Tag Archives: Jason Clarke

Review: White House Down

White_House_Down_Poster“White House Down” is no “Independence Day,” but it is a major step up for Roland Emmerich primarily because he manages to successfully embrace humor while doing what he does best – blowing things up

John Cale (Channing Tatum) wants to be a good dad to his politics-obsessed daughter Emily (Joey King), but he isn’t around enough to do the job right. As a quick fix, he scores them a pair of passes to The White House so he can apply for a job in the secret service and finally become her hero. Even though John is quickly denied by agent Carol Finnerty (Maggie Gyllenhaal) for his lack of respect for authority, he still gets the chance to prove himself when The White House is overrun by intruders and he winds up being the only one who can save the president (Jamie Foxx) and foil their plan.

It’s a summer blockbuster featuring Channing Tatum as an action hero, Jamie Foxx as the President of the United States, and an attack on The White House. There’s really only one way for this flick to work, Roland Emmerich knew it, and seized the opportunity in the best way possible.

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Review: The Great Gatsby

The-Great-Gatsby-PosterBaz Luhrmann’s “The Great Gatsby” is brimming with stellar components – it’s just too bad they never really come together.

Like the F. Scott Fitzgerald book, “The Great Gatsby” is told from the perspective of Tobey Maguire’s Nick Carraway. He comes to New York City to work as a bonds salesman and settles down in a little cottage on Long Island right across the bay from his cousin, Daisy (Carey Mulligan), and her husband, Tom Buchanan (Joel Edgerton). Nick doesn’t fit into the ritzy West Egg lifestyle, but soon enough he’s tagging along with Tom to drink it up with his mistress Myrtle (Isla Fisher) and her friends, and attending the hottest parties in town – the ones held at his neighbor’s home, Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio).

The film’s excellent performances, booming music selection, and mesmerizing visuals all work wonders on their own, but do little to support or enhance one another, ultimately making storytelling feel secondary to the spectacle.

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‘Zero Dark Thirty’ Interview: Director and Cast Talk Controversy, Courage & Torture

Zero-Dark-Thirty-Main-ImageWho’s ready to take on a ton of pressure? Director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal certainly must have been. Not only did Bigelow and Boal have to follow-up their Academy Award-winning work in The Hurt Locker, but the pair chose the most challenging material to do it with – the hunt for Osama bin Laden.

Forget all the required research, possible political scrutiny and delicacy of the material; making the project even more demanding, bin Laden was actually killed just a short while before Boal completed his script detailing the failed hunt for bin Laden in the Toro Bora mountain range.

While participating in a press conference in New York City, Bigelow recalls, “While Mark was working on the screenplay, actually quite far along in the screenplay, May 1, 2011 happened and we realized, after some soul searching, that it was going to be a little difficult to make a movie about the failed hunt for Osama bin Laden when the whole world knew that he had been killed.” And so the plan changed and Boal refocused his script on the raid on bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad – the raid that ultimately resulted in his death.

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Review: Zero Dark Thirty

Zero-Dark-Thirty-PosterUsing his experience with an American bomb squad to develop a fictitious story for “The Hurt Locker” is one thing, but writer Mark Boal’s decision to tackle the death of Osama bin Laden takes journalistic moviemaking to another level, one that comes with an immense amount of societal and ethical pressure, on top of the challenge of just making a good movie. But it’s a good thing Boal and director Kathryn Bigelow were the pair to take on that challenge because it’s highly unlikely any other duo could have pulled it off quite like them.

“Zero Dark Thirty” focuses on Jessica Chastain’s Maya, a top-notch CIA analyst sent to Pakistan to join a team tasked with tracking down high-ranking members of Al Qaida, with an ultimate goal of taking out Osama bin Laden. At first, Maya doesn’t take to the CIA Black Site’s brutal interrogation tactics, but as the years go on and colleagues lose their jobs and, in some cases, their lives, Maya’s determination peaks and she does whatever it takes to gather solid intel.

“Zero Dark Thirty” is a heavy-duty piece and Bigelow wastes no time putting the audience in the appropriate headspace. The film kicks off with a montage of 9/11 phone calls playing over black and the sequence is cut perfectly, rousing the heartache of that day through a sense of hysteria, but also by giving certain audio clips time to breathe, establishing a personal connection. By the time the film hits the “2 Years Later” title card, your heart is already pounding through your chest.

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