“No One Warned Us. No One Said “You’re Going To Lose Both Engines At A Lower Altitude Than Any Jet In History”…”
No guys, Clint Eastwood’s latest isn’t a continuation of the Monsters Inc. character but instead a biographical drama based upon the extraordinary events that took place on 15th January 2009 when US Airways Flight 1549 was miraculously landed upon the Hudson River by pilots Chelsey Sullenberger and Jeffrey Skiles after a bird strike had completely destroyed both the left and right engines, leaving them in the air with no thrust and little chance to return to ground safely. Such a remarkable and historical achievement was inevitably set to hit the big screens sooner rather than later and what Eastwood has accomplished with Sully is creating a gripping and intelligently played drama which tackles not only the experience of Captain Sully’s landing but the repercussions of it too. With Tom Hanks performing effortlessly in the lead role as the titular Sully, Eastwood’s latest is indeed a hit, albeit suffering from some minor issues which prevent it from being up there with his best work as a director.
Inevitably, the fundamental narrative that fluctuates throughout Sully is a gripping enough plot in itself to catch the eye of even the least cinematically viable audience with a good, uplifting heroic story being the mark of a bankable picture, particularly when you have the reliable hands of Hanks as your movies’ star, and whilst the movie skips between the past and the present of our titular hero, the most effective parts of the movie take place during the films’ big set pieces, primarily the landing itself as well as the discussions that take place afterwards where although the narrative is hyped up completely to function as the drama, still manages to work, even if Eastwood manages to make every single journalist and white collar worker look like the villains of the piece. What the film didn’t need however was the cringey CGI crash scenes which took place inside the traumatised mind of our hero which completely reverses the effect of the movie and removes it from the subtle and understated nature of a film like Spotlight and instead becomes more of a popcorn movie as a result. Of course, popcorn movie goodness is not entirely a bad thing and whilst Sully does manage to come away as an effective telling of an incredible achievement within recent history, it isn’t really anything more than that, but, as with anything with Tom Hanks in, Sully is still an enjoyable and well made drama.
Overall Score: 7/10
“I Know Exactly How To Give Up. You Know What Scares Me Kev? Is That It’s Easy…”
As soon as you walk into the cosmos of a boxing movie, there is always the risk of cliche from the get-go. Ever since Rocky became the Oscar-winning blueprint for sporting films, many have trembled in its’ wake and fallen ever so heavily under the weight of its’ importance in cinematic history. Although earlier this year Creed began a successful new branch of Rocky lore, we now have Bleed For This, a cinematic adaptation of the remarkable true story of world champion boxer Vinny Pazienza, directed by Ben Younger and featuring a strong cast including Mile Teller, Aaron Eckhart, Ciaran Hinds and Katey Sagal, and a film which although does suffer inherently from the issues of similarities from previous and better films which adapt a similar theme, succeeds in being an enjoyable foray into the extravagant life of one of boxing’s most infamous figures and the extraordinary tale of one of sports’ most fantastical comebacks.
In terms of dissecting the film of which Bleed For This seems to be of similar ilk, you can’t sway away David O. Russel’s The Fighter, a film which not only examined the life of a similarly ambitious boxer but a film which also took into account the awkward angle of the dysfunctional family, with mother, brother and the love interest all having their own opinions regarding the best thing for Mark Wahlberg’s titular fighter. In the case of Bleed For This, not only is the dysfunctional family an angle the movie looks at, but the added notion of Pazienza’s horrific injury adds another level for which the film takes in its’ stride. Think Million Dollar Baby, yet less effective in terms of a work of drama and there you have Bleed For This, a solid sporting movie which although is slightly too long and drags out the amount of time our on-screen hero wades in his self-pity, is bolstered by a sublime performance from Miles Teller, who goes full on in his attempt to look the part, and features more comedic quips than the majority of mainstream so-called comedies, making Bleed For This not exactly on the level of Creed, but enjoyable nonetheless.
Overall Score: 6/10
With one of the worst taglines in movie history accompanying it (Check the poster above), the sequel not one person particularly wanted to Olympus Has Fallen has finally decided to embrace our screens in a time of the cinematic year in which, let’s face it, most of the crap tends to descend upon us in a vain attempt to dislodge the award season by letting us know that aside from brilliance of films like Spotlight and Room there is always going to be a gap in the market for absolutely tripe. Following in the footsteps of last weeks’ horror abortion The Forest therefore is Babak Najafi’s London Has Fallen, a cash-grabbing attempt to carry on the murderous rampage of one Gerard Butler during his duties to protect the least believable on-screen President ever in the form of Aaron Eckhart, perhaps best known for portraying Harvey Dent/Two-Face in The Dark Knight, whilst eyeing up the chance to blow up some of the UK’s most valuable and iconic works of art in a metaphorical and very American two fingers up to the people of the UK. As you can tell, it’s a complete turkey.
Although perhaps not worthy of extreme critical examination by any stretch of the imagination, I believe it is the interest of editorial affairs that I point you in the direction of Adam Sherwin’s article in The Independent (Link Below) whereby he gathers the rafter of hatred that has been directed towards London Has Fallen with many proclaiming it a “dumpster of xenophobia” and a film which would “inevitably end up on Donald Trump’s DVD shelf”. Can I argue with any of these statements? Not at all, particularly when regarding the extreme stereotypes and highly racist prejudices which encompass the entirety of the movie whilst the inclusion of complicated and controversial tactics of war such as drone usage is simply lauded within the first ten minutes of the film in which we witness an entire generation of a middle-eastern family get blown up. Is this really entertainment? No. Not only is the film morally bankrupt to the extreme, it is also a shoddy piece of cinema with awful dialogue, ridiculously violent set pieces and awful CGI which wouldn’t go amiss in a straight-to-DVD B-Movie. Don’t take the time out of your day to fuel America’s willingness to enlighten the world regarding the evil nature of the East, London Has Fallen is a Goebbels’ level of war propaganda and something that should be left alone in hope it disappears completely.