Posted in Films of the Year

One Mann’s Movies- The Best Films of 2016

(This is a re-publish of the post made on 31st December, but with a much tightened-up video and the text presentation of the top 10 added).

I’ve gone video for this Top 10 countdown of my Best Films of 2016, but for those who are ‘trailer averse’ a written presentation of the Top 10 is also provided below!

Number 10:  Nerve

nerve-poster“Nerve” is both a teen-flick and – to be honest – a bit of a B-movie, but I really liked it for its energy, its style, its topicality – coming out as it did at the height of the Pokemon Go craze of this summer – and the vivacity of its young leads:  Emma Roberts, niece of Julia Roberts and Dave Franco, younger brother of Tom and James. Remember:  “Snitches get Stitches”!

Number 9:  The Big Short

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Adam McKay’s The Big Short is a real ensemble piece but features some heavyweight star turns in the form of Ryan Gosling, Christian Bale,Steve Carell and Brad Pitt.  Having personally lost a significant amount of money on a failed US property deal in the late noughties, this is a pretty hard film for me to watch, but it’s worth it as it’s done extremely well.  Intelligent and requiring your full attention, this is a film I can watch again and again.

Number 8:  Midnight Special

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At Number 8 is Jeff Nichols’ Sci-Fi film “Midnight Special”.  This might be a bit of a “Marmite” movie in that some may love it and others might hate it, but for me as a thinly veiled tribute to one of my favourite films of all time – “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” – it was mesmerising.  The story of the lead character, played by Michael Shannon, apparently kidnapping a strange, light-sensitive boy from a religious cult was both mysterious and gripping. The script assumes an audience IQ of at least a hundred by only revealing its plot points in stages – a really great screenplay.  With a great supporting cast including Kirsten Dunst, Joel Edgerton and Sam Shepard this is a great Sci-Fi-cum-Roadtrip movie that is truly memorable.

Number 7 – The Shallows

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At Number 7 – a shark tale.  Like “Midnight Special”, “The Shallows” is a low budget but very tight and well-constructed little film.  Blake Lively who (#sexistbutappreciative) fills out an orange bikini very nicely indeed, plays a surfer babe who gets into trouble a few hundred yards offshore an isolated beach.  Attacked by a very persistent shark, she clings to a rock with the choice of either waiting for high-tide and certain death or swimming for it.  Possibly by virtue of the low budget, the film metes out its special effects frugally focusing more on reaction shots, and that adds greatly to the film’s suspense.  Despite being cursed with a rather lame ending, this was a great premise and an entertaining night out at the flicks.

Number 6 – The Nice Guys

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At my number 6 is an anarchic, violent and at times very rude comedic buddy-movie, “The Nice Guys”.  Russell Crowe would not be a natural choice in a lead comedy role, but here paired with Ryan Gosling the pair make a memorable double-act.  The film also notably features young Australian actress Angourie Rice as Gosling’s* morally centred and very bright daughter Holly who just about steals every scene she’s in. Set in 70’s LA with some really nice period touches, the “Nice Guys” is hilarious in places and seldom have I laughed out loud more in the cinema in 2016 than with this one.

* By the way, I appreciate I incorrectly referenced her as “Crowe’s daughter” in the video.

Number 5 – Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

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Making my Number 5 slot is “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, although why they needed to add that suffix to the title is beyond me.  This is a real return to form for Star Wars with Felicity Jones feisty and dynamic as Jyn Erso; a young rebel leader out with a small force to steal the plans of the ‘Death Star’.  Although a little uneven in pace, particularly at the beginning of the film when there is a lot of CGI planet-hopping, the film builds to a memorable and moving finale that is truly Shakespearean in its scope.  I just can’t wait for the sequel!

Number 4 – Nocturnal Animals

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Tom Ford’s second film – “Nocturnal Animals” – is a multi-layered telling of Amy Adam’s fatuous existence as an LA art dealer, shaken to the core when she receives, out of the blue, a cutting manuscript from her ex-husband played by Jake Gyllenhaal.  The cinematography deliciously changes from the cold blue tones of her LA reality to the rosy glow of her past memories of young love through to the harsh tones of the ‘story within the story’ – a truly horrific journey into darkness in the Texan desert.  I’ve seen review comments that this was “over-designed” and “too-perfect”. All I can say to that is that I love perfection!

Number 3 – Room

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Despite having an horrendous trailer that gave far too much away, “Room” was a really special drama concerning a teenage girl who was locked away in ‘Room’ against her will by a Josef Fritzl-style character.  Born into that claustrophobic life is her young son who knows of no other existence.  This was a justifiable Oscar win last year for Brie Larson but also fabulous was Jacob Tremblay as the young boy.  Gripping, moving and really getting to the heart of the damage that these evil people do to whole families, “Room” well deserves its position at my Number 3 spot.

Number 2 – The Girl With All The Gifts

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You might find my Number 2 slot a real surprise:  a Zombie pic! “The Girl With All The Gifts” transcends most of the other dubious flicks in this genre.  A genuinely intelligent treatment of apocalyptic  goings-on building the tension between two forces:  on the one hand the maternal love felt by a teacher, played by Gemma Arterton, for one of her young pupils, played with great style by young Sennia Nanua; on the other hand the desperate search for a cure by a scientist, played by Glenn Close, supported by no-nonsense military man Paddy Considine.  This is a career best for Glenn Close and her final scenes in this film should become a lessen in effective acting. Again done on a shoestring budget – you could actually make FIFTY of this film for the cost of “Batman v Superman” – the director has eked out every cent of that budget onto the screen.  Recommended.

Number 1 – Arrival

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At my Number 1 it’s another Sci-Fi flick, but what a flick!  “Arrival” was a film I went to see without any expectations whatsoever. This film’s trailer suggested that this was going to be another “Close Encounters” meets “Independence Day” wannabe.  I’m normally really critical of trailers that give too much of the plot away, but in this case the trailer gave absolutely nothing away about the fundamental story that lies underneath the alien visitation wrapping.  Central performances by Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner were excellent and the twists when they came were novel and unexpected.  Even the exposure of the aliens was done well, with no need for sniggering at dodgy plastic monsters or fake CGI effects.Director Denis Villeneuve will hopefully now forgive me for leaving his “Sicario” out of my Top 10.  This is a film I expect to do very well at the Oscars in a few month’s time.


So, that’s my eclectic mix of my Top Films of 2016.  Clearly I didn’t get to see more than a fraction of the hundreds of films released in the year (including films like “Hunt for the Wilderpeople” and “Anomalisa” which some other reviewers have raved about).  If I didn’t include your personal favourite, then please let me know what I got wrong in the comments section below!

Here’s hoping for another bumper crop of films in 2017!

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Posted in Film Review

One Mann’s Movies Film Review: Rogue One (2016)

Putting the “Wars” back into “Star Wars”.

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Expectations have been sky-high for this first in the ‘add-in’ series of Star Wars films. But with director Gareth Edwards at the helm, whose past movie track-record includes just the low-budget “Monsters” and the less than memorable “Godzilla“, I was frankly concerned.

But the English guy (with the Welsh name) has seriously delivered!

“Rogue One” (I have omitted the inane and irritating suffix “: A Star Wars Story”) tells the story behind the story of the original Episode IV: “A New Hope”. Felicity Jones (“The Theory of Everything“) plays Jyn Erso, daughter to Imperial weapons expert Mads Mikkelsen (“Doctor Strange“, “Casino Royale”). An interrupted childhood leads the delinquent Jyn on a personal journey to become a leader in the fragmenting Rebel Alliance, as a small band of heroes battle to obtain the plans for the Empire’s planet-zapping Death Star. Will they succeed (this is hardly a question worth asking given the start of Episode IV!) and at what cost?

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Handy with a stick. Felicity Jones as Jyn Urso.

I’m throwing it out there…. this is the best Star Wars film since “The Empire Strikes Back”. The story (John Knoll and Gary Whitta) is almost Shakespearean in its scope, leading to a moving and memorable finale. As a standalone episode within the Star Wars canon – chronologically positioned as it between “Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith” and “Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope” – the film marvellously knits the two together bringing in cameos from Episode III as well as (very surprising) cameos from Episode IV, now nearly 40 years old. The screenplay (by Chris “About a Boy” Weitz and Tony Gilroy, writer of the “Bourne” films) is whip-smart with great lines.

For Star Wars fans the film is also chock full of ‘Easter Eggs’ from the original Star Wars.  All of these are great fun but – frankly – some don’t make a lot of sense: for example, a chance encounter with a character in the streets of Jedha City doesn’t gel with what happens an hour or two later. 

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Blue Squadron heading for the big polo mint in space.

After Rey in last December’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” we again see another kick-ass heroine and a further cinematic nod towards girl-power in the movies. But this is a nuanced heroine with more than a hint of darkness about her. Felicity Jones plays her perfectly, reflecting her transition from teenage rebel to rebel-leading teen. 

In general, the darkness continues throughout the supporting cast with some of the heroes – notably the impressive Diego Luna (“The Terminal”) as Cassian Andor – managing to do some very anti-heroic things at points in the story. The rest of the cast,  and especially Donnie Yen and Wen Jiang as dynamic martial arts duo Chirrut Îmwe and Baze Malbus, generate the warm fuzzies enough for you – as the audience – to really care for what happens to them. This even extends to the lump of metal in the frame – the droid K-2SO (voiced by Alan Tudyk) – who could be the film’s Jar Jar Binks but manages instead to steal the best comic lines in the film.

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Always one for a comic tall story… or a tall comic story. K-2SO tells it how it is to Cassian Andor (Diego Luna).

Elsewhere Forest Whitaker (“Arrival“) is underused as rebel guerilla Saw Gerrera; Mads Mikkelsen adds gravitas to a key strategic role; and Ben Mendelsohn makes for a memorable Imperial villain. The only slightly irritating character in an otherwise stellar ensemble cast is pilot Rodhi Rook (played by Riz Ahmed  from “Jason Bourne“):  more for the rather pointless way his character is written than for the Londoner’s portrayal per se.

An equal member of the cast is the sublime music of Michael Giacchino, having the unenviable task of following John Williams into the Star Wars franchise. But he does a great job. After the shock of the non-traditional opening (and an abrupt and rather out of place Title shot) the style settles down, with some of the swelling music in the closing reel adding tremendously to the emotion of the finale.

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Oh we do like to be beside the seaside. From snow to sand, here come “Empire” favourites the AT-AT’s.

The film is not quite perfect though. The first half of the film could have moved on a bit quicker to get to the breathtaking finale. And even though CGI has moved on significantly from the stick men and women walking around on the deck in “Titanic” in 1997, the state of the art (no spoilers, but you’ll know what I mean if you’ve seen the film) still has room for some improvement. (Perhaps the first of these scenes  could have been as subliminal as the last for better effect).

An outstanding effort, and one I definitely want to watch again. The Bluray version will also be a ‘must-buy’ when it emerges, since – with 4 to 5 weeks of re-shoots done in the summer, and many scenes in the trailer not appearing in the final cut – there must be an enormous number of deleted (original?) scenes that may tell a very different story from the one we saw this week. 

Disney must be so, so pleased at their very expensive investment in Star Wars, and fears that the Mouse would trash the brand seem to be – thankfully – unfounded.

Fad Rating:  FFFFf. 

 

 

 

Posted in Film Review

One Mann’s Movies DVD Review: Love and Friendship (2016)

Beckinsale excels in a comic tale of Girl Power in the 1790’s.

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Set in 1790, Kate Beckinsale plays Lady Susan Vernon, an 18th century cuckoo-like ‘MILF’ (actually, more ‘LILF’, but using the ‘Lady’ term loosely) who with her glamourous demeanor is lusted after by both younger beaus as well as married aristocracy: an example being Lord Manwaring (Lochlann O’Mearáin).

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“Mirror mirror on the wall, who is the most Machiavellian of us all” – Kate Beckinsale is scheming.

Playing many different ends against the middle, Lady Susan – with the collusion of her American friend Alicia (Chloë Sevigny) – attempts to both find a suitably rich suitor for her daughter Frederica (Morfydd Clark) as well as finding a rich husband for herself to allow her to stay in the manor (sic) to which she has become accustomed. A tale of deception, pregnancy and a marriage of convenience follows: does Lady Susan have to choose between her sexual desires and the rich, stupid and dull Sir James Martin (Tom Bennett, “David Brent: Life on the Road”). Or can she have her cake and eat it?

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The seance was really starting to get into its stride.

Based on a Jane Austen short story, “Lady Susan”, this is a delight from beginning to end. However, it does require the attention of the viewer: characters get introduced to you in rapid fire succession, and keeping track of who’s who and how they interrelate is quite a challenge.

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Chloë Sevigny and Xavier Samuel (“Fury”) in opulent surroundings.

But this is a tour de force for Kate “Underworld” Beckinsale who delivers a depth of acting ability that I’ve not seen from her in the past.  Her comic timing is just sublime, and while comedies are often overlooked in Awards season, this is a role for which she richly deserves both BAFTA and Oscar recognition.

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Stephen Fry tries to interceded as the “s*it hits the fan” with a justifiably upset Lady Manwaring (Jenn Murray, “Brooklyn”).

Stephen Fry joins what is a superb ensemble cast.  But outstanding among them is Tom Bennett who is simply hilarious as the nice but dim Sir James. The comic routine about his misunderstanding of “Churchill” (Church – Hill) – a running gag – is sublime and a challenger (with “Was that it t’were so simple”) for the comedy routine of the year.

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Nice but exceedingly dim. Tom Bennett as Sir James Martin.

Directed by Whit Stilman (“The Last Days of Disco”) from his own screenplay, this is one for the more sophisticated viewer: requiring of your full attention, but a treat for the eyes, ears and brain.

Fad Rating: FFFF.

 

 

Posted in Film Review

One Mann’s Movies DVD Review: Central Intelligence (2016)

Great poster.  So-so film.

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“Saving the World Takes a Little Hart and a Big Johnson”. I doubt I have ever passed a film poster before and dissolved into paroxysms of mirth, so this film at least wins one award with me. 

The story is pretty inconsequential, and used as a framework to build set pieces around. Kevin Hart (“Ride Along”) plays Calvin Joyner – the life and soul of his high school and the guy voted ‘Most likely to succeed’. He’s also a nice guy, sensitively covering the modesty of overweight loser Robbie Wheirdicht (a good Dwayne Johnson lookalike actually played by internet wedding-dance sensation Sione Kelepi) after he’s been ridiculed by bullies in front of the whole school.

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Sione Kelepi as the young Robbie: there’s getting exposure at the cinema and getting exposure…

But sometimes life doesn’t go to plan and twenty year’s later Calvin may have married his high school sweetheart Maggie (Danielle Nicolet) but has ended up in a low-level forensic accountancy job and not where he wants to be. 

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Daniele Nicolet and Kevin Hart. If you needed a marriage counsellor, Bob Stone is not the natural choice.

Robbie on the other hand has transformed his life and physique to become Bob Stone (Dwayne Johnson), a man with a ‘certain set of skills’ and, as it turns out, a rogue CIA operative. Bob is on the trail of financial codes to help identify the location of the traitorous ‘Black Badger’ who killed his long-term partner Stanton (Aaron Paul). But the Black Badger could be anyone, and the CIA lead (Amy Ryan) suspects it might actually be Stone. With the stakes rising the inept Joyner needs to make a decision on who to trust and who to fear.

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Aaron Paul about to meet a grisly end in a lift.

The comedy lead Kevin Hart previously impressed with “Get Hard” and raises a few laughs in this one, notably with his attempt at his signature flip twenty years later than he should have attempted it!  Johnson’s character is written to be just plain weird and with Johnson’s limited acting range (think Arnie in “Jingle All The Way”) it’s a performance that is on the outlandish side of bizarre. Together the duo make for a likeable pair but this is a very lightweight comedy and is generally a smile-along rather than a laugh-along.  It is also uneven in tone, occasionally straying into highly un-comedic territory:  a throat-ripping out scene anyone? 

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Calvin Joyner – not a fan of the new ‘drop ride’ at Disneyland.

The director is Rawson Marshall Thurber who previously directed the better comedy “Dodgeball” and the far worse “We’re the Millers”.  So that should set your expectations.

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Cornered: Johnson and Hart.

A fairly ho-hum comedy which might entertain you on a long plane flight but is not worth forking out much cash to rent. 

Fad Rating: FFf.

Posted in Film Review

One Mann’s Movies DVD Review: Independence Day: Resurgence (2016)

Why Will Smith is a wise, wise man.

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I’m catching up on a few of the big films I missed during 2016. But Roland Emmerich has a lot to answer for with this one. Twenty years after Independence Day smashed the summer box office of 1996, the aliens are back: bigger and badder than ever. Steven Hiller (Will Smith) is no longer on the scene but, to give Emmerich a little credit, he has gathered an impressive array of the original stars to return led by Hiller’s wife Jasmine (Vivica Fox), President Whitmore (Bill Pullman), Dr Okun (Brent Spiner), David Levinson  (Jeff Goldblum) and his dad (Judd Hirsch). The great Robert Loggia even turns up, who played the original General Grey, looking like he is about to expire (which unfortunately he did late last year, and the film is in memorial to him). All of them have weathered over the years apart from Judd Hirsch who must have a picture in his attic.

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Maika Monroe in that frustrating moment where they shut the train doors 30 seconds before departure.

Playing the new generation (Hiller’s young son Dylan and the president’s daughter Patricia) are Jessie Usher and the comely Maika Monroe respectively, the latter having the pout of a young Jessica Alba and showing promise. Rounding off the young ‘uns, and playing an enormously irritating hunk/hero and his sidekick buddy are Jake (Liam Hemsworth – yes, younger brother of Chris) and Floyd (Nicolas Wright). And with the obvious needs of summer blockbusters to appeal to the ravenous Chinese market there is also Shanghai-born Angelababy as a young hotshot pilot and Chin Han as her uncle, moonbase commander Commander Jiang.

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Son of Thor. Liam Hemsworth looking hunkish.

It’s hard to know where to start with criticism of this film. It’s like you’ve caught someone desecrating the grave of a dearly departed relative. The plot is ludicrous…. Uh oh…here comes another One Mann’s Movies Showcase Theatre….

The scene:  onboard the alien craft high above central Asia

DRONE K’FAALL:   “The use of the anti-gravity weapon worked a treat your Majesty.  We have ripped up Shanghai and dumped in from a great height on London!  Take that Queenie! All hail our weapons superiority! I take it we should just ‘rinse and repeat’ around the world to wipe them all out? ” 

QUEEN ALIEN BEE: “No K’Fall.  Let’s land in the Atlantic and then go fight them one-on-one with our little ships in the desert near Area 51.”

DRONE K’FALL:  “B-b-b-but your Majesty, with our gravity weapon we could eliminate all threat, drill out the earth’s core and find what we came here for in perfect safety!”.

QUEEN ALIEN BEE: “No… that’s just what they’ll be expecting us to do…”

I thought the Oscar for the dumbest aliens of the year was a shoe-in for the ones who chose a similar tactic in “The 5th Wave” – but no… we have another contender for the crown. This ridiculous London-based CGI sequence – a virtual re-shoot of the ridiculous CGI sequence in Emmerich’s “2012” where John Cusack is fleeing by plane a collapsing Los Angeles  – is mitigated only by Goldblum’s witty comment about them “Always going for the landmarks” – the best line in the film. 

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“They always go for the landmarks”. A bad day to be flying out of Heathrow.

Elsewhere, the story and screenplay – by an army of writers (never a good sign) – is risible and an insult to intelligence, alien or otherwise. The ludicrous plot points go on and on…  

  • Why on earth is the single landed alien craft from 1996 owned by an African warlord? If mankind have ‘benefited’ so much from the alien technology that must surely have been through the UN-dismantling of that ship?
  • There seems to be no logical connection between the “visions” (stolen from “Close Encounters”) and the alien craft. The visions might have well have been of the alien’s last shopping list (“six cans of Kraag beans; one bottle of Vollufi ale; … “);
  • The alien craft is big enough to span the WHOLE Atlantic when it lands, but – who would believe it? – comes to a stop with its edge in Washington JUST ENOUGH to dip the White House flag to a jaunty angle.  #cringe;
  • The alien ship – apparently open to the elements – allows our heroic hunks to wander around without spacesuits;
Breathless… or not. Jessie T Usher and Liam Hemsworth (foreground) not dying of asphyxiation or cold.
  • At one point it looked like our curvaceous heroine was going to defeat the alien queen in good ol’ Wild West fashion armed only with a handgun (but no, my head could come out of my hands again);
  • And don’t even get me started on the opening “excitement” about propping up a collapsing supergun on the moon with a spaceship. Gerry Anderson would be spinning in his grave.

The dialogue is little better. The original “Independence Day” was probably most famous for two scenes: the impressive destruction of the White House and Bill Paxton’s ludicrously corny “We will not go quietly into the night” speech.  Here trying to go one better we have not just one version of this but two with William Fichner’s General Adams chipping one in from the rough before Paxton delivers an impromptu hanger speech that is toe-curlingly excruciating.  

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William Fichner “You guys won’t believe the speech they’ve written me to delivery”. With Jeff Goldblum and Brent Spiner.

Much of the acting is of the “I really don’t want to be here but it’s good for the pension” variety with Paxton and Goldblum going through the motions and Charlotte Gainsborough being horribly miscast as a French anthropologist running around the world on the trail of Pokemon Go characters… or symbols… or something. Only Brent Spiner and Judd Hirsch really get into their stride with likeably over-the-top performances. 

Goldblum and Charlotte Gainsborough. A less likely historic romantic attachment its difficult to imagine.

If this was a standalone story it might scrape a double-Fad… but as it so horrendously sullies a classic movie experience it incurs my cinematic wrath. It might have made Roland Emmer-richer  (sic)…. but my recommendation would be to get a big bag of popcorn, the original 1996 movie on DVD and enjoy.  Avoid, avoid, avoid.

Fad Rating:  F.

Posted in Film Review

One Mann’s Movies: Sully (2016)

No, not “Monsters Inc 3”.

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Chesley Sullenberger was just a very experienced US Airways pilot starting an everyday job flying from LaGuardia airport in New York to Charlotte when fate stepped in. Following an extensive bird strike and the loss of both engines, ‘Sully’ achieved worldwide fame by landing his aircraft and all 151 passengers and crew safely on the Hudson river. Sully is immediately acclaimed by the public as a hero; US Airways, and their insurers, however, are not necessarily as impressed given that their plane has got rather soggy when the flight data suggests it might have actually been able to make it to a landing at a number of nearby airports. So a National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) inquiry is called, where a decision against Sully could see him facing the fastest fall from grace since Icarus.

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Not the best airline movie to watch.

This film is obviously based on this real-life ‘Miracle on the Hudson’ and to a large extent the recreation of the crash…. sorry… “forced water landing” is both vivid and gripping. The film is certainly unlikely to make the regular list of in-flight movies for nervous passengers, but it does serve as a good training film for all of those regular airline passengers who don’t “put down their reading materials” to listen to the aircraft safety announcement. 

Director Clint Eastwood has delivered a highly watchable action sequence showcasing the undisputed acting talents of Tom Hanks (playing Sully) and his Aaron Eckhard (“Olympus Has Fallen”, playing the co-pilot Jeff Skiles).  This makes for a great 45 minute film. The problem is the other 51 minutes.  

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Hanks giving an extraordinarily tense facial performance as the water gets closer and closer.

Where the film works well – aside from the actual recreation itself – is in representing the post-traumatic stress experienced by Sully, with his insomnia and regular flashbacks of ‘what might have happened’ (anyone still strongly affected by 9/11 will struggle with these scenes). The final NTSB hearing scenes are also well-done and suitably gripping: particularly for viewers outside of the UK where we wouldn’t have heard the outcome of the affair once the news cycle had moved on from the ‘gee-whizz’ headline event.  

Where the film aquaplanes somewhat is in the padding achieved through multiple (MULTIPLE!) scenes of New Yorkers back-slapping Sully. Some of this is needed to establish the pedestal that Sully is set upon: the bar scene, for example, is well done. But all the rest of the references become just plain tiresome.  

There is also a back-story focused on Sully’s financial problems and rather scratchy marriage (as portrayed) to Lorraine (Laura Linney).  Linney is normally a highly-watchable actress, but here her character is just so irritating that the mood of the film plummets every time she reappears on screen.

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Linney: unfortunately, just plain (or plane) irritating.

The key problem that screenwriter Todd Komarnicki (“Elf”!!) had here is the obvious one: that as a real-event (based on Sullenberger’s own book “Highest Duty”) he would have had more scope to build tension if the flight had lasted more than 208 seconds!  We end up with little visibility into the back-stories of the passengers. We get to see a father and two grown-up sons who – as fate would have it – just manage to catch the doomed plane:  and we end up caring what happens to them. But this approach could have perhaps been usefully extended to feature more of the passenger back-stories (without getting the full “Airport” soap treatment).

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The NTSB have been a little bit upset about their depiction in the film…. with good reason.

Clint Eastwood is also clearly an All-American patriot, and in common with some of his other films he can’t help himself from putting up rather soupy statements about the self-sacrifice of New Yorkers (“the best of New York came together”):  when actually the rescue teams did what they were paid to do and Ferry captains did what you or I would do if we stumbled on the scene! These sentiments might go down well in the States: in the cynical UK they tend to generate snorts of irritation.

What IS nice are a couple of “monkeys” (see Glossary) during the closing credits where the real Sully, Skiles, cabin-crew and passengers appear together in a celebration of continued life against all the odds. And just so you are aware, this is done as two separate segments during the titles, so if you don’t want to be one of those people standing in the aisles with your coat half on, then wait for the second one!

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Movie hero and real hero. Hanks and the real Sullenberger.

A curate’s egg of a film: great in places, but overall not as well executed as it could have been. 

Fad Rating:  FFFf.