Hypable Movie Review: ‘Flight’

11:00 am EST, November 2, 2012

Robert Zemeckis returns to live action filmmaking for the first time in a decade with Flight, a sometimes-thrilling account of an alcoholic airline pilot and one life-changing event. The problem here is the film can’t help but get in its own way at nearly every turn, despite a terrific performance from Denzel Washington and some exhilarating moments inside the cockpit.

Highly touted as Zemeckis’ return to live action filmmaking, Flight proves he’s still more than capable behind the camera, as there are moments, particularly early on in the film, that show true cinematic ingenuity, thanks in large part to some slick work from long time collaborator, cinematographer Don Burgess. In fact, the opening sequences are highly riveting and offer a promising beginning, as we follow the flight and piloting of Whip Whitaker, played superbly by Denzel Washington.

Much will be made about the flight sequence in the opening portion of the film, and for good reason. Zemeckis crafts an immensely thrilling, edge-of-your-seat opening act that largely takes place inside the cockpit, as we see a new perspective of flying; picture The Aviator meets commercial airline travel. Yet this is the first instance of Flight sabotaging itself, as the filmmakers choose to intersperse this flying sequence with that of a mysterious heroine addict, Nicole (Kelly Reilly).

Flight

Despite these sequences with Nicole somewhat taking the wind out of the film’s sails early on, the first act is promising nevertheless, as the intense events aboard the plane outweigh the film’s missteps. Yet the issues don’t stop there, as the second act is a complete mess; Flight completely shifts gears from the thrilling, devastating events of the first act. Think of it as if Nicole’s story wins out – as she coincidentally does play a surprisingly large role when she befriends Whitaker in a hospital after overdosing on heroine.

Zemeckis and writer John Gatins do manage to instill a few moments of brilliance into the second act, particularly with a brief scene in the hospital between Whitaker, Nicole, and a cancer patient, played brilliantly by James Badge Dale. Yet this sequence ends up as little more than a vignette, while a budding relationship between Nicole and Whitaker surfaces and goes nowhere. The second act does introduce several supporting talents, such as Don Cheadle as an attorney for Whitaker, Bruce Greenwood as a pilot’s union representative, and John Goodman as Whitaker’s friend and all-around wacko. These talents go largely wasted however, as they become bit players in a story that revolves into focusing on Whitaker’s ghosts and eventually, just how unlikeable Whitaker is as a character.

Flight

This could perhaps serve a purpose as some sort of redemption story, which would make sense considering the prominence of Nicole as a character, but instead Flight seems only keen on reinforcing Whitaker’s struggles. While Washington is as convincing as ever, it’s tough to have a central character who disappoints at every turn, well into the third act. Stories in addiction are fine, but it doesn’t fit here nor is it treated with competence.

Flight has flashes of brilliance; an impressive opening act, a solid-as-ever performance from Denzel Washington, a fantastic soundtrack featuring the likes of The Rolling Stones and The Red Hot Chili Peppers, but it is all for naught. The real travesty here is Flight‘s clear potential, as there is talent to spare and an opening act so strong that when what comes is so uneven and pointless, the end result is disappointment.

Grade: C

Rated: R (for drug and alcohol abuse, language, sexuality/nudity and an intense action sequence)

Flight opens in theaters on November 2, 2012.

Disney’s released a minute-long clip from Beauty and the Beast, and it’s a great one: Emma Watson performing “Belle.”

Belle skips around town as the townspeople observe the “funny girl” in this uplifting sequence from the movie. You can’t help but get excited for Beauty and the Beast after watching this, and Emma sounds great!

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Disney’s released a minute-long clip from Beauty and the Beast, and it’s a great one: Emma Watson performing “Belle.”

Belle skips around town as the townspeople observe the “funny girl” in this uplifting sequence from the movie. You can’t help but get excited for Beauty and the Beast after watching this, and Emma sounds great!

In related news, the cast and crew kicked off their press tour today in Paris. Disney released the following adorable photo of Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Josh Gad, Luke Evans, director Bill Condon and composer Alan Menken as they start publicizing the movie, which opens in theaters March 17:

Can’t wait to see it!

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 4×15 brings the L.M.D. storyline to a truly wild end. Here’s what to expect from “Self Control”!

You don’t know what’s coming

Yeah, there’s a synopsis for “Self Control” — “Suspicion turns to paranoia when the team doesn’t know who can be trusted as more LMDs infiltrate S.H.I.E.L.D.” But that’s the equivalent of saying that Iron Man is about a goateed man who can fly.

Sure, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 4×15 answers a lot of questions about who is and who isn’t a robot. More profoundly though, the episode goes in for a final knead and punch of the ideas that have been floating around all season.

Read full article

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 4×15 brings the L.M.D. storyline to a truly wild end. Here’s what to expect from “Self Control”!

You don’t know what’s coming

Yeah, there’s a synopsis for “Self Control” — “Suspicion turns to paranoia when the team doesn’t know who can be trusted as more LMDs infiltrate S.H.I.E.L.D.” But that’s the equivalent of saying that Iron Man is about a goateed man who can fly.

Sure, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 4×15 answers a lot of questions about who is and who isn’t a robot. More profoundly though, the episode goes in for a final knead and punch of the ideas that have been floating around all season.

Free will and humanity. Sacrifice and love. The nature of reality — and even of life itself. Beneath the plot, surprises, and pain, that’s what’s really going on in the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. spring finale.

That, and the characters who get caught in the middle.

Jed Whedon is Not. Playing. Around.

Executive producer and showrunner Jed Whedon is the man behind the pen and the camera in “Self Control,” and he’s there for a reason. Whedon’s first try at the director’s chair on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is operatic, incisive, and perpetually gut-clenching.

Yes, there are lovely and disturbing vistas, an artistry that comes from a deliberate and careful eye. But more important is the unshakable Whedon impulse that animates Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 4×15, that builds through the episode like a cresting tide.

You know that unmistakable sense that someone is laughing behind the scenes? Yeah. That’s why Jed Whedon is here.

What’s next?

Well, that’s a very good question. “Self Control” leaves us with a few razor-like possibilities, all of which lead down spiky corridors of questions. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 4×15 is here to leave us thirsty for the season’s final seven episodes, and that’s exactly what it does.

Oh, and to answer your next question…

Cliffhanger?

Uh, yes. Cliffhanger.

Oh boy, cliffhanger.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 4×15, “Self Control,” airs Tuesday, Feb. 21 at 10:00 p.m. on ABC.

What are your top theories for ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ 4×15?

Have President’s Day off? Here are some movies, TV shows, and soundtracks with which to celebrate President’s Day.

‘Hamilton’


Even if you were somehow lucky enough to have already seen the musical, you might as well celebrate today with another listen to the soundtrack. In case you have been living under a rock, Hamilton is a hip-hop, rap, musical about Alexander Hamilton. Yes, Hamilton never became president, but the musical does include multiple would-be presidents. Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and even birthday boy himself George Washington are heavily featured in Hamilton. Based on the biography by Ron Chernow, you can get a history lesson while you listen to great music.

Read full article

Have President’s Day off? Here are some movies, TV shows, and soundtracks with which to celebrate President’s Day.

‘Hamilton’


Even if you were somehow lucky enough to have already seen the musical, you might as well celebrate today with another listen to the soundtrack. In case you have been living under a rock, Hamilton is a hip-hop, rap, musical about Alexander Hamilton. Yes, Hamilton never became president, but the musical does include multiple would-be presidents. Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and even birthday boy himself George Washington are heavily featured in Hamilton. Based on the biography by Ron Chernow, you can get a history lesson while you listen to great music.

‘Liberty’s Kids’


Liberty’s Kids aired in the early 2000s on PBS. Liberty’s Kids follows three teenagers from varying backgrounds throughout the American Revolution, mentored by Benjamin Franklin. It is geared for children but is still pretty enjoyable for adults. In each episode, the teenagers encounter a significant person or event from the revolution, giving a concise and entertaining history lesson. The show features many important figures throughout the revolution, showing even more presidents than in Hamilton. As one can imagine, Washington is among these.

‘Lincoln’


Lincoln is a 2012, Oscar nominated movie, directed by Steven Spielberg based on Doris Kearns Goodwin’s biography of Abraham Lincoln, Team of Rivals. Instead of a biopic of Lincoln’s entire life, Lincoln is specifically about his passing of the 13th amendment. Essentially directed between each of his science fiction blockbusters, Spielberg also made many significant historical movies, Lincoln among them. Lincoln not only shows his power as a president, but also humanizes him through an Oscar winning performance by Daniel Day-Lewis.

‘1776’


Hamilton is not the first musical about American history. Thankfully, though, because this way there are other options, one of which is 1776. Even more conveniently, the musical 1776 was adapted into a movie in the early 1970s. Heavily implied by its name, 1776 is about the signing of the Declaration of Independence. 1776 definitely has a more classical musical theater vibe than Hamilton. The strange combination of American history and musical theater allows for a humorous yet educational experience. However, as reflective of the history of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Washington is not a character in the musical; yet, it obviously includes many other significant historical figures.

‘The West Wing’ or ‘The American President’


Unlike the other items on this list, these two are about fictional presidents. But it would be nice if they were real. Of the many politically charged movies and television shows by Aaron Sorkin, these two are specifically about presidents. If you have the day off and want to attempt to binge watch seven seasons, then you may want to check out The West Wing. The West Wing follows President Bartlet and his staff and advisors during their time in the White House. If you want a movie to help you transition between Valentine’s Day and President’s Day then The American President is worth watching. It is a romantic comedy about President Shepherd, who falls in love with a lobbyist.

How else will you celebrate President’s Day?