The hottest ticket in town is Robert Downey Jr. in Iron Man 3; the hottest ticket in America two weeks ago was Evil Dead, the dreaded Gerard Butler tries to save the White House from terrorists in Olympus Has Fallen – yes, it’s the school holidays.
While original Die Hard director John McTiernan languishes in minimum security federal prison his heirs are keeping the action movie flame alive. Most recently, Antoine Fuqua’s Olympus Has Fallen might as well be called Die Hard at the White House as one man attempts to rescue the hostages held captive in the impregnable bunker beneath the most famous Palladian mansion in the world. North Korean terrorists have managed to take control of the building and the President (Aaron Eckhart), Secretary of Defence (Melissa Leo) – and some extras playing the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs etc. – are all cable-tied to a railing while acting-President Morgan Freeman and Chief of the Secret Service Angela Bassett are powerless at the Pentagon.
What the bad guys don’t know is that disgraced former Secret Service (and Special Forces, natch) dude Gerard Butler heard the shooting and crossed town from his low level security job at Treasury to sneak in to the building before total lockdown. Now, he’s taking out the trash one by one but can he rescue the President’s son (Finley Jacobsen) and save the free world before every nuke in the American arsenal goes “boom”.
While the Film Festival continues to deliver untold pleasures to Wellington cinephiles, the commercial distributors dump (shall we say) less-heralded product at our currently very quiet multiplexes and arthouses.
My Life in Ruins is a belated follow-up to the international smash hit My Big Fat Greek Wedding. That film was produced by Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson as a favour to their friend Nia Vardalos and, to the surprise of everyone, it went on to make squillions at the box office and promised to make comedienne Vardalos a romantic comedy star. Things didn’t quite work out like that and it’s taken seven years for a follow-up to hit the screens, also supported by Hanks and Wilson.
Sadly, My Life in Ruins is likely to disappoint those that remember MBFGW fondly – the warmth and good humour of that film has been replaced by cheap laughs at the expense of international stereotypes and there’s a flatness to the execution that Vardalos’ mugging can’t hide.