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.
We already told you up top: It's Flight on a school bus. It doesn't star the real Denzel Washington, but this amazing impostor is every bit as compelling as a burrito-fearing, kid-imperiling, cup-slapping Whip Whitaker. Watch out, Jay Pharaoh, this guy's coming to kill you. Probably by doing that Denzel exploding finger thing right to your heart.
So Anheuser-Busch has officially requested that Paramount — the studio behind Flight, Denzel Washington's high-flying (get it???) drama — digitally remove all Budweiser products from the film. Why fight free advertising? Well, see, the movie has a bunch of scenes in which Washington's character, the hero pilot with a drinking problem, crushes a few frosty Bud brews, and AB would much rather not be associated with alcoholism. Sensible! In a letter, Budweiser vice-president Robert McCarthy writes: "We would never condone the misuse of our products, and have a long history of promoting responsible drinking and preventing drunk driving. It is disappointing that Image Movers, the production company, and Paramount chose to use one of our brands in this manner. We have asked the studio to obscure the Budweiser trademark in current digital copies of the movie and on all subsequent adaptations of the film." But obscuring the trademark won't mean audiences won't still recognize that iconic red-and-white can — damn those centuries of effective branding! And, considering this letter of Robert's is getting a nice little pile of news attention, everyone is going to know it's Bud underneath those pixelated blobs. Surely Paramount doesn't want to lose the friendship of the powerful AB corporation. So how can Denzel and Flight really make it up to Bud? Three suggestions:
King Kong probably has a few things on Chris Ryan and me. But as evidence has shown, the big guy has nothing on Denzel Washington. In anticipation of Flight (2:10), we had a spirited discussion/IMDb trawl on the man Chris termed “the greatest movie star of our lifetime.” Once we finished singing the praises of The Siege and brushing our St.Elsewhere mustaches, we moved to the small screen, tackling the most recent episodes of Homeland (20:50) and The Walking Dead (32:40). Have we reached the end of the road for Carrie and Brody? And does the arrival of the Governor and his exotic collection of face-fish temper our simmering disgust with the Grimes family?
Silver: I absolutely love this trailer. It’s not overly flashy or high-concept. Instead, through a subtle and dexterous balance of tone and intentional vagueness, we get a Halloween fun-size version of the film. Just enough to whet the appetite and make us want more. The somber and ominous tone is set with excellent music, and with two ambiguous yet badass sound bites from Jason Clarke and Mark Strong. The Hurt Locker was one of the most intense film-going experiences I’ve ever had in a movie theater. There were multiple times I felt like I’d lost my breath. So I can only imagine what director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal have in store for their follow-up to that multiple-Oscar winner, which just so happens to be about the mission to kill Osama bin Laden. I also love this cast; the aforementioned Clarke and Stong have been on the precipice of stardom for a while, so maybe Zero Dark Thirty is their coming-out party, but they’re just two in an ensemble of solid performers. Based on this trailer, it looks like Jessica Chastain is the central character, but we also get glimpses of James Gandolfini, Scott Adkins, Joel Edgerton, Edgar Ramirez, Chris Pratt, and Kyle Chandler. I cannot wait to see this film. But for now, I’m going to watch this trailer a few more times, because without a doubt, it’s one of the best released this year.
Dane Cook has landed a development deal at NBC, and will produce and star in a half-hour comedy with an eye on a fall 2012 premiere. The ever-divisive Cook’s movie career has mostly fizzled, but he’s still a huge stand-up pull, and, despite whatever personal aversion you may have, there’s no reason why Cook shouldn't be allowed to take a crack at a TV show. If this fails too, though, Dane should probably move to a small village in Southern Italy and start a new life as a kindly cobbler. Grade: D [Deadline]
Yesterday, the news about Antoine Fuqua was that he was directing a Suge Knight documentary for Showtime. Today, the news about Antoine Fuqua is that he’s in talks to direct Hunter Killer, an adaptation of George Wallace and Don Keith’s novel Firing Point, in which a Navy SEAL team has to rescue a Russian president, taken hostage during a coup, and stop a rogue general from starting international war. And with that, we bring to a thrilling conclusion the latest edition of our beloved feature, News About Antoine Fuqua. Grade: B+ [Showblitz]