Tuesday, January 29, 2013

New Releases (31/01/13)

Thursday 31st Jan. marks the strongest release dates of the year so far - promising three terrific films, each nominated for at least two Academy Awards. Silver Linings Playbook (David O. Russell), Zero Dark Thirty (Kathryn Bigelow) and Flight (Robert Zemeckis) come highly recommended.

Zero Dark Thirty - Maya (Jessica Chastain), a CIA operative recruited out of High School, is assigned to the U.S embassy in Pakistan to lead a hunt for the al-Qaeda leader. She targets men believed to have been one-time acquaintances – couriers and money men – in the hopes that they can shed further insight on important members of his inner circle and ultimately his location. Over the course of the grueling investigation, which involves the torture of detainees for intelligence, until new administration threatens to prosecute any officers involved, and the search for the true identity of Maya’s primary lead, her life is threatened several times. Significant attacks during this period are recreated and despite losing agents and facing dead ends, Maya desperately tries to persuade her superiors to continue funding the investigation. By taking a stance that doesn’t adopt a singular political perspective, Boal and Bigelow rely on facts and chronicle this thrilling manhunt via the experiences of a driven female operative, posing challenging questions along the way. Zero Dark Thirty is as tense as any great thriller, but the drama swelling within the agency creates characters and situations we care about. Overlooking Bigelow for Best Director is a mystery to me. To so convincingly convey a story of this magnitude and importance and keep an audience glued to their seat for the duration is highly commendable work, and is even more impressive than her last film (The Hurt Locker), arguably one of great war films of the last decade.

Silver Linings Playbook - Life doesn't always go according to plan. Pat Solatano (Bradley Cooper) has lost everything -- his house, his job, and his wife. He now finds himself living back with his mother (Jacki Weaver) and father (Robert DeNiro) after spending eight months is a state institution on a plea bargain. Pat is determined to rebuild his life, remain positive and reunite with his wife, despite the challenging circumstances of their separation. All Pat's parents want is for him to get back on his feet-and to share their family's obsession with the Philadelphia Eagles football team. When Pat meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), a mysterious girl with problems of her own, things get complicated. Tiffany offers to help Pat reconnect with his wife, but only if he'll do something very important for her in return. As their deal plays out, an unexpected bond begins to form between them, and silver linings appear in both of their lives.

Flight - An excellent Denzel Washington (a performance thoroughly deserving of his recent Oscar nomination and amongst his career best work) stars as Whip Whitaker, a Navy veteran and airline pilot who we first meet waking up from a big night with a young naked woman in his bed. A tense phone call reveals he has an ex-wife and a misguided son, and the state of the room suggests they are likely battling hangovers. Whip and the young woman (Nadine Velasquez) – revealed to be one of his flight attendants – have a flight in less than two hours and to kick the hangover he does a line of cocaine. During the short flight between Orlando and Atlanta – on which we witness Whip indulge in further beverages – he encounters severe turbulence before the plane begins to seriously malfunction and fall apart. Taking advantage of unexpected adrenalin he manages to invert the plane to stop a nosedive, and then maneuver the gliding airline into a crash land in an empty field. His actions are miraculous and though six people lose their lives, the plane’s faults should have resulted in the death of everyone on board. His heroics are soon challenged when hospital blood tests reveal his intoxication, and with answers sought after an investigation ensues seeking to uncover the cause of the accident.

Weekly Recommendation: All fantastic films. Make 'Zero Dark Thirty' and 'Silver Linings Playbook' the priorities, but 'Flight' is well worth your time too.


  1. Just watched Flight today - wow, what a performance! I hated the trailer when I first saw it, but I'm so glad I gave it a chance. Highly recommendable.

    Silver Linings is one of my 2012 favourites too.

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