FLIGHT || Denzel Washington delivers a heart-wrenching and spectacularly tortured performance as an alcoholic, yet extremely talented airplane pilot. With an intense opening act, involving an all-too-realistic plane crash, Zemeckis instantly grabs your attention and rarely lets go. “Flight” weaves a story so enthralling, one is never quite sure what will happen next, with expectations often toyed with, rocking back and forth from what you want to happen for the characters and what actually transpires. Don Cheadle and Bruce Greenwood offer up effective supporting performances, as does Kelly Reilly, who completely blows away, with an equally tormented performance, as a fellow addict and love interest. Though “Flight” is at times uneven, the overall appeal never fades and this becomes proof that Zemeckis should stick to live-action cinema.
JACK & DIANE || Literally anything starring Juno Temple is a draw for me. Having enjoyed her in just about everything I’ve seen her in, including “Dirty Girl” and “Killer Joe” and even a small role in “The Dark Knight Rises”. Although I am still not sure what exactly “Jack & Diane” is trying to be, or even about, I will definitely be seeing this film when it hits home video.
THE MAN WITH THE IRON FISTS || Props must be given to RZA for stepping up and delivering a giant punch in his directorial debut. Even without Quentin Tarantino’s endorsement, “The Man With the Iron Fists” translates similar to the essence of “Kill Bill”, with the loose, gravity-defying martial arts mixed in with a down-and-dirty style of bar fights and carnage. Uneven performances plague the film, as does a lack of foreign languages and subtitles, but with Russell Crowe adding a sense of sophistication, Lucy Liu providing a strong female lead, and RZA anchoring the score down, including an excellent original song with The Black Keys, “Iron Fists” is just strong enough to be enjoyable, while landing just short of something original.
THIS MUST BE THE PLACE || This film’s release was a long time coming, as I remember seeing a trailer almost a year ago. Sean Penn is a spectacular actor, but “This Must Be The Place” looks a little too out there for me to get excited about. Granted, Penn might be able to bring something to the role that you can’t quite get from the trailer, but ultimately, there isn’t a whole lot driving me to see this one.
WRECK-IT RALPH || Clever in all the right ways, “Wreck-It Ralph” is Disney’s answer to the end of the “Toy Story” franchise. With new and exciting characters in a mix with familiar video game faces that all will recognize, like Sonic the Hedgehog and Pacman, there is a quirky charm to “Wreck-It Ralph” that entertains for its entire run-time. John C. Reilly and Sarah Silverman both prove that their voice acting might just top their live-action acting, with strong vocal performances from both. Enjoyable for all age groups, this quaint animated feature reaches a level I didn’t expect it to reach.
6 DEGREES OF HELL || Way too low budget, filled with melodramatic acting, and a sad revelation that Corey Feldman has hit rock bottom are three very big reasons not to see this film… so I won’t.
AMBER ALERT || Alright, you got me. When I first read what this film was, I rolled my eyes. When I found out it was found footage, I sighed, and even the amping up the trailer does is pretty ridiculous. But clear away all the gimmickry and this actually seems like an interesting, innovative film that I could possible see myself enjoying.
THE BAY || Found footage film of the week #2 that you can consider me intrigued to see. This one is “footage confiscated by the government”, trying to hide a major event on the east coast involving some weird creatures coming out of the water. This film could easily be unsuccessful at what it’s trying to do, but I will most likely give it a shot.
BONES BRIGADE: AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY || How did it take this long to make a documentary about Tony Hawk and his rise to fame in the skateboarding world? Granted this is about several influential skateboarders, including a favorite of mine, Rodney Mullens, but with heartfelt interviews and actual footage of the guys growing up, this looks like a pretty impacting documentary.
THE DETAILS || I came to a sad realization that I do not really care for Tobey Macguire as an actor. Perhaps it was after “The Amazing Spider-Man” where I realized that Andrew Garfield was so much better in that role and that I never really even enjoyed Macguire as Spider-Man. Whatever the reason, “The Details” is made harder to watch because of him. However, I really enjoy Elizabeth Banks and dark comedies, so I will most likely see this film regardless of my growing dislike for the lead actor.
GREGORY CREWDSON: BRIEF ENCOUNTERS || What makes me slightly want to see this film is to see the photographs that Gregory Crewdson meticulously labors over and that might just be enough to get me to see.
HIGH GROUND || As inspirational and with as many gorgeous views as this film seems to offer, I am not entirely invested enough to actually see this film. There feels to be something missing and I can’t quite put my finger on it, but perhaps it is trying to span too far and cover too many emotions without really hitting on any of them.
A LATE QUARTET || It is films like “A Late Quartet” that I live for. Small arthouse films with an extraordinary cast and a subtle, like between drama and dark humor. Phillip Seymour Hoffman is notorious for this small films and I haven’t been let down yet. Same with Catherine Keener and topping the big name cast off with Christopher Walken is nothing short of perfection. I am truly looking forward to seeing this film before it leaves theaters.
MIAMI CONNECTION || Bringing old arthouse films back from the dead is the new thing apparently. However, this film should have stayed dead…
NORTH SEA TEXAS || The subject matter is nothing revolutionary, telling the coming of age story of a young gay boy where the idea of homosexuality is completely unknown of, or appears to be that way. What partially sells me on this film is the quality of cinematography, with gorgeous shot selection and a polished quality that lacks in many independent films.