Most Anticipated films for the remainder of 2012 Film 1 of 10: Robert Zemeckis’ FLIGHT

2012 is off to a gangbusters start, and is poised to be the best movie year in terms of both quality and commerce for Hollywood since 2008. And like that year, it’s a very Superhero and Sequel Heavy Blockbuster summer.

This installment will be coverage of my most anticipated films for the remainder of 2012. But in true Heroic Times fashion, you’ll see some entries covered in each installment that you won’t find mentioned anywhere else. Enjoy :)

So part of the purpose of this reoccurring installment is to give love to films that might otherwise fly under the radar.

So what is on the list already?!!

Okay, Okay! Sheesh, you’re a pushy bunch… here goes:

The first film that get’s the nod is FLIGHT.

I find Robert Zemeckis an interesting Director. He tends toward light, family friendly films, which I have to be honest is not really what I gravitate to. However Zemeckis does family friendly, very well.

His films are a diverse, and always imaginative and technologically ground breaking bunch, from the BACK TO THE FUTURE trilogy, to FOREST GUMP, to WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT to WHAT LIES BENEATH (I think it’s the film of his, an ode to Hitchcock, that holds up the best). WHAT LIES BENEATH showed me that Zemeckis could handle more mature and suspenseful films… and that brings me to FLIGHT.

So news that a new film of Zemeckis is in post-production, called FLIGHT and starring an all star cast (that includes:

Denzel Washington [opposite the drop-dead gorgeous Sanaa Lathan], Don Cheadle [with the majestic Megalyn Echikunwoke], Bruce Greenwood [raucus with the lovely Leslie Hope] , Tamara Tunie , Garcelle Beauvais, Rhoda Griffis, John Goodman, Michael Beasley, and Nadine Velazquez ) makes me happy.

First and foremost because that’s a cast filled with REAL actors, rather than just CW faces of the moment. And films that have an ethnically diverse and deep cast (so more than just 2 characters of color) gets me to spend my money and go to the theater.

Huge fan of RED TAILS, so suck it! :)

I’m just a dumb ass southern boy, who misses my cartoons on Saturday, and my Hong Kong Chop Suey Soul Cinema Creature Feature films on the weekends. Current Hollywood films are just too bland and similar for me in terms of both content and casting. So any time I get a film that grates against the imposed tokenism of conventional Hollywood films… well saddle up the General Lee boys… cause I’m there! :)

Now that said Zemeckis does have some issues as director.

He helms big budget films, that have a hard time making their return on investment. His last two films, BEOWULF and CHRISTMAS CAROL carried budgets of 150million and 200 million respectively, and they didn’t make that money back theatrically, not even utilizing the IMAX and 3D price gouging.

This has less to do with the director and more to do with studios budgeting 150 million for a film, that would be more sensibly priced at a 50 million budget.

Just like with the upcoming BATTLESHIP, if that film was budgeted at 50 million rather than 200 million it could without question make a profit. As it stands I think BATTLESHIP is going to do commercially the same that JOHN CARTER did; which is to say not well.

The mindset of the studios pricing everything so high, including the cameras and marketing, I think has more to do with keeping the little guy, the independent studio out of the process of getting films in theaters, rather than the content of the specific film. I think it’s really about for the most part ensuring the people who can get movies into the theaters are one of the big studios.

Now of course in this day and age of found footage films you can definitely make films cheaply, but those films, THE PARANORMAL ACTIVITY, etc have to be picked up and sanctified by the gate keeper, the big studios, otherwise like most films made, such as BLACK DYNAMITE, they get seen at film festivals and that’s it.

Without the blessing of a gatekeeper, Sony, Fox, the big boys, You have no chance to make your money back in theatrical distribution. If you’re lucky you get some limited streaming or DVD deal, but for all intents and purposes you’re dead in the water.

So yeah that’s the only rationale I can find for studios not just having astronomical budgets on films, but in the wake of the films struggling to break even… keeping the budgets astronomical.

The studios increasingly using the films as loss leaders, tax breaks/write offs, and as a means of market control/theatrical control. And further they are using their bad decisions, their shell game of profit and loss, to cry broke and enforce changes on the theatrical market. Such as the move away from real film cameras and projectors (35mm and the rarer 70mm) and instead move to all digital cameras and theatrical installations. (Which is bad for numerous reasons not least of which digital cameras/projectors cannot match the range of 35mm film, and is left in the dust by 70mm film; as anyone who has seen LAWRENCE OF ARABIA in 70mm can attest).

So all that thinking weighs in when discussing Zemeckis’ recent mega-budget films, and their under-performance. Zemeckis’ films are so expensive they tend not to break even theatrically. It is a paradigm, an unsupportable one I think, that bears watching and curtailing in the future.

But for the present if the studios are good with their movies not breaking even, it works for me.

So yeah count me among the ones anticipating Zemeckis’ thriller tinged drama… FLIGHT.

DVD Reviews: RED, GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, THE UNINVITED

On the DVD front I recently watched the INTERNATIONAL, THE UNINVITED, RED, and the original Swedish language THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO.


UNINVITED- This 2009 film, was the worst of the four. About a teen whose mom burnt to death in a fire, and her coming to terms with that, after being released from a mental ward. The first feature film by the Guard Brothers while it did have a nice twist at the end, by the time that came I was too annoyed with the characters, and the film to really care. Grade: D.

“Along with me I’m gonna need a scientist, an engineer, and of course, a black person to sacrifice himself in case something goes wrong.”
- Eric Cartman, SOUTH PARK, season 9, Cartman’s Hippie Exit Strategy 2006

RED- RED would have been okay except for one thing, the idiotic lets sacrifice/kill the ethnic character (Morgan Freeman) for no reason whatsoever. It’s the most egregious example I’ve seen in a film.

It was such a moronic death, that I just couldn’t believe the stupidity, I went through the film expecting, to find out it was some trick, the character was wearing a bullet proof vest and distracting them, and playing possum, and would turn up later in the movie.

But Nope. Basically Morgan Freeman’s character just decides to commit suicide for the white characters, when it was completely unnecessary.

I mean completely unnecessary.

We’re not talking the cool Jim Brown in THE DIRTY DOZEN type death, this is utterly unnecessary. When it was probably fifteen ways they could have all gotten out alive. Nope, instead the script just shoehorns in a ‘let’s kill the ethnic character’ scene. This Director, Robert Schwentke and Writers Joe and Erich Hoeber go on my list of incompetent and pedestrian filmmakers to avoid.

They should really be ashamed of themselves, and the fact that the writers wrote the upcoming BATTLESHIP, hints heavily at that being a film worth avoiding. All in all, the unnecessary cliche/stereotype ruined an otherwise okay action flick. GRADE: D-.


THE INTERNATIONAL- nicely filmed thriller, about an Interpol agent trying to bring down an arms running bank. Well filmed and enjoyable. B+.


THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO- It was better than I thought it was going to be, this tale of an investigation into a 40year old disappearance/murder. Well filmed, well acted, and both disturbing and thrilling. Not something I would feel any need to watch again, but a compelling viewing experience at the time. B.