Quick Flick Thoughts: ‘The Heat,’ ‘White House Down’

theheat

The Heat

Let’s get this out of the way: how many major Hollywood films this summer have female leads? Note the plural form—we’re not talking about having a female co-lead. If you answered “one,” you’re correct. The Heat, starring Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy, is Hollywood’s obligatory female-led film of the summer. It’s also one of the flat-out funniest films of the year, period. Between Bridesmaids and Identity Thief, McCarthy has already made her case as one of the funniest women in film, and she only cements that here with an intense, anarchic turn. Bullock, meanwhile, has played uptight and neurotic before, but she’s never been paired up with quite as polar opposite a performer as she is here. With both performers in roles that allow them to expand on their most notable characteristics, they take what would otherwise be a standard-fare buddy cop flick and turn it into a riotous tour de force for both actresses.

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White House Down

Director Roland Emmerich’s most well-known film to date is 1996’s Independence Day, and for his latest film, he revisits one of the signature locations of that film. In White House Down, Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx star as a wannabe Secret Service agent and the President of the United States. When the White House comes under attack, John Cale (Tatum)—who just happens to be in the White House with his daughter after an interview with the Secret Service— ends up being the only person who can protect President James Sawyer (Foxx). While there are a few minor surprising twists, the film is largely predictable. That’s perfectly fine, though; Emmerich avoids the major mistake made earlier this year by the similar Olympus Has Fallen and keeps the action fast-paced and matches it with a healthy amount of humor and charm. It’s big, dumb action, but in the best possible sense.

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