Quick Movie Review: Sully (2016)

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I was initially wondering how they would make a 30 minute event into a full-length feature. But then I remember, this is Hollywood–they can do whatever they want.

Sully is based on the true story of 2009’s “Miracle on the Hudson” where Captain Chesley Sullenberger had to safely land a plane after a flock of geese flew into both engines, causing them to fail.

The event was traumatic enough, but this film mostly details the airline investigation following the incident. Director Clint Eastwood wisely circles the narrative around, sprinkling the action amidst the drama, keeping the pacing up and saving us from having to experience a long, uninterrupted National Transportation Safety Board hearing.

Throughout the film, Sullenberger is seen interacting with his wife, played by Laura Linney, on the phone. It’s an interesting choice not to have them face to face in person. I’ve struggled to find a good reason why. Perhaps keeping them apart is to emphasize the film’s “delay is better than disaster” theme. Or maybe it’s to distance Sully from his family and show how he just longs to be home, creating irony around how he was nearly never to be home again. Or it might just be an interesting quirk that Eastwood decided to include. Whatever it is, it’s unique and adds to the film’s appeal.

Perhaps the only thing that’s distracting, though, is Linney’s acting. It might seem like it’s good on the surface. She shows a lot of emotion, yet is strong when she needs to be, but her delivery is just so off much of the time. It’s not believable. It feels like she knows she’s acting and is trying her best to sell it. Maybe it’s because she was acting into a phone the whole time.

But that’s a minor setback. The film is uplifting, just like the 2009 event itself. It gives us a glimpse inside the mind of an American hero. A normal, everyman who lifted our country’s spirits during a time when we really needed it. The film doesn’t ruffle any feathers (believe it or not, pun actually not intended). Nor does it ever really make you ever second-guess our protagonist–which is for the best, I think, in this situation. But it takes what it has and does its very best turning the material into one heck of an ode to a memorable person and event of the early 21st century.

Twizard Rating: 98

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Quick Movie Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows (2016)

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Surprisingly content with its 2014 predecessor, I was looking forward to this movie. The first wasn’t even near perfect, but it had a kind of nostalgic charm to it and reminded me of something I would’ve been totally into when I was a kid. I mean, that’s what we’re looking for here, right?

In this one, our heroes catch news of Shredder escaping from prison with the help of mad scientist, Baxter Stockman, to utilize a technology that will help them stop the turtles and take over the world.

Luckily the filmmakers brought back the writers from the first to keep the dialogue consistent. The repartee is still just as cartoony and the acting is marginal, which give this movie its ’90s feel.

But much like the first in this rebooted series, this film is far from perfect. While it keeps the premise contained and doesn’t try to over-complicate things, unfortunately, it sort of does anyway. The main plot isn’t all that original, and then when it really gets the ball rolling, it becomes a bit convoluted when it shouldn’t need to be. In fact, the film’s at its strongest and most enjoyable during the first two acts.

The final action sequences are confusing and chaotic. I almost would’ve preferred to see it done more realistically without the shaky cam. Or maybe even chopsocky style!

The saddest thing is we are more invested in our CGI leads than their human counterparts–who are stiff and seem to be given the absolute bottom-of-the-barrel dialogue. But since the film is about the ninja turtles, I guess it does its job.

We get introduced to Casey Jones–a mainstay amongst earlier adaptations–who continues the trend of forced character development. In an attempt to evoke sympathy for our character, he is heard explaining, in total seriousness, to two different people that it’s his childhood dream to be a detective. But then that’s it. That’s all we get.

Regardless of all the pitfalls, this new series has been enjoyable because it has remained inspired. It’s obviously written by folks who are passionate about the source material.

Fairly consistent with, if not better than the first, Out of the Shadows keeps those into the series still invested. And 10-year-old me is enjoying a movie like a little kid again.

Twizard Rating: 76