I'm not a nervous flier, and I thought that, based on what we saw in the trailer, I was prepared for the plane crash in the first act of Flight. I was not. I will always remember Flight for eliciting a reaction in me that no other movie ever has: That crash sequence was so terrifying that it made me cry.
Fortunately, I had lots of time to recover my composure; following the crash, the movie goes on for a couple more hours (the run time is 138 minutes, but it sure felt longer) as pilot Whip Whitaker (Denzel Washington, who's been nominated for a Best Actor Oscar for his performance) deals with the fallout from the crash. Is he a hero for coming up with a solution to land the plane that saved almost everyone on it? Or is he a villain for doing so with (spoiler) the help of a variety of intoxicants, both legal and not? As strong as that crash sequence is, by the end you can barely remember it was in the same movie as this long, depressing addiction drama.
New and Notable
Celeste and Jesse Forever
Rashida Jones cowrote and stars in this film about the titular married couple (Jones and Andy Samberg), who separate but then stay so close that even their best friends can barely tell.
Here Comes the Boom
High school teacher Kevin James tries to save his school's extracurricular programs by earning the needed money doing MMA fighting on the side, as one does.
This acclaimed documentary tells the story of junior-level chess.
A Late Quartet
Philip Seymour Hoffman, Imogen Poots, and Christopher Walken play classical musicians in this film you should not confuse with Dustin Hoffman's Quartet.
Molly "Swingtown" Parker goes back to the '70s for another key party story, also starring John Hawkes.
Little White Lies
It's The Big Chill, but in French and with Marion Cotillard.
Tobey Maguire gets his mistress (Laura Linney) pregnant, ponders killing her. Wacky comedy!
Basically, this is Gangster Squad, except it's the '70s and Ving Rhames is cooler than Ryan Gosling.
In Our Nature
A distant father (John Slattery) and son (Zach Gilford) accidentally end up at their summer house the same weekend, with their girlfriends in tow.
Troubled twentysomething Maggie Grace makes friends with Alzheimer's sufferer Hal Holbrook, learns about herself, the usual.
A teenager gets a job with a matchmaker in 1968 Israel.
As far as I can tell, this is a documentary — excuse me, an "autoblography" — in which the founder of the Webby Awards tries to make a trend story about her own smartphone-based rudeness.
The Gentle Bear Man of Emo
When bears start randomly showing up on a guy's property, he becomes an accidental wildlife preservationist and bear whisperer.
A murderer collects a bunch of young people and makes them live out their worst nightmares by handcuffing them to task chairs and making them do data entry in corporate casual dress.
Elfie Hopkins: Cannibal Hunter
A goth-y slacker learns that her sleepy village has been infiltrated by cannibals.
The animation quality is bad enough to make you think this is a quickie kids' movie made in Bulgaria or something, but it's a futuristic "lesbian rock-and-roll sci-fi film," so it's not for children — just undiscriminating adults.
The lighting is so poor that I can hardly tell what's even happening in this horror anthology, but it all looks crappy.
Opportunistic Backlist Revival Theme of the Week: Hard Dying
With Live Free or Die Hard hitting cinemas next week (and frankly I can't think of a better way to celebrate Valentine's Day than seeing it with your sweetheart), you can get in the mood by watching all the previous entries in the franchise — including the original and best. I know you probably watched it over the holidays, since it's the best Christmas movie ever, but you know you want to watch it again.
Tyler Perry Presents: Tyler Perry's Tyler Perrys of the Week
Perry plays the titular detective in a reboot of the James Patterson character originally played by Morgan Freeman.
Madea Gets a Job
If you prefer Perry in drag, please enjoy this film of a live production of one of his plays.
Cheapo Straight-to-Home Video "Family" Films of the Week
The Solomon Bunch
A bunch of kids form a crime-fighting club, and promptly target their town's only nonconformist.
This is what Jeremy Piven's doing these days.
A couple of sisters realize that some things are More Important than their High-Powered Careers when their father dies and they have to help save their mother's struggling florist business.
Baby Geniuses and the Mystery of the Crown Jewels
This is what Jon Voight's doing these days.
Monster High: Friday Night Fights
An inspiring story of how girl monsters ended sex segregation of Skultimate Scream, or something.
"In Theaters" VOD Picks
A documentary about a recording studio where Tom Petty, Nirvana, Fleetwood Mac, Cheap Trick, and countless others made some of their best albums.
Would You Rather
This horror film about a sadistic real-life game of Would You Rather joins the pantheon of films about why you shouldn't go to dinner parties thrown by rich weirdos you don't know.
Army guy in trailer: "So that's what this is about? Huge spiders?" Basically, yes. (If you really need to see Patrick Muldoon fighting space bugs this weekend, I recommend Starship Troopers.)
Early VOD Premiere of the Week
Jack Plotnick loses his beloved dog; Steve Little (from Eastbound & Down) tries to help him find it by recovering memories from one of the dog's turds. That's only about the fourth-weirdest thing that happens in the trailer for this film. (William Fichtner's accent is no. 1.)
Day of the Falcon
Two rival sultans fight over oil, which only gets more complicated when one sultan's son marries the other's daughter (the lovely Freida Pinto, who deserves better).
The Oogieloves: The Big Balloon Adventure
Please screen this film — a bomb of historic proportions — for your kids only as a punishment, and only if they did something so bad that a mere timeout isn't enough.