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Flight Denzel Washington, with Don Cheadle, Melissa Leo, Bruce Greenwood, Kelly Reilly, John Goodman

Flight: an alcoholic / coke-addict pilot saves almost everyone on board from certain death, but he can’t avoid the spotlight as the air crash investigation picks up on his habits. This is a great all-round movie: funny when it had to be (Goodman / cancer guy), dramatic at times (relationship / hearing) and for the most part, engaging and entertaining. The crash itself is one of the most intense and dramatic scenes I’ve seen in a cinema; slowly getting louder and shakier and an increasingly high-pitched whaling from the plane; it was like a screw turning tighter and tighter. The only time it felt a bit off were several overly-emphasised parts about religion & faith – act of god, miracles, praying – although I guess it’s more prevalent in America. There were a few nice little in-jokes that almost passed me by: the ShamWow tv advert, the elevator music version of ‘I’ll get high with a little help from my friends’, and most songs in the soundtrack were about boozing or drug abuse. The cast were stupendously good performances all round, Denzel in particular was on fire – achieving an almost impossible mix of sympathy and resentability – and Kelly Reilly (also great) must have had a cleavage-based contract – loved it. All in all, Flight is an entertaining, enjoyable, and very watchable movie with entertaining performances all round.

Score: 8/10

The Hurt Locker: (Blu Ray) Disappointing. First off, despite being 130 minutes long no characters develop beyond superficial stock figures: ‘badass old-timer’, ‘young suicidal kid’ and the ‘hot-shot maverick that will get everyone killed’ – it’s also hard to feel anything, let alone sympathy, for someone so reckless and that goes AWOL as often as Will James. The plot’s essentially 5 near-identical bomb situations separated by limp character-building that never really covers new ground. On the other hand, it is well-shot throughout and the tension of each action / bomb-scare does come through in parts; the sniper battle was done well, definitely the highlight of the film. The acting’s also pretty good given how flat the characters were, but it was definitely amplified by the documentary feel. The picture’s alright, but the sound is phenomenal, creating a war-like chaos with the constant background noises – brilliant when coupled with the visual style – worth the upgrade. Overall it was too melodramatic and full of pro-American and pro-army tones for me to begin enjoying it: rock ‘n’ roll loving party-hard soldier turns his back on his family to keep saving the day in Iraq… really? It’s clearly a bit edgy (intimate & gruesome bomb scenes), contemporary (Iraq) and overcomes adversity (female director), hence it’s scooping awards, but for me, it just doesn’t cut the mustard. Look out for Guy Pearce and Ralph Feinnes before they get blown to bits. Is it the ‘best war film in years’? Probably, but with competition like jarhead and The Kingdom it that really saying something?

Score: 5/10