Friday, November 30, 2012



Written by Andrew Dominik based on the novel "Cogan's Trade"
Directed by Andrew Dominik
Actors: Brad Pitt, Scoot McNairy, James Gandolfini, Richard Jenkins, Ray Liotta, Ben Mendelsohn, Sam Shepard, Max Casella.

A strange thing happened to me while watching "Killing Them Softly", the very careful and slow moving crime picture. I sat transfixed by a movie that really doesn't have a lot going on in it. I didn't know if I really liked what was going on in this movie until the last shot was over. I think it helped that I liked movies that it resembles, those 70's character studies about crime figures. Movies like "The Friends of Eddie Coyle", "Mikey and Nicky" and "The Killing of a Chinese Bookie" by John Cassavetes, a movie that was real hard to watch but that I loved.

"Killing Them Softly" is based on a crime novel that mixes a hitman character study with a commentary on the financial woes of our country in 2008. The movie follows two low life criminals who knock off a Mob run card game. The game is ran by Markle played by Ray Liotta and he is not really high up in the crime boss food chain. A hitman is called in named Jackie, played by Brad Pitt to wipe out the two men. A second man will be called in but I am explaining plot for a movie where the plot doesn't matter. The movie is all mood and talk punctuated with extreme, gritty violence. There is a lot of real "in your face" type violence here, not kids stuff.

The movie is directed by Andrew Dominik who directed another slow moving, different type of crime movie "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford". Both of Dominik's movies are beautifully shot reminding me of Terrence Malick. Both artists create slow moving movies that try to capture a mood and here the mood is grit, slime and depravity. "Killing Them Softly" is not an easy movie to like and it is definitely not for the mall crowd. It is for movie goers that love character studies that are breathtakingly shot and full of colorful dialogue. There is a lot of talk in this movie and is not for movie goers that want a lot of action and killing.

I love this kind of movie and it took me a while to figure out my feelings for it. It is a movie that works you over until in the end you find out you love it. I loved it because it is different and it brings me back to my favorite era of film making in the 70's. This movie also reminds me of John Cassavetes who I loved as a writer and director of crime, character studies. I love the look of this movie which reminds me of a good film noir. I even didn't mind the usual slow motion shooting scenes and I loved the wide screen shots and that Dominik doesn't rush the shots making the film's mood wash all over us.

I also loved the cast of this movie and all the performances especially Brad Pitt. Pitt is so assured and very cool here and it is a performance you usually don't see in a movie like this. It is not a showy performance and that is what I love about it. I love subtle performances more than the showy ones usually in movies and Pitt is perfect and effective here. He gets great support by James Gandolfini who plays a very interesting, boorish second hitman called in to help. Also I love seeing Richard Jenkins in anything and him and Pitt have some funny and smartly written scenes together. There is also a very compelling and star making performance by Scoot McNairy (Argo) as one of the young thugs.

"Killing Them Softly" is a movie that has stayed with me a long time after I have seen it. I love the dialogue, even the dialogue that is aimless because the actors saying it are so great and very great here. The violence in this movie looks more real than in most crime movies I see. Yes it might seem with the photography that the violence is stylized but I cringed and flinched a lot during those scenes. I love the mood and look of the movie and would see it again just for the cast, acting and look of the photography.

The movie's story is punctuated by background noise of President Obama and George Bush Jr. commenting on the country's recession on television. So the movie has a little more depth in it then just thugs and killers talking about their jobs. There is an added motivation of money for these men too, more than just killing a man. The movie is really saying that even hit men need money to stay alive in this economy. There is also probably the best written stream of dialogue by Pitt that I have heard in any movie this year. It is a commentary on America that I agreed with totally and that is profound, funny and brilliant. That ending commentary and Pitt's delivery of it is priceless and worth the price of admission. This is a movie that requires patience but if you are an adventurous movie goer you might love it as much as I did.



Written by John J. McLaughlin based on the book "Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho" by Stephen Rebello
Directed by Sacha Gervasi
Actors: Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren, Scarlett Johansson, Jessica Biel, Toni Collette, James D'Arcy

I love getting a special edition of a classic movie on DVD when it has a "Making of" feature. It is fascinating to me in seeing what went on behind the making of a classic. It is even better when it focuses on a genius artist like Alfred Hitchcock. The new movie "Hitchcock" delves into the making of Hitchcock's classic "Psycho" which would turn out to be his most popular movie. It is a fun movie just like watching one of those "Making Of" features on that DVD. It really doesn't show you a lot of Hitchcock's film making process but I had a big goofy grin on my face throughout.

"Hitchcock" tells us about the making of "Psycho" and I wanted to know more about how it was filmed and more of the reaction the movie got. Those might seem like big reservations but I still enjoyed the movie. The pleasure begins with the performances starting with Anthony Hopkins as Hitchcock. He might not look totally like Hitchcock, we still see Hopkins behind the make up, but he sounds just like him. He has a ball with the role and you see the joy in his performance. It is a captivating and funny performance.

The movie really focuses more on the relationship between Hitch and his long suffering wife Alma. Alma helps her husband a lot with editing and directing advice. She is like his coach and support system. Helen Mirren is as expected awesome as Alma. She steals the movie and critics have complained they wanted more making of "Psycho" and less back and forth dialogue between the Hitchcocks. I agree and that is why I didn't love this movie but Mirren and Hopkins are great together. The movie is full of funny and snarky one liners by Mirren.

I also was very happy when I saw the actor who played Anthony Perkins give a perfectly etched performance. James D'Arcy nails Perkins look, inflection of voice and mannerisms. Scarlett Johansson and Jessica Biel are also fine as Janet Leigh and Vera Miles. The movie is lovingly shot and looks colorful matching the performances and tone of the movie. I especially loved scenes where Hitchcock battles with a film censor and also a scene where Hitchcock stands outside a theater door waiting for the audience's reaction to the shower scene.

"Hitchcock" doesn't match up to the greatness of the movie it is exploring. I wanted a more nuts and bolts look at how "Psycho" was actually shot and how Hitchcock got the performances from his actors. I could have done without the weak exploration of Hitchcock's fascination with blondes and if he made advances to them. The movie just leaves that section hanging and I also didn't like the concentration on Alma's flirtation with a screenwriter. That is a distraction from the real making of sections. I did love the movie's look at how Hitchcock, even with his past great films, had to convince Paramount to release his self financed film. "Hitchcock" is a lot of fun and I had a very good time.

P.S. For movies with amazing "Making Of" features I love "Blade Runner", "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" and "Jaws".

Wednesday, November 21, 2012



Written by David Magee based on the novel by Yann Martel
Directed by Ang Lee
Actors: Suraj Sharma, Irrfan Khan, Tabu, Gerard Depardieu, Rafe Spall

It has been a long time and it is very rare when a movie these days begs for 3D visuals. It is usually not worth the trouble to pay an extra charge for a movie that actually looks better in 2D. "Life of Pi" is the first movie since "Avatar" that needs the 3D effect to make it that more special. It is a visually arresting, breathtaking and serene movie. I wanted to start here on how beautiful this movie looks because I am afraid the story didn't grab me like I thought it would. I have seen this surviving nature story done better if not as visually beautiful as this movie is.

The story is a minor quibble for me because I think people should see this movie and it is a wonderful family movie. Good for families because most movies for kids are loud and obnoxious. "Life of Pi" is quiet, a great meditation on nature and how to survive it and the tiger is very special. The movie is framed by the old reliable writer talks to the man who survived an ordeal trick, more on that later. A writer comes to the house of Pi, now an adult, who will tell him his story of surviving the ocean on a small boat stuck with an escaped tiger. Pi has to survive storms, terrible waves, starvation and this Bengali tiger who wants to eat him.

"Life of Pi" starts with a young Pi who grows up in India being made fun of in school by kids for his full name and being taught responsibility and religion by his stern father. I liked this opening story even though I would have cut 10 minutes from it, we want the real stuff to kick in. Tne boy and his family will move to Canada by ship and there will be a great storm that will hit the ship. Pi escapes but is thrown off the ship into a small boat losing other members of his family. Pi is in the middle of the ocean and finds out that on his little boat is an escaped tiger from the many animals that were being transported on the ship. Pi now has to survive weather and starvation and now he has to make sure he doesn't get eaten.

The middle section of this movie is fascinating stuff and I appreciate that the movie is quiet and takes it's time with beautiful shots of the ocean. The suspense of Pi trying to tame and become friends with the tiger is also a high. The visuals in this movie are astonishing including the mix of CGI and four real tigers standing in for this beautiful animal. There are also two breathtaking scenes that I will not spoil here but I will tell you they will hypnotize you. I love how Ang Lee uses 3D to make us feel like we are on that boat and the water is truly surrounding us. "Life of Pi" is a reason why only a very select few movies should be in 3D.

If you love movies about nature and the human condition you will love this movie and it will visually blow you away and the story is sometimes very compelling. It is way better than a movie like "Castaway", which this resembles, which seems sillier the more I think of it. What would you choose, a movie about a survivor with a volley ball or one with a tiger?

I really like this movie but I keep thinking of a movie like "The Black Stallion" which had a more embracing story that touched your heart more. The problem to me I think is the distracting writer character, the story would have been more effective without that weak character that is only there so the main character can narrate. This movie doesn't need narration, it would have affected me more if the movie just breathed and washed over me. The other problem is that this way of narrating the story spoils the ending of this movie. I did not read this book and now knowing what will happen to the main character from the beginning keeps me from being surprised and emotionally connected to this movie.

"Life of Pi" is a visually beautiful movie with a compelling story of survival that kids should see. It is quiet, subtle, not forced and fun to look at. How they present the tiger is amazing and thrilling and the 3D enhances the movie greatly without distracting us. I did not love it but I had a great time, appreciated the care and detail that Ang Lee put into this movie. It will hit a lot of movie goers right in the heart if it didn't quite do it to me. I am very happy that it was made and I wish more movies geared towards kids were this careful, simple, special and grown up.

Friday, November 16, 2012



Written by David O. Russell based on the novel by Matthew Quick
Directed by David O. Russell
Actors: Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, Robert Deniro, Jackie Weaver, Chris Tucker, Julia Stiles

Sometimes a movie will come along that personally touches you like no movie has ever done. It affects you deeply and you also unfortunately know that some might be put off by the movie and will find it difficult to watch. "Silver Linings Playbook" is that type of movie and I hope people love it as much as I do. It is so accurate to real life and it's problems and it's not a cookie cutter type Hollywood entertainment. There are real emotions that the characters deal with in this movie that reflects real people now. It is one of the most powerfully touching movies of this year and that I have seen in a long time. This is a movie that will sneak up on you and surprise you.

"Silver Linings Playbook" is based on a novel and written and directed by the very talented David O.Russell". It stars Bradley Cooper as Pat who has just left the hospital and is picked up by his mother Dolores. Pat was treated for having a nervous breakdown after catching his wife cheating on him. He is also diagnosed as being bipolar. There are little things that affect him and trigger his emotions releasing angry outbursts. He is trying to get his feelings in check, going to a therapist and trying to get closer to his parents again.

In Pat's life comes a woman who is getting over the death of her husband and is coming over to a dinner party hosted by Pat's friend. Her name is Tiffany and there is kind of a twisted love at first sight meeting bewtween the two. This dinner scene is perfectly acted and written and starts the movie off with a bang. Tiffany has also gone through tangled emotions in her life and has been fired from her job after she slept with everyone at work. These are two damaged souls who strike up a very interesting relationship at first. We think that they would be great together but their emotional problems will make this very hard. We also see that Pat and his father are not seeing eye to eye. Add to that the father's crazy, loyal and obsessive dedication as a Philadelphia Eagles fan. Tiffany also wants Pat to be her dance partner in a dance contest that will give her focus and a sense of accomplishment.

"Silver Linings Playbook" is a hard movie to define but all I know is that after it all ended I felt a deep connection to it. This is a very well written and perceptive movie about family, getting control of your life and emotions and football. There have been many movies about mental health issues but this one is under stated, real and powerful. Many other movies dealing with these issues are usually over written, cloying and wind up in a Hollywood ending. This is a very hard movie to embrace because it is so real and upfront about it's subject. Though I also think it is very funny, hilarious in spots and highly entertaining and fun at the same time. It is a movie that is messy like real life even making it more realistic and it also earns it's ending.

The performances here are also special and Bradley Cooper gives the best performance of his career so far. It is a tough role to play but Cooper nails it, never over doing the scenes where he has angry outbursts. He makes us like this very hard to like character. Jennifer Lawrence is amazing, funny and powerful here and her performance is the glue that holds this movie together as does her character. This is one of the most emotionally honest female characters I have ever seen in a movie and Lawrence is incredible giving the best performance by an actress this year. It is also a tough role to nail down but Lawrence is flawless here. Also Jackie Weaver and Robert Deniro give great support as Pat's parents. This is a return to great acting by Deniro not seen by him since "This Boy's Life" in 1993. He finally gets a role that suits him after such a long time dealing with bad movies and weak roles.

"Silver Linings Playbook" feels real and takes place in a realistically defined World. The movie is filled with great supporting characters acted by great character actors including Chris Tucker, returning after a long absence with a quiet, subtle role this time. The movie is hard to love and it might look like it will be a depressing and sad movie. I think people can fall in love with this movie though. It is not and to me it is a very life affirming, uplifting and beautifully written movie that is also a lot of fun and hilarious at times. Writer/Director David O'Russell is one of our best writers in movies today and this is another winner following his great, Oscar nominated "The Fighter". Though "Silver Linings Playbook" is his best and most powerful movie since his anti war masterpiece "Three Kings".

There are so many powerful and soon to be classic scenes in this movie that are some of the best scenes out of any movie this year. There is a wonderful, crazy and hilarious scene in Pat's home as Pat's father, mother, brother and even Tiffany get involved in a crazy bet involving the Philadelphia Eagles and Tiffany and Pat's dance contest. The scene has brilliant and funny dialogue and the actors especially Lawrence nail all the dialogue perfectly. Lawrence takes over this scene and many other scenes backing up my opinion that she gives the best performance by any actress this year. I also love a touching and powerful talk between Pat and his father Pat Sr. which is one of the most emotionally honest scenes I have ever seen between a father and son in a movie. This is Deniro at his very best and affirms the great acting done by Bradley Cooper proving that he is a very fine actor and should be taken seriously.

"Silver Linings Playbook" is one of the most refreshing movies of the year. It is funny, touching, powerful and emotionally honest. I am very much an anti therapy and anti prescription medicine guy. I love how this movie stresses that emotional problems can not be fixed if the person with the problems can't even help himself first. This is a movie that touched me deeply and made me laugh a lot and cry a few times. I love all these characters who grew on me and who I will never forget. At the center is my favorite female character and performance I have experienced in quite a long time and Pat who is a character that I can identify with. Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Deniro and Jackie Weaver are incredible and I grew to love Pat and Tiffany and their faults and quirks. It is a movie that will make you laugh, cry and realize that we are all not perfect and that everybody needs help. This is a wonderful and life affirming movie and it will stay with me for a very long time.

Friday, November 9, 2012


'SKYFALL' (PG-13) (4 STARS) (highest rating)

Written by Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and John Logan
Directed by Sam Mendes
Actors: Daniel Craig, Javier Bardem, Judi Dench, Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, Ben Whishaw, Albert Finney

About a month ago I did a special radio show on my favorite and least favorite James Bond movies. I picked my favorite theme songs, best Bond villians and which actor was the best Bond. I also ranked the movies in order of greatness. Now with the latest Bond movie "Skyfall" I am going to have to change my rankings in a big way. "Skyfall" is the best Bond movie since "Goldfinger" and I might even like it more than that classic. Am I saying "Skyfall" is the best Bond movie ever? Well let me just say it is the best action movie of this or any other year, the best spy movie in ages and great enough to get a Best Picture Oscar nomination!

"Skyfall" is not only prime Bond but one of the most beautifully shot and exciting movies this year. The producers have finally picked an esteemed director, the best director of any Bond movie in Sam Mendes. Mendes has directed two of the most beautifully shot movies in recent memory "Revolutionary Road" and "American Beauty". Bond fans were worried that Mendes would not be able to handle all the intricate action scenes. Let me say that Mendes gets the best Bond performance ever given by any of the actors who played Bond by Daniel Craig. He also has captured fascinating shots of the best and most beautiful locations I have ever seen in a Bond movie. I also think Mendes has directed the best action scenes of any Bond movie. The movie is beautifully lit and breathtaking!

I also love that the plot is so simple but also so thrilling. Someone has hacked into M's computer and discovered the real identities of secret agents who are now compromised. M is played by Judi Dench who is the best addition a Bond movie has ever gotten. She brings so much depth to what should be a thin role and her and Daniel Craig are so good together! They create a deep and touching relationship between M and Bond that peaks in "Skyfall" and makes the movie special. Bond then meets what will become in my opinion one of the three best Bond villians ever. He is a disgraced ex spy consumed with revenge who thinks he was betrayed by M. His name is Silva and he is beautifully played by Javier Bardem. Barden plays Silva with a lot of menace and evil but Bardem plays it just right. He doesn't go over the top, creating one of the most sinister Bond villains ever.

The action scenes in "Skyfall" are the best ever in a Bond movie. There are wonderful action set pieces including a brilliantly lit and choreographed fist, knife fight. Then you have a thrilling chase scene on a subway, the perfectly directed pre credit chase scene and a masterful closing set piece set in Scotland but actually filmed in Turkey. That brings me to the location work which is the most sumptous and beautiful location work ever in a Bond movie. Shanghai looks breathtaking in this movie, London has never looked better in a movie and the closing sequences in Turkey look cold and dank but also extremely beautiful.

The other treats in this movie are a beautiful, tough and engaging spy and Bond girl played wonderfully by Naomie Harris. You also have Ralph Fiennes as M's boss, a new and funny Q and the legendary Albert Finney who has some killer, funny one liners and brings another level of depth to this Bond movie. Finney figures into the last half hour that is flawlessly shot and directed and he makes it even more special. The only thing that was missing was a real substantial and beautiful second Bond girl but by the end of the movie you see why there wasn't one so even that comes out perfect here. In fact the ending of this Bond movie springs great surprises making this the most perfect ending a Bond movie has ever had. You will see why it is perfect setting up a new and exciting direction in the Bond franchise that I can't wait to see!

I loved every frame and every second of this exciting, well directed, suspenseful and extremely fun Bond movie. I loved the opening theme song sung by Adele which may be the lushest, most beautiful sounding Bond song ever. I loved Javier Bardem who brings such an energy and powerful but subtle menace to Silva. I loved the performances and screen presence of Dench, Harris, Fiennes and Finney. In fact this is the best acting I have seen in a Bond movie. The direction, cinematography and location work also has never been better and I can't wait to see every action scene and chase over and over again. It usually takes an actor playing Bond three movies to get comfortable playing Bond. Daniel Craig in film three has nailed it and is now equal and maybe even better than Connery! "Skyfall" is not only the best Bond movie in ages it also the best action movie in a decade and one of the best movies period of 2012!

P.S. I don't know why but after "Skyfall" I kept thinking of Gene Siskel and how much he appreciated the Bond movies. He would argue with Roger Ebert on who was the best Bond and Bond actor and villain. Since this is probably my favorite Bond movie I kept thinking that Gene would have loved this movie and would have thought the same way I did. I miss you Gene!



Written by Tony Kushner based on the book "Team of Rivals" by Doris Kearns Goodwin
Directed by Steven Spielberg
Actors: Daniel Day Lewis, Tommy Lee Jones, Sally Field, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, David Strathairn, James Spader, John Hawkes.

I wasn't much of a fan of history class when I went to school but I learned to love it when watching historical movies. I was excited that Steven Spielberg was tackling the last few months of President Lincoln's political career. Here was a filmmaker that could make something exciting out of Lincoln's efforts to try to stop the Civil War and pass an amendment that would abolish slavery. Now with Daniel Day Lewis playing Lincoln I knew I was in for a treat. I am happy to report that Day Lewis is pitch perfect and wonderful as Lincoln but sad to report I think Spileberg could have done a little better.

"Lincoln" does concentrate on the last months of Lincoln's presidency and his struggle with passing an amendment to abolish slavery. I am glad that this was not a biopic and was excited thinking that Spielberg would make Lincoln's fight to pass the amendment fascinating and thrilling. I loved a lot of scenes in the House of Representatives as stubborn Democrats fought Lincoln all the way on the amendment. Many of his opponents thought Lincoln was a rube and a country Hick and was in way over his head. There are some great scenes of griping, fighting and insults being thrown around in the House between the Democrats and Republicans. I bet you thought that back then it was all civil and boring in the political arena?

The film starts off on a very solid note concentrating on this fight and Lincoln the man. Daniel Day Lewis is amazing, as expected, as Lincoln capturing his easy manner and high pitched voice. Of course we don't know what Lincoln sounded like back then but Lewis is so good I bet he sounds just like him! Lincoln was a farmer and was very underestimated because of that. What we see thanks to Spielberg and Day Lewis was that Lincoln was a very smart, stubborn, kind man who was also a great family man. That is why I think he was one of our best presidents, he knew how to talk to people. There is a beautifully shot and written scene in the beginning of the movie as Lincoln talks to some soldiers on the front line. Lincoln was a man that put everyone at ease but could get fired up when needed. I think Daniel Day Lewis is wonderful here and his performance is the real reason to see this movie.

I also loved the performance by Tommy Lee Jones as abolitionist Thaddeus Stevens and Jones gives award caliber work here. I also appreciated the performances by James Spader, funny and hammy here as a chief negotiator and David Strathairn who is wonderful as William Seward, his Secretary of State. So far so good but as "Lincoln" moves along in it's second half I think it loses it's way. The performances are still there but the movie becomes dull and labored and I think a few scenes should have been cut. It feels stagy in the last hour and more like a history lesson. I love the scenes in the House where the Democrats and Republicans fight it out but I think Spielberg could have done better tightening those scenes up. I wanted more suspense and energy, more like the movie "Moneyball" which made dialogue more suspenseful with it's subject matter.

I think Spielberg gets more carried away with scenes dealing with Lincoln's home life. Now I do like the scenes where Lincoln shows how much he loves his sons. Though I do think that the scenes with Day Lewis and Sally Field as Mary Todd are weak and distracting. I also thought the relationship with Abraham and his son Robert(Joseph Gordon-Levitt) was under developed. I like the first half of Tony Kushner's writing but think that he slips in developing some of he scenes of Lincoln's home life throughout. I just felt that some energy and poignancy was missing in the latter part of the movie.

Now I do love the performances by Daniel Day Lewis, Tommy Lee Jones and James Spader. I love a lot of the cinematography and I appreciate some beautiful shots by Spielberg who doesn't know how not to shoot a movie. There are some great scenes in "Lincoln" and maybe I should have liked it more, I expect some will love it. All I know is that I felt the movie was too dull in spots and I was dissapointed that Spielberg didn't put more juice in it. Maybe with this and Robert Redford's dud "The Conspirator" I just don't like movies set in this period of time. I think the movie is worth a matinee show just to see how wonderful Daniel Day Lewis is. I also think that there is a certain audience that will love this. I just thought the movie could get dull and tedious too many times for my taste.

Friday, November 2, 2012


'FLIGHT' (R) (4 STARS)(Highest Rating)

Written by John Gatins
Directed by Robert Zemeckis
Actors: Denzel Washington, Kelly Reilly, Don Cheadle, John Goodman, Bruce Greenwood, Bruce Geraghty, Nadine Velazquez.

Denzel Washington is one of our finest actors and lately he has given us dependable, star performances in a lot of slick, Hollywood projects. We forget that he is one of the best actors that has ever graced a movie screen. It has been awhile since Denzel could show off his acting chops. Some say it was way back with "Training Day" with his blistering performance as a dirty cop. I agree somewhat but that was more histrionics and shouting. With "Flight" Denzel has given one of his very best performances as an airline pilot in Robert Zemeckis's "Flight" which is a very well written movie that packs an emotional punch.

The performance by Denzel and the movie are a throwback to the golden movie age where a movie was a showcase for a major movie star. The movie "Flight" is also a throwback to those star vehicles where a major actor played an alcoholic or drug addict. It is a role that is ready for scene chewing but Washington gives a subtly emotional, graceful and powerful performance. He holds back when he needs to and beautifully brings out the emotion of the role when he has to in a tender way. It is truly one of the best performances I have seen on screen and it gets better the more I think of it.

The movie also has stayed with me and haunted me hours after I have seen it. Except for too much overdone religious overtones it is a perfectly written potboiler that gets stronger as it builds with a scene near the end that came out of nowhere and made me cry. "Flight" also is a welcome return to serious film making by Robert Zemeckis. Zemeckis was an icon and on such a roll with great classics like "Used Cars", "Back to the Future" and "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?" He lost his way recently with stop motion animation blunders like "A Christmas Carol" and "Polar Express". He gets back on track with serious film making like his Tom Hanks vehicle "Castaway" which I kind of liked.

"Flight" tells the story of airline pilot Whip, played by Washington, who lands a plane in an open field after the plane malfunctions. He saves the plane by several maneuvers before it crashes and saves the lives of many only losing four passengers and two flight crew members. He is seen as a hero because his expert landing of the plane kept it from being a major catastrophe. Before we see this realistic and frightening plane crash landing we witness Whip waking up with a flight attendant in a hotel room. Whip had consumed a lot of alcohol the night before and we see him finishing a beer and then taking cocaine to right himself. When the landing is investigated there is a concern that Whip's alcohol consumption could affect the investigation and send him to prison for the deaths of the four passengers.

There will be a lawyer appointed to get Whip off on these charges stressing that the plane almost crashed because it was a broken plane with major malfunctions and it wasn't because of Whip's alcohol consumption. Though the movie is not just focused on the investigation, the movie is really about alcohol addiction. It is about Whip and how his life is full of lies including the biggest lie, that he does not have an alcohol problem and he can stop anytime. "Flight" is really compatible to two of the best movies ever made about alcohol addiction and is almost equal to them. Those two movies are "Days of Wine and Roses" with Jack Lemmon and Lee Remick from 1962 and arguably the best, "Clean and Sober" with Michael Keaton from 1988. Washington's performance is equal to Keaton who gave the best performance ever on screen of an addict up to now.

As the movie progresses we get emotionally involved with Whip's addiction and we want him to stop lying to himself. He at first seems arrogant and hard to like but we see later that he is just a flawed human being that needs to discover that his life is getting out of control. There will be another person who will walk into Whip's life and she is Nicole, played tenderly and beautifully by Kelly Reilly, who is also an addict. That part of the movie surprised me and it is very well handled. There will also be a lot of powerful moments between Whip and his son and another flight crew member. There is also a moment near the end during the flight hearing concerning a crew member that Whip was involved with. That moment ties everything up in this movie in a powerful, emotional scene that choked me up.

When "Flight" is over everything does come together and the movie gives us a solid portrait of an alcoholic. You also have a perfectly delivered, emotional and graceful performance by Denzel. Also fine are Don Cheadle as Whip's lawyer, Bruce Greenwood as a colleague and friend and great comic relief by John Goodman as Whip's friend and drug dealer. Kelly Reilly as Nicole also gives a wonderful and beautiful performance. There is a lot of emotion in "Flight" and it is always an engrossing drama that will keep you on the edge of your seat. I didn't expect such an emotional depth from this movie but it is one of the most honest depictions of addiction I have ever seen on screen. "Flight" is one of the best movies of 2012!

P.S. As I mentioned, "Flight" is one of the very best movies about addiction I have ever seen. My favorite movie is "Clean and Sober" and favorite performance of an addict ever is by Michael Keaton. "Flight" is a great movie to go out to and then when you get home the next night get "Clean and Sober" on netflix.

My favorite line from "Clean and Sober" applies to "Flight" and it is the truest and most beautiful statement that was ever spoken about helping an addict.

"A person that thinks they can help an addict overcome their addiction who doesn't want their help has to realize how crazy that logic is."