When a group of terrorists launch a daring ambush on the White House, the President (Aaron Eckhart, “The Dark Knight”) is taken hostage inside an impenetrable underground bunker. Only former U.S. Secret Service agent, Mike Banning (Gerard Butler, “300”), is left in the besieged building to protect the President, at all costs. Acting President Speaker Trumbull (Morgan Freeman, “The Dark Knight Rises”) must rely on Banning to rescue the President before the extremists can unleash their ultimate terrifying plan.
2013 – Certificate: 15 – American Film
Rating Details: Strong bloody violence and strong language
8.0 out of 10
I don’t know about anyone else, but I often sit and wonder how much effort my employer would make to rescue me if I was kidnapped by international terrorists. It probably wouldn’t pay a ransom, (it can’t afford it and I’m not worth anything anyway), but a rescue? I don’t have a secret, underground bunker to run off to at the first sign of trouble either, although due to the building where I’m based being constructed on a bit of a slope, you do have to go ‘below’ street level to reach my office. I also haven’t a large number of personal, highly-trained, armed bodyguards, (or even one actually), but the lock on the door frequently bamboozles me, even if I manage to pick the correct key for it. And trying to get through it with loads of hand grenades and guns etc would probably be a bit awkward; it’s certainly a challenge if you’ve got mugs of hot tea or coffee in each hand, as it has one of those self-closing hinge things on it. It’s true, the terrorists wouldn’t have to blast a hole on the wall to get in the building as its open to the public most of the time, but the signage inside is pretty ropey, so they’d probably struggle to find my office. And that’s important if you’re working against the clock and would only have a few minutes before the inevitable air support arrived to protect me. Those jets are pretty fast nowadays, but I wouldn’t like them to mess up the roof garden with their missiles and stuff, as it’s taken a lot of hard work over many years to get it as nice as it is. I’d be pretty disappointed if I escaped, only to find all the plants and trees in bits, scattered all over the car park outside.
Last weekend I went to the cinema. I don’t go very often as I’ve got no friends to go with and I’m too shy to go on my own. I went to see the Lego Movie; (those Lego women really do something for me, even fully clothed). Unfortunately I only got to see the adverts, although the one for Lego was pretty impressive; it went on for nearly two hours! Morgan Freeman was in it, playing a sort of mystic. But what a difference a week makes. Now I discover he’s become the Acting President of the United States of America. That’s seriously being on the fast track, whatever career path you’ve chosen. (My own organisation has recently introduced a bit of a process for doing a similar sort of thing, although I think I’m still stuck on the platform at one of those little stations that hardly any trains stop at; and when they do it’s always one of the slow, crappy ones with hardly any carriages and rubbish heating, which stop everywhere and take forever to get where they’re going to. But at least you get to enjoy the view out of the window.) In this film, President Asher (along with most of the other people who seem to be important) get kidnapped and his house gets trashed by North Korean terrorists. I’ve watched a lot of films that feature the President of the United States of America and few, if any, have been quite so ineffectual as the version in this film. Seriously, he really doesn’t do anything very heroic. President Whitmore in “Independence Day” nukes part of his own country for goodness sake, that’s how hardcore he was, whereas Asher is more than happy to sacrifice a whole country (South Korea) to save himself and his immediate staff a bit of grief. Worse than that, he actually puts his own country at risk too. And it’s even his fault the terrorists get into his underground bunker in the first place, because he chooses to ignore his own rules. What a moron! If international terrorists burst into my office and took any of my team hostage, I’d expect them to be tortured to death rather than hand over the password to even their e-mail accounts. Doing the latter would clearly be grounds for dismissal for gross misconduct anyway. Despite my disappointment with the “leader of the free world”, I did enjoy this film a lot. It’s total nonsense, but it’s still a really good-looking, tense action thriller that kept me well entertained. It’s not a wimpy PG either, so we get to see some blood and stuff as well. The first part of the film, up until the plane crashes, is especially good.
I have to admit to a certain liking of the film’s soundtrack. It does the job.
A trailer that nearly as bombastic as the movie itself. Not bad.
Recommended for terrorists, presidents, disgraced heroes and North Koreans, whatever hairstyle the latter have; (as long as it’s one of the approved ones).
No cats, chainsaws or decapitation.
Top badass moment? Any actor that can keep a straight face and with complete sincerity say to his shirt cuff, “Mustang this is Top Hat, bring it up to full package”, is badass in my book. Gerard Butler is worthy of an Oscar for that alone; (never mind the fact that he also singlehandedly foils an attempt to destroy America). I must try and sneak that sentence into a meeting at work one day, to see if anyone notices.
At 34, struggling Seattle musician Sam (Mark Duplass, “Humpday”, “The League”) finds himself broke, jobless and losing touch with the person he wants to become. When his girlfriend kicks him out, he’s forced to crash with his Aunt Sharon (Academy Award winner Melissa Leo, “The Fighter”) and is reluctantly enlisted to take her teen son, Oliver, and his friend Jake camping. Edgy, funny and honest, Craig Johnson’s film follows the trio into the rugged Pacific Northwest as unforeseen revelations and transformations force them to face adulthood. Set to a mesmerizing soundtrack featuring both emerging and established artists including Band of Horses, The Black Keys and Devendra Banhart, “True Adolescents” remind us that sometimes people need to get lost to truly find themselves.
2009 – Certificate: Not Rated – American Film
7.0 out of 10
I didn’t want to get up yesterday morning. It was raining outside (again), grey and unpleasant. On my journey to work, I was busy mentally congratulating myself on my meteorological forecasting skills and subsequent ability to make the journey during a break in the rain, just as it started to pour down for the last few minutes. I got soaked. It’s Fair Trade Fortnight and where I work was attempting to serve free tea, coffee and breakfasts to people outside; the rain pouring off the canopy in front of the building and onto the pavement was ‘intense’. Strangely, I left work at about six feeling quite upbeat. On my walk home I was wondering why, after such an unpromising start to the day, it had turned into quite a good one. I didn’t really come up with anything, other than there were a number of nice, small things and a lack of bad things, which probably did the trick. A CD/DVD I’d ordered on Sunday was delivered. This was unexpectedly early. I was due to have to go and do something all day, (basically sit and observe someone delivering a training course), but the date for this has now been changed, so I had an extra day in the office and got a lot of things done that I wasn’t expecting to get done. I had a nice lunch with a colleague in the cafe, something I don’t often do. Someone in the office got a grant of £2,500 to do some work; we were only expecting to get a few hundred, so this was a welcome surprise. For the first time that I can remember, all eight volunteers and staff were in at the same time today; the place felt quite alive and buzzy. Someone bought a big, homemade cake in. I completed a grant claim that’s been hanging about for ages and I’ve had loads of hassle over. I got a few other bits of outstanding work done that had been playing on my thoughts for a while. I didn’t go into Tesco on the way home and buy crap for my dinner; I came home and cooked proper food instead. So there you go, my recipe for an okay day.
A thirty-something guy takes his nephew and his nephew’s friend camping for a weekend. They all grow up a bit. The end. This is a decent enough film that’s worth watching mainly for Mark Duplass’ man-boy character, who’s funny but in a believable way. The main thing that bugged me was the fact that many of the various things that happen to them, especially the two most significant ones, don’t seem to get dealt will in any depth; they felt more like plot contrivances to take us towards the end, rather than big events that ought to have been considered in more detail. Shame that. It’s a decent enough watch though.
This film makes much of its musical content and the main character is also a guitarist/singer in a not very good indie rock band. Unfortunately most of the music is pretty mundane. That’s a shame too.
Like a lot of things, the trailer is there or thereabouts. It does a good job of not spoiling the film, but at the same time doesn’t tell you a great deal about it either.
Recommended for not-famous guitarists, rubbish indie rock bands, teenage boys and kindly aunts.
No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.
Top badass moment? The two lads ask Sam if he’s going to wear his hiking boots. Sam glances down at what looks like a rather battered pair of Converse baseball shoes on his feet and says, “These are my hiking boots”, (with the emphasis on “are”). Yeh, that’s rock ‘n’ roll for you! I then spent the rest of the film all tensed up, waiting for him to turn his ankle over. Weirdly, this fate befalls one of the other characters. As someone who sprained his ankle hiking a couple of years ago, I could relate to this, which makes it badass. Converse boots really aren’t good for hiking.
Special agent Jeremy Reins (Stephen Dorff) is about to have a very bad day. He wakes up in total darkness, confused and disorientated. The only light comes from the blood-red digital numbers ticking away above his head. Jeremy quickly realizes he’s in trouble. It’s hard to breathe. He can barely move. And no one will answer his cries for help. Then, he hears the sound of an engine and it all becomes clear…he’s trapped in the trunk of a moving car. As his captors reveal their motives, Jeremy realizes he won’t be set free until he discloses classified Government information he has sworn to protect.
2012 – Certificate 15 – American Film Rating Details: Strong violence and bloody images 7.0 out of 10
My car’s boot is nearly always full of stuff to recycle. Tins, bottles, bits of metal, broken and discarded electronics, batteries, bulbs, paper and cardboard; they all end up rolling about in the boot along with a first aid kit, a box about a quarter full of bottles of COUNTDown, a sharps kit, a pair of wellington boots and a 12” base speaker. When I’m at my more organised these items are joined by a 4’ crow bar, a 21” bow saw, a spade and a pair of loppers. A car boot is basically a giant pocket; it’s the male equivalent of a ladies handbag. (I’m not sure what women drivers keep in the boot of their cars; it’s not the sort of question you ask in polite society. Make-up? Lipstick? Soft toys? Shoes? Who knows?) I imagine there’s a whole branch of science that can determine someone’s past, present and future lives, simply by investigating what that person keeps in their boot. The stuff for recycling does get removed from time to time, whenever I drive past the Smallmead Household Waste Recycling Centre; (or “the dump” as it’s know by just about everyone). In a double-whammy of individual person-power, I not only recycle just about everything I can, but don’t make special trips to the dump to get rid of stuff either. The Earth is so lucky to have me as a friend! I suppose all I’m trying to do is point out that I don’t often have a special agent in my boot; or even a common or garden variety one; they don’t take either for recycling at the dump anyway. And even if I did they’d just be able to rip the cover and get out, as I drive an estate with one of those roll back covers for hiding what’s there.
This is a film where 95% of the action takes place in the boot of a car. A lot of the time most of what’s going on is only lit by the eerie glow from a large, red, digital timer. This could have easily resulted in a very boring film and it’s true to say that it’s not the best one to watch if you’re trying to show off your new Blu-ray player and 65” smart TV to your mates. However, on balance it’s a very watchable move that’s only let down by a few ugly plot-holes and a terrible ending that even I managed to predict. Having said that, I liked the ending; it makes a change from the sort of thing we normally get. I’m not sure Stephen Dorff manages to totally convincing 100% of the time, but when all you can do is shuffle about a bit in the dark and look confused, I guess it’s not an easy thing to do when you have to deliver an occasionally dodgy script. All in all it’s enjoyable and a little bit different. It’s just a shame they didn’t manage to keep up the level of some of the more intense parts. It was so set up for a sequel too.
The soundtrack is fine and suitably thriller-like. It comes and goes as it should. The trailer here does a decent job of presenting the film. I’ve no idea what the sleeve is all about though; it looks like that famous poetic licence that all DVD release companies have access to, has been invoked again. I don’t think we see a gun sight, helicopter or the White House in the film at all. I’m not sure about the person in the black gear with the gun either.
Recommended for special agents, terrorists and anyone who’s thinking of marrying a special agent.
No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.
Top badass moment? Jeremy knows the location of the president and vice president. Some terrorists want to know where they are. They do various ‘not nice’ things to Jeremy and kidnap and threaten to kill his wife too, along with some other people. But does Jeremy blab? “This guy’s fucking hardcore!” That’s badass. I couldn’t help feeling sorry for him though. A very bad day indeed.
Buying underwear is generally quite a boring task. Maybe I just don’t have much of an imagination, but it is. I begrudgingly buy it because I have to, not because I want to. (I guess I should add some sort of “I need it because I’m such a big guy” kind of comment here, but I can’t be arsed to right now; I’m just not in the mood). It always seems highly overpriced for what you get, which for men is basically a crappy pair of shorts and for woman a smaller version that’s more stretchy. (I did warn you I don’t have any imagination.). Yet the price per square metre of underwear ‘real estate’ is way beyond that for most clothes. If trousers were priced in the same way, you’d easily end up paying £150 a pair, minimum. All this for something that hardly anyone will ever see or is that interested in; (and if someone does then he/she is probably more interested in what’s inside them, so getting into a discussion about underwear at that point is unlikely to be very high on his/her agenda.) In fact, underwear is the bottled water of fashion; an item that has little intrinsic value but is overpriced and somehow seen as desirable. And forget all that stuff about letting people see a glimpse of it; this is at best advertising (isn’t it weird how the waistbands always seems to have some sort of brand-name embellished all over them) and at worst a leading reason for the so called distortion of family values, and part of the over-sexualisation of children and the consequentially high rate of teenage pregnancies in the UK, (presently 35.5 per 1000 in the under 18 age group); I expect it’s probably responsible for Global Warming too and the rubbish weather we’ve been having recently. It’s nearly all made by children in Bangladesh anyway, for 1p a day, just so some fat bloke in a massive office somewhere can earn more money that he could ever possible hope to spend, in an effort to impress his equally greedy and selfish friends, who all, somewhat ironically, would not look at all good in the skimpy undies they force young kids to produce, because a huge role of fat hanging out over the waistband probably wouldn’t go with the ‘cool image’ they’re trying to peddle for their overpriced underwear in the first place. Or maybe I’m just missing the romance of it all? This movie features very little underwear, at least in the traditional sense.
2008 – Certificate: R – USA
Rating Details: Some sexuality and language
This is a fascinating film. I can’t really say that much about the story it as it would spoil it for you (should you have the good sense to go and watch it), but both the overview and the trailer don’t really do it any sort of justice. Vera Farmiga is scarily, scarily convincing as the mad-as-a-hatter Fiona, the main female character. (I’ve met women like this for real and they’re both strangely attractive and bad news at the same time; in fact I’m probably a bit of an expect and if there’s a word for them I’m a whatever the word it ologist.) A film that’s ostensibly about people who want to be given a disability for no other reason than they want one, it’s really quite a different sort of thing entirely. Look, it’s got a pair of ‘magic shoes’ in it and the main male character uses a wheelchair and spends a great deal of time not being picked up by taxis. I’d like to write more about it here, but really it’s too good to spoil so just go and watch it. It’s a cool film. Lots of things to think about once it’s over too. I’m not even sure if it had a happy or sad ending either.
Recommended for anyone who’s not going to be put off by the subject matter and who likes good quality drama with a healthy mind-fuck quota. It’s also good if you like tulips.
No cats and no decapitations.
Top badass moment? It has to be Isaac’s ‘magic shoes’. Everyone needs a pair of those sometimes. I hope they do a vegan version.