JayDee's Movie Musings

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Miss Vicky's Loyal and Willing Slave
Yeah, don't worry about SC, JD. You know how he hates the spotlight to be elsewhere.
You seem to be implying that SC is in some way an attention whore. But that doesn't make any sense. After all it's not like he ever hijacks a thread to make it all about him, the Movies of the 90s Countdown for example. It's not like he ever makes deliberately outrageous and provocative statements just to elicit a reaction. It's not like he made the preposterous decision to create an alter ego for even more attention. It's not like he seems to have made it his sole mission to keep alive the stereotype that gay men are divas and drama queens. And when he was making a big deal about how obsessed I am with numbers in terms of my reviews, it's not like he has ever become obsessed with how many posts he has. It's not like you see him chasing up Rodent to update the post counts. It's not like he created a movie commentary thread for no other reason than to boost his post count.

No you never see him doing any of that.

I am just laughing at how spotlight heavy JayDee likes to be.

It's not like he made the preposterous decision to create an alter ego for even more attention.
I think you mean several alter egos.

It's not like he created a movie commentary thread for no other reason than to boost his post count.
In his defense, I'm pretty sure he initially started doing commentaries out of boredom, not to boost his post count. They're really fun to do, actually, if you get the right co-commentator(s) and the right movie.

In his defense, I'm pretty sure he initially started doing commentaries out of boredom, not to boost his post count.
I just thought it was a fun, couldn't-believe-it-hadn't-been-done-yet idea.

I mean, when you look past the area of post counts -- keeping count of how many posts you have is stupid and not really important anyway -- written movie commentaries make total sense.

I think you mean several alter egos.
I don't have alter egos, but I will give you an insight about myself.

Here you go:

There is no Sexy Celebrity.

message board fight!!

There needs to be a thread where all we do is fight with each other.

Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?
those actually work pretty good. Instead of hijacking a thread ya take it to an "arena" forum or "parking lot" where everyone brawls and people come and join in or antagonize

those actually work pretty good. Instead of hijacking a thread ya take it to an "arena" forum or "parking lot" where everyone brawls and people come and join in or antagonize

I just made one.

In other news -- sorry, JayDee. I seem to be hijacking your thread here.

Miss Vicky's Loyal and Willing Slave
Well I had a think about SC's comments about my reviews being too showy and with too much pomp. And I've decided....

to dedicate this review to Sexy Celebrity!!! This review of course is #201!!!! Which is just 1 review after my landmark 200th review!!!!

So everyone roll up, roll up and contribute your rep!!!!


Year of release

Directed by
Robert Zemeckis

Written by
John Gatins

Denzel Washington
Kelly Reilly
Don Cheadle
Bruce Greenwood
John Goodman
Melissa Leo



Plot - Captain Whip Whitaker (Washington) is a commuter airline pilot. During a flight from Orlando to Atlanta something goes terribly wrong and the plane begins to plummet to the ground. In an attempt to counter the problem Whip makes the apparently insane decision to invert the plane and fly it upside down. By doing so however he is able to save just about every person on board. When he wakes up in his hospital bed he sees that he is being hailed as a hero on TV, but at the same time a representative from the airline union is introducing him to a lawyer who explains that Whip may face criminal charges because blood tests have revealed that during the flight he was intoxicated with alcohol and cocaine. Whip strenuously denies that his abilities were impaired, claiming he was not at fault in the slightest. While the investigation is ongoing into the crash he is advised to stay completely clean and sober. However this proves a lot more difficult for Whip than he cares to admit.

Welcome back to the real world Robert Zemeckis! After having lost him to the world of motion capture for more than a decade, film audiences should rejoice at his return to live action. Zemeckis is a fine storyteller and in my eyes one of the most underrated directors working today. And while Flight may not prove to be as timelessly popular a movie as much of his other work (Back to the Future, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Forrest Gump etc) it's still a very welcome return to the big screen for Zemeckis. Compared to many of his previous films it marks a bit of a shift being a much smaller, more dramatic and more personal film than just about any that he has previously delivered. His direction in Flight too is really quite understated (other than in one amazing sequence which we'll come on to later) but as such is quite commendable. In sports it's quite often said that a referee has done a good job if he isn't noticed, and it's rather a similar case here I feel. Such a project doesn't require flashy, 'look at me' direction; it requires a steady hand who knows how to tell the story and who is able to put his trust in the actors, who just allows them to perform.

And Zemeckis' trust proves to be justified by his impressive cast. This is of course especially true in the case of the film's lead, Denzel Washington. Portraying Captain William 'Whip' Whitaker it is Washington's best performance in a number of years, reflected by his first Academy Award nomination since 2001's Training Day. The film really is a character study of a man whose life is falling apart under the strains of addiction, and on these terms Washington ensures that the film succeeds with flying colours. His performance is terrifically powerful throughout with countless scenes and moments that could happily sit alongside his work in the likes of Philadelphia, Malcolm X, Hurricane, Glory etc as being amongst the best stuff he has ever done. Especially impressive scenes are those in the hospital following the crash where he excellently portrays how traumatised the character is, and any time where he succumbs to his addictive weakness and you just see the sheer amount of pain and torture written all over his face. Powerful stuff. His powerhouse showing also helps to make the ending more believable than would otherwise be the case. Flight's conclusion is rather big and Hollywood-ised, as if it's trying to give Denzel his 'Jimmy Stewart holding Congress in Mr Smith Goes to Washington moment'. The honesty that Denzel imbues the scene with however makes sure that we buy into it.

While it may be Washington who is in the spotlight the film features strong support throughout its ensemble, with Don Cheadle proving very impressive as Whip's lawyer. And a real highlight of the film is John Goodman. Even though he only appears on two occasions really, he makes such an impression that you would swear he had featured much more prominently. Goodman, one of the great actors around, plays Harling Mays; a friend of Whip and his drug dealer. In prison films there's always a character who can 'get you stuff.' And his character here is a lot like that, except on the outside. As well as supplying Whip with drugs, when he is in hospital Harling visits him and delivers unto him a stash of cigarettes, alcohol and porn magazines. Now that's a good friend! Goodman's inclusion adds a welcome dose of comic relief to the film.

Film Trivia Snippets - The spectacular crash sequence in the film was actually inspired by a real life disaster, though one that had a much more tragic conclusion; the crash of Alaksa Airlines flight 261. As in the film the plane suffered a catastrophic failure which caused the film to nose dive at a rate exceeding 13,300 feet per minute. Also like the film, the pilots rolled the airplane to an inverted position in an attempt to stabilise it. Sadly the outcome was not successful in real life however, with all 88 people on board perishing. /// The plane that crashes in the film is flight number 227. This plays into a superstition about planes crashing whose digits add up to 11. A number of spectacular airline crashes have been examples of this - American Airlines flight 191, Pacific Southwest Airlines flight 182, Delta Airlines flight 191, Flight 11 on September 11th etc. /// In order to get the film made within the studio's very modest, take-it-or-leave-it budget of $28m both Denzel Washington and Robert Zemeckis accepted massive pay cuts, taking just a tenth of their normal salaries.
I also found Kelly Reilly to be very affecting and engaging as Nicole Maggen, a fellow addict who develops a relationship with Whip. I seem to remember some reviews mentioning how they felt the romance that features in Flight to be unnecessary and forced. And while I will concede that the film could probably have survived, perhaps even thrived, without it I do feel that it has a point that makes it worthwhile. In addition to the obvious angle of physical attraction, when they first meet Nicole is an absolute mess, in hospital following an overdose. And in her I think Whip perhaps sees the opportunity to be the strong one in the relationship; to make his problems appear lesser by comparison, and to be the hero. He protects her from her angry, potentially violent landlord, pays off her debt and gives her a place to live. As the film goes along however their roles are reversed and it reveals just how troubled Whip is. Nicole is able to turn her life around and make positive progress while Whip just continues on a drastically downward spiral.

Back at the time of its release, the one aspect of Flight that was mentioned in every review and provided the money shot for every trailer and TV spot was its plane crash. At the time there was also a story going around about how every airline would decline to show it during flights. My initial reaction was that it was a bit of a namby-pamby reaction spurred on by our heavily PC, health and safety obsessed society. Having now seen the film and the scene in question however, to even consider showing the film on planes for a single second would be madness. Its a bravura scene; a truly astonishing and terrifying experience that is vividly realistic. I didn't actually realise it at that time but during the sequence I had obviously found it so intense that I had been holding my breath, something I only became aware of at its conclusion when I let out a large breath. So even though I was sitting comfortably in my room, my feet resting on a table only a foot or two off the ground the scene managed to get to me. I can't imagine what it would have been like watching it onboard a plane with some 30,000 feet of nothingness between my feet and the ground below. Certainly one of the stand-out scenes of 2012.

If like Bonnie Tyler you're holding out for a hero, you've come to the wrong place. And I apologise for that dreadfully cheesy line! You'll struggle to find anyone with redeeming features amongst the film's ensemble. Although one of the issues throughout the film is whether Whip is a hero for saving all those lives, or whether he is the villain for causing the crash in the first place. While the film does resolve that question it still leaves it rather in the balance as to how you see him, leaving it up to the viewer to question and decide whether they see Whip as a hero or not. A man who has been self-medicating on alcohol and drugs for a long time, the film doesn't shy away from showing him in a very negative light. He is a real loose cannon who does some despicable things such as the moment he manipulates a member of the cabin crew into covering for him by invoking what it would be like if she had died and it was her son at the funeral. Oh yeah I forgot to mention, he does this at a funeral!!! And yet at the same time he does save 96 lives which would otherwise have perished where it not for his actions, as is highlighted by the fact that the airline had ten pilots attempt the same move in a simulation and on every occasion they failed. At least he has the excuse of sorts of being an addict, but alongside the obviously damaged Whip you also have some really horrible characters who are always attempting to cover their own ass, most notably Don Cheadle's scumbag lawyer who manipulates everything and everyone he can to get the desired result.

The film does have the odd fault. The most notable of which is perhaps a slightly overlong running time. To cut it down I think they could have trimmed some of Whip's relapses. Numerous times throughout the film he seems to be fine and then self-destructs. While it may be an accurate depiction of the lives of an addict it may not be ideal for a piece of film. Oh and just as a little aside, while it's a thread that is dropped as the film enters its final act, Flight does also feature an interesting theme about religion, faith and destiny. When Whip and Nicole meet there is talk of it being fate that brought the two together in that spot, and then following the plane crash there seems to be just as many people praising God for saving all those lives as Whip himself. It's something that's always irritated me; following a tragedy or accident or whatever when someone survives they tend to thank God for it, not the EMTs, nurses, doctors etc who trained for years to gain the expertise required to save them. It also irritates me that it's ok to praise God for saving people in a tragedy, but to not blame God for the tragedy in the first place and all the people who did die. And while it's not uttered during Flight is there a more annoying phrase in all of humanity than “God works in mysterious ways” to explain it all away?

Conclusion - Flight is a film that soars on the back of an exceptional performance from Denzel Washington. While he may not have earned an Oscar for his performance, he certainly earned his wings. Perhaps the film does have the occasional tendency to go into auto pilot mode, and in terms of its runtime it could maybe have done with losing a little luggage. So it may not be all plane sailing but a fine cabin crew of actors ensure that it makes it through any turbulence without stalling or any potential crash landing. And with Zemeckis at the controls piloting the film admirably right from take off all the way through to its destination, this is a grounded piece of work which is able to fly high during its tremendous crash landing sequence. It's a journey that is well worth being a passenger for. And yes I'm pretty sure I just set a new record for puns featured in a conclusion!

I agee it is nice to see Zemekis doing live action again, and I thought that Flight was one of the best movies of that year. The Avengers being the best of course .

John Goodman was also one of the best parts of the flick even though he is barely in it. That is because he is one of the best supporting actors of all time, and why this man has not won an Oscar yet is beyond me. He leaves a bigger impression on me then Cheadle does, and Don Cheadle is in much more of the damn movie!

I like that you liked the film. However, Denzel did plenty well in between this andTraining Day. Inside Man, Man on Fire, Déjà Vu and. The brilliantly directed Antwone Fisher are the standouts.

While he may not have earned an Oscar for his performance, he certainly earned his wings.
I'm leaving this thread, forever.

Edit: I liked Flight by the way, very good review again and I agree with you about how his character was inconsistent at times, this was the main fault for me, the script seemed to take his character from one direction to another and back again, and I was never actually sure what to think or feel for him, I didn't really like the ending either, like the very last season, I thought it was too cliché/easy after what had at least attempted to be a challenging character study beforehand. But yeh, overall, I did like it.

I always love Denzel but Flight just didn't do it for me. Some of the moments felt ridiculous, especially his last binge before the hearing. Also hated Goodman's character and the love interest.

I agree with rauld that Denzel has been doing plenty of good work since Training Day. All those films he mentioned are better than Flight in my opinion.

We've gone on holiday by mistake
Fantastic start including the crash, good middle but a little overlong and disappointing ending. You could say a film that never lives up to the brilliant crash sequence for the 90 minutes after.

As you say JD the crash sequence is a terrifying 10 minute masterpiece that leaves you white knuckled and tense and I quite agree that showing Flight on an in flight movie would perhaps be a bit much for the more nervous passengers (like me).

The great question that I came away with was would he have saved all those lives if he wasn't high?? Would he have kept his nerve if he were completely sober?


Miss Vicky's Loyal and Willing Slave
you got a massager!?! all i got was a pair of fluffy slippers - but, hey, they're REALLY REALLY comfy slippers, and winter's a-coming, so . . .
Well you're still fairly new to the thread and the gifts go on seniority. So Mark's getting an iPad and for honeykid I'm trying to arrange a night with Drew Barrymore. Oh and don't worry, Sexy's been downgraded to a lump of coal.

If you want more Kurosawa I suggest Ikiru. But if you want more of his samurai movies (which I love) go with either The Hidden Fortress, Ran, or Kagemusha.
It was actually in my mind to watch Hidden Fortress a few weeks back when I watched through all 6 Star Wars films. Thought I would continue with the theme and watch one of the inspirations for Lucas.

My write-up for Quills was an exception, though I still don't know how I managed to come up with that much to say about it (which is still far shorter than your typical reviews). I bet if I tried to do the same for Gladiator I'd come up short.
Well you should perhaps give it a go someday. You might surprise yourself or you might improve over time if you kept going. Or at the very least you could give us a good laugh at your expense.

In other news -- sorry, JayDee. I seem to be hijacking your thread here.
Wow, did I actually just get an apology from Sexy for his behaviour?! Those are pretty rare are they not?

I thought that Flight was one of the best movies of that year. The Avengers being the best of course .
You know that's right!!!

Miss Vicky's Loyal and Willing Slave
Several times when I've been writing a review for a superhero flick (most recently with Thor: The Dark World) I've posted a disclaimer of sorts outlining how big a fan I am and how my views may not reflect those of 'normal' people.

Well I think I've come up with a little something that I can post before I embark on one of my fanboy raves/rants -