On DVD & Blu-Ray: February 5, 2013


Denzel Washington defines magnetism. The guy produces this aura that attracts audiences to him no matter what character he is playing. No matter if his character might even be the most repulsive person we've ever met. In the new film from Robert Zemeckis (his first live action film since Cast Away) Mr. Washington plays Captain Whip Whitaker who may not necessarily be the most repulsive guy we've ever seen grace the screen, but regardless, has a full plate of issues. While the advertising for Flight made the film seem like an interesting, if not mystery-steeped production that deals with what I anticipated climbing to a dramatic final courtroom sequence actually turns out to be a serious yet nuanced film about the struggles and downfalls that come along with any kind of addiction. We are of course teased with the fact that Whitaker was intoxicated while piloting the plane in the trailer, but we are unaware that this is where the heart of the story is going to lie. Though the overall film is less than I expected it to be I cannot deny that I felt a certain intrigue throughout. While Flight is a little too long and sometimes can become a little too preachy when its momentum begins to slow in the third quarter you never want to give up on the film because Washington brings such presence and pain to Whitaker that he makes you not want to give up on him. Even as it seems his chances are bleak and that the man would do anything to continue avoiding and ignoring those in his life who want to help him, we hold out hope as an audience. The film is captivating as a character study with a great performance at the center holding it together. The film crashes when trying to escape its dark territory. B-

Here Comes the Boom is an easy movie to hate on. It is a film that is centered around a school teacher played by Kevin James who becomes an MMA fighter to save his schools music program. It features many a constant players from Adam Sandler's group of friends and it plays out as predictably as you know it will after seeing the trailer. It wasn't a surprise at all to see most critics bashing the film for its lack of creativity but what it lacks in that department it makes up for with pure virtue. At the very least I can applaud Mr. James and company for not having to resort to making R-rated comedies in order to please a demographic they clearly have no interest in making money from. James seems to know his place (even if I, personally, was hoping for more from him) in the Hollywood landscape and in taking on this role he has delivered a live action family film that no matter how absurd the story is delivers in entertainment value and teaches many a well worn lessons. Yes, it is surely very easy to dismiss a film that so competently makes use of a P.O.D record but give it the benefit of acknowledging that they didn't use it in the trailer and didn't overdue it within the actual film. No matter how much the movie feels like an hour and forty-five minute ad for VH1's Save the Music program I simply can't see how one could come out hating the film because the people putting it on are just so likable. It is a crowd-pleaser that is as calculated as it is predictable, but it pleases nonetheless and for that I will more than likely watch the film again at some point in my life. That's much more than I could ever say about The Zookeeper. C+

Going into Celeste & Jesse Forever I expected something more along the lines of (500) Days of Summer than maybe The Break-Up but that is what we have here, doused with plenty of indie flavor. There is nothing wrong with that, I always enjoyed the latter film to a degree it didn't receive credit for. If for anything for the fact it skewed the nicely wrapped ending of formulaic romantic comedies for a more honest and brutal look at relationships. Celeste & Jesse Forever can be commended for the same thing. While the film has been marketed as a hip, introspective look into modern relationships it doesn't exactly go against type as much as one might expect. I was rather surprised to see so many staples of the standard romantic comedy show up here, but they do. Still, what this progressive love story adds to the mix is a touching bit of realism in its character development. These aren't archetypes we're watching wander through a very contemporary world (except for maybe Elijah Woods gay best friend) but instead they feel like friends we have known for years who can do nothing but sit back and watch as these two make decisions that will forever impact their lives yet don't seem to realize that impact in the moment. The film who was also co-written by star Rashida Jones clearly has some experience with the topic she has chosen to tackle here and it is evident in the way that she handles the small moments both in her writing and her acting. Her performance anchors the film while showing her audience she is more than capable of handling dramatic material. B


Also Out This Week:

I have seen neither Tyler Perry's turn as Alex Cross nor the long delayed, but finally released to home video So Undercover featuring Miley Cyrus and Jeremy Piven. I have no desire to see either of these in the future, but may rent Alex Cross at some point if I'm just that bored. I am somewhat interested in Matthew Fox's performance, but not enough to give into the film after hearing such horrid things about it on its initial release. Still, if nothing else sounds good to you this week, these are also options.

 


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