7:00 PM, 23rd November, 2013
North Korean American terrorists take over the White House, it’s up to a disgraced aspiring Secret Service agent to rescue the President, foil the terrorists’ nefarious plot, and save the President’s son his daughter in the process…
Hang on – haven’t we already seen this? Is it Groundhog Day all over again? (Nope, that’s actually screening afterwards). In reality, this is just another instance of Hollywood producers getting similar ideas around the same time, and going into production on two films hoping the success of one rubs off on the other (see: Armageddon v. Deep Impact; A Bug’s Life v. Antz; Dante’s Peak v. Volcano).
Last semester’s Olympus Has Fallen was first out of the gate, and while a moderate box office success, was ultimately a blatant Die Hard-rip off that took itself way too seriously. Thankfully, White House Down doesn’t make that same mistake and is a fun action-packed romp courtesy of director Roland Emmerich, the Master of Disaster responsible for Independence Day and other such films through which he’s already built up a résumé obliterating American institutions.
Man-of-the-hour Channing Tatum plays our hero, with Jamie Foxx taking up Presidential duties, and the two make a highly watchable on-screen team as they join forces to foil the terrorist plot. Throw in a game cast that includes Maggie Gyllenhaal, Richard Jenkins and James Woods, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster – of the good kind!
So, if you see only one White House invasion film this semester, be sure to make it White House Down.
9:26 PM, 23rd November, 2013
“Okay, campers, rise and shine, and don't forget your booties 'cause it's cooooold outside.”
Indisputably a modern classic, Groundhog Day is Bill Murray at his comedic best and a fantastic example of how a movie can encapsulate an idea so perfectly that the title alone explains it. (If you have no idea what I mean, congratulations on finally escaping from the rock you’ve been trapped under for the past 20 years.)
It’s the story of Phil (Murray), a pessimistic TV weatherman on location with his cameraman Larry (Home Alone’s Elliott) and producer Rita (MacDowell at the height of her appeal) in a small town called Punxsutawney. It’s the fourth year he’s been to the home of the Groundhog Day tradition, and Phil can’t wait for the hated day to be over so he can return to Pittsburgh and get away from the celebrations and pleasantries of the town and its friendly residents. But the next morning he wakes up to find, once again, it’s Groundhog Day. As is the next day. And the next. And the next. And the next.
If you’ve never seen this excellent film, do yourself a favour and watch it. Twenty years on, it’s still incredibly funny, strangely insightful and actually quite moving, as Phil tests the boundaries of the time loop he’s stuck inside and realises that Punxsutawney and, more importantly, Rita are actually rather charming. If you have, come relive Groundhog Day all over again. It’ll get you, babe.