Olympus Has Fallen
In one of those crazy instances of parallel thinking in the film industry, 2013 has already seen the release of not one, but two movies in which terrorists attack the White House and menace the president, and in which only one extraordinary agent can protect our commander-in-chief. Olympus Has Fallen had the advantage of being first, and of having been directed by someone who managed to position one of the stars of his action movies — Denzel Washington in Training Day — to win an Oscar. Unfortunately, the second movie in the microgenre, direct by Roland Emmerich, featured Channing Tatum as the agent, whereas Olympus has Gerard Butler.
I don't need to use this space for my defense of the hilariously ridiculous, thoroughly enjoyable White House Down; that time will come soon enough. But remember when America liked Gerard Butler? He was all ripped and decisive in 300, his breakthrough role. But like so many actors before him, he saw his chance to parlay one big movie into every other offer that crossed his agent's desk. I mean, who am I to judge: If someone wanted to give me millions of dollars to be in P.S. I Love You, I guess I would. I'm not as sure that I'd follow it up with The Ugly Truth, Gamer, The Bounty Hunter, Machine Gun Preacher, and Playing for Keeps. Maybe we'll see a Gerard Butler comeback in our lifetime, but I'm pretty sure Olympus Has Fallen isn't it.
New and Notable
What Maisie Knew
Julianne Moore and Alexander Skarsgård play a divorcing couple wrangling over their sad-eyed daughter.
The Company You Keep
Robert Redford and Susan Sarandon as former Weather Underground members being held to account for their past crimes? Yes! Shia LaBeouf as the dogged newspaper reporter trying to make his name covering their stories? No.
Opportunistic Backlist Revival Theme of the Week: Bruce Willis
Between the On Demand releases of The Cold Light of Day and G.I. Joe: Retaliation, and the currently-in-theaters Red 2, why not revive some old Bruce Willis movies? This collection includes Red, Sin City, Pulp Fiction, Unbreakable, and all the Die Hard movies, including the original and best.
Guess What: Zombies
A passel of amateur actors portraying former baseball players are menaced by, guess what, zombies.
Weird Indie of the Week
This indie is so weird that I only found it when I looked up its original title, AmeriQua. Also, there is no English-language trailer for it. Yet Alec Baldwin is in it. I don't know, probably Blue Jasmine is a safer bet.
Early VOD Premiere of the Week
And While We Were Here
Kate Bosworth plays a woman working on a project in Italy who falls into an affair with a younger man who's not even Italian.
The Big Wedding
This crude, racist "comedy" really proves that larding your cast with Oscar winners (Susan Sarandon, Diane Keaton, Robert De Niro) will not obviate problems with your script. And ... with your racism?