What This Not That

Gerard Butler~Now

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London Has Fallen

London_Has_Fallen-600x321London Has Fallen is the sequel to 2013’s Olympus has Fallen, a witty action flick. Butler is a pretty awesome action star and has found a niche in being a bad ass. Movies like the Fallen series are perfect for his rugged charm and handsomeness. London has Fallen is a fun trill ride that allows you to escape from reality.

In this sequel, Banning is preparing for the birth of his baby, but his time off is interrupted by the death of the British Prime Minister. The president (Aaron Eckhart) is obliged to attend the funeral as well as some of the biggest political rulers of the modern world. Sounds too good for a terrorist to pass up doesn’t it? In fact, this has been staged and planned to a “T”. But there is one ripple in their plan: Banning.

Fallen is good because of several things, the first being that the movies take the characters on emotional roller coasters and leave them no time to be stale and static. Those are also two words that cannot be used for the movie. The movie continues to pack thrilling punch after punch with little time to rebound. Sprinkled humor and a great relationship between the main characters inject moments of respite from the onslaught of violence (they seem to be channeling Taken at this point). Do I care if it’s realistic? No, because action movies are meant as an escape.

There is a huge fault in the movie that does have to do with bad character development. Angel Basset continues her role as the head of the Secret Service but she shrinks from her former bad ass role. When the attacks on London starts, the writers turns her into a sniveling woman who has apparently forgotten how to shoot a gun. This is disgraceful to the character and to Basset.

London Has Fallen is thrilling fun like it’s predecessor. So grab some pop corn and get your ass in the theater.

…Not That

Gods of Egypt

Gods-of-egypt-summitIn the trailers, Gods of Egypt looks gods awful. It’s that kind of awful you can’t look away from. But the movie is surprising better than I thought. That is not to say it was good. It wasn’t good and it wasn’t bad. In fact, it reminded me of all the B movies of old that used stop motion. The movie looks good but has no substance.

The story follows Horus’s rise to power and destruction after his father passes Horus the throne. But uncle Set is angry at being passed over for the crown. In a coupe, he dis-eyes Horus and rules all Egypt This would be the end of the story except some young and stupid kid steals one of Horus’s eyes and in the process gets his girlfriend killed. He makes a deal with Horus: he gets the god the other eye and his girl friend will be brought back from the dead.

Gods of Egypt doesn’t take itself too seriously. That is why I think it attracted actors like Butler and Geoffrey Rush; it was fun to do. And you can tell Butler is living it up. Yelling in his bough as Caucasian as you please. And it seems like Nikolaj Coster-Waldau can never keep all his body parts in tact. The humor helps cover some of the less cohesive parts of the movie (quite a lot of it) leading to a few good laughs.

Over all, this is a rental to pass a stormy evening. Save the money for a ticket for London has Fallen.

Watch This Not That

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Olympus Has Fallen

olympus-has-fallen-gerard-butler-aaron-eckhartLast year two White House terrorist movies were released.  As far as quality movies go, Olympus Has Fallen was able to combine humor, action and familial love effortlessly. Brining in a high profile cast, the movie had stronger characters brought to life by a talented cast. Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Ashley Judd, Angela Basset, and to round things out Morgan Freeman gave life to the terrorist crisis. Director Antoine Fugua was able to focus on the action while mixing in emotions and humor without losing sight of the film’s plot.  Exciting, engaging, and entertaining Olympus Has Fallen has gotten a sequel to take place in London. Here’s hoping the team can recreate that same style.

 

…Not That

White House Down

816rBuBLsjL._SL1500_While it had a bigger gross at the box office (and a way bigger budget), White House Down falls short at fulfilling its scope in an emotional and exciting way. One of the biggest problems is that Channing Tatum is not a good actor. He’s good looking (I’d watch him in Magic Mike all day long) but he is not a quality actor. The movie also meanders along and it’s quite sure where it is going and when to end.  It’s heavy on the FX and that is what really steals the show. Like so many Roland Emmerich movies, this one looks good but fails at being a quality film.

 

 

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300

300-Rise-of-an-Empire_zpsf2428956_1398972388300 took a graphic novel and made an inspiring underdog story and entertaining film. It didn’t focuses on gore, and Zack Snyder gave it a distinctive color palate to help mimic the look of a graphic novel. Mostly unknown Gerard Butler showed us he could be an action hero and Olympus Has Fallen continues to show that. Rounded out with Lena Headey and Dominic West, the movie’s cast captures the emotion of the characters without being sappy.  Well thought out and smart, the film stands on its own merits—even if it isn’t very factual.

 

…Not That

300: Rise of an Empire

300-rise-of-an-empire-movie-poster-3The problem with this sequel is that it is a spectacle movie. Rise of an Empire is not about the story, it’s not about the character; it’s about getting your attention with blood, gore and nudity.  Director Noam Murro tries to outdo himself adding in special filtering techniques and using slow motion way too often. Unlike the first film, it’s not a story of an underdog to inspire the ages. It just wants to push the envelope. Sorry it takes more than Eva Green’s breasts to entertain me.

Is That the Sound of a Three Year Old?

No, It’s 300: Rise of an Empire

300 was an interesting movie. Zack Snyder did a fun color palate keeping true to the stories comic book origins and told an inspirational story about the Spartan people. Rise of an Empire is completely the opposite of the first movie with negative results. 

The plot to the sequel follows Xerxes’ naval admiral as she tries to conquer Greece. Artemisia attacks at roughly the same time as the Spartans’ 300 stood against Xerxes. The story flashes back to tell the story of how Xerxes become the god king and why conquering Greece is in his blood.  He sends Artemisia against the hero Themistocles who killed his father. Themistocles and Artemisia fight at sea blooding the water of Greece.

The first problem is that, like Avatar, too much time was spent on the cosmetic aspects of the film while negating the quality of the story. This might be acceptable if, in like Avatar, the movie looked was gorgeous but Rise of an Empire is over blown and often times uncomfortable. The movie has a surrealist look which is true of this movie. But Rise of an Empire goes too far. The movie is dark and grey contrasting uncomfortably with the light from the sun.  Instead of being realistic, this glare makes you squint for most of the movie.

300-Rise-of-an-Empire-ArtemisiaThe script relies too much on violence and sex to fuel the film. The nature of the movies is violent but the original was minimal on the gore. This one amps up the gore slowing down every injury and CGing massive amounts of gooey blood. And while there was sex in the first one, it propelled the story, truly making Gorgo fierce.  When the hero and the villain rip off their clothes in the middle of peace negotiations and ram into each other, it’s pointless and disturbing. The producers just wanted a reason to show Eva Green’s breasts.

The script also fails to integrate the three stories it tries to tell. The films features characters from the first movie, including the Queen and the hunchback, but these roles are small and often forced into the plot. Even Xerxes takes a back seat even though the movie spends a good chunk of time on his back story. One of the biggest roads blocks is the fact that they could not convince Gerard Butler to return. When questioned on why he didn’t return, Butler’s responses have been short and vague. I suspect he may have read the script and declined.

300: Rise of an Empire fails to live up to the quality of its predecessor. The plot suffers from lack clarity and energy from the first movie while upping the gore. Ina nut shell, this movie is a three year old screaming “look at me!”