Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Sully (2016) [PG-13] ****

A film review by James Berardinelli for ReelViews.net on Sept. 8, 2016.

Most of those who elect to see Sully, Clint Eastwood’s re-enactment of the 2009 ditching of a commercial airliner in the Hudson River, will remember the incident involving U.S. Airways Flight 1549 from news reports. For several days following the January 15 incident, this was the top story on all the nightly newscasts and provided food for the insatiable appetites of 24-hour news channels. As with all news stories, major and minor, this one faded from the American consciousness. However, since the story is so well-known, one might reasonably ask whether there’s enough material to warrant a feature film. As Sully argues, the answer is yes, although just barely. With a skinny running length just clearing the 90-minute bar, the movie is forced to shoehorn in some extraneous material to keep it afloat. Nevertheless, on balance, the numerous strengths are more than enough to compensate for any weaknesses and, although not an Oscar-worthy endeavor, Sully proves to be by turns engaging, exhilarating, and nail-biting.

Rather than presenting events of early 2009 in a chronological fashion, director Eastwood employs a somewhat tortured narrative that relies heavily on layered flashbacks. Although not confusing to follow, it seems needlessly cumbersome and adds little to the progression of events. Eastwood wisely keeps the movie’s focus on a meticulous recreation of the accident/ditching/rescue and the subsequent NTSB investigation. For the former, Sully is exacting in its use of existing documentation and footage. For the latter, a degree of dramatic license is employed to make things more cinematic. Attempts to portray the protagonist’s PTSD and flesh out his relationship with his wife don’t work as well as they might have.

The dramatization of the flight is Sully’s most compelling slice of filmmaking. Knowing what happens ahead of time doesn’t reduce the tension. A veteran director like Eastwood understands how to use audience expectations to the movie’s benefit. Anticipation lends an edge to the routine pre-takeoff checks performed by Captain Chesley Sully Sullenberger (Tom Hanks) and co-pilot Jeff Skiles (Aaron Eckhart) at LaGuardia Airport. The plane is airborne for only about six minutes before Sully brings it down for a near-perfect water landing in the Hudson after a bird strikes knocks out both engines and his experience as a pilot informs him that he probably can’t make it to any of several nearby airports for a conventional emergency landing.

For the most part, the NTSB is presented as antagonistic; several officials view Sully’s decisions with skepticism. The production’s portrayal of the investigation airbrushes things. For example, in the movie, it’s implied that the simulator pilots were able to land the plan with 100% accuracy. In reality, they only succeeded about half the time. Nevertheless, it’s fascinating to get a peek behind the curtain at some of what goes into an accident investigation.

Actor Tom Hanks portrays Sully as a sensible, serious, salt-of-the-Earth type whose dedication and knowledge allow him to function admirably under pressure, saving 155 lives in the process. Although this isn’t likely to go down as one of Hanks’ great roles (and his physical resemblance to the real-life Sullenberger is only passable), it’s a solid performance. Hanks’ innate appeal causes us to immediately like and believe in Sully, and that’s all the movie needs. Aaron Eckhart plays Sully’s co-pilot, the only other person with meaningful screen time. Laura Linney is Lorraine Sullenberger but the only time we see her is when she’s on the phone with her husband.

Eastwood and cinematographer Tom Stern elected to shoot Sully almost entirely using digital IMAX cameras - a decision that enhances the immersion factor for those seeing the movie on large format screens. Sullenberger’s behind-the-scenes involvement in the production gives Sully a strong window into the captain’s psyche and provides a rare upbeat story from a grim, turbulent decade - an almost old-fashioned tale of heroism. It’s a good bridge from the noise of summer to the more sedate films of fall. [Berardinelli’s rating: *** out of 4 stars]

Labels: biography, drama, history



Monday, April 10, 2017

Titles: 0 - 9

0 - 9
(500) Days of Summer (2009) [PG-13] ****
10 Things I Hate About You (1999) [PG-13] *****
The 11th Hour (2007) [PG] ****
13 Going on 30 (2004) [PG-13] ****
17 Again (2009) [PG-13] ***+
27 Dresses (2008) [PG-13] ***+
50 First Dates (2004) [PG-13] ***
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) [G] *****
2010: The Year We Make Contact (1984) [PG] ****

Titles: A B C

A
About Adam (2000) [R] ****
About Last Night... (1986) [R] ****
About Time (2013) [R] ****
The Accidental Husband (2008) [PG-13] **
Adam (2009) [PG-13] ****-
The Adjustment Bureau (2011) [PG-13] ****
Admission (2013) [PG-13] ***
Adventureland (2009) [R] ****
The Adventures of Tintin (2011) [PG] ****
The Age of Adaline (2015) [PG-13] ****-
All About Steve (2009) [PG-13] **
Aloha (2015) [PG-13] ***
Always (1989) [PG] *****
The Amazing Spider-Man (2012) [PG-13] ****
Amelia (2009) [PG] ***
American Graffiti (1973) [PG] ****
The American (2010) [R] ****-
The American President (1995) [PG-13] *****
American Sniper (2014) [R] ****
Anastasia (1956) [NR] ****
...And They Lived Happily Ever After (2004) [UR] ***
The Andromeda Strain (2008-TV) [UR] **
The Anniversary Party (2001) [R] ****
Another Earth (2011) [PG-13] ****
The Answer Man (Arlen Faber) (2009) [R] ***
Antarctica: A Year on Ice (2014) [PG] ****
Apollo 13 (1995) [PG] ****
Arbitrage (2012) [R] ****
Arch of Triumph (1948) [UR] ***+
Armageddon (1998) [PG-13] ***
The Artist (2011) [PG-13] *****
Atonement (2007) [R] ***
August Rush (2007) [PG] **
Australia (2008) [PG-13] ***
Avatar (2009) [PG-13] ****+
The Avengers (2012) [PG-13] ****
The Aviator (2004) [PG-13] *****
Away We Go (2009) [R] ****

B
Baby Mama (2008) [PG-13] ***
Back to the Future (1985) [PG] *****
The Back-up Plan (2010) [PG-13] ***-
Bandidas (2006) [PG-13] ***
Bandits (2001) [PG-13] ****
The Bank Job (2008) [R] **
The Barbarian Invasions (2003) [R] ****
Barbra Streisand: One Voice (1986) [UR] ****
Barney's Version (2010) [R] ****
Battleship (2012) [PG-13] ***
Beach Girls (2005) [UR] ***
Bears (2014) [G] ****
Beautiful Girls (1996) [R] ****
Beauty & the Briefcase (2010) [TV-14] **
Becoming Jane (2007) [PG-13] ***
Bed of Roses (1996) [PG] ****
Before Sunrise (1995) [R] ****
Before Midnight (2013) [R] *****
Before We Go (2014) [PG-13] ***
Belle Époque (1992) [R] *****
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2012) [PG-13] ****
Better Than Sex (2000) [R] ***
Bicentennial Man (1999) [PG] ***
Big (1988) [PG] ****
The Big Bang Theory (2007-2012) (TV-14) ****
The Big Chill (1983) [R] ****
The Big Country (1958) [UR] ****
Big Eyes (2014) [PG-13] ****
Big Miracle (2012) [PG] ****
The Big Short (2015) [R] *****
Big Sur (2013) [R] ***
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014) [R] *****
Birds of America (2008) [R] **
The Blind Side (2009) [PG-13] ****
Blue Jasmine (2013) [PG-13] ****
Bottle Shock (2008) [PG-13] ***
The Bourne Identity (2002) [PG-13] *****
The Bourne Legacy (2012) [PG-13] ****
The Boy Who Could Fly (1986) [PG] ****
Breaking Away (1979) [PG] *****
Breaking the Maya Code (2008) [UR] ****
Breaking Up (1997) [R] **
The Break-Up (2006) [PG-13] ***
Bride Wars (2009) [PG] **+
Bridge of Spies (2015) [PG-13] ****+
Bright Star (2009) [PG] ****
Broken Bridges (2006) [PG-13] ***
Brooklyn (2015) [PG-13] *****
The Brothers Bloom (2008) [PG-13] ***
The Bucket List (2007) [PG-13] ***
Bull Durham (1988) [R] ****
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) [M] ****+

C
Cactus Flower (1969) [M] ****
Cadillac Records (2008) [R] ****
Café Society (2016) [PG-13] ****
Cairo Time (2009) [PG] ****
Captain Fantastic (2016) [R] ****
Cars (2006) [G] ****
Casablanca (1942) [PG] *****
Casino Royale (2006) [PG-13] ****+
Cast Away (2000) [PG-13] *****
The Cat's Meow (2001) [PG-13] ****
Catwoman (2004) [PG-13] *
Celine Dion: A New Day (2007) [UR] ***
Chances Are (1989) [PG] ****
Chaos Theory (2007) [PG-13] ***
Chaplin (1992) [PG-13] *****
Chasing Amy (1997) [R] ****
Chasing Ice (2012) [PG-13] ****
Chef (2014) [R] ****
Children of a Lesser God (1986) [R] ****
Chocolat (2000) [PG-13] ****
City Island (2009) [PG-13] ****
City of Angels (1998) [PG-13] ****
City of Ember (2008) [PG] ***
Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) [PG] *****
Coco Before Chanel (2009) [PG-13] ****
Cocoon (1985) [PG-13] ****
The Company Men (2010) [R] ****
Concussion (2015) [PG-13] ****
Confessions of a Shopaholic (2009) [PG] ***
Contact (1997) [PG] ****
Contagion (2011) [PG-13] ****
A Cool, Dry Place (1998) [PG-13] ***
The Corporation (2004) [UR] ****
Country Strong (2010) [PG-13] ***
Cousins (1989) [PG-13] ****
Cowboys & Aliens (2011) [PG-13] ***
Cracking the Maya Code (2008) [UR] ****
Crashing (2007) [R] ***
Crazy Heart (2009) [R] ****
Crazy People (1990) [R] ***
Crazy, Stupid, Love. (2011) [PG-13] ****
Crusade in Jeans (2006) [PG] ***
Cupid & Cate (2000) [UR] ***
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008) [PG-13] ****




Titles: D E F

D
Dan in Real Life (2007) [PG-13] ****
Dances with Wolves (1990) [PG-13] *****
A Dangerous Method (2011) [R] ****
Daniel Deronda (2002) [UR] ***
Dante's Peak (1997) [PG] ***
Dave (1993) [PG-13] *****
The Day After Tomorrow (2004) [PG-13] ****
The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008) [PG-13] ***
The Deal (2005) [R] **
Deep Impact (1998) [PG-13] ***
Deepwater Horizon (2016) [PG-13] ****
Definitely, Maybe (2008) [PG-13] ****
Déjà Vu (1997) [PG-13] ****
Déjà Vu (2006) [PG-13] ****
The Descendants (2011) [R] *****
The Devil Wears Prada (2006) [PG-13] ****
Did You Hear About The Morgans? (2009) [PG-13] **
Dirty Dancing (1987) [PG-13] ****
Dolphin Tale (2011) [PG] ****
Don Juan DeMarco (1995) [PG-13] *****
Dopamine (2003) [R] ***
Draft Day (2014) [R] ****
Dragonfly (2002) [PG-13] **
Drinking Buddies (2013) [R] ****
The Duchess (2008) [PG-13] ****
Duplicity (2009) [PG-13] ****

E

Easy A (2010) [PG-13] ****
Easy Virtue (2008) [PG-13] ***+
Eat Pray Love (2010) [PG-13] ***
The Edge of Love (2008) [R] ***
The Edge of the Garden (2011-TV) [UR] ***
Edge of Tomorrow (Live Die Repeat) (2014) [PG-13] ****
An Education (2009) [PG-13] ****+
The Electric Horseman (1979) [PG] ****
Elizabethtown (2005) [PG-13] ***
Enchanted (2007) [PG] ****
Enchanted April (1992) [PG] ****
Encounters at the End of the World (2007) [G] ****
Entourage (2004-2011) [TV-MA] ****
Entourage (2015) [R] ***+
Entrapment (1999) [PG-13] ***
Ever After: A Cinderella Story (1998) [PG-13] ****
Everest (2015) [PG-13] ****
Every Time We Say Goodbye (1986) [PG-13] ***
Everything You Want (2005) [PG] **
Ex Machina (2015) [R] ****+
Exodus (1960) [UR] ****
Extraordinary Measures (2010) [PG] ***
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (2011) [PG-13] ***
Eye in the Sky (2016) [R] ****

F

Failure to Launch (2006) [PG-13] ***
The Family Man (2000) [PG-13] *****
The Family Stone (2005) [PG-13] ***
Far from the Madding Crowd (2015) [PG-13] ****
The Fast and the Furious (2001) [PG-13] ***
The Fault in Our Stars (2014) [PG-13] ****
Feast of Love (2007) [R] ***
Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986) [PG-13] ****
Field of Dreams (1989) [PG] *****
The Final Countdown (1980) [PG] ****
First Blood (1982) [R] ****
Flawless (2007) [PG-13] ***+
Flight (2012) [R] ****
Flight of the Phoenix (2004) [PG-13] ***
Flipped (2010) [PG] ***+
Flirting with Forty (2008-TV) [UR] **
Fly Away Home (1996) [PG] ****
Focus (2015) [R] ***
Fool's Gold (2008) [PG-13] **
Fools Rush In (1997) [PG-13] ***
For Love of the Game (1999) [PG-13] ****
For Love or Money (1993) [PG] **
For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943) [UR] ***+
Forbidden Planet (1956) [G] ****
Forever Young (1992) [PG] *****
Forget Paris (1995) [PG-13] ***
Forrest Gump (1994) [PG-13] *****
Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994) [R] ****
French Kiss (1995) [PG-13] ***
Frequency (2000) [PG-13] ****
Frida (2002) [R] ****
Friends with Benefits (2011) [R] ****

Titles: G H I J

G
GasLand (2010) [UR] ****
Gasland Part II (2013) [UR] ****
Gattaca (1997) [PG-13] *****
George Harrison: Living in the Material World (2011) [UR] ****+
Get Smart (2008) [PG-13] ***
Ghost Town (2008) [PG-13] ****
Ghosts of Girlfriends Past (2009) [PG-13] ***
The Girl in the Café (2005) [UR] ****
Godzilla (1998) [PG-13] **
The Go-Getter (2007) [R] ****-
Going the Distance (2010) [R] ***
GoldenEye (1995) [PG-13] ****
The Good Guy (2009) [R] ***
A Good Year (2006) [PG-13] ****-
The Graduate (1967) [PG] ****
Gravity (2013) [PG-13] *****
The Great Gatsby (2013) [PG-13] ****
The Greatest (2009) [R] ***
Griffin & Phoenix (2006) [PG-13] ***
The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) [R] *****
Groundhog Day (1993) [PG] *****
Guinevere (1999) [R] ****
The Guitar (2008) [R] ***

H
Hancock (2008) [PG-13] ***
The Hangover (2009) [R] ****
Happy People: A Year in the Taiga (2013) [UR] ****
HD Window: Hawai'i (2005) [UR] *
Heaven Can Wait (1978) [PG] ****
Heaven is for Real (2014) [PG] ***
The Help (2011) [PG-13] ****
Her (2013) [R] *****
Here on Earth (2000) [PG-13] **
Hereafter (2010) [PG-13] ***
He's Just Not That Into You (2009) [PG-13] ***+
The Holiday (2006) [PG-13] ***+
Hollywoodland (2006) [R] ****
Hope Floats (1998) [PG-13] ***
Hope Springs (2003) [PG-13] **
The Horse Whisperer (1998) [PG-13] ****
How Do You Know (2010) [PG-13] ***
How I Met Your Mother (2005-2009 TV) [UR] ****
How the West Was Won (1962) [G] ****
How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (2003) [PG-13] ***
How to Make an American Quilt (1995) [PG-13] ****
How to Train Your Dragon (2010) [PG] ****+
Hugo (2011) [PG] *****
Humanity from Space (2015) [TV-PG] *****
The Hundred-Foot Journey (2014) [PG] ****
The Hunt for Red October (1990) [PG] *****

I
I Don’t Know How She Does It (2011) [PG-13] ***
I Give It a Year (2013) [R] ***
I, Robot (2004) [PG-13] ****
The Ides of March (2011)[R] ****
If Only (2004) [PG-13] **
If You Are the One (2008) [PG] ***
I'll See You in My Dreams (2015) [PG-13] ****
The Illusionist (2006) [PG-13] ****
I'm with Lucy (2002) [R] ****
Imagine Me & You (2006) [R] ***+
The Imitation Game (2014) [PG-13] ****
In Good Company (2004) [PG-13] ****
In the Land of Women (2006) [PG-13] ***
In Time (2011) [PG-13] ***
Inception (2010) [PG-13] ****+
An Inconvenient Truth (2006) [PG] ****
Independence Day (1996) [PG-13] ****
Indian Summer (1993) [PG-13] ****
Ingrid Bergman in Her Own Words (2015) [NR] ****
Inside Job (2010) [PG-13] *****
Inside Man (2006) [R] ****
Intermezzo (1936) [UR] ****
Intermezzo: A Love Story (1939) [UR] ****
The Intern (2015) [PG-13] ***+
The Interpreter (2005) [PG-13] ***
Intersection (1994) [R] ***
Interstellar (2014) [PG-13] ****
Interview (2007) [R] ****
Into the Woods (2014) [PG] ****
Inventing the Abbotts (1997) [R] ****
The Invention of Lying (2009) [PG-13] ***
Invincible (2006) [PG] ****
Iris (2001) [R] ****
Iron Man (2008) [PG-13] ****+
Iron Man 2 (2010) [PG-13] ****
Irrational Man (2015) [R] ***
It's Complicated (2009) [R] ***+

J
Jack & Sarah (1995) [PG] ***
Jack and Jill vs. the World (2008) [PG-13] **
Jack Reacher (2012) [PG-13] ***+
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (2014) [PG-13] ****
The Jane Austen Book Club (2007) [PG-13] ****
Jason Bourne (2016) [PG-13] ****
Jenny's Wedding (2015) [PG-13] ***
John Carter (2012) [PG-13] ***
The Joneses (2009) [R] ***+
Journey to the Center of the Earth (2008) [PG] ***
Julie & Julia (2009) [PG-13] ****
Just Go With It (2011) [PG-13] ***



Titles: K L M

K
Kate & Leopold (2001) [PG-13] ***
Keeping the Faith (2000) [PG-13] ****
The Kid (2000) [PG] ***
The Kids Are All Right (2010) [R] ****+
Killers (2010) [PG-13] **+
King Corn (2007) [UR] ****
The King's Speech (2010) [R] *****
Kiss the Sky (1998) [R] ****
Kissing A Fool (1998) [R] ***
Kissing Jessica Stein (2002) [R] ****
Knight and Day (2010) [PG-13] ***
Knowing (2009) [PG-13] ***

L
L.A. Story (1991) [PG-13] *****
La La Land (2016) [PG-13] *****
Laggies (2014) [R] ****
The Lake House (2006) [PG] ****
Last Chance Harvey (2009) [PG-13] ****-
The Last Five Years (2014) [PG-13] ****
Last Night (2010) [R] ***
The Last Song (2010) [PG] ***
The Last Starfighter (1984) [PG] ****
The Last Time (2006) [R] ***
Le Divorce (2003) [PG-13] ***
Leap Year (2010) [PG] ***
Leatherheads (2008) [PG-13] ***
Legends of the Fall (1994) [R] ***
Letters to Juliet (2010) [PG] ***
Liberal Arts (2012) [PG-13] ****
License to Wed (2007) [PG-13] **
Life as We Know It (2010) [PG-13] ***
Life of Pi (2012) [PG] ****
Life or Something Like It (2002) [PG-13] ****
Like Crazy (2011) [PG-13] ****
Like Sunday, Like Rain (2014) [R] ***
Lincoln (2012) [PG-13] *****
A Little Bit of Heaven (2012) [PG-13] **
Little City (1998) [R] ****
A Little Romance (1979) [PG] ****
Liz & Dick (2012) [UR] **
Lola Versus (2012) [R] ***
The Longest Week (2014) [PG-13] ***
The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond (2008) [PG-13] ***
Lost in Translation (2003) [R] ****
Love Actually (2003) [R] ****
Love Affair (1994) [PG-13] *****
Love & Other Drugs (2010) [R] ***+
Love Happens (2009) [PG-13] ***-
Love Is All You Need (2013) [R] ****
The Love Letter (1998) [UR] ****
Love, Rosie (2015) [R] ***
Love, Wedding, Marriage (2011) [PG-13] **
Lucky Seven (2003) [PG-13] ***

M
Mad Money (2008) [PG-13] ***
Made of Honor (2008) [PG-13] ***
The Maiden Heist (2009) [PG-13] ***
The Majestic (2001) [PG] ***
Mamma Mia! (2008) [PG-13] ***
The Man from Earth (2007) [UR] ***+
Man of Steel (2013) [PG-13] ****
Man on a Ledge (2012) [PG-13] ***
Maneater (2009-TV) [UR] ***
Margin Call (2011) [R] ****
The Martian (2015) [PG-13] *****
Match Point (2005) [R] ****
McFarland USA (2015) [PG] ****
Me Myself I (2000) [R] ***
The Mechanic (2011) [R] ***
Medicine Man (1992) [PG-13] ***
Meet Joe Black (1998) [PG-13] ***
Men in Black (1997) [PG-13] ****
The Men Who Stare at Goats (2009) [R] ***
Mercury Rising (1998) [R] **
Meru (2015) [R] ****
Midnight in Paris (2011) [PG-13] *****-
Million Dollar Arm (2014) [PG] ****
Mini's First Time (2006) [R] ***
Miss Conception (2008) [R] *
Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (2008) [PG-13] ****
Mission to Mars (2000) [PG] **
Moneyball (2011) [PG-13] *****
Money Monster (2016) [R] ***+
The Monuments Men (2014) [PG-13] ***
Moon (2009) [R] ****
Moonrise Kingdom (2012) [PG-13] *****
Morning Glory (2010) [PG-13] ****-
Mother and Child, 2009 [R] ****
Moulin Rouge! (2001) [PG-13] ****
Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005) [PG-13] ***
Mr. Baseball (1992) [PG-13] ***
Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium (2007) [G] ***
Murder on the Orient Express (1974) [PG] ****
Music and Lyrics (2007) [PG-13] ****
Music Within (2007) [R] ****-
Must Love Dogs (2005) [PG-13] ***
My Life in Ruins (2009) [PG-13] **
My Old Lady (2014) [PG-13] ***
My One and Only (2009) [PG-13] ****
My Sassy Girl (2008) [PG-13] ***+
My Week with Marilyn (2011) [R] ****