Tag Archives: Flight

Denzel Washington’s 10 Best Movies

Denzel WashingtonDenzel Washington and Tom Hanks are, in my mind, the two best actors of their generation.  Both started in TV, Hanks in comedy with Bosom Buddies, and Washington in drama on St. Elsewhere.  Where Hanks’ career has exceeded Washington’s is not in talent, it is in project selection.  Washington elevates anything he’s in, no matter how mediocre, but he’s unfortunately had stretches of his career where he’s picked projects way beneath his astounding talent level.  Lately, though, Washington has been on a roll balancing commercial successes like The Equalizer and The Magnificent Seven with astounding dramatic performances in films like Flight and Fences.  Like the best actors, there is no limit to what he can achieve if paired with the right cast, project, and director.  He can be eminently likable, intensely despicable, sympathetic, heroic, noble and fallen all with an ease that lulls the audience until he turns it up and he grabs the screen by the throat and sears a moment into your mind forever.  Glory, Philadelphia, The Hurricane, Flight, Fences, all of these films have moments that transcend what even great actors can do, and you realize that you’re watching someone whose work will be remembered as long as they’re showing films.  He’s that good, and he keeps getting better.  Washington is also a talented director, helming Antwone Fisher, The Great Debaters, and Fences
Continue reading Denzel Washington’s 10 Best Movies

Top 10: Airplane Crashes in Movies

WatchMojo is back with another great film list, this time putting their back into making sure you never feel safe on an airplane ever again.  It’s a safe bet you’ll never be seeing any of these as your in-flight film.  While I’m usually lock-step with WM in most of their list, I think they made some serious missteps.  To be honest, I haven’t even seen their #1 pick (Fearless), but I don’t think it would beat either of my top two, Flight and Cast Away, which-to be fair-ARE their #2 and #3.  However, several of their honorable mentions (The Dark Knight Rises, Superman Returns, and COME ON, United 93) definitely belong on the list proper.  And where’s Sully???  It’s an ENTIRE FILM ABOUT A PLANE CRASH!!!  Well, the get a mulligan on that one, because they actually made this list three years ago, but I have some serious issues.  Also, I know it’s TV, but the plane crash in Lost’s pilot is as good as anything the movies have done.  What about you?  What’s your pick for the greatest plane crash in film history?  Let me know in the comments below!
Tom Hanks in Cast Away

Top 5: Movies That Should Never Be In-Flight Films

Airplane

Hello, my name is Dave and I am a frequent flyer.

HI DAVE!

We’ve all been there.  You know how it is.  Bored to death and staring at a non-stop from LA to DC and so you sit down and open in the in-flight magazine, praying as you furtively turn the pages to the movies section.  I have perhaps once….maybe twice, been pleasantly surprised by what I find  out will be staring me in the face (should I choose the audio or no) for the next two plus hours.  My worst experience *pause to take a slug of whiskey*, was a cross-country flight with Halle Berry’s Catwoman.

OH DEAR GOD!  BROTHER, YOU ARE AMONGST FRIENDS. Continue reading Top 5: Movies That Should Never Be In-Flight Films

My Favorite Scene: Flight (2012) *Upside Down*

The more time  that passes since I’ve seen Flight, the better a film it becomes in my estimation.  I believe I gave it a 9.0 when it came out, and I’d up that to a 9.75 today.  It is only because Denzel Washington had the misfortune to be nominated against Daniel Day-Lewis playing Abraham Lincoln that prevented the actor from getting his third Oscar.  Captain Whip Whitaker is, arguably, the best performance of a career stuffed full of great performances.  The best scene from the film is the jaw-dropping crash landing Whitaker performs that saves all but one life on his aircraft.  The problem is that at the time he pulled off this feat, Whitaker was drunk and high on cocaine. Continue reading My Favorite Scene: Flight (2012) *Upside Down*

Robert Zemeckis’ Latest 10 Movies vs. Greatest 10 Movies

Robert Zemeckis

Latest vs. Greatest is a relatively new feature here at Killing Time.  We’re going to look at directors, actors and actresses and assess the state of their career as it stands.  We’ll look back at the last 10 movies the artist has done, give it a grade and then average them out to see where they stand today.  We’ll also rank their 10 best movies and give it the same treatment to see what they have been doing compares to their very best work.  (A quick side-note: if an artist is also a regular on a TV show we’ll grade the seasons as individuals and, clearly, artists need 10 projects to qualify).

Robert Zemeckis is not a typical Hollywood director.  He doesn’t have a specific type or style of film he chooses.  He’s not prolific.  He’s only directed 10 films in last 23 years.  Before last year’s Flight, he hadn’t directed a live-action movie since 2000’s Cast Away.  He switched all his efforts to working on a motion capture animation style which he used in The Polar Express, Beowulf and A Christmas Carol.  Not many directors take 12 years off from live film making to dabble in new tech.  James Cameron is the only other one I can think of, but he was also busy between Titanic and Avatar gold-plating his private island with all the money he’s made.  Zemeckis is semi-well known to film goers, but not an immediate name like Cameron, Spielberg, or Tarantino.  His body of work; however, contains a favorite film of almost anyone.

Zemeckis has always innovated.  If there’s a common thread to the disparate themes in his work, it’s that something in the film is pushed to the edge be it technology (Forrest Gump, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, the animated films), the boundaries of storytelling (Flight) or what can be asked of a single actor in a single film (Cast Away).  As I said, it’s a bit of a misnomer to examine his “latest ten” because they stretch all the way back to 1989, but it’s the name of the game, so here’s his latest ten

Back to the Future, Marty McFly, Doc Brown, Christopher Lloyd, Michael J. Fox

ZEMECKIS’ LATEST TEN:
1. Flight (2012) ………………………………………………………………….. 9.25
2. A Christmas Carol (2009) ………………………………………………… 6.00
3. Beowulf (2007) ………………………………………………………………. 7.25
4. The Polar Express (2004) …………………………………………………4.75
5. Cast Away (2000) …………………………………………………………..10.00
6. What Lies Beneath (2000) …………………………………………………7.50
7. Contact (1997) …………………………………………………………………7.25
8. Forrest Gump (1994) ………………………………………………………..8.50
9. Death Becomes Her (1992) …………………………………………………5.75
10. Back to the Future Part III ……………………………………………….8.00
ROBERT ZEMECKIS’ CURRENT WORKING AVERAGE: 7.425

Forrest Gump, Tom Hanks, Robert Zemeckis

Picking your projects and taking your time seems to work.  Zemeckis has that highest current working average of any artist (director or actor) that we’ve examined thus far.  It would be even higher were it not for the decade long plunge into developing a photo-realistic type of animation that we’ll just call Zemeckamation.  Because that’s simpler.  Z-mation (better!) is characterized by exceedingly creepy characters with likenesses clearly aiming for a certain actor (Jim Carrey or Tom Hanks, for example) and ending up with something that looks a little more like what that person would look like if they could flounce around post-embalming.  It just never quite works.  If not used on people, yes, it looks pretty amazing.  The dragon scene in Beowulf is just awesome!  However for ever scene like that, there are ten scenes where a creepy Tom Hanksian conductor pushes hot chocolate in a hideous, unintentionally macabre production number.  Zemeckis is not currently attached to a future project, but I hope he’ll return his efforts to live-action.  Flight and Cast Away, his last two live-action ventures are two of the best acting showcases in the past two decades.  Let’s look at Zemeckis’ 10 greatest films and get his average score:

ZEMECKIS’ GREATEST TEN:
1. Cast Away (2000) ……………………………………………………………10.00
2. Back to the Future (1985)……………………………………………………9.50
3. Flight (2012) …………………………………………………………………….9.25
4. Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988)………………………………………9.00
5. Forrest Gump (1994)………………………………………………………….8.50
6. Back to the Future Part IIII (1990) ………………………………………8.00
7. What Lies Beneath (2000) ………………………………………………….7.50
8. Back to the Future Part II (1989) ………………………………………… 7.50
9. Contact (1997) …………………………………………………………………. 7.25
10. Beowulf (2007) ………………………………………………………………. 7.25
ROBERT ZMECKIS’ CURRENT GREATEST AVERAGE: 8.375

Zemeckis has both the highest last ten movie average we’ve seen in examining artists so far and the lowest greatest average.  The twelve years spent on Z-mation are frustrating to me, because when he’s on, he’s in an elite class of directors.  I hope the obsession with that has faded.  He has the ability to bring the best performances out of his actors and the range of stories he can tell is such that you never know what you’ll get going in, but given his career, you know it’s probably going to be something special.
Tom Hanks, Chuck Nolan, Cast Away, Robert Zemeckis