7:00 PM, 27th April, 2013
Reading reviews of 2012 over the Christmas period there was the usual range of best films of the year. I came across a new category – Best Film For The Over 50s. It says something about Australia’s ageing population, particularly Canberra, maybe even the ANUFG… The winner was The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. I predict that if this award continues Quartet will win the next one.
You might think that a film set in a home for retired opera singers would be a film to avoid. That would be a mistake. Those of us who are over 50 will want to see it when we learn that the cast includes all of these wonderful British actors – Billy Connolly, Maggie Smith, Michael Gambon, Tom Courtenay. And Pauline Collins. If you don’t know her work you should come and enjoy her. Do you remember Andrew Sachs as Manuel in “Fawlty Towers”? Would you believe that the first series was in 1975 and the second (and last) was in 1979? He is now 82 and you will want to see him in this. Another thing that might make you curious enough to attend is that this is the first film crediting Dustin Hoffman as director (aged 75). His touch has been praised. Fancy directing your first film at that age – there is hope for us all still.
This feel good film will have you laughing and crying and so glad you saw it.
8:53 PM, 27th April, 2013
Flight marks the return to live-action filmmaking of Zemeckis after a string of ill-received 3D motion-capture projects, including the most recent A Christmas Carol.
The film’s lead is a dominantly bruising Denzel Washington, who plays Capt. Whip Whitaker, a veteran airline pilot whose alcoholism has become his greatest vocation. The focus of the story is a plane flight commanded by Whip, which, after the hydraulics fail, is sent plummeting to the ground. In a thrillingly detailed scene, showcasing Zemeckis’s returned directing confidence, Whip manages to land the plane with minimal casualties.
The drama then unfolds as Whip’s heavy alcohol and drug use is made public after a toxicology report during his recovery from the heavy landing. The dilemma for Whip is that he was intoxicated during the flight, arousing suspicion as to whether he really is the hero he has been made out to be. Strong supporting roles come here in the form of Don Cheadle as Whip’s friend and lawyer, Melissa Leo as the lethal head prosecutor and, as Whip’s dealer, a lovable John Goodman.
The film more or less shifts genre at this point from action thriller to one man’s struggle for salvation and truth, with a little courtroom drama thrown in, but the film never loses its tensely held grip. Flight does turn to some clichéd sermonising at its end, drawing some unsubtle morality judgements about the characters, but Zemeckis’s overall assured direction, coupled with Washington’s monumental performance, make for a thrilling movie.