Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Toronto Film Festival Lineup: What Did They Get? Toronto Film Festival Lineup: What Did They Get? Richard Linklater's Untitled New Film Pushed to 2016, Might Direct Jennifer Lawrence Movie Richard Linklater's Untitled New Film Pushed to 2016, Might Direct Jennifer Lawrence Movie Jill Soloway Says "There Is an All Out-Attack" on Female Filmmakers Jill Soloway Says "There Is an All Out-Attack" on Female Filmmakers 'Steve Jobs' Joins Fall Festival Contenders as NYFF Centerpiece Gala: What's Coming Up and What's Not (UPDATED) 'Steve Jobs' Joins Fall Festival Contenders as NYFF Centerpiece Gala: What's Coming Up and What's Not (UPDATED) Arthouse Audit: Is 'Phoenix' This Year's 'Ida'? 'Mr. Holmes' Stays Strong Arthouse Audit: Is 'Phoenix' This Year's 'Ida'? 'Mr. Holmes' Stays Strong Friday Box Office: Sandler's 'Pixels' Gets Mixed Response, 'Paper Towns,' 'Southpaw' Not Far Behind Friday Box Office: Sandler's 'Pixels' Gets Mixed Response, 'Paper Towns,' 'Southpaw' Not Far Behind Scott Foundas Explains Why He's Leaving Film Criticism--Again--for Amazon Studios Scott Foundas Explains Why He's Leaving Film Criticism--Again--for Amazon Studios Congrats to Monica Bellucci: She's Making History Congrats to Monica Bellucci: She's Making History Broad Green Dates 'Knight of Cups' and Two More Releases Broad Green Dates 'Knight of Cups' and Two More Releases Watch: The Secret Ingredient to David Lynch's Disorienting Cinema Watch: The Secret Ingredient to David Lynch's Disorienting Cinema First Look: 'No' Director Pablo Larraín Channels 'Neruda' with Gael García Bernal First Look: 'No' Director Pablo Larraín Channels 'Neruda' with Gael García Bernal Is 'The Revenant' the Most Hellish Shoot of All Time? Is 'The Revenant' the Most Hellish Shoot of All Time? Broad Green Enters Long-Term Home Video Deal with Universal for Burgeoning Slate Broad Green Enters Long-Term Home Video Deal with Universal for Burgeoning Slate Gabriel García Márquez Documentary Coming Soon (Trailer) Gabriel García Márquez Documentary Coming Soon (Trailer) Watch 'SPECTRE' Trailer: James Bond Meets the Author of His Pain Watch 'SPECTRE' Trailer: James Bond Meets the Author of His Pain 'BoJack Horseman,' 'Rick and Morty,' and Our Love/Hate Relationship with TV 'BoJack Horseman,' 'Rick and Morty,' and Our Love/Hate Relationship with TV Why I Can't Wait to See 'Crimson Peak,' Guillermo del Toro's Sumptuous Period Thriller (VIDEO) Why I Can't Wait to See 'Crimson Peak,' Guillermo del Toro's Sumptuous Period Thriller (VIDEO) First Look at Julianne Moore and Ellen Page as a Gay Couple in 'Freeheld' First Look at Julianne Moore and Ellen Page as a Gay Couple in 'Freeheld' Why Kevin Costner Paid for 'Black or White' (New Trailer, Sneak Preview Q & A) Why Kevin Costner Paid for 'Black or White' (New Trailer, Sneak Preview Q & A) Gabriel García Márquez and Akira Kurosawa Talk Film, Writing and 'Rhapsody in August' in 1991 Gabriel García Márquez and Akira Kurosawa Talk Film, Writing and 'Rhapsody in August' in 1991

'White House Down' Review and Roundup: Tatum Hits, Emmerich Misses

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood June 26, 2013 at 4:22PM

True confession. Always full of mischief and mayhem, Roland Emmerich movies are guilty pleasures for me. An admittedly cheesy entertainer who aims squarely for the mainstream, the German maestro stages action with flair and delivers superior visual effects--big, small, live-action and digital. When he connects--as he did with old-style effects adventure "Independence Day" (1996) and the weather-gone-amok disaster epic "The Day After Tomorrow" (which seems to be coming true), he makes multitudes of moviegoers very happy. Even "2012" was an enjoyable E-ride if you threw any real-world logic out the window.
5
Jamie Foxx and Channing Tatum in "White House Down"
Jamie Foxx and Channing Tatum in "White House Down"

True confession. Always full of mischief and mayhem, Roland Emmerich movies are guilty pleasures for me. An admittedly cheesy entertainer who aims squarely for the mainstream, the German maestro stages action with flair and delivers superior visual effects--big, small, live-action and digital. When he connects--as he did with old-style effects adventure "Independence Day" (1996) and the weather-gone-amok disaster epic "The Day After Tomorrow" (which seems to be coming true), he makes multitudes of moviegoers very happy. Even "2012" was an enjoyable E-ride if you threw any real-world logic out the window. 

But when Emmerich misses, as with the 1998 disaster "Godzilla," which was made before the VFX were ready to deliver the gigantic monster (see "Pacific Rim" this summer), or the ludicrously silly "10,000 B.C.," he does so by a mile. While the modestly-budgeted Shakespeare identity mystery "Anonymous" made dramatic mistakes that crashed the movie at the 2011 box office, it marked an extraordinary accurate recreation of the period via innovative VFX. 

Emmerich's return to destroying the president's residence in "White House Down" is somewhere in the middle. I would welcome the return of Channing Tatum and Joey King as a kick-ass father/daughter team, and count me among "Zero Dark Thirty" star Jason Clarke's admirers--his performance as the rogue leader of a lethal paramilitary assault team is dangerous and flawless. As long as the movie keeps moving with helicopters crashing and guns blazing, all's well; it's fun watching the interior of the White House get trashed as Tatum's would-be secret service agent fights to protect his iPhone-wielding daughter and his president (Jamie Foxx, who should have turned down this thankless role). 

Unfortunately, directing dialogue is not Emmerich's strong suit, and most of the babble from the folks outside the White House who are trying to wrest control from a band of terrorists is utterly unbelievable. That Tatum shines in this messy movie is a testament to his rising stardom. He was the only actor to emerge from Ron Howard's "The Dilemma" intact. He's had an amazing year, from Steven Soderbergh's "Magic Mike" and "Side Effects" to comedy "21 Jump Street" and having Paramount delay "G.I. Joe: Retaliation" in order to expand his role. And Bennett Miller's "Foxcatcher" is still to come.

This could be Tatum's aha moment, like Tom Cruise in "Cocktail," when he carries a bad movie. At my press screening, when Tatum stripped down to his wife-beater midway through the film, applause erupted. Tatum could be our next Cruise: that rare marquee movie star with chops, sex appeal and danger, who is equally beloved by men and women. 

Review round-up below; by Friday it's likely that "White House Down"'s current 53% ranking on Rotten Tomatoes will go down.

This article is related to: Reviews, Reviews, Channing Tatum, Jamie Foxx, White House Down, Roland Emmerich


E-Mail Updates








Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.