‘Olympus has Fallen’
A die-hard action movie
There’s really not much to ask for from action movies. If they provide enough entertainment with action scenes and likable characters, I can forgive a few dumb moments here and there. Now this leniency can be pushed to the limit from time to time (looking at you, “Rush Hour 3”), but fortunately I was able to enjoy this year’s “Olympus has Fallen,” which provides just enough action to drown out my issues with the film overall.
Months after having to let the first lady die in order to save the president (Aaron Eckhart), we see ex-Secret Service agent Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) working at the Treasury Department in Washington D.C.
Meanwhile, during a meeting with the South Korean prime minister, the White House comes under attack by a well-armed group of North Koreans who capture the president and his staff in their bunker. Banning was fortunately able to get inside the White House before the terrorists locked it down and becomes the only hope to rescue the president.
How ironic is it that “Olympus has Fallen” is more like a “Die Hard” movie than “A Good Day to Die Hard?” I don’t mean to imply this film rips-off the first “Die Hard,” but it does indeed take some cues from the latter’s success and that’s a good thing.
At times I was a little confused by some of the decisions made by the characters, especially when they should’ve known better, but the plot makes for a good focus of the action. The story is also surprisingly brutal, not shying away from killing innocent civilians on screen. And as weird as it sounds, I find it to be a good thing as it raised the stakes for Banning and the crisis. I would liked to have seen a little more about the characters before the terrorists attack, but the movie still showed enough to make me care.
I’m pretty sure Gerard Butler was born and bred for action movies, and his performance here further proves it. His Mike Banning is a competent hero who isn’t too invincible (he doesn’t hit much when he shoots without aiming) and he provides quite a few laughs. Aaron Eckhart was good as always, making for a president you’d want to have saved. Most everyone else does a great job as well (you can’t really go wrong with Morgan Freeman as acting president), though a few minor characters were a little lacking.
Something I had hoped would be changed by “Olympus”’ release, but unfortunately was not, were the computer generated effects. When you fail to make me believe the White House, which actually exists mind you, isn’t really there then something went wrong. Maybe that particular example was just for me, but other things like airplanes and anti-air guns looked like they belonged in a SyFy original movie. They even made a flag look fake. Aside from that, the action scenes themselves were well choreographed with only a little bit of shaky-cam. The script and cinematography got a little corny with an overabundance of “Go America!” but hey, go America!
Sure there were some problems with “Olympus has Fallen” that maybe some people will have a hard time looking past, but it’s entertaining and violent enough to satisfy action fans.
and in music:
The Ultra Music Festival
A musical phenomenon
Lights, bass and epicness. That pretty much describes the Ultra Music Festival in three words. Three days of nonstop partying can take a toll on some people, but not for the “Ultranauts,” a term used to refer to festival attendees. UMF is basically a Disneyland for electronic dance music lovers. It’s an opportunity of a lifetime that changed the way I think about festivals forever.
One reason why UMF is amazing is because of the location – Bayfront Park in downtown Miami. It has an amazing view at night that left me breathless as I enjoyed the sounds of the festival. The real fun began when the sun went down. Glowing gloves, people on friends’ shoulders and dance circles are a few reasons why UMF is one of the best festivals to date.
The lineup for this year’s festival was unbelievable. More than 300 acts performed over the three-day festival, ranging from hip-hop acts such as Snoop Dogg, all the way to the top DJs in the world such as Swedish House Mafia, Deadmau5 and many more. UMF is mainly about electronic dance music, but what separates it from other electronic dance festivals is it’s the first-ever festival to be held over two weekends, giving people the chance to experience Ultra.
The production at the festival was at an all-time high. From fireworks lighting up the sky to enough LED lights to make a bystander stare in awe, their presentation was the best I have ever seen in a festival. The sound system was also top notch. I could really feel the bass in my chest. I highly recommend wearing earplugs to Ultra. If you don’t, prepare to have your ears ringing throughout the weekend.
I also got a chance to check out the VIP line, and I’m not a big fan of it. I’d much rather party in the crowd than in an elevated tent with limited space. I only recommend VIP to people who want to experience the festival in a calm environment. Also, you have to be 21 or older, so make sure you’re of age before you spend your hard-earned money.
If you’re planning to attend the festival with a few friends, I highly suggest making a meet-up point. There are so many stages to visit and attractions to see that you will lose members of your group. By having a meet-up point, I was able to regroup with my friends and plan out what acts to see.
Also, make sure to hydrate. Water will be your best friend during the three-day event. To make things even easier, they have free water available plus you can bring a Camelbak.
Transportation will be a pain in the neck during Ultra weekend. If you decide to drive to the festival, expect to pay around $30 to $50 for the day. I suggest taking a bus to the festival. It’s only $2 per person and the bus will take you from your hotel to the front entrance of the festival. The buses run on a schedule so if you want to get to Ultra early, get to know the bus routes in advance.
This year’s music festival may be over, but festival organizers just announced next year’s UMF will be March 28 through 30. So gather up your friends and start planning early because the next UMF will be here before you know it.