Tag Archives: Channing Tatum

White House Redux

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No sooner has Gerard Butler saved 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue from wholly plausible and in no way absurd destruction at the hands of terrorists in “Olympus Has Fallen” than another screen hunk is up to the same patriotic larks.

Hollywood does love high concept duplication of effort, after all: we’ve had duelling volcano, asteroid, CGI Insect fable, Robin Hood and even Alfred Hitchcock films since 1990, so it’s no surprise that 2013 sees not at least two movies set amidst the smouldering ruins of a White House under terrorist attack.  Puzzingly, schlockbuster DTV studio The Asylum have been entirely remiss by not cranking out a Z-budget, franchise-aping homage to this trend.  Perplexed ain’t the half of it…

The aforementioned “Olympus…” is now out and garnering decent notices – as much for saving Gerard Butler from the inglorious rom-com movie jail he was seemingly doing time in.   The redoubtable Den of Geek even dubbed it a better “Die Hard” movie than the apparently dire “A Good Day To Die Hard“, which probably suggests that multiplex audiences might have preferred to see John McClane duking it out in the Oval Office than in Red Square.

Late June, then, sees the arrival of Jamie Foxx, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Channing Tatum (and Channing Tatum’s omnipresent nipples) in serial White House mangler Roland Emmerich‘s “White House Down” and a new trailer for said action opus has arrived, bringing with it amazing scenes of America under siege, panicky news people reporting on artfully staged chaos and Mr Tatum’s sweatily exuberant protuberances bewitching all who encounter them (I understand that Channing’s bits have their own three picture deal at Fox).

I’m intrigued to see what Roland Emmerich does with an unabashed action movie for a change – his stock in trade is the contemporary disaster movie and whilst he’s an old hand at laying waste to global monuments and iconic buildings, that doesn’t necessarily mean that he’ll be able to deliver on the tropes that fans of earnest blokes in increasingly dank vests wielding sub-machine guns seek from their Friday night frag fests.

The film opens on June 28th in the US, and in September in the UK.  It’s almost as if the subject matter won’t resonate quite so much with us cynical Brits…

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“21 Jump Street” – or how I stopped worrying and learned to love remakes…

No doves, no love, muddy funsters…

TL:DR version?  It’s a hoot – go rent it.

When the 2012 reinvention of “21 Jump Street” was announced, I confess to having had misgivings about it.

For one thing, remakes are the work of enfeebled minds, so utterly in thrall to easy cash and terrified of producing anything original that they desperately seek anything to remake, as the heavy conceptual lifting has already been done by somebody else.  All that has to be done by the ‘creative’ brains trust bringing the new version to life is to cut-and-paste contemporary pin-up actors and new music into the mix and make the marketing campaign obnoxious enough to bring teens to the theatres in their droves on date night.

Yes, kids, this is how we dressed in the late eighties and early nineties. Try not to hurl.

For another thing, this is “21 Jump Street”, dude!  Though utterly rubbish in execution, possessed of severely reactionary politics and as plausible and true to life as a “Fast & Furious” movie, the Johnny Depp, Holly Robinson, Dustin Nguyen and Peter DeLuise baby-faced cops undercover tv drama was a staple of my teen years and any new pretender to the throne couldn’t possibly do anything to justify its existence.  Misbegotten, I say to you sir/madam – misbegotten!

“But where shall we secrete your Rocket Launcher?”

Happily, it turns out after a viewing of said foul remake that I’m full of shizz and can inform you that this remake of the 80’s TV show is arguably one of the funniest comedies in years, managing the tricky feat of balancing the demands of obnoxious bromance bobbins, fast-paced action, well-observed high school clique tale and meta, self-aware comedy quite brilliantly.

A large part of the success of this film, after the bonkers direction of Phil Lord and Chris Miller (previous film – “Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs”!) and Michael Bacall‘s deranged screenplay, is the playing of Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill.  Their on-screen chemistry is so immediate and so convincing that you find yourself pleasantly surprised by it and wonder why nobody thought to combine the two before – their bickering, name-calling and self-aware idiocy are a delight to behold, from their initial meet cute to the middle of the film, where the script contrives splendidly to play with our expectations of the actors, making nerdy, chubby motormouth Hill the most popular kid in school and buff man mountain Tatum seek solace in the bosom of the school’s science nerds.

There’s a plot – something-something-designer-drugs-in-high-school-hey-guns-lots-of-guns! – but it scarcely matters when the jokes are as funny as they are in this film and when our expectations are pretty much undercut at every turn, from character to incident.  I’m not saying that this film reinvents our experience of cinema or anything as profound as that, but the combination of likeable characters, unexpected events, non sequitur wit and blithe mayhem does manage to make what could have been a by-the-numbers cop flick ever so more palatable and enjoyable than I ever expected it to be.

Tatum, for example, is a joy in this film – I had him pegged as a dopey pin-up with minimal acting talent but he’s the funniest and most charming leading man who you could hope for, given the right material.  After seeing this, I suspect that the decision to delay this summer’s “G.I. Joe – Retaliation” to 2013 has bugger all to do with slapping a 3D makeover on the movie and everything to do with the fact that Tatum’s character being killed off in the original version managed to unceremoniously get rid of the biggest movie star in the damn flick – three of his movies this year have cracked a hundred million at the US box office and I’d be willing to stake my size 14 Vans on the fact that he’s the reason for those numbers.

A rare sequel that I’m actually looking forward to – if it has more Ice Cube shouting and being grumpy, more unexpected cameos and more barely allowable filth, then I’m there on opening weekend…

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“G.I. Joe – Retaliation” gets new trailer, destroys the Big Smoke…

What is it with Hollywood and destroying London?

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No sooner had I put my feet up and begun to enjoy the latest trailer for G.I. Joe: Retaliation than I was confronted with merry old London town biting the big one again, via the intercession of some sketchy space missile thingy.  Not that I’m the biggest fan of our capital city – I only visit if I absolutely have to – but it would be nice for an American film to grasp the complex reality that there are other cities in the UK.

Yep, that's going to give Boris a few sleepless nights...

Is it too much to hope for a major Hollywood blockbuster to pick on Birmingham or Manchester for a change?  Surely Leeds needs to be rendered into ashes by a stray super missile?  Mindless destruction equality now!  Blow up some different places for a change!

But, I digress…

There’s a new trailer for this deliciously silly looking comic book action fest, which seems to be marking out its place on the calendar as an unpretentious and marked improvement on the unwatchable original entry in the series – I don’t have any history with the action figures, but this could be the daft action extravaganza which manages to erase the bad taste that the increasingly horrible Transformers films left in my mouth as that series veered ever deeper into the darker recesses of Michael Bay‘s ID.

It’s nearly the summer, I’m really going to want to escape the ad nauseam Olympics hype in the UK – what better way to do it than watch professional actors portray action figures and run away from cgi explosions?

 

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So, there’s a “21 Jump Street” movie happening?

This is clearly proof that I’m getting very old, very past it and increasingly befuddled by the world – not only is there a “21 Jump Street” movie, but it’s positively imminent.  And apparently reasonably entertaining.

Again, my gast is flabbered.

Man, Jonah Hill is an inspiration to us all...

I have fond, possibly misplaced memories of the original 80’s television series, which was one of the first American shows which was appointment viewing for me when my family first got Sky satellite TV back in the late 80’s.  It had a cool premise – youthful cops bust crime in high school by going deep cover – and actors like Johnny Depp and Holly Robinson engaging in super cool hijinks in none-more-Canadian locations, which seemed impossibly exotic to a teenager doing hard time in North Yorkshire suburbia.

Narcs, man! I'm telling you, those kids are Narcs!

And Peter DeLuise had a mullet for the ages – I doubt that a whole division of Poet Laureates could do justice to its fluffy majesty.

This gentleman, kids, was once considered very cool indeed.

So, there’s a movie – from the directors of “Cloudy With A Chance Of Meetballs”, just to compound the madness inherent in reviving this franchise  – and it features Jonah Hill and walking, talking piece of 2×4, Channing Tatum as the undercover cops busting-up shenanigans in high school, with Ice Cube giving it some gruff, paternal bad-assery in the Steven Williams role.

Never thought I’d see the day – from NWA to portraying The Man in an action comedy.  They’ve surely got to reference THAT particular switcheroo somewhere in the flick or they’re plainly not doing their jobs.

Go watch the trailer for the new film and see what you think – I’m saying ‘wait for DVD’, but your mileage may vary…

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