Terrorists are out to destroy all of the major world leaders, so once a major event with all the world leaders attending is going to happen in London, it is their perfect opportunity. US President Ben Asher (Aaron Eckhart) attends, and when things go pear-shaped, luckily Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) is around to save the day. Again. And it is like an action film on steroids. I swear, between this and the John Wick films, I think that the creatives on action films have decided to forgo detailed plot and just have a bad thing happen and lots and lots of fighting, chasing, shooting and all the good things. And there’s another of these ones too. Ace times for action films.
There is a massive attack on the White House and despite there being heaps of highly trained secret service and the like around, it is only Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) who can save President Benjamin Asher (Aaron Eckhart) and his small son.
If you like a ridiculous action plot, here it is. One man against the terrorists. Wonderful. So wonderful, just like the wonderful action films from the eighties and nineties. Awesome.
In 2009, pilot Chelsey Sullenberger made an emergency landing of a plane onto the Hudson River in New York and every person on the plane survived. The investigation that followed suggested that he made a bad decision and could have still saved everyone in a far less flashy manner. This film follows the investigation, showing the emergency landing and everything leading up to it in flashback. It’s big and cheesy and Sully is the American hero against adversity. Big government vs the little guy. One guy against the world. A real Clint Eastwood story.
I’ve not been a huge fan of Eastwood’s directing, and this could have been the one that I got into, except for the film Flight just a few years ago. Similar story, only that was fiction. I didn’t really love that one either – although the crash scene was most spectacular. None the less, I got quite irate watching this, thinking how dare they try to prove Sully and his co-pilot wrong when they did such an amazing job? Yeah, one man against the world!
Sully was nominated for an Oscar for Best Achievement in Sound Editing.
Batman (Christian Bale) has done heaps to make Gotham a better place, and wants a quiet life with his love interest, Rachel (Maggie Gyllenhaal). Two things stand in his way; he needs a good man to be a public face of good in Gotham, and Rachel is seeing another man. Both of these problems are directly related to Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart). Then along comes the Joker (Heath Ledger), appearing to “watch the world burn”, bringing his own chaos to Gotham.
I’ve made it no secret that I love a good superhero film, I love the excitement and chaos of a good chase, some explosions and fighting. The Dark Knight is the next step up – dark, sinister, with some truly horrible stuff happening. Clever, and no matter how many times I watch it, I have to look away when the Joker has the pencil. The opening bank raid is one of my favourite film opening sequences, not least because I get a moment of William Fechtner, and that’s always a good thing.
The Dark Knight won Oscars for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role (Heath Ledger) and Best Achievement in Sound Editing and was nominated for Best Achievement in Cinematography, Best Achievement in Film Editing, Best Achievement in Art Direction, Best Achievement in Make Up, Best Achievement in Sound Mixing and Best Achievement in Visual Effects.
It’s the 60s. Paul Kemp (Johnny Depp) is an American journalist who takes a freelance job in Puerto Rico with a strange bunch of misfits. He is taken under the wing of Sanderson (Aaron Eckhart), a wealthy American who is working with a group of businessmen to develop an area of pristine beauty into a tourist resort. Kemp needs to decide between his conscience and his back pocket. And all the time, he is drinking a lot of strong liquor, and trying to avoid being killed by angry gangsters and angry cops.
Hunter S Thompson wrote The Rum Diaries in the sixties but it was only published in 1998. He was keen on it becoming a feature film, but he passed away in 2005. The Rum Diary was released in 2011.
It’s not fiction, but neither is it totally non-fiction. In a 1998 interview with Charlie Rose (see below), Thompson talks about all of the characters having some of his sensibilities in them. If you’ve seen or read Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, you can definitely see some element of him in Moberg, the severly alcoholic and drug-addled journalist portrayed marvelously by Giovanni Ribisi.
It’s certainly a funny film, with the dark humour I’ve come to expect from Thompson. I felt that it was meant to give me hope for the future, but the future of this film has passed and the world is just as corrupt as ever. And Thompson is gone – no longer putting the bastards of the world on notice that he does not have their best interests at heart.
A husband and wife are in mourning months after their young child was killed in a car accident. This slow-moving character piece explores their grief and how they struggle to find a way through it.
It felt like it needed more. More plot, or more emotional connection, or something. This, perhaps, is exactly what the director intended. It is a film about how the inertia of grief has frozen them in their lives, and they cannot move any way. The big problem for me is that there were a lot of scenes that were clearly meant to be emotional scenes. Lots of staring into the middle distance and crying – but I felt nothing. I just didn’t connect with the characters. Was it the acting? Perhaps.
I always used to defend Nicole Kidman. For years, I’d tell people that she was a much better actor than they thought. But, I’ve really had to come to the conclusion that just because she is Australian, that doesn’t mean that she’s good at what she does. I mean, we’ve got Rachel Giffiths and Toni Collette, not every Australian actress is going to be brilliant. I still think Nicole was pretty good in To Die For, and on the second watching, when I got past the prosthetic nose, I didn’t mind her in the hours. But generally, whenever I see her in a film, I just see Nicole Kidman playing some other character. I still have hope for our Nic. Not sure if it is misplaced or not.
There was little connection between Nicole Kidman’s character, Becca, and he husband, Howie, played by Aaron Eckart. Whilst this seemed really in line with the disconnection between them caused by their grief, I found it really hard to believe that there was ever a connection between them. There was no chemistry, not even that familiarity of a long-term relationship.
Aliens suddenly appear and kill everyone – apart from one small group of marines, led by an inexperienced Lieutenant and a Staff Sergeant who has just retired, but been dragged back into duty. The marines all know that, on his last mission, the Staff Sergeant led a group of men to their death, and they don’t trust him for peanuts. Yup, this film has everything needed for an awesome small group vs large unknown enemy type military film. And I totally loved it.
So much of it is just so close to being cliché – including the ending, which rings very close to Independence Day (which I also totally loved). But it doesn’t matter. In the end, there are invaders that are not human, using unmanned drones to carry out strikes against the civilian population, and I wanted them dead. Is this film making a comment about modern warfare, about in inhuman way that the modern war is carried out, with one side carrying far advanced technology and weapons against a much smaller force? Perhaps. Who cares? There are loads of explosions and Aaron Eckhart. It was ace.