Movies aren’t usually shy to go to the familiar. Familiar has been part of the game since the beginning. The real question is, how do you make what is so familiar something interesting again. I’m not even saying FRESH, just interesting. Being interesting means that, even thought you’ve probably seen a version of this film before, at least they attempted to spin it a bit differently. And if they did, at least they tried to make it interesting.
This weeks films is ALL about the familiar. Do any of them have a shot to be at the very least…interesting?
Director: Steven Knight
What’s it about? Reeling from a traumatic tour of duty in Afghanistan, Joey (Jason Statham), an ex-Special Forces soldier, returns to London to face another kind of war: life on the streets as a damaged, homeless veteran. In an attempt to rehabilitate himself, Joey assumes another man’s identity and seeks the aid of Sister Cristina (Agata Buzek), a young nun who works at an inner-city parish. But Joey’s expert training as a soldier marks him as a valuable asset, and he soon finds himself caught in the dark web of London’s criminal underworld. Struggling to keep hold of his integrity, Joey offers his profits to those who need it most. But when he learns his missing girlfriend was brutally murdered by a ruthless kingpin, he risks everything for bloody revenge, hurtling down a deadly path that promises to destroy him completely…or be his last and only hope at redemption. Originally called HUMMINGBIRD.
My thoughts? Every time I see a new Jason Statham film, I keep thinking of this joke that Agent Patrick and Agent Denise once said. For them, they think every Jason Statham film could easily be re-titled “BUCKLE UP”. Now I can’t stop seeing that title on every movie he’s in. This looks to be the more somber in the BUCKLE UP series of Statham films. The film seems to be going in a path that I’ve seen one too many times, in one too many films, both good and bad. I can’t help but think how much more interested I would have been in this film if Statham kept his long hobo hair that we saw at the beginning of the trailer. I am willing to at least accept that this seems to be an attempt from Statham to be a bit more dramatic in this film, and Steven Knight’s Eastern Promises script was critically acclaimed. I’ll be open minded.
Director: Paul Feig
What’s it about? Uptight and straight-laced, FBI Special Agent Sarah Ashburn (Sandra Bullock) is a methodical investigator with a reputation for excellence–and hyper-arrogance. Shannon Mullins (Melissa McCarthy), one of Boston P.D.’s “finest,” is foul-mouthed and has a very short fuse, and uses her gut instinct and street smarts to catch the most elusive criminals. Neither has ever had a partner, or a friend for that matter. When these two wildly incompatible law officers join forces to bring down a ruthless drug lord, they become the last thing anyone expected: buddies. From Paul Feig, the director of BRIDESMAIDS.
My thoughts? Paul Feig created Freaks and Geeks, which is one of my favorite tv shows of all time. Hence, I will always try to give Paul a shot at whatever he does. Paul also directed Bridesmaids, another film I love, and from that film he unleashed the comedic beast that is Melissa McCarthy, who was fantastic in that film. Since then, Melissa has started showing up in a few more movies : Identity Thief, This is 40, and The Hangover Part III. From those films, one of things I like about her is that she is pretty great at making new characters from the ground up. But, apparently, people are already tired of her. I will blame the quality of the movies more then I blame her (and in the case of This is 40 and The Hangover Part III, those were cameos, so not really relying on her.) I will give credit to The Heat in that its the typical buddy cop flick but this time the cops are women, which is refreshing. The writer of the flick, Katie Dippold, is a staff writer of Parks and Recreation, so I think we’re at a good start in terms of comedy writing. I also feel this is a suitable role for Sandra Bullock, an actress who’s list of film choices are not quiet what I would say…good movies. While the trailer doesn’t have me rolling on the floor laughing, I do find a good amount of it funny, and it seems to me that McCarthy and Bullock have some chemistry, a very important element in comedies like this.
Director: Neil Jordan
What’s it about? Two mysterious women seek refuge in a run-down coastal resort. Clara meets lonely Noel, who provides shelter in his deserted guesthouse, Byzantium. Schoolgirl Eleanor befriends Frank and tells him their lethal secret. They were born 200 years ago and survive on human blood. As knowledge of their secret spreads, their past catches up on them with deathly consequence.
My thoughts? I still think Interview with a Vampire is a remarkable film. Neil Jordan brought the proper Gothic world of Vampires to life, and it’s a film that I look back fondly. Jordan has done many films between IWAV and this, so I’m very curious to see him return to the Vampire genre. This film seems to have one similar element in which the focus of the film is the relationship between the vampire and the vampire that they have given birth too (i.e. the human they bit to turn them into one.) Once again, Saoirse Ronan is a huge draw for me, as I think she an incredibly talented actress, and I kinda love the idea of her playing a vampire since Saoirse always seems so mature for her age. I think this might be a good use of Gemma Arterton, an actress whose work I feel is decent, but I’m never really floored by her. I don’t think this will be a ground breaking vampire film, but I don’t think they set out to make that film. Here, they wanted to make a character piece, and with Neil Jordan at the helm, it will definitely be a striking film to look at.
Director: Roland Emmerich
What’s it about? Capitol Policeman John Cale (Channing Tatum) has just been denied his dream job with the Secret Service of protecting President James Sawyer (Jamie Foxx). Not wanting to let down his little girl with the news, he takes her on a tour of the White House, when the complex is overtaken by a heavily armed paramilitary group. Now, with the nation’s government falling into chaos and time running out, it’s up to Cale to save the president, his daughter, and the country.
My thoughts? Remember Olympus has Fallen? The OTHER movie about the White House being attacked and the action hero going in to save the President. Well, the filmmakers here are hoping that either you DID forget it, or that you didn’t like that one. Both films have advantages over each other. Olympus has the better title, and an amazing supporting cast (Morgan Freeman AND Angela Bassett?!) But, this one has the more important upper hand. A director that can deliver on ACTION. Olympus was directed by Antione Fuqua, a filmmaker who made some very uneven films, and whose action directing always just above ok. Roland Emmerich can direct action. While he’s mostly known for his disaster porn films, Emmerich proved he can do badass action filmmaking with The Patriot, so because of that film I’ve always been curious to see him do a straight forward action film. I’m still kinda shock that Channing Tatum has grown on me, but 21 Jump Street did wonders on making me change my mind about him. The other surprising thing about this film, is that there is ONE twist that is different between this and Olympus. You see, Olympus has Fallen is the Die Hard film, but apparently, judging by the trailer, White House Down is the buddy action film except this time it’s a new potential secret service agent and the PRESIDENT HIMSELF. Jaime Foxx now joins the ranks of other movie Presidents who’ve gone in and jumped into fighting the bad guys (see Air Force One and Emmerichs own Independence Day.) Maybe this is what this summer needs right now? A good old fashion American action film, with big action and lots of jokes. Nothing wrong with that, hell, I think I’d be pretty down to see that again.
Side Note: How are there two movies that are released this year that feel more like Die Hard films then the ACTUAL Die Hard film that came out?
So what’s got your interest? Channing Tatum taking out terrorist? Sandra Bullock taking out a drug lord?Jason Statham taking out a gangster? Or Gemma Arterton getting take out…ie. eating someone on the go? Comment below and let us know!