Academy Award Winner Denzel Washington is back and Oscar nomination is buzzing all around his latest film, Flight. Directed by Robert Zemeckis and following a remarkable cast of Don Cheadle, Melissa Leo, Bruce Greenwood, Kelly Reilly, and John Goodman, Flight is probably one of the most moving films of 2012. Whip Whitaker (Washington) is a smug veteran pilot who miraculously lands a plane that seemed to be doomed from the start. Saving all but a few members aboard, Whip is deemed a hero. That is until after further investigation shows that he was under the influence of alcohol and cocaine while piloting. As questions continue to arise about the incident investigators are deciding whether the incident was indeed Whip’s fault or an act of God.
We find out from the very beginning that Whip is not only an absentee father, but an alcohol and cocaine abuser as well. The film takes us through Whip’s short time success as a hero to his extremely low time as the possibly reason of the plane’s malfunction. In Whitaker’s mind he is a functional substance abuser, but his life is rapidly spinning out of control. Though a good friend and the Airline Pilot’s Union representative, Charlie Anderson (Bruce Greenwood) along with his attorney Hugh Lang (Don Cheadle), try to help him through the investigation; Whip gives up drinking. He comes across a fellow addict Nichole ( Kelly Reilly) who is recovering from a strong heroine overdose. The two become fast friends and even faster lovers. They seem to be on the correct path until the stress from the investigation leads Whip to drink again and eventually driving Nichole away. From that point we watch Whip continuously battle with alcoholism, disconnection, his ego and most importantly his lies.
One thing noticed about John Gatins, the film’s writer, was his strong theme of religion and truth. From the plane-in the mist of landing-taking off the steeple of the church to describing the freak accident as an “act of God,” Whip’s lack of faith and arrogance ultimately lead to his demise. Eventually he is forced to deal with his demons opposed to lying to himself. Flight plays on the audiences emotions through fear, empathy and dependence. It is definitely one that will leave you on the edge of your seat from the very start. In my opinion, it is most undoubtedly award worthy.
Opening at an impressive 30.2 million this weekend, Oren Peli is back with another installment of the Paranormal Activity franchise. As a fan of the series, I was excited to see a fourth one but let’s let this be the end of the road...Seriously.
With that said, Paranormal Activity 4 starts off like the rest of the films. There are no opening credits and 100% of the movie is shot through some sort of camera lens. This time we were provided with a quick clip of Katie playing with her baby nephew, Hunter, leading to the night she slaughtered her family and kidnapped him from his crib. The captions go on to explain that the whereabouts of these two are still unknown. The film then fast forwards to 2011 to a new suburban family whose house is eerily or lazily reminiscent to those in the previous movies.
The film depicts Alex, played by adorable fresh face Kathryn Newton, and her family being somewhat of the perfect family with their own little issues. In the beginning of the film we meet their creepy little next door neighbor, Robbie (Brady Allen), who seems to consistently find his way on to their property regardless of gates and locks. Alex’s little brother, Wyatt, soon befriends Robbie but we noticed that he is a very unusual child. Robbie consistently stares off into a trance and answers questions in one word sentences. After his mother is suddenly rushed to the hospital mysteriously, Alex’s ridiculously naive mother (Alexondra Lee) decides to let Robbie stay with them while his mother recovers. Cue ominous lightening and thunder….Now!
Alex, who was already hesitant of this decision, enlists her hilarious and overly sarcastic boyfriend Ben (Matt Shively) to help with setting up lap top webcams around the house after noticing some weird things going on. Once those cameras are set up we start to see the disturbing occurrence we paid for. Some instances Peli cleverly involved the ever so popular Xbox Kinect….almost made me consider selling mine. We also see that there is an ulterior motive behind Robbie staying with the family. He brings something into the house that terrifies them leading to jarring moments and a big, yet expected, surprise.
My opinion? Paranormal Activity 4 is just like the others. The show stealer, hands down, was Matt Shively, Ben; he left the audience tickled with his witty comebacks, childish pranks and cynical sense of humor. His character brings back the comedic relief we missed with Micah from the first film. Shively’s performance was more memorable than the actual “scary” scenes. In usual Oren Peli form, he builds suspense by letting small things happen to lead up to a heart pounding, nerve wrenching ending that leaves you somewhat rattled. Were there some creepy parts? Sure, but nothing to keep you from a restful slumber as the first did. All in all it was just okay. The scary factor from the Paranormal Activity has died down and I think it’s time for the saga to die as well.
I had the chance to see Taken 2 on its opening night at Rave at Streets of Southpoint in Durham. I was a huge fan of Taken, the original storyline, great action sequences, lots of twists and turns and Liam Neeson kickin alot of ass.
I've been pretty amped to see the sequel since the trailer came out.
Taken 2 started out alright with Famke Janssen separating from her second husband and meeting up with Liam Neeson and their daughter in Istanbul after a security job he completed. What the family doesn't know is that the Albanians (that Liam took out in the first movie) have disgruntled family members who want to avenge them. Guess Albania is a road trip from Turkey, so they begin following the family around Istanbul.
Shortly thereafter, the action scenes begin, and they're quality. While the action scenes are still strong, the story line is a straight line and the twists and turns aren't there like they were in the first one. There are too many coincidences and although they try to explain it with a count that Liam Neeson does when he gets kidnapped, things don't add up when he looks for his ex wife.
It wasn't the worst movie I've seen, but if you are expecting another Taken then you'll be disappointed. The action is good but they leave alot to be desired with the storyline. They do leave room for a third Taken and maybe they can go back and find the magic from the first one (like they do in alot of trilogies).
Not surprisingly, Liam Neeson still kicks ass.
I give it a "C".