Sunday, April 28, 2013

Jeff goes to the movies "Olympus Has Fallen" by Jeffrey J. Thivierge

Sunday afternoon, I took a couple of hours and indulged in this cinematic adventure starring Gerard Butler as Mike Banning, a Secret Service Agent that lost his edge, and the confidence of President Benjamin Asher (Aaron Eckhart) after the First Lady dies in a freak accident under his watch. 

Relegated to a lowly position elsewhere in federal bureaucracy of our nation’s capitol, Banning longs for his old position, not for the prestige of guarding the President, but because he liked the President’s son, Connor (Finley Jackson).  Connor’s character was written as child overly interested in the inner workings of the Secret Service, which helped the story along, but was probably a bit overdone.  The character could easily been written as a mischievous preteen boy and the character would have been every bit as believable as the rest of the movie, but I digress.

The movie quickly moves into overdrive of almost true to life news story, as North Korea beefs up their rhetoric of threatening South Korea.  The South Korean Prime Minister arrives in Washington, D.C. and, within minutes, a series of attacks begin on the city.

Enter McClane.  Er… Banning.

Banning quickly realizes that something is amiss and rushes to the White House, which was under a massive attack.  He shoots his way up to the entrance to the White House, where he witnesses the demise of the majority of the White House security detail.

Meanwhile, President Asher and the South Korean Prime Minister are zipped to an underground bunker by the new lead Secret Service agent, Forbes (Dylan McDermott) and his South Korean counterpart, Kang (Rick Yune).

Banning continues making contact with the Secret Service Director Lynn Jacobs (Angela Bassett) who is working with the Speaker of the House of Representatives (Morgan Freeman) and the military to formulate a plan to save the President. 

Banning has another mission…. Find Connor. 

This movie is about 90 percent “Die Hard” and about 10% “Lethal Weapon 4”. 

Gerard Butler plays a pretty convincing Secret Service Agent.  He’s got the “human” component going for him, which helps to develop his characters depth following the incident with the President’s wife.  They also talk about his past military experience with the Special Forces and Rangers, which would gives a different angle on his character’s view of the world and the evil that is out there. 

Regardless of what you think your kids can handle, no child under 17 should watch this movie.  It is one of the most violent movies you will watch this year.  With that said, it was entertaining.  If you enjoy watching things blow up and just want to escape into 120 minutes of a shoot ‘em up, kicking, punching, Gerard Butler filled movie…. then this is your movie.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

OZ the Great and Powerful by Heath Chase

Heath Goes To The Movies

Before Dorothy landed her house on a wicked witch there was the story of a wizard—or perhaps, a pretender. In the new film “Oz the Great and Powerful” we dive into the background of the “man behind the curtain” and see how the magical world of Oz came to be. This was a film that had me worried ever since seeing the trailer months prior, simply because this would be the first “big” theatrical release of an Oz film since its highly acclaimed predecessor nearly 75 years ago. To put it frank, this film could have gone either way. After watching the film through its lengthy two hours, I can genuinely say it was a great experience overall.

We follow Oscar “Oz” Diggs, a greedy (but clever) magician in a traveling circus. After a quite hilarious incident, Oz finds himself fleeing the scene by climbing into his hot-air balloon and floating off from the troubles below and into a winding tornado. Much like Dorothy, Oz awakes to a magical new world and discovers that things aren’t what they appear to be. The film is jam-packed with cameos regarding the 1939 film “The Wizard of Oz,” and is a blast to watch for that factor alone. I won’t give much away, but the beginning itself is a huge throwback to the original, using black and white and switching to color once the world of Oz is found. The Land of Oz itself is a treasure to behold. It pops off the screen with its stunning color pallet and twisty land forms and its inhabitants are just as brilliant. In this world china dolls speak, witches command, and baboons fly. Out of everyone my personal stand out was the adorable and innocent Finely, the flying servant monkey who accompanies Oz on his quest.

The film spoke nostalgia in incredulous volumes for me and was such a joy to watch. It is a classic fairy tale and is good for all ages. So saddle up, find a tornado, and crash into Oz.