Month: September 2013

White House Down – Review

If White House Down didn’t have its comedy moments, it could be classed as one of the worst box office films of the year. Luckily however, it does deliver some funny lines and scenes, excusing itself of some outrageous sequences and a tame climax.

John Cale (Channing Tatum) is an ex military man who is looking, and failing to land a job with the US secret service in order to impress his daughter with whom he shares a shaky relationship.

While both on a tour of the White House, the most secure building in the world is attacked and with the right people in the wrong places, responsibility of the President (Jamie Foxx) rests with Cale.

After splitting midway through the attack with his daughter, Cale must muscle his way around and out of the White House in order to find and save his spouse.

At this stage you may be asking yourself, haven’t I heard of this recently? And the answer is yes, in this year’s earlier edition of the White House blowing up, Olympus Has Fallen. That was a mess. And White House Down is also a mess – but a funny mess.

The film struggles to choose just precisely what genre it fits into and confuses the audience who don’t know whether to laugh or gasp in shock. Perhaps blowing up the White House is no funny matter, but the combination of Foxx and Tatum, who are no strangers to comedy acting, give the feature a much-needed backbone.

The action sequences aren’t terrible, yet some of the CGI involved in them is, looking budget and perhaps suggesting the actor’s paycheques were the priority. Maggie Gyllenhaal, Richard Jenkins and James Woods all share enough acting pedigree to also do the film’s reputation some favours. But White House Down however, slots nicely onto Roland Emmerich’s (who’s had previous with the White House) less than spectacular CV.

White House Down wraps up a year of attacks on what is supposedly the most secure building in the world following Olympus Has Fallen. It’s fair to say both efforts have been poor and The President has nothing to worry about…unless he watches either of these films.

5/10 #WebbersRatings

Rush – Review

The exhilarating Rush follows the contrasting lifestyles of Formula One drivers Niki Lauda and James Hunt and their incredible rivalry from the 1976 F1 season.

Chris Hemsworth stars as playboy Brit Hunt, the hothead who away from driving makes the most of life. His image consists of alcohol, women and partying along with a cocky attitude towards driving. Daniel Bruhl plays Lauda, an interesting character known for his concentration, determination and professionalism with a keen eye for an early bedtime.

Both drivers clash, crash inside and outside of the car due to egotistical reasoning. With Lauda the more conservative of the two, making sure safety was ensured before any race Hunt would spare his life for a win over his rival due to his reckless attitude.

Ron Howard in the director’s driving seat and Peter Morgan sprucing up the screenplay, the perfect team assemble for this beautifully shot, thrilling drama of two polar opposites. The story writes itself. Controversy, tragedy, sleaze and danger, are all summited by an eventful climax.

Impressively, those who know the true facts behind this tale will still be amazed by the way Howard depicts this astonishing story. He manages to perfectly blend moments on and off the track, appealing to an audience of non-F1 fans. To the petrol head however, the noise of the cars on the big screens is breath taking, accompanied with the masterful soundtrack courtesy of Hans Zimmer.

Accurately portrayed, beautifully delivered and an overall thrilling watch, Rush is a true triumph for Ron Howard and a successful take on an incredible tale of two counterparts.

8/10 #WebbersRatings

World War Z – Review

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Given World War Z’s difficulties in development, the result is a fast paced and thrilling watch accompanied with some stylish visuals. The on-screen adaptations of Max Brooks’ disturbing book is very a very watchable surprise. That having been said, the storyline leaves the film slightly bland, failing to truly take off or fulfil the potential for chaos, which one would expect from an apocalypse flick.

Brad Pitt plays Gerry Lane, a former United Nations officer who has chosen to spend more time with his family when a curious attack on their hometown of Philadelphia arises. Gerry is called to take on the role of his old job, which sees him travel the world witnessing the madness of these flesh feasting dead beings at various locations. With nations in limbo and militaries in defence mode, Gerry is (obviously) the one man who can find an end to the pandemic.

There are some real positives to take from World War Z. Starting literally at the beginning; the opening scene is breath taking. Whilst most zombie apocalypse films tease and wangle their way into the main substance, World War Z’s opening credits are still rolling when Philadelphia is torn apart by flocks of the infected. Director Marc Forster got the scene spot on by not giving too much about the zombies away and the CGI plays a major role in distributing the mass panic throughout the city.

The stage is set therefore for the rest of the film to be dispatched in much the same method. However, the tone quickly calms and moments as tense as the opening are rare to come by. The zombies in World War Z however, unlike a number of movies of its kind, are genuinely scary. For starters, they can run and run quickly (because how is a zombie moving at a snail’s pace scary?). Not only that but also these bloodthirsty corpses can leap great distances and climb whilst being oblivious to pain certainly works in their favour.

So therefore, given the horrific nature of the zombies in question, it’s a shame there isn’t more guts and gore to really make the audience squeal. Perhaps there would had there been additional attention on the war of World WAR Z rather than Gerry’s heroic and safe attempts to stop it.

Potential not fulfilled but a thrill ride nevertheless, World War Z sets itself up nicely for the proposed sequel, which could ultimately boost the storyline of the first. All the money spent rewriting and reshooting the ending certainly paid off, and may continue to do so with a sequel. Rest assured World War Z is certainly not the end of the world.

7/10 #WebbersRatings