All eyes are on Flight and Wreck It Ralph this weekend as the main contenders for box office glory. Denzel Washington’s performance in Flight has already sparked whispers of an Oscar nomination from insiders, something that’s always guaranteed to get people fleeing to the movie theaters. However, with much of the East coast of the USA blighted by Hurricane Sandy earlier in the week, the attentions of much of the US public will be elsewhere as people try to recover from the devastation caused there.
Denzel Washington last won an Oscar in 2002, for the crime thriller Training Day. Flight is Washington’s latest stab at the prize. Described on Rotten Tomatoes as an “action packed mystery thriller,” Denzel plays the lead role of the pilot Whip Whitaker, who manages to land a passenger plane after a mid-air catastrophe and saves everyone on board. After being hailed as a hero, it soon becomes clear that something may be amiss with Whitaker and all is not as it seems.
The critical response to Flight has been largely positive, with Roger Ebert hinting at the power of Denzel’s performance by saying “Not often does a movie character make such a harrowing personal journey that keeps us in deep sympathy all of the way.” High praise indeed from Ebert. In fact, the bulk of the praise for Flight is centered on Washington; Rolling Stone’s Peter Travers surmises “Flight reminds us of what Washington can do when a role hits him with a challenge that would floor a lesser actor. He's a ball of fire, and his detailed, depth-charged, bruisingly true performance will be talked about for years.” Sounds like one not to be missed! Wreck It Ralph might not have ‘Oscar Winner’ stamped all over it but it’s still shaping up to be a strong contender in the popularity stakes this weekend, with only one dissenter failing to give it the thumbs up on Rotten Tomatoes’ round-up of the top critics’ remarks.
Wreck It Ralph is an animated comedy from Walt Disney and tells the tale of the video game character Ralph (voiced by John C Reilly), who gets tired of being overshadowed by Fix It Felix (Jack McBrayer) and sets off on a tour of all of the generation-spanning games in the arcade but accidentally unleashes a deadly enemy as he does so.
The movie is variously described as “hilariously infectious,” with witty dialogue and TIME magazine’s Mary F. Pols describes it as “the most inventive and entertaining family movie I've seen this year, packed with wickedly smart humor and joyful animation.” Though it’s primarily a children’s movie, Wreck It Ralph also makes a perfect treat for adults, too.
The Man With The Iron Fists marks the directorial debut of Wu-Tang Clan rapper RZA. He’s managed to bag a pretty impressive looking cast for this epic tale of warriors, assassins. RZA stars in the movie too, as do Russell Crowe and Lucy Liu. The Man With The Iron Fists is treading a fine line between ‘bad’ and ‘so bad it’s good.’ It’s a trick pulled off with verve by the likes of Eli Roth and Robert Rodriguez with their Grindhouse flicks but does RZA have the necessary experience to stop TMWTIF toppling over the wrong side of that line?
Well, it would appear that he does. Variety’s Andrew Barker describes the film by saying “As endearing as it is exhausting, The Man With the Iron Fists bears strong resemblance to a hyperactive puppy: sloppy, scatterbrained, manic and migraine-inducing, but possessing an earnest sense of excitement.” Essentially, a fine bit of escapism if you’re in need of some entertainment that isn’t too cerebrally-demanding.
Alicia Silverstone and Krysten Ritter star in Vamps, which most definitely falls into that most dreaded of genres: the chick-flick. Ritter recently found herself with a burgeoning fanbase with the sassy TV comedy Don’t Trust The B*tch In Apartment 23 but this comedy – about two clubbing fanatics who just happen to be modern-day vampires - doesn't appear up to scratch.
It’s fair to say that Vamps is something of a flop if the critics are anything to go by. Heckerling seems to be just about the best bit of the movie but it’s just not enough to get it a positive reaction, as Mark Olsen of Los Angeles Times explains: Vamps is mostly a misfire, but Heckerling still shows enough flashes of wit and wisdom that she remains hard to entirely dismiss.”