Movie Review: “London Has Fallen”

Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman, Angela Bassett, Charlotte Riley, Colin Salmon, Robert Forster
Babak Najafi

“Olympus Has Fallen” was a pretty blatant rip-off of John McTiernan’s “Die Hard,” so it should come as no surprise that “London Has Fallen” – which is more of a spiritual successor than a literal sequel to the 2013 film – takes a page from another installment in the John McClane series, “Die Hard with a Vengeance,” by staging it as a buddy movie between Gerard Butler‘s gruff, no-nonsense Secret Service agent and Aaron Eckhart‘s hostage-prone president. The premise itself isn’t all that different from its somewhat enjoyable predecessor, but while “London Has Fallen” has its charms, this lean, mean POTUS-in-peril action thriller is ultimately hindered by its reluctance to fully embrace its own stupidity.

When the British Prime Minister unexpectedly dies after a routine surgery, U.S. President Benjamin Asher (Eckhart) insists on traveling to London for the funeral to pay his respects, despite the logistical nightmare that it creates for Secret Service director Lynne Jacobs (Angela Bassett) and head of security Mike Banning (Butler). Many of the world’s most powerful leaders are scheduled to attend, which provides the perfect opportunity for Yemenian arms dealer Aamir Barkawi (Alon Aboutboul) to launch a synchronized terrorist attack that kills several heads of state and reduces London’s most famous landmarks to rubble. President Asher manages to survive the initial attack, but when his rescue chopper is shot down, he’s forced to go on the run from his pursuers, relying once again on the highly skilled Banning to keep him safe and neutralize the threat.

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Movie Review: “Last Vegas”

Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Kline, Mary Steenburgen
Jon Turteltaub

Talk about being acutely aware of one’s demographics. “Last Vegas” takes the easy joke at nearly every opportunity, and it is exactly what makes the movie work. It’s a familiar story line with punched up dialogue (as well as a pair of killer visual gags), delivered by comedy masters. Where action movies are equated with popcorn, “Last Vegas” is comfort food. It’s not terribly good for you, but it sure tastes good.

Billy (Michael Douglas), Paddy (Robert De Niro), Archie (Morgan Freeman), and Sam (Kevin Kline) were best buds as kids in the ‘50s. The Flatbush Four, they called themselves. Life took them in various directions, and the latter three are living in a private hell for various reasons (death of a spouse, failing health, and boredom, respectively). One day, Billy calls them and tells them he’s finally getting married to the lovely 30-something Lisa (Brie Blair). The group decides to get together in Las Vegas to send Billy off in style, but old feelings between Paddy and Billy flare up immediately, and are only further complicated when they meet Diana (Mary Steenburgen), a lounge singer who ignites a similar rivalry to the one Billy and Paddy had when they were kids.

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5 Questions with Hollywood Stuntman/Dove Men + Care Spokesman Bobby Holland Hanton‏

Bobby Holland Hanton is the Michael Jordan of his profession. Hollywood’s top stunt double, Holland Hanton has doubled as Christian Bale (in “The Dark Knight Rises”), Daniel Craig (in “Skyfall”), Ryan Reynolds (in “Green Lantern”), and he recently filmed “Thor: The Dark World” with Chris Hemsworth. Bullz-Eye got to ask the latest spokesman for Dove’s Men + Care line of products for men five questions about his career.

Bullz-Eye: Of all the Hollywood studs you’ve served as a stuntman/body double for, who is the one you would most like to be for an entire week and why?

Bobby Holland Hanton: Between Batman, James Bond and Thor, this is an extremely difficult question. I would have to say Batman and Bond are equally as intriguing, with Thor being a close second. Batman is a superhero, who fights crime behind a mask and no one knows who he is – that is pretty cool. Whereas Bond is more realistic, he’s a slick and suave hero that everyone can see and root for. On Thor, Chris Hemsworth looked great and is a character that carries a heavy hammer — he is always particularly well-groomed and keeps his face fresh.

BE: What did you want to be when you were 10 years old? And how did you become a stunt double?

BHH: When I was 10 I wanted to be Batman, Thor and James Bond. No, I’m only kidding. I wanted to be a professional soccer player. Growing up, I followed in my older sister’s footsteps and took on gymnastics. I loved the physicality of the sport and I loved to train. However, soccer was always my passion, and then I found myself just enjoying the regimented training and working out.

BE: What’s the most gruesome injury you’ve suffered as a result of being in your profession?

BHH: I suffered a bad back injury while filming “Green Lantern.” I performed four back-focused stunts in a short period of time, which took a lot of hits to my back over and over. It took its toll after a while, and I found out ultimately that I had sciatic nerve damage. I needed to have two operations on my back, one of which was an emergency surgery, and it took about 9 months to regain full strength. I hope I can say that will always be the worst injury I’ve ever suffered.

BE: What do you do to stay in shape? What type of training do you do, what do you eat and how frequently?

BHH: It is all dependent on who I am doubling. With Chris Hemsworth in “Thor,” I was on a very strict workout plan to gain the strength and muscle. Whereas for Daniel Craig, who is slimmer, I did not work out as often, and focused on my diet and nutrition plan. I have found that between movies it has been best to maintain a middle ground, and I have been blessed to have the ability to change body types rather easily; I thank genetics, I guess. I believe in a strict regimen all day, every day in order to keep workouts and nutrition intact. I wake up every morning and take a shower before I start my day. I am a huge fan of products like the Dove Men+Care Aqua Impact body wash, because it prevents me from smelling bad on set after performing stunts all day, which would be embarrassing in the company of so many movie stars. I also make sure I eat regular portions throughout the day, every two hours, balancing high protein, high carbohydrates and high fats.

BE: Was there a movie star you’ve met who left you completely start struck? Who is the hottest female celebrity you’ve ever seen in person?

BHH: I have been fortunate to work with some of the greatest stars of all time. I would say Morgan Freeman, Anthony Hopkins and Gary Oldman struck me the most. Chris Nolan is a spectacular director, and I loved working with him on “Batman”. In terms of the hottest female celebrity I have seen, I would go with Emily Blunt or Rachael McAdams — they are gorgeous!

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Movie Review: “Now You See Me”

Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher, Mark Ruffalo, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Dave Franco
Louis Leterrier

It takes balls of steel to write a film like “Now You See Me.” It’s the screenwriter declaring to the moviegoing public that he or she is smarter than they are, which motivates the audience to prove them wrong. Now, to be fair to the screenwriters of this particular film, anyone who says they figured out the ending before the Big Reveal just got lucky. At the same time, there are a lot of things about the movie that are a little…off, and not in a ‘this is a clue in disguise’ kind of way. The characters themselves tell you that you’re too close to see the big picture. As it turns out, the movie is the same way. It’s a thrill to watch while it’s happening, but take a step back when the credits roll, and it reveals itself to be a house of cards.

J. Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg), Henley Reeves (Isla Fisher), Merritt McKinney (Woody Harrelson) and Jack Wilder (Dave Franco) are talented illusionists with varying degrees of success – a couple of them are actually cons – when they receive a mysterious invitation to meet in an abandoned building. One year later, they are performing together in Las Vegas as the Four Horsemen, and they execute a dazzling stunt that involves robbing a bank halfway around the world. This, naturally, attracts the attention of both the FBI and Interpol, which leads to cynic Fed Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) being teamed up with French desk jockey Alma Day (Melanie Laurent). Watching from the sidelines with bemusement is Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman), an illusionist who has made a career out of debunking other illusionists. Rhodes isn’t sure whether he is trustworthy or another piece in a larger puzzle.

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A chat with Morgan Freeman (“Oblivion”)


Fans might think it would be a burden to not only be one of the most respected actors in film, but to have a voice that is universally recognized. From science documentaries to films involving a certain caped crusader, Morgan Freeman has seemingly done it all and shows no signs of slowing down. He sat down recently to talk about his relationship with fans and working with a screen idol of his, Tom Cruise, in the new sci-fi flick “Oblivion.”

Bullz-Eye: This is the first time you’ve worked with Tom. Do you have differing ways of how you approach a role?

Morgan Freeman: I don’t know. Everybody works the same. Preparation, very often, may be different, but you can’t work differently. You have to say the words that were written on the page. You have to make your marks. That’s the work.

BE: This film has many aspects that sci-fi purists enjoy. What do you think sets it apart?

Morgan Freeman: One of the things that stands out in this film is the love story. It’s not like one we’ve seen before. Then, there’s the awesome technology. The bubble ship can be remotely controlled. I agree that this is unlike many we’ve seen, or any we’ve seen prior. It’s very intelligent and extremely creative. Joseph designed these doggone toys. Awesome. Those drones are things you can’t believe, but there they are… believable.

BE: What aspect of the script most appealed to you?

Morgan Freeman: When I first read it, it talked about the mysteriousness of this group. At the outset, you don’t see them. They’re there, but you don’t see them. Then, when they are finally revealed, they’re the good guys and I’m the leader.

BE: In “Olympus Has Fallen,” you play your usual authoritative figure, but in this movie, you got to use some heavy machinery. Was that a choice on your part?

Morgan Freeman: No, I don’t make choices like that. (laughs) That’s written in that he goes up there and mans the machine gun. How these things work out is strictly the writer’s thing. It’s not the director. It’s not the actor. It’s strictly the writer.

BE: Was it fun?

Morgan Freeman: It was fun. That was dual 50-calibers on that tractor. I’d never fired a 50-caliber machine gun before.

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