Kicking off the year’s film watching with Flight

Flight - starring Denzel Washington, directed by Robert Zemeckis

An airline pilot saves a flight from crashing, but an investigation into the malfunctions reveals something troubling.

The first day of the first month of 2013 and I’m getting started with my film challenge for the year – watch at least 100 new-to-me films within the year. And the first film? Flight. Starring Denzel Washington and directed by Robert Zemeckis, who hasn’t done a live action film since Castaway.

I admit it. I have a soft spot for Denzel Washington. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I don’t think he can do no wrong, but he can almost do no wrong. Even with last year’s Safe House, while the film wasn’t the strongest, his performance was the best part of the film.

Flight is a much stronger film. It’s does have its flaws, but Flight is an engaging and thoughtful film. If a little repetitive at times. Watching the self-destructive Whip Whitaker drown himself in booze and drugs is depressing. Here’s a guy who’s a straight up hero, clearly has a drinking problem and yet can’t admit to himself that he needs help. And yet, it was how Whip’s addiction was written was one of the weakest aspects of the film. Drilled home time and time again. I get it. He’s an alcoholic. He’s a jerk. Let’s move on!

Despite this weakness in Flight, I enjoyed watching. It’s probably not the best film depicting addiction (The Basketball Diaries holds that mantle for me). But from the beginning watching the disaster of the doomed flight unfold to the ever excellent comic timing of John Goodman, it’s hard to keep your attention off the film. The final conclusion is sign posted a good mile before the end. But, by then it doesn’t matter. Denzel’s performance sells this film for me.

Flight (Viewed: 01/01/13 | Rating: 4/5)

Check out all of the films I’ve seen this year: Continue reading Kicking off the year’s film watching with Flight

100 movies: Everybody’s Fine

Every year I set myself a target, usually of about 100, of films to watch. These are new films. Not new, new films. But films that are new to me. Any time I’ve seen a new one, I post a bit of a brain dump of my thoughts on the film here. Enjoy!

Everybody's Fine Everybody’s Fine (14/03/12)

A widower who realized his only connection to his family was through his wife sets off on an impromptu road trip to reunite with each of his grown children.

This film really made me feel sad. Sad for Frank. And also acutely aware that Frank reminded me a lot of my dad and in turn, his children reminded me a lot of my brother and I. Which, in context of the film, made me feel even more sad! There’s not a huge lot to feel happy about watching the film.

Aside from the sad feelings, to me, the film was just ok. Not all that memorable. It wasn’t all that engaging while I was watching it. My mind did wander. Right now, trying to figure out what to say about it, is proving tricky too!

Robert De Niro’s great – you really do feel for Frank and the situation he’s found himself in with his children. I did love the scene where Frank was talking to his kids in his “vision”, realising all the things he already knew about his children.

It’s got a nice warm and fuzzy ending but it’s just so forgettable I can’t really rate it that highly.
Rating: 2/5

Read on to see all the films watched this year… Continue reading 100 movies: Everybody’s Fine

120+ Movies: The first cinema visits of 2011

I’ve hit the cinema for the first time in 2011 and here’s what I’ve seen:

The Fighter The Fighter (11/01/11)

A look at the early years of boxer “Irish” Micky Ward and his brother who helped train him before going pro in the mid 1980s.

Really good film. I wasn’t blown away by it. But I really enjoyed watching it. It’s your typical story of how someone at the bottom of the ladder gets to the top. There’s a broken family. There’s a very big broken family. There’s also some great performances from Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Melissa Leo, but mostly from Mark Wahlberg. He confuses me. He does movie drivel like Max Payne and then things like this and The Departed. Thankfully, despite the drivel he’s still seen as an actor who’s capable of these kinds of roles.

At the beginning of the film I was surprised to see Darren Aronofsky’s name pop up as the Executive Producer. Did not know he had, maybe not a hand but a finger, in this pie.

The film’s just under two hours long, but it never feels like you’re just waiting for something to happen. The pace skips along nicely, going through all the motions necessary before getting to the final fight which is brilliantly directed.

I can’t quite see this film winning any Best Film nominations in may eventually get nominated for. But if the likes of Wahlberg, Adams, Leo or Bale win for their performances, I’d be happy. It’s a good film with some great performances.
Rating: 4/5

127 Hours 127 Hours (14/01/11)

A mountain climber becomes trapped under a boulder while canyoning alone near Moab, Utah and resorts to desperate measures in order to survive.

Brilliant film. I don’t think there was much I could fault this film on. Loved how it was shot, the soundtrack by A.R. Rahman was brilliant. James Franco held the film from start to end. Thoroughly engrossing. Really inspirational film as well. Despite what happened to Aron Ralston, I really want to go to those canyons and see what he saw. Though, not feel what he felt. As for that arm hacking off scene? It was something pretty extreme to watch. I wouldn’t say it was gory, as that makes it sound like it could have been something in a horror film. It was intense to watch, but I’d say it was more clinical and realistic than I thought I was going to see. I could feel his pain. I can’t imagine doing what he did to get himself out of the situation, though I’m guessing if you want to live that badly, you’ll do anything you can do to live. I think I was more grossed out when he tried to drink his own urine to keep himself hydrated. That really made me squirm!

Think I want to go hunt the book out now and see how that compares.
Rating: 5/5

Read on to see the entire list of movies seen this year so far: Continue reading 120+ Movies: The first cinema visits of 2011