaning himself up, getting a job as an enforcer for a Chinese mob, and ultimately seeking revenge for the killing of the young homeless girl, who has been murdered by a john when she was forced to work as a prostitute. He is an “avenging” angel.
During all this time, Statham amasses money and gives a lot of it to the attractive Polish nun, who mans the soup kitchen where he ate when he was homeless. And he and the nun have a brief romantic flirtation in which they learn they have very similar mysterious pasts.
I found this movie very entertaining, but it’s extremely violent and its message–if there is one–is quite muddled. While Statham tries to avenge the young girl, he’s just as violent and mean to others as a Chinese Mob enforcer, a point the nun makes to him. And while the movie is built on an interesting idea–a homeless man who finds himself in a luxury apartment for a few months, with access to funds and the good life–some of it was a little too coincidental, such as the fact that the man whose apartment it is just happens to wear the same size clothing as Jason Statham, in addition to happening to be out of the country when Statham lands there.
Still, if you like Jason Statham (I’m a fan), you’ll probably like this movie. It’s full of action, and has an interesting story line.
Watch the trailer . . .
* “Dirty Wars“: This anti-American, apologist “documentary” by the far-left “journalist” Jeremy Scahill (of “The Nation”) was boring and absurd, but, hey, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Rand Paul, and other flip-flopping partisans who’ve attacked Obama for killing “U.S. citizen” Anwar Al-Awlaki, will love it.
Scahill acts as if this movie is uncovering some sort of mystery or new information. Nope. It’s simply a love letter to Islamic terrorists and a polemic against America’s Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) for combating Islamic terrorists in Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, and so on. Scahill is upset that we are actually combating this problem, that we used drones to kill Awlaki and his son, and that some other “innocents” (whose side he automatically believes because it’s against America) were killed. Um, that’s what happens in war. What about the innocent Americans Muslims killed? Scahill can’t be bothered with that.
In fact, he actually says that he’s upset that JSOC killed Osama Bin Laden. Go to hell with him, Jeremy Scahill. Oh, and did I mention that Michael Moore helped make this film possible and is thanked at the end? But, hey, it takes the same view on Awlaki and others as Limbaugh, Hannity, and Paul, so it must be great, right?
FOUR MARXES PLUS FOUR BIN LADENS
Watch the trailer . . .
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