Addiction has been the subject of many movies but none has been as straightforward, honest, and unblinking about addiction as Flight. It is the best movie on the subject to make it to the big screen. Most movies about addiction are stylized, dreary, repetitive, and fetishize drug use without offering any insight. The beauty of Flight is that at no point does it glamorize alcohol and drug abuse yet it doesn’t paint addicts as those on the fringes of everyday life.

Society often dismisses alcoholics and drug addicts as losers on the bottom rung of the ladder but the reality is that they are our neighbors, co-workers, family members and in the case of Flight, an experienced and accomplished top notch airline pilot. Denzel Washington is Captain Whip Whitaker who manages to make a spectacular emergency landing after the plane he is flying experiences engine failure.

The fact that Whip has the ability to land the plane with a minimal loss of life despite being physically impaired by drugs and alcohol further drives home the point that a person can be high functioning and a complete mess at the same time. The contradictory circumstances force you to see Whip as a three-dimensional individual who is extremely talented and likable while at the same time arrogant, flawed and broken. Continue reading »

42 chronicles the legendary Jackie Robinson’s entry into Major League baseball before he became a symbolic number and was simply a man who wanted to play ball.

Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford) the head of the Brooklyn Dodgers who is determined to bring a Black player into his organization and win a world series recruits Robinson (Chadwick Boseman). Rickey, fully aware of the controversy and hatred he, the team, and most of all Robinson will face as a result of breaking the color barrier in baseball, refuses to let anyone or anything get in the way of transforming the game he loves. He makes it clear to Robinson that if they are to be successful, he cannot fight back. He must instead win through excellence on the field and restraint in the face of opposition.

The early scenes of Robinson playing with the Dodgers’ minor league team, Montreal not only show Jackie’s gift for stealing bases but his overall smarts and resourcefulness as a player. You get a true sense of how much fun it must have been to watch the real Jackie Robinson on the field. What’s also very clear is the kind of abuse Robinson will face when he moves up to the major leagues and move up he does. Continue reading »

You have to be willing to completely suspend disbelief in order to enjoy The Following. Otherwise, don’t watch the show because from the very beginning there are plot holes so big they could form new galaxies. Once you start watching though you won’t be able to stop. The Following is as addictive as it is unbelievable.

The show centers on convicted serial killer Joe Carroll (James Purefoy) and the ex-FBI agent who put him away Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon.) Hardy, who wears a pacemaker as a result of his near deadly encounter with Carroll, has written a book about his experience and descended into the life of a lonely alcoholic. He’s roused from his self-destructive spiral when he’s called back into service after Carroll escapes from prison.

The first couple of episodes, which set up Carroll’s use of Edgar Allen Poe’s writings in his crimes, are the weakest. The agents act astounded when they hear the phrase “The eyes are the window to the soul” as if this observation, which has become a cliché were a novel idea. This is heavy-handed, paint by numbers Poe symbolism that a middle school student could easily decipher.   Continue reading »

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