On DVD & Blu-Ray: August 13, 2013


What will eventually become known as the successful White House actioner of 2013, Olympus Has Fallen remains a silly action film that gave a much needed boost to the falling star of a solid action hero. It is about time Gerard Butler went back to doing what he does best. After his breakout role in 2007's 300 the charismatic Scotsman resorted to taking every major script he was handed that unfortunately ended in a string of bad romantic comedies (The Bounty Hunter, The Ugly Truth) while venturing back into the action game with results that ranged from horrible (Gamer) to entertaining but empty (Law Abiding Citizen). It has been a good six years since Butler has made an entertaining and successful mainstream film (RocknRolla and Coriolanus serve as indie cred, but were never afforded the chances to reach as wide an audience). These thoughts come to mind after realizing just how numbingly entertaining his latest effort, Olympus Has Fallen turned out to be. It doesn't help that Chasing Mavericks and Playing for Keeps, both of which opened late in 2012 and both of which flopped massively (the latter being absolutely trashed by critics), were still fresh on most avid movie-goers minds when this showed up in theaters in March and that this was, in a way, a shot at redemption. Even with his track record against him and the box office climate that had not seen early 2013 be too kind to R-rated action flicks, director Antoine Fuqua (Training Day) managed to capture that charm, that silliness, and that zeal present in so many action flicks of old that is as cliche-riddled as it is a solid, tense thriller with a plot only the movies could see fit to pull off. I like Butler and I liked his character of Mike Banning, but it didn't hurt the star has a good director and an outstanding supporting cast behind him helping make Olympus Has Fallen a stand out action flick of 2013. Full review hereB-

Robert Redford has always slightly eluded me. I haven't seen much of his work except for a few major players like Butch Cassidy and The Sting, as well as several of his directorial efforts, but I've never felt particularly close to the guy despite the kind of status he has commanded in Hollywood for quite some time. That may sound odd or even a little delusional, but in terms of growing to feel as if you know an actor by the kinds of roles they play or figuring out what they might be like in real life, and what conversation topics might come up if you had the chance to speak with them. These allusions make viewers feel as if we could actually get to know these people. This usually happens with what turn out to be our favorite actors or at least people who are considered movie stars, and it usually means they have the charisma and the charm to connect with a mass audience on different levels thus the reason they are granted that precious title of "movie star". And though Redford has clearly been knighted with that honor and been in the high ranks of movie-making for a long time I've never quite understood the fascination. He's clearly a talented and attractive figure and he seems to have a real love for making movies and creating pieces of art that mean something. While The Company You Keep may not be the best example of that kind of high art what it does do is serve a purpose as a fairly satisfying exercise in the investigative drama that features an all star cast who will have you playing a guessing game of who might pop up next. It is easy to see how this might be passed on as tired and conventional but the story is intriguing enough and the chase to the end to find a resolution and sort out the mess of politics these people have gotten themselves into had me from the beginning and I was willing to run with it, whatever it was they asked me to do and wherever it was they asked me to go. Full review hereB

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