Thursday, March 7, 2013

Flight, The Invisible War, Detective Dee - DVD Reviews

FLIGHT (★★★) Starring Denzel Washington, Don Cheadle, Kelly Reilly, John Goodman, Bruce Greenwood and Melissa Leo.  Directed by Robert Zemeckis.

So nice to see Zemeckis back in the live-action business.  The man behind the motion-capture animated movies like Polar Express, Beowulf and A Christmas Carol has decided not to cover Denzel Washington with those green dots, but to just let him be his flesh-and-blood self.

Here, Denzel plays an airline pilot with a bit of a drinking problem, but hey, if he's ever too drunk, a little cocaine will wake him right up.  The movie is alot more about an addict's long road to recovery than the trailer would have you believe, but that's just fine. It's all about the performances.  The contrived final twenty minutes, however, almost ruin the movie.


THE INVISIBLE WAR (★★★½) Directed by Kirby Dick.

This documentary is one that'll make your blood boil.  It highlights the under-reported problem of rape in the Armed Forces.  One of the first stats cited is one of the most alarming. One out of five women in the Armed Forces is raped.  We meet a few victims, some using their names and faces, some blurred, and we hear their stories of the injustices.  Since the documentary came out, there have been changes made (as the closing credits indicate), but it still made me wonder.  Of those dishonorable few who poison the well, how many of those raping soldiers were also the torturing soldiers.


DETECTIVE DEE AND THE MYSTERY OF THE PHANTOM FLAME (★★) Starring Andy Lau and Tony Leung.  Directed by Tsui Hark.

This movie made me appreciate Zhang Yimou and Ang Lee so much more.  This offbeat period tale is about a 7th century detective ordered by Empress Wu to investigate two mysterious deaths by spontaneous combustion.  Naturally there's plenty of wire-fu, but the lighting, editing and direction makes it difficult to determine what's going on half the time, and a fight scene should not inspire its audience to just patiently wait for it to end.

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