Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Mini-Reviews: Flight, Wreck-It Ralph & The Man with the Iron Fists (2012)

Flight (2012)

Washington gives one of his best performances.

Directed by Robert Zemeckis
Produced by Walter F. Parkes, Laurie MacDonald, Steve Starkey, Robert Zemeckis, and Jack Rapke
Written by John Gatins
Starring Denzel Washington, Don Cheadle, Kelly Reilly, John Goodman, Bruce Greenwood, and Melissa Leo


An alcoholic pilot (Washington) successfully lands a broken plane, saving all but six lives. However, he was intoxicated on the flight, and he must deal with his alcoholism amidst a criminal investigation.

Washington delivers a fine performance as Whip Whitaker, depicting his turmoil, self-denial, and hopelessness combined with his charm, courage, and sense of self-reliance. The film also has great work from Reilly, Goodman, Greenwood, and Cheadle, all of which fit their characters like a glove. Special mention of James Badge Dale, whose brief performance as a cancer patient is phenomenal, must be given as well. He's only in one scene, but he'll likely be on my ballot for Best Supporting Actor. Need I say more? There are strong performances all around in this character piece, and the film takes an interesting direction that you might not see coming. If you've watched the trailer (or read my synopsis), there is much more going on in the film than it indicates, but it's best to discover it for yourself. Go see it.

Oscar Potential: Best Actor, Best Original Screenplay, Best Sound Editing, Best Visual Effects

Wreck-It Ralph (2012)

Ralph and Vanellope - unlikely friends.

Directed by Rich Moore
Produced by Clark Spencer
Written by Phil Johnston and Jennifer Lee
Starring John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Jack McBrayer, and Jane Lynch


Ralph (Reilly) is a video game bad guy, whose job is to wreck things, destroying them for Fix-It Felix (MacBrayer) to repair. When Ralph ends up in a racing candy-themed game with a monster bug on the lose, he meets pixel-ridden Vanellope (Silverman) and must try to fix things this time.

Though you might not think so initially, the voice cast is quite good here. Reilly leads the show, and he brings a flawless blend of uncertainty, clumsiness, anger, bravery, and tenderness to Ralph. Silverman, McBrayer, and Lynch are terrific casting decisions as well, lending the appropriate humor and various emotions to their characters. The gorgeous animation must also be addressed. It is, literally, eye candy, combining the style of the Wachowskis' Speed Racer with the look of Candy Land. If anything, this should be seen for the look of the film. It has heart, looks stunning, and is a great time spent at the cinema.

Oscar Potential: Best Animated Feature Film

The Man with the Iron Fists (2012)

RZA's directorial debut is, if nothing else, fun.

Directed by RZA
Produced by Marc Abraham, Eric Newman, and Eli Roth
Written by RZA and Eli Roth
Starring Russell Crowe, Cung Lee, Lucy Liu, Myron Mann, RZA, Rick Yune, David Bautista, and Jamie Chung


A blacksmith (RZA) makes weapons in an ancient Oriental city. When the King's gold is stolen, he and British officer Jack Knife (Crowe) must take back the treasure from the rebels and deliver the city from its impending doom.

At best, this is a cheesy kung-fu movie with numerous fights, pounding music, and widespread ridiculousness. And you know what? I enjoyed it. As an actor/director, RZA is no tour-de-force, but he performs admirably and steers the film in the right direction as an over-the-top guilty pleasure. Of course, Russell Crowe is awesome in this, reveling in the crazy antics of a knife-wielding killer. I could only smile whenever he was on screen. (Picture here.) Lucy Liu is also a welcome presence, and the rest of the cast does enough to keep the film from falling apart. Again, the fight scenes are many, and are overblown wonders. Will this be remembered even a month from now? Maybe not, but I had fun for an hour and a half.

Oscar Potential: None


  1. Flight: Good movie, with an alright story, but even better Denzel performance than I have seen in a very long time.

    Wreck-it Ralph: An original story that soon starts to fly into conventions, but still kept my interest the whole way.

    MWTIF: The last 30 minutes or so are the only things that kept my interest because everything else was dull, confusing, and uninteresting for the most part.

    Nice review Josh.

    1. Thanks Dan. I agree on Flight and Wreck-It Ralph, but I was never bored in MWTIF. Maybe it's because I'm a huge Russell Crowe fan. It was just a lot of fun, IMO.

  2. I'm tempted to see Flight for Denzel's performance, but I fly too much to want to see a movie about a plane crash. (Yes, I'm a wuss)

    1. Haha. I can understand that. If you can brave it, I'd still recommend seeing the film though.

  3. Interesting that all three only got a 3 star rating (is that out of 4 or 5?). I might see Wreck it Ralph on the big screen if time permits, but Flight is more of a rental and 'Iron Fist' well I'm not that interested despite Crowe being in it.

    1. My ratings are out of 4, but my conversion to 5 stars (for letterboxd/LAMB scores) is weird. For instance, I would give 'Iron Fists' 3/4 stars AND 3/5 stars. So, it's a weak 3/4, but I couldn't quite downgrade it to 2 1/2. Meanwhile, my 3/4 Flight/Wreck-It ratings would be 3.5/5 ratings.

      My 'Iron Fists' love is probably just for Crowe's scene-stealing performance. After all, I even own copies of Robin Hood and The Next Three Days. Though, I only paid $2 for them on Black Friday last year. :)

    2. I used to watch a lot of Crowe's earlier stuff since I had a crush on him in Gladiator, even the obscure stuff from Aussie. I think he looked best in The Quick and the Dead, he was so svelte with that longish hair. He seems to look more like his character in The Insider nowadays though :(

    3. Haha. I still need to see The Quick and the Dead. I also want to see more of his lesser known work, but there's just so much else to watch! :)

  4. I really want to see Flight - I heard Washington is amazing in it and I really like Kelly Reilly.

    1. They're both great in it. Don't see any awards play for Reilly though.

  5. Replies
    1. Haha. Can't recommend it to everyone, but I had fun. :)