Warner Brothers Pictures
Rated PG-13 for peril and brief profanity
Hanks Plays Hero Pilot In Riveting Reenactment Of The Miracle On The Hudson
US Airways Flight 1549 had barely taken off from New York’s LaGuardia Airport on the afternoon of January 15, 2009, when it sighted Canada geese flying in its path at about 2,800 feet. The Airbus 320 was unable to avoid the flock and the ensuing strike disabled both of its engines.
At that point, Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger immediately took control of the powerless plane from co-pilot Jeff Skiles (Aaron Eckhart) and informed the tower of his dire predicament. After weighing his options in the next few seconds, Sully ignored air traffic controller Patrick Harten’s (Patch Darragh) suggestion to return to LaGuardia in favor of the fateful decision to ditch the crippled jet in the Hudson River.
Thanks to a combination of calm seas and the veteran Captain’s years of experience as both a glider pilot and flight safety instructor, the plane managed to make a smooth landing without triggering a fire or disintegrating upon impact. Instead, the 155 souls aboard found themselves simply floating downstream as the cabin slowly filled with icy water.
Sully ordered his passengers and crew to disembark into the inflatable life rafts and onto the wings where they were soon rescued by the commercial ferries and emergency vessels rushing to the scene. Amazingly, not a single life was lost in the crash quickly dubbed the “Miracle on the Hudson.”
Directed by Clint Eastwood, Sully revolves around not only a reenactment of the death-defying stunt but around the subsequent investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board. What we learn here is that while Captain Sullenberger was publicly being celebrated as a national hero under an avalanche of positive press, the wisdom of his water landing was simultaneously being questioned behind closed doors by the NTSB’s brass.
It seems that the specialists assigned to investigate the matter suspected that the missing Flight 1549 engine sitting at the bottom of the sea might have been operational, meaning the plane could have been brought down on terra firma without incident. If this were the case, then a reprimand rather than acclaim would be in order for Sully. Ultimately, divers did locate the left engine, thereby enabling the government bureaucrats to belatedly confirm that the second-guessed skipper did deserve his many accolades after all.
Kudos to the team of Clint Eastwood and Tom Hanks for successfully conveying the enviable amalgam of guts, smarts and stoicism exhibited by level-headed Captain Sullenberger in the face of impending demise. Pack the Kleenex, if you plan to stick around for the film’s closing credits featuring an oh so sweet reunion of the real-life Sully and many of the grateful folks whose lives he saved.
Excellent (4 stars)
Running time: 96 minutes
In Order Of Disappearance
Rated R for graphic violence and pervasive profanity
Grieving Father Turns Vigilante In Grisly Revenge Thriller
Nils Dickman (Stellan Skarsgard) had no idea his son Ingvar (Aron Eskeland) was a heroin addict until the day the young man was murdered by a couple of ruthless dealers who made it look like an overdose. Rather than take the loss lying down, the deceased’s grieving dad decides to track down not only the killers but also the drug kingpin (Pal Sverre Hagen) who ordered the hit.
As it turns out, The Count has a slew of sidekicks running interference for him. But surprisingly, an army of goons prove to be no match for Nils, a mild-mannered milquetoast who was recently-crowned “Man of the Year” for serving as his town’s reliable snowplow driver. Somehow, he morphs into a merciless vigilante who has no qualms about slaying all the henchmen standing between him and the elusive crime boss.
Thus unfolds In Order Of Disappearance, a grisly revenge thriller directed by Norway’s Hans Petter Moland. The movie reunites Moland with Stellan Skarsgard with whom he first collaborated in 2010 on A Somewhat Gentle Man.
This picture walks a fine line between macabre drama and dark comedy, given how the vindictive protagonist takes to butchery as the attrition rate escalates. Then, when warned that he’ll have to take on a vicious gang of Serbs along the way, Nils even enlists the assistance of his estranged, ex-con brother (Peter Andersson).
Fortunately, The Count has a son, Rune (Jack Sodahl Moland), who could conveniently come in handy as irresistible bait if successfully kidnapped from school. That ploy might finally flush his diabolical dad out of hiding, allowing for a satisfying evening of the score during a decidedly gruesome resolution.
A Scandinavian splatterfest staining the snow-capped mountainsides of an otherwise-breathtaking Norwegian wonderland!
Very Good (3 stars)
In Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, English, Serbian and German with subtitles
Running time: 117 minutes
OPENING THIS WEEK
For movies opening September 16, 2016
Blair Witch (R for profanity, terror and disturbing images) Found-footage horror sequel revolving around a college student (James Allen McCune) who leads a group of classmates deep into a Maryland forest in search of the long-lost sister who disappeared during a similar expedition. Ensemble includes Callie Hernandez, Corbin Reid, Brandon Scott, Wes Robinson and Valorie Curry.
Bridget Jones’ Baby (R for nudity, profanity and sexual references) Renee Zellweger reprises the title role in this baby-daddy dramedy which finds the British bachelorette pregnant but uncertain as to whether the father is her ex (Colin Firth) or her new lover (Patrick Dempsey). With Jim Broadbent, Gemma Jones and Sally Phillips.
Hillsong: Let Hope Rise (PG for mature themes) Faith-based documentary chronicling the meteoric rise of Hillsong United, the Christian rock band from Australia whose hymns are sung in churches every Sunday by over 50 million people around the world.
Snowden (R for profanity, sexuality and nudity) Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays infamous whistleblower-turned-fugitive Edward Snowden in this cloak-and-dagger thriller directed by Oliver Stone. With Melissa Leo, Zachary Quinto, Nicolas Cage, Shailene Woodley, Tom Wilkinson, Joely Richardson and Rhys Ifans.
The Beatles: Eight Days A Week (Unrated) Ron Howard directed this reverential retrospective featuring found footage from interviews and concert performances by the Fab Four recorded between 1963 and 1966. Including commentary by Whoopi Goldberg, Sigourney Weaver and Elvis Costello.
Cardboard Boxer (Unrated) Bum fight drama about a Skid Row hobo (Thomas Haden Church) pressured by some spoiled-rotten teens to box other homeless men. Featuring Terrence Howard, Marlo Thomas, Macy Gray and Boyd Holbrook.
Is That A Gun In Your Pocket? (R for profanity and sexuality) Battle-of-the-sexes comedy, ostensibly by Spike Lee’s Chi-Raq and/or Aristophanes’ Lysistrata, revolving around a stay-at-home mom (Andrea Anders) who recruits the women in her Texas town to withhold sex from their husbands until they surrender their weapons. With Cloris Leachman, Horatio Sanz and John Michael Higgins.
Mr. Church (PG-13 for mature themes) Eddie Murphy plays the title character in this bittersweet drama about a chef who befriends a little girl (Natalie Coughlin) while cooking meals for her terminally ill mother (Natascha McElhone). Cast includes Britt Robertson, Lucy Fry and Xavier Samuel.
Silicon Cowboys (Unrated) American Dream documentary about the trio of entrepreneurial BFFs who founded Compaq Computers over brunch at a Texas diner back in 1981.
Wild Oats (PG-13 for sexuality) Buddy comedy about a widow (Shirley MacLaine) who embarks with her best friend (Jessica Lange) on a hedonistic getaway to the Canary Islands after a life insurance company makes a multimillion dollar error in her favor. With Demi Moore, Alan Arkin, Judd Hirsch and Billy Connolly.