Tune to The 2 Guys Named Chris Show every Monday to get the scoop on the latest new films and releases to DVD from a Canadian point of view. Julie Crawford, Film Critic for The Vancouver Courier, gives her two cents worth every Monday morning on Rock 92.
November 5th 2012
by Biggie Josh Ellinger,posted Nov 12 2012 7:17AM
Flight is a pleasant surprise: it starts out as a big-budget disaster film, but morphs easily into an indie character study, featuring a career best by Denzel Washington. Washington is Whip Whitaker, who wakes up drunk with a cute companion in his bed. A little weed, a little coke, and it’s all good. But when he walks out of the hotel room in his pilot’s uniform, and you know we’re headed for disaster.
The next scene is one of the most intense crash sequences in years; Whip manages to save most of the 102 souls on board but then comes under scrutiny by his peers and by the media when his toxicology report comes back less than clean.
The goal is to keep Whip sober through the hearings, and it proves a challenge.Whip also meets a recovering addict called Nicole (played by British actress Kelly Reilly, fantastic), and the two form a somewhat unlikely relationship but a poignant one nonetheless.
Director Robert Zemekis has spent the last decade doing stop-motion films like The Polar Express, Beowulf, and A Christmas Carol but he proves he still knows what he’s doing with both the tense action and the human drama. The film runs a few minutes too long and the ending is a little preachy. But it wouldn’t surprise me to see Denzel up at Oscar time.
This is a small movie with some very big stars – Anthony Hopkins, Rachel Weisz, Jude Law and several international stars – but it didn’t make much of a ripple here. 360 has a promising pedigree: it was directed by Fernando Meirelles (City of God, The Constant Gardener), and written by Peter Morgan (Frost/Nixon) and features a succession of interconnecting stories that start at one point and then deposit us back where we started, as the title suggests. It’s a very stylish movie, with genuine moments of real drama and peril for the characters involved, but because there are so many plotlines going on we don’t get more than a passing glimpse into the lives of our characters as we speed by. It's an interesting conceit that speaks to how our lives are all somehow interconnected, but it doesn't say much else of substance.
The Amazing Spider-Man
Everyone was asking “why so soon?” after the other Spider-Man movies – Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 3 just came out in 2007. However, director Marc Webb (500 Days of Summer) strikes the perfect balance between an intimate story and big blockbuster action, and adds something new to the franchise. Andrew Garfield plays Peter Parker, high school outcast who is bitten by that famous spider and begins to have special powers. Of course there is a giant lizard villain (Rhys Ifans) who is threatening the peace and security of the city, but at its core this is a love story between Peter and Gwen Stacy (played by his real-life love Emma Stone). Great chemistry between these two, the film is funny, it’s thoughtful, and it’s action-packed. I thought it was great.
Great features on the blu-ray: second-screen app, a piece on the video game, director and producer commentary, bits on casting, the Spidey suit, production, stunts… you name it, it’s here.