Geoff Cox’s DVDs: Olympus Has Fallen, Chronicle, I’m So Excited, Rebellion

Aaron Eckhart in Olympus Has Fallen
Aaron Eckhart in Olympus Has Fallen

The influences are clear to see in fast-paced action movie OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN (15: Lionsgate).

If you substitute the White House with a Los Angeles skyscraper, you’ve essentially got the first Die Hard movie.

When the White House is infiltrated by terrorists, it’s up to Gerard Butler’s secret service operative Mike Banning to save the day.

Banning, a former bodyguard to the US president (Aaron Eckhart), was dismissed from duty after a tragic accident. Using his inside knowledge of the building after the president is taken hostage, the resourceful Banning wages a one-man war against the bad guys, even as they threaten to disarm America’s missile defences.

But he must also find the president’s young son (Finley Jacobsen), who is hiding somewhere in a network of secret passages.

The momentum drops off after the initial, audaciously staged terrorist attack, and Butler isn’t quite up to it when delivering the pithy one-liners. He’s no more than solid and capable as the hero who’s got what it takes to get the job done.

> Three teenagers gain extraordinary powers in CHRONICLE (15: Twentieth Century Fox), one of the more worthwhile additions to the ‘found footage’ subgenre.

It follows a troubled nerd, his much cooler cousin and the big man on campus as they explore powers assimilated while exploring a mysterious cave.

However, unlike the classic comic-book hero, these guys don’t put on spandex and explore the maxim that “with great power comes great responsibility”.

They just want to have fun and delight in experimenting with what they are able to do, documenting their actions on video.

Initially using their telekinesis for pranks, the three teen titans exhibit an infectious sense of wonder as they revel in these astonishing abilities, with the flying scenes particularly breathtaking.

But absolute power corrupts, as one of their number discovers when it goes to his head and things take a darker turn, leading to a jaw-dropping smackdown worthy of any big-budget blockbuster.

> Top director Pedro Almodovar returns to his comedy roots with I’M SO EXCITED (15: Twentieth Century Fox), a film full of fizz, filth and fun.

When a moment’s negligence endangers a flight to Mexico City, three flamboyant flight attendants try to keep the passengers happy until they find a solution.

The economy class has been put to sleep, but the business class, which includes a shady Spanish banker, a clairvoyant virgin, an actor and a mysterious security agent, proves more difficult to subdue. When news of an impending disaster finally breaks, rather than panic, a frenzied torrent of debauchery ensues. Look out for cameos from Antonio Banderas and Penelope Cruz as a husband and wife duo.

> REBELLION (15: Lionsgate) reconstructs one of the most contentious moments in recent French history when Kanak separatists took hostages on the Pacific island of Ouvéa in 1988,

An anti-terrorist squad is dispatched to negotiate with the group’s leader, but with a presidential election in full swing back in France, the need for candidates François Mitterand and Jacques Chirac to seem tough in a crisis leads to a murderous army raid being carried out to resolve the situation.