Monday, November 19, 2012

MovieFilm Podcast Episode 9 - Skyfall, Flight and All Things Zemeckis

Hello, friends! Episode 9 of the MovieFilm Podcast is here! This week is a special episode as Zaki shares an exclusive interview he conducted with Tripp Vinson, producer of the upcoming Red Dawn remake. In addition to that we also discuss potential directors for the forthcoming Star Wars sequel (how long until it doesn't feel weird to type that?), as well as Zaki's take on Skyfall, our thoughts on the World War Z trailer, and Sean's musings on Wreck-it Ralph. Then, after we opine a bit on the film Flight, the three of us share our thoughts on all things Robert Zemeckis. 

Check it out by either streaming at this link, or download the show through iTunes which you can do by clicking here. It's the perfect listening material for your walk around the block or weekday commute!

And please send any questions or comments to us either through the official MovieFilm Facebook page, or email us at

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Flight's Turbulant Story Soars

In spite of what trailers would have us believe, it turns out Flight isn't so much a slick drama about an accidental hero with a dilemma, but instead a surprisingly down-and-dirty, intimate tale of an out-of-control addict who won't even let a brush with death keep him from his destructive behavior. Starring Denzel Washington and directed by perpetual crowd-pleaser Robert Zemeckis, Flight is a bit of a risky hybrid: a gritty addict drama made by a filmmaker with blockbuster sensibilities. And for me, it works.

Washington plays commercial airline pilot Whip Whitaker, whose destructive behavior is made quite clear to us in the opening minutes of the film. After an all night bender of alcohol and cocaine, Whitaker shows up to fly per usual - though to the dismay of his straight-laced co-pilot (Brian Geraghty). When the plane malfunctions, Whitaker shows unflinching poise and executes a radical maneuver that ends in a controlled crash landing that saves nearly all the passengers on board. Waking up in the hospital, Whitaker should be readying himself to be declared a hero, the problem is his incriminating blood - swimming with illegal substances - was drawn at the scene of the accident.

What's interesting is that Flight chooses not to show its audience much of the world reacting to the accident. It instead keeps us primarily at the hip with Whitaker, who chooses to escape the media frenzy by retreating. Though a court hearing looms in the background - with Don Cheadle playing the pilot union's lawyer - the film's focus remains fixed on Whitaker's tug of war with the demons that are poisoning his career, his relationship with his estranged wife and son, and a friendship with a former colleague desperately trying to be an ally (Bruce Greenwood.)

The only other character we truly follow is a heroin addict and kindred spirit named Nicole (Kelly Reilly) who Whitaker meets at the hospital. Keeping us in exclusive proximity with these two characters allows this surprisingly effortless 2 hour 20 minute character study room to breathe, entrusting its audience with occasional moments of quiet - and it's this quiet that allows the bigger moments their impact. Of course Denzel sweeping up the floor with his ability to play everything from calm and confident, to sad sack, to a loose canon provides a sturdy anchor throughout.

After losing Zemeckis to motion capture animated films for over a decade - his last live action film being Cast Away in 2000 - I'm happy to report that his brand of storytelling and exacting camera work are back in play without a hitch. Thanks to subtle but powerful technique, alcohol itself almost because a tangible villain. I nearly found myself yelling out loud "Don't do it!" whenever a drink was in proximity of Whitaker. Additionally, Zemeckis shoots his films in a more classical style, free from today's tendency of excessive cutting, which allows the frame to move and explore, revealing information rather than presenting it, effectively turning the camera into less of an observer and more of a silent narrator.

Flight is an expansive, involving, and often times frustrating look at addiction and the wake it can create. Its unexpected weight is what will surprise most audiences I imagine, but it's what also makes Flight worth the trip.

Monday, November 5, 2012

MovieFilm Podcast Episode 8 - The Future of Star Wars

"Star Wars lives!" The Mr. Boy gang was all set to discuss a variety of different topics for the latest MovieFilm episode, then Mr. Lucas dropped his little bomb mid-week, and that changed our trajectory somewhat. So this week, in addition to the answering listener e-mails, debating the role celebs should have in politics, and dissecting the trailers for Gangster Squad and Iron Man 3, the centerpiece of Episode 8 (or rather Episode VIII) is an extended discussion about the impact of Lucasfilm's acquisition by the Disney company, the impending open-ended continuation of the Star Wars saga, and what it all means not only for the brand, but for the film industry, and heck, even for society. We had a blast recording this one, so hopefully you'll have just as much of a blast listening. Stream it below or download it at the link. Send any questions or comments to us through the official MovieFilm Facebook page, or e-mail