Towering pieces of work, be they literary, theatrical or cinematic, are often subject to reincarnation in a variety of mediums, such is their enduring quality. Originally a stage play created by Harlem Renaissance figure Langston Hughes, Black Nativity (2013) is the latest example of this frequent occurrence. Whilst writer and director Kasi Lemmons should be commended for being able to retain the essence of the classic narrative, the 21st century update suffers from extremely heavy-handed execution, ultimately resulting in that fact that his film doesn’t resonate quite as well as it might have done given its seasonal release.
The first of two films this year to use the White House as its setting, Olympus Has Fallen (2013) is the latest film to adopt the time-honoured one man army vs. terrorists plot-line, and it accomplishes its task in entertaining fashion. Directed by Antoine Fuqua (Training Day), it sees former presidential head of security Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) infiltrate the famed building when the White House – dubbed ‘Olympus’ – is captured by a group of highly trained terrorists. Out-manned and out-gunned, Banning must use his extensive training and detailed knowledge of the residence to rescue the President (Aaron Eckhart).