REVIEW: FLIGHT

Starring

Denzel Washington (The Equalizer)
Don Cheadle (Avengers: Endgame)
Kelly Reilly (Sherlock Holmes)
Bruce Greenwood (Star Trek)
John Goodman (Argo)
Melissa Leo (The Fighter)
Tamara Tunie (Snake Eyes)
Nadine Velazquez (My Name is Evil)
Brian Geraghty (ATM)
Peter Gerety (K-Pax)
James Badge Dale (Iron Man 3)
Ravi Kapoor (Ad Astra)

Denzel Washington in Flight (2012)Airline pilot Captain William “Whip” Whitaker Sr. uses cocaine to wake up after a night of little sleep in his Orlando hotel room. He pilots SouthJet Flight 227 to Atlanta, which experiences severe turbulence at takeoff. Co-pilot Ken Evans takes over while Whip discreetly mixes vodka in his orange juice and falls asleep at the controls. He is jolted awake as the plane goes into a steep dive. Meanwhile, heroin addict Nicole Maggen is on the verge of being evicted. She overdoses on heroin and has to be wheeled out of the house by a paramedic. SouthJet Flight 227 flies inverted overhead in the midst of its rapid descent. Unable to regain control, Whip is forced to make a controlled crash landing in an open field, losing consciousness on impact.Denzel Washington, Don Cheadle, and Bruce Greenwood in Flight (2012)Whip awakens in an Atlanta hospital with moderate injuries and is greeted by his old friend Charlie Anderson, who represents the airline’s pilots union. He tells Whip that he managed to save 96 out of 102, losing two crew members and four passengers, but mentions his copilot is in a coma. Whip sneaks away for a cigarette in the stairwell and meets Nicole, who is recovering from her heroin overdose in the same hospital. The next morning, his friend and drug dealer Harling Mays picks him up from the hospital.Denzel Washington in Flight (2012)Having retired to his late father’s farm, Whip meets Charlie and attorney Hugh Lang, who explain that the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) performed a drug test while he was unconscious. Results showed that Whip was intoxicated during the flight. Hugh promises to get the toxicology report voided on technical grounds. Meanwhile, Whip visits and soon becomes intimate with Nicole, but Whip’s drinking habits clash with Nicole’s attempts to stay drug-free. Later at a crew member, Trina’s, funeral, he attempts to persuade a surviving flight attendant, Margaret Thomason, to tell the NTSB that he was sober.Denzel Washington and Bruce Greenwood in Flight (2012)Whip pays a visit to his co-pilot Ken Evans after he awakens from his coma. Evans has likely lost much of his ability to walk and may never pilot an airplane again. Although upset, Evans has no intention of telling the NTSB that Whip was drinking. Nicole decides to separate from Whip, following his failed attempts to stay sober. Hounding Whip, the media catches him drunk after he spontaneously drives to the home of his ex-wife and son, both of whom resent him. He stays with Charlie until the NTSB hearing, vowing not to drink. The night before the hearing, Charlie and Hugh move Whip to a guarded hotel room with no alcohol. Although his minibar is empty, he finds the door to an adjacent room unlocked and raids its minibar instead.Denzel Washington in Flight (2012)Whip is discovered by Charlie the next morning, passed out and still drunk. Harling is called, who revives him with cocaine. At the hearing, lead NTSB investigator Ellen Block explains that a damaged elevator assembly jackscrew was the primary cause of the crash. She commends Whip on his valor and skill and notes that no other pilot was able to land the plane in trial simulations of the crash. She then reveals that two empty vodka bottles were found in the plane’s trash, despite the fact that beverages had not been served to passengers due to the severe turbulence, and that Whip’s test was excluded for technical reasons. The only other member of the crew to test positive for alcohol was Trina, who died in the crash, and with whom Whip had spent the night before. Whip, unable to bring himself to blame Trina for his actions, admits to being intoxicated the day of the crash. Whip is then arrested.Denzel Washington in Flight (2012)Thirteen months later, an imprisoned Whip tells a support group of fellow inmates that he is glad to be sober and does not regret doing the right thing. Whip is seen looking at pictures of Nicole, family, and friends on the wall of his cell, along with greeting cards congratulating him on being sober for a year. He is working to rebuild his relationship with his son, who visits to talk with him about a college application essay on “the most fascinating person that I’ve never met.” His son begins by asking, “Who are you?” As a plane flies overhead, Whip replies, “That’s a good question.”Denzel Washington in Flight (2012)Washington gives what is nothing less than a performance of a lifetime in this tension filled film dealing with a pilot wrestling with inner demons. The aviation sequences are stunning and the crash one of the most breathtaking ever filmed. 

REVIEW: THE BOOK OF ELI

Starring

Denzel Washington (Flight)
Gary Oldman (Bram Stokers Dracula)
Mila Kunis (Black Swan)
Ray Stevenson (Punisher: War Zone)
Jennifer Beals (Lie To Me)
Evan Jones (Gangster Squad)
Frances de la Tour (The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle)
Michael Gambon (Harry Potter)
Tom Waits (Domino)
Chris Browning (Agen Carter)
Malcolm McDowell as Lombardi (Star Trek: Generations)
Richard Cetrone (Thor)

Denzel Washington and Evan Jones in The Book of Eli (2010)Thirty years after a nuclear apocalypse, Eli travels on foot across the wasteland of the former United States. He demonstrates uncanny survival and fighting skills, hunting wildlife and defeating a group of marauders. Searching for water, he arrives in a ramshackle town ruled by a warlord named Carnegie, who seeks to control the people through the power of a certain book, which his henchmen have been unable to find.Denzel Washington in The Book of Eli (2010)Eli barters with a store owner, the Engineer, to recharge the battery of his portable music player. At the town bar, he is attacked by a gang of bikers but swiftly kills them all. Impressed, Carnegie invites Eli to join his employ, but Eli declines. Realizing Eli is a literate man like himself, Carnegie forces him to stay the night under guard. After Carnegie’s blind mistress Claudia brings Eli food and water, Carnegie orders her daughter Solara to seduce Eli, but he rebuffs her. Solara sees Eli has a book, and he offers to share his food, saying grace before they eat. In the morning, Carnegie overhears Solara repeat the prayer to her mother, and realizes Eli has the book he has been seeking – a Bible.Denzel Washington in The Book of Eli (2010)Eli sneaks away, but Carnegie and his henchmen confront him in the street. When Eli refuses to give up the book, Carnegie orders him killed; the ensuing battle leaves Eli untouched, but many henchmen dead and Carnegie shot in the leg. Solara catches up to Eli and leads him to the town’s water supply, hoping to accompany him on his travels, but he traps her inside and continues alone. Solara escapes and is ambushed by two bandits who attempt to rape her, but Eli reappears and kills them. Continuing toward the west coast, Eli explains his mission: his book is the last remaining copy of the Bible, as all other copies were intentionally destroyed following the nuclear war. He says that he was led to the book by a voice in his head, directing him to travel westward to a place it would be safe, and assuring that he would be protected and guided on his journey.Denzel Washington in The Book of Eli (2010)At an isolated house, Eli and Solara fall into a trap but manage to allay the suspicions of the residents, George and Martha, who invite them in for tea. Realizing that the couple are cannibals, Eli and Solara attempt to leave just as Carnegie and his men arrive. In the ensuing shootout, George, Martha, and many of Carnegie’s men are killed, and Eli and Solara are captured. Threatening to kill Solara, Carnegie forces Eli to surrender the Bible before shooting him and leaving him for dead, departing with his caravan. Solara escapes, destroying one truck with a hand grenade and driving back in another to find Eli. With his remaining vehicle low on fuel, Carnegie returns to town. Solara finds Eli, and they drive until they reach the Golden Gate Bridge, and row to Alcatraz Island, where they find a group intent on preserving what remains of literature and music. Eli tells the guards that he has a copy of the Bible. Taken inside, Eli is revealed to be blind, and dictates the New King James Version of the Bible from memory to Lombardi, the sanctuary’s leader.Denzel Washington in The Book of Eli (2010)In the town, the Engineer opens Eli’s locked Bible, which Carnegie discovers is in Braille. Claudia, pretending she cannot remember how to read it, tells Carnegie that his leg wound has become infected and the loss of his enforcers has led the people to run amok. At the sanctuary, Eli has died, but not before reciting the entire book. A printing press begins producing copies of the Bible, and Lombardi places one on a bookshelf between the Tanakh and the Quran. Offered sanctuary, Solara chooses to return home, taking up Eli’s machete and other possessions.This film is masterfully shot. Solid cast that you really become invested in. Beautiful! Definably an Epic of Biblical Proportions.

REVIEW: THE SIEGE

 

CAST

Denzel Washington (Training Day)

Annette Bening (American Beauty)

Bruce Willis (Red)

Tony Shalhoub (Men In Black)

Mark Valley (Human Target)

Lance Reddick (Fringe)

Chris Messina (Sharp Objects)
Mark Valley (Human Target)
Aasif Mandvi (The Dictator)
David Costabile (Breaking Bad)
Ali Afshar (Power Rangers Turbo)
Dakin Matthews (Child’s Play 3)
Arianna Huffington (The Cleveland Show)
Dave Mallow (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers)

Following the bombing of an American military installation in the Middle East (the film shows footage from the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing), the U.S. government orchestrates the capture of the mastermind believed to be behind the attack, Sheikh Ahmed bin Talal. In New York City FBI Special Agent Anthony Hubbard (Washington) and his Lebanese-American partner Frank Haddad (Shalhoub) are told of a hijacked bus, fully loaded with passengers and containing an explosive device. The bomb turns out to be a paint bomb and the terrorists manage to escape. The FBI receives demands to release the sheikh.
Hubbard eventually comes into conflict with CIA agent Elise Kraft (Bening). Hubbard takes a terrorist suspect into custody and arrests Kraft. Afterwards another terrorist threat is made and an MTA bus is bombed, though the children on-board are permitted to leave before the bus is destroyed. When the FBI captures a person of interest named Samir Nazhde he admits to signing the visa application of one of the suicide bombers in the course of signing many applications for student visas in his job as a lecturer. However, Kraft insists that Samir is not a terrorist and that his continued freedom is vital to the investigation.
The FBI eventually identifies and storms a safehouse belonging to terrorists who are associated with the bombings. However, days later, new terror cells launch more devastating attacks, starting with the bombing of the New Victory Theater in Times Square during an evening performance. This is followed days later by a hostage situation at an elementary school (which is resolved when Hubbard shoots the hostage taker). Shortly after this, a suicide bomber drives a van full of explosives into the lobby of One Federal Plaza, the location of the FBI’s New York City field office, resulting in over 600 fatalities.
In spite of objections, the President of the United States declares martial law and armored vehicles and elements of the U.S. Army’s 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions, under Major General William Devereaux (Willis), occupies and seals off Brooklyn in an effort to find the remaining terrorist cells. Subsequently all young males of Arab descent, including Haddad’s son Frank, Jr., are rounded up and detained in Yankee Stadium. Haddad resigns in protest. New Yorkers stage violent demonstrations against the army and the racial profiling of the Arabs and the Army fights to maintain control. There are reports of Army killings. When pressed by the White House Chief of Staff (Chip Zien) if the United States is holding the Sheikh, General Devereaux denies it.
Hubbard and Kraft, now revealed to be an agent named Sharon Bridger, continue their investigation and capture a suspect, Tariq Husseini. Using torture, Devereaux shoots and kills Husseini (off screen) in the course of the interrogation. Afterward, Bridger tells Hubbard that Husseini knew nothing of value because of the principle of compartmentalized information and, sickened, she finally tells Hubbard what she knows. It is revealed that she herself provided training and support to rebels opposed to Saddam Hussein’s regime, working with Samir to recruit and train the followers of the Sheikh. After the United States cut their funding and left them exposed, she took pity on the few of them who had not yet been slaughtered by Hussein’s forces, and arranged for them to escape to the United States, ultimately leading to the present situation as they turn their covert and bomb making skills on the country that now holds their Sheikh. She and Hubbard compel Samir to arrange a meeting with the final terrorist cell. In a discrete meeting with the White House Chief of Staff Hubbard is finally informed of the Sheikh’s apprehension, which was carried out at General Devereaux’s personal initiative. Hubbard convinces Haddad that he needs his help, and Haddad returns to the FBI.
A multi-ethnic peace march demonstrates against the occupation of Brooklyn. As the march is getting under way Hubbard and Haddad arrive at the meeting place, but Bridger and Samir have already left. Samir reveals to Bridger that he constitutes the final cell while in another sense he says, “there will never be a last cell.” He straps a bomb to his body which he intends to detonate among the marchers. Hubbard and Haddad arrive in time to stop him from leaving, but Samir shoots Bridger in the stomach as she struggles to stop him. Hubbard kills Samir, but despite their best efforts he and Haddad can only watch as Bridger succumbs to her wounds after managing to recite certain lines of the second half of The Lord’s Prayer and concluding with “Insha’Allah” – the Arabic phrase “God Willing.” Hubbard, Haddad, and other FBI agents raid Devereaux’s headquarters to arrest him for the torture and murder of Husseini, as well as his role in kidnapping the Sheikh in violation of the Logan Act. Devereaux insists that under the War Powers Resolution the authority vested in him by the president supersedes that of the court which issued the arrest warrant. He then commands his soldiers to aim their guns at the agents, resulting in a tense standoff. Hubbard reminds Devereaux that the civil liberties and human rights which he took from Husseini are what all his predecessors have fought and died for. Devereaux finally submits and is arrested. Martial law ends, and the detainees, including Haddad’s son, are freed.MV5BZGE4NDIzYzEtZjIwZi00ZDk5LWFiMDQtOGU1YjhkODNhYmExXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMjUyNDk2ODc@._V1_
Highly recommended, at least if you want more than just action and drama and enjoy thought-provoking stories.

REVIEW: THE BONE COLLECTOR

CAST
Denzel Washington (Training Day)
Angelina Jolie (Wanted)
Queen Latifah (Bringing Down The House)
Michael Rooker (Mallrats)
Ed O’Neill (Modern Family)
Luis Guzman (Waiting)
Leland Orser (Confidence)
John Benjamin Hickey (Alias)
Bobby Cannavle (Paul Blart Mall Cop)
Ted Whittall (Beauty and The Beast)
The film begins in late 1999. Tetraplegic forensics expert Lincoln Rhyme (Denzel Washington) and a patrol cop, Amelia Donaghy (Angelina Jolie), team up to solve a string of murders all connected to a serial killer by his signature: a single shard of bone is removed from each of the victims. Rhyme was paralyzed from the neck down in an earlier accident and is bed-bound and completely reliant on machines and his nurse Thelma (Queen Latifah) to function. He communicates with Amelia via headset as she examines the various crime scenes and collects evidence and reports back to him.
MV5BMTI4ODA0MDMxOF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwNjkxNjE3._V1_The killer poses as a New York taxi driver, and abducts and kills those who get in his taxi. The first two victims are a married couple named Alan and Lindsay Rubin, who take a taxi home but then find themselves kidnapped by the killer. Amelia finds Alan’s body buried in a Civil War-era railroad bed. She also finds a collection of clues including a pile of piece-ground oyster shells, which eventually leads Amelia – now working with Rhyme – to Alan’s wife, and a scrap of paper. The detectives find Mrs. Rubin, too late, at a steam junction in a below-ground services area of a building in the financial district, secured using old antique handcuffs or shackles at the mouth of a pipe which emits steam. She has been scalded to death from the steam. The killer has also removed a bit of flesh and bone from her arm. Amelia finds another scrap of paper at the scene.
The killer then abducts an NYU student. He is taken to a derelict slaughterhouse where he is tied to a pole and part of his thigh bone is surgically removed, and left for rats to feed on. Amelia and Rhyme, using the clues left by the killer at the scene of Lindsay Rubin’s death (rat hairs embedded in a bone from a cow’s body), find the victim, but again too late to save him. Again, the killer has removed a piece of the victim’s bone. Amelia is able to collect the evidence, including another scrap of paper. The pressure of the tense investigation and bureaucratic challenges to both Amelia’s and Rhyme’s involvement with the case are having serious impacts on Rhyme’s health and stability.
After piecing together the message the killer was sending using the scraps of paper, Amelia and Rhyme are led to an old crime novel, whose crimes the killer was replicating. This leads them to his next victims, a grandfather and granddaughter tied to a pier as the tide rises. The girl is the first victim they manage to save, but her grandfather dies. At the scene, Amelia finds another bone, part of an old police badge, and an old subway map. These clues, and an earlier clue left by the killer at the scene of Mrs. Rubin’s death (asbestos) lead Amelia to an abandoned subway station, in which Amelia sees some numbers which have been tampered with to spell out Rhyme’s police badge number. Amelia then figures out that the killer is after Rhyme.
The killer arrives at Rhyme’s house, and after killing Rhyme’s nurse, Thelma, and Captain Howard Cheney (Michael Rooker), it is revealed that he is the medical technician who cares for Rhyme’s medical equipment, Richard Thompson (Leland Orser). Richard’s real name is Marcus Andrews. An ex-forensic cop whom Rhyme’s testimony helped convict of planting false evidence at crime scenes, Marcus intends to exact his revenge. Rhyme manages to crush Marcus’s right hand by suddenly dropping his bed horizontal, and in the struggle to free himself, Marcus pulls Rhyme with him and they both collapse to the floor. Rhyme then manages to bite Marcus in the neck, causing massive bleeding. Marcus once again manages to free himself, grabbing his knife. As Marcus raises the knife for a killing blow, Amelia suddenly arrives at the apartment and shoots Marcus who falls down dead.
The film ends at a Christmas celebration at Rhyme’s apartment. Rhyme, having given up his plans to commit suicide, faces his sister and niece coming to visit him along with Amelia and his other colleagues on Christmas Eve. It is implied that Rhyme and Amelia have a relationship.
A great film with a wonderfully dastardly bad guy who is on the same level of Hanibal Lector of Twisted genius. A well crafted story and movie.