Lethal Now Playing

By: Jeff Ford
By: Jeff Ford

Previewing The Heat, and White House Down

 World War Z did a lot better than I anticipated.  It went on to become Brad Pitt’s highest opening ever, beating out 2005’s Mr. and Mrs. Smith.  I still think it was a mistake to make a $200 Million zombie film, but with good reviews and decent word of mouth, it has a strong chance of making its budget back before leaving theaters.


This week’s new releases look to be nothing special.  So crank up the Glenn Frey as we rock out to…




Uptight FBI special agent Sarah Ashburn is paired with testy Boston cop Shannon Mullins in order to take down a ruthless drug lord. The hitch: neither woman has ever had a partner -- or a friend for that matter.  *


The Good – The Buddy cop genre has had numerous stellar examples throughout the years, such as 48 Hours, Lethal Weapon, Tango & Cash (a personal guilty pleasure), and even last year’s 21 Jump Street.  But try as I might, I can’t recall a time when the buddy cops were both females.  In fact, it’s difficult to even come up with a film where there was a female in one of the buddy role.  It’s been a male dominated genre with the females usually relegated to the love interest and/or hostage.  So I have to give kudos to the filmmakers (director Paul Feig, Bridesmaids, and writer Katie Dippold, Parks and Recreation) for changing the formula. 


Also, more props for releasing this as an R.  Most summer movies tend to water down their concepts to try and bring in the young teen audiences (see last week’s World War Z for example).  It’s refreshing to see a movie that doesn’t hold back in an effort to squeeze out a few more bucks.  These R- rated movies tend to end up as better films than there neutered counterparts.


The Bad – As much as there’s been success in the genre, there’s also been many, many misfires, such as Cop Out, The Other Guys, and White Chicks.  If the chemistry between the leads is non-existent or forced, then no amount of explosions or plot twisting turns can save it.  That’s not to say that Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy won’t work well together, it’s just a thin line that separates the good from the abysmal.  From what little I’ve seen, I do not have that strong of confidence in them being on the good side.  Higher concepts have fallen apart with less.  I admit there are some sequences in the trailer that made me smile (the fire escape and the after failed toast reaction) so there is hope yet.


The Ugly – Was I the only one whose first reaction to this trailer was a sarcastic, “Great.  Another Ms. Congeniality movie”?


The Heat is rated R for pervasive language, strong crude content and some violence.




While on a tour of the White House with his young daughter, a Capitol policeman springs into action to save his child and protect the president from a heavily armed group of paramilitary invaders. *


Brief Thoughts – There’s little that gives me confidence in this movie.  It’s got Channing Tatum starring, James Vanderbilt writing (he wrote last year’s The Amazing Spider-man, a film that I’ve felt had problems from concept to execution), and it’s fresh off the heels of another White House under attack film (the surprisingly fun Olympus has Fallen).  That’s not to mention the biggest hurdle it has going against it.  Director Roland Emmerich has not had a film I’ve liked since Independence Day (and even then, it’s only the first half of it.)  Godzilla was horrible, The Patriot was a slog to get through, and The Day After Tomorrow was head banging-ly stupid.  I’ve since spared myself the torture of seeing one of his movies since then.  Thankfully, it sounds like I haven’t missed much.  I’ve sworn that I won’t see another of his films in the theater and this one doesn’t look to break that streak.


White House Down is rated PG-13 for prolonged sequences of action and violence including intense gunfire and explosions, some language and a brief sexual image.


That will do for this week.  Tune in next time when a Kentuckian plays an Indian.  Until then, the heat is (bump bump bump bump) on.


*all summaries taken from IMDB.com.

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