Movie Review: “Sully”

Tom Hanks, Aaron Eckhart, Laura Linney, Mike O’Malley, Anna Gunn
Clint Eastwood

On January 15, 2009, commercial airline pilot Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger safely landed US Airways Flight 1549 in the middle of the Hudson River when the plane struck a flock of geese shortly after takeoff, causing both engines to fail. It took the combined efforts of Sully’s crew and over 1,000 first responders in New York City and New Jersey to ensure the safety of all 155 passengers. But director Clint Eastwood’s big screen adaptation of the famous incident opens with an alternate version of the crash – one that ends in a fiery (and eerily familiar) explosion into the side of a New York City skyscraper. Why risk the fury of moviegoers with such distressing 9/11 imagery? Because it shows how differently it could have ended without Sully’s heroic act, and in doing so, gets the audience firmly behind its subject from the start.

The film begins several weeks after the so-called Miracle on the Hudson, with Sully (Tom Hanks) and his crew, including First Officer Jeffrey Skiles (Aaron Eckhart), making the talk show rounds to discuss their experience. Unbeknownst to the general public, there was an investigation taking place behind closed doors with the National Transportation Safety Board in order to determine whether Sully’s “forced water landing” (he refuses to use the word “crash”) was justified or reckless. So when a computer simulation of the accident reveals new data that suggests the airplane could have made it back to LaGuardia or Teterboro Airport without injury to any of the passengers, it casts a shadow of self-doubt on the experienced pilot, who’s already under an immense amount of pressure between the ongoing investigation, the numerous media commitments and financial problems at home, not to mention the PTSD caused by the incident itself.

Read the rest of this entry »


You can follow us on Twitter and Facebook for content updates. Also, sign up for our email list for weekly updates and check us out on Google+ as well.

Blu-ray Review: “Clint Eastwood: 20-Film Collection”

Trying to distill the cinematic legacy of an actor/director like Clint Eastwood into a mere 20 films is basically a fool’s errand, as there is no algorithm which can successfully produce a set that will please everyone, but Warner Brothers at least gets credit for taking a decent stab at it, even if the end result is still something that you can only imagine being given as a gift.

Image ALT text goes here.

Starting out with 1971’s “Dirty Harry” is certainly a strong beginning, and things stay strong with the decision to follow it with the second Harry Callahan film, 1973’s “Magnum Force,” but even though they do include “Sudden Impact” later in the set, skipping “The Enforcer” and “The Dead Pool” is a sure way to ensure that Dirty Harry fans will say, “Well, if they’re not all in there, then I don’t want it.” (Then again, it’d also result in the existing “Dirty Harry Collection” selling fewer copies, so that’s probably the rationale behind the decision.)

You can’t really blame them for including “Every Which Way But Loose” but leaving out the sub-par sequel “Any Which Way You Can,” but it’s more than a little eyebrow-raising to see that “Letters from Iwo Jima” without its companion piece, “Flags of our Fathers.” It can at least be said that all of Eastwood’s best Warner Brothers westerns are included in the set, with “The Outlaw Josey Wales,” “Pale Rider,” and “Unforgiven” making the cut, but there are still some inclusions and omissions that seems somewhat odd.

Sure, you can accept “The Gauntlet” making the cut because it was the first film he directed for Warner Brothers, but the inclusion of the decidedly dated “Firefox” seems likely to have been inspired by someone in the WB accounting department saying, “Y’know, if we put that one in instead of ‘Honkytonk Man,’ then we won’t have to license as much music.” (On that note, “Bird” probably never had a chance in Hell of making it into the set.) Also, I’m not saying they don’t exist, but if you can find me someone who prefers “Hereafter” to “Tightrope,” I’d love to meet them.

Okay, enough bitching. It’s not a perfect collection, but “Clint Eastwood: 20-Film Collection” is certainly plenty of hours of good movies that, for the most part, look really damned good. Also, in addition to the bonus materials which carry over from the previous releases of the films, there’s also the highly worthwhile inclusion of two documentaries: 2010’s “The Eastwood Factor,” which is available elsewhere, and the new “Eastwood Directs: The Untold Story.” You might not want to buy it, but you can’t say it isn’t worth owning.


Hidden Netflix Gems: Once Upon a Time in the West

This week’s Hidden Netflix Gem: “Once Upon a Time in the West” (1968)

It’s 2012, so it wouldn’t be all that surprising to discover a majority of young people have not heard of Italian film director, producer, and screenwriter Sergio Leone. After all, the man died 23 years ago in 1989. However, you’d likely be hard pressed to find someone in that demographic who hasn’t seen, or at the very least heard of the man’s work.

Read the rest of this entry »


An okay evening at Spike TV’s “Guys Choice” Awards

We’re fussy about Red Carpet events here at Bullz-Eye central. That’s largely because as a lone, online writer you’re pretty much at the mercy of the publicity gods in terms of who you’re going to meet up with and you never know who that’s going to be. One condition we have is that we get to see the show/movie/what-have-you in question so, if all else fails, we can write about that or at least get a bit of entertainment and free food. In this case, that was a good thing. Not because we didn’t get to talk to anybody interesting, but because Spike TV’s “Guys Choice” presentation, which premieres on the network at 9:00 Eastern/6:00 PDT Friday is not your usual award show.

Right down to the sexy female dancers who liven up the breaks and its highly distinctive award statue, “the Mantlers,” it’s easily the most laid back and honestly silly awards show I’ve seen. It’s also the only award show we know of which contains R-rated profanity in one of its award titles: the “Funniest Motherf*cker” award, this year being given to Jim Carrey. It’s safe the say the show was completely irreverent about everything, except for its commendable commitment to drawing attention to the bravery and sacrifices made by members of our armed forces.

Speaking of Jim Carrey, the famed comic provided a remarkable bit of comedy dealing with the always absolutely never hilarious topic of..oh, Lord, we’d better just leave it alone. You don’t want to know. Carrey himself made it clear that children and other sensitive people were better off not hearing the routine before proceeding with a shocking and explosively funny performance, abetted by the sensitive stylings of violinist Neil Hammond.

More traditionally edgy and hilarious at certain points, but a lot longer, was a marathon bit by faux canine Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog, aka comic genius Robert Smigel. The latter merited a bad on-camera review from Sean Penn who between this show and his criticism of Ricky Gervais at Golden Globes, seems to be developing a side career as a real-time award show comedy critic.

Mila Kunis at the Spike Guy's Choice AwardsJustin Timberlake less controversially proved himself to be, once again, no comic slouch, while promoting the charms of the co-star of his next flick, “Friends with Benefits,” the beautiful and talented Mila Kunis. Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards distinguished himself by simply being alive to pick up his award and being the innately humourous individual he is.

And so it went. I’ll have a few choice quotes from the show at the end of this piece. First, though, let’s talk about the folks we met on the Red Carpet.

Read the rest of this entry »