Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Jason Segel Takes On David Foster Wallace in Controversial 'End of the Tour' (VIDEO) Jason Segel Takes On David Foster Wallace in Controversial 'End of the Tour' (VIDEO) Troubled Western 'Jane Got a Gun' Rescued as Relativity Files for Bankruptcy (Updated) Troubled Western 'Jane Got a Gun' Rescued as Relativity Files for Bankruptcy (Updated) Read Martin Scorsese's Column on His Favorite Hollywood Leading Ladies Read Martin Scorsese's Column on His Favorite Hollywood Leading Ladies A Woman in Charge: Warner Bros. Names Sue Kroll Head of Global Distribution A Woman in Charge: Warner Bros. Names Sue Kroll Head of Global Distribution 'The Witch' Won't Open Until 2016, But Its Sundance-Winning Director Has a New Film 'The Witch' Won't Open Until 2016, But Its Sundance-Winning Director Has a New Film Charles Aidikoff Screening Room Shutters: End of an Era for LA Critics? Charles Aidikoff Screening Room Shutters: End of an Era for LA Critics? How HBO's 'Ballers' Fails Sports Fans How HBO's 'Ballers' Fails Sports Fans Michael Moore Reveals Stealth NSA Project 'Where to Invade Next' on Periscope Michael Moore Reveals Stealth NSA Project 'Where to Invade Next' on Periscope Showtime Chief on David Lynch's 'Twin Peaks' Revival: "It's His Show" Showtime Chief on David Lynch's 'Twin Peaks' Revival: "It's His Show" Toronto Film Festival Lineup: What Did They Get? Toronto Film Festival Lineup: What Did They Get? Discover the Brothers Quay, Identical Twin Animators Who Inspired Christopher Nolan Discover the Brothers Quay, Identical Twin Animators Who Inspired Christopher Nolan Richard Linklater's Untitled New Film Pushed to 2016, Might Direct Jennifer Lawrence Movie Richard Linklater's Untitled New Film Pushed to 2016, Might Direct Jennifer Lawrence Movie Jill Soloway Says "There Is an All Out-Attack" on Female Filmmakers Jill Soloway Says "There Is an All Out-Attack" on Female Filmmakers 'Steve Jobs' Joins Fall Festival Contenders as NYFF Centerpiece Gala: What's Coming Up and What's Not (UPDATED) 'Steve Jobs' Joins Fall Festival Contenders as NYFF Centerpiece Gala: What's Coming Up and What's Not (UPDATED) Top 10 Takeaways: Holdover 'Ant-Man' Tops Blah Week, Summer Slot for 'Southpaw' Pays Off Top 10 Takeaways: Holdover 'Ant-Man' Tops Blah Week, Summer Slot for 'Southpaw' Pays Off Arthouse Audit: Is 'Phoenix' This Year's 'Ida'? 'Mr. Holmes' Stays Strong Arthouse Audit: Is 'Phoenix' This Year's 'Ida'? 'Mr. Holmes' Stays Strong Friday Box Office: Sandler's 'Pixels' Gets Mixed Response, 'Paper Towns,' 'Southpaw' Not Far Behind Friday Box Office: Sandler's 'Pixels' Gets Mixed Response, 'Paper Towns,' 'Southpaw' Not Far Behind Congrats to Monica Bellucci: She's Making History Congrats to Monica Bellucci: She's Making History Why Kevin Costner Paid for 'Black or White' (New Trailer, Sneak Preview Q & A) Why Kevin Costner Paid for 'Black or White' (New Trailer, Sneak Preview Q & A) Gabriel García Márquez and Akira Kurosawa Talk Film, Writing and 'Rhapsody in August' in 1991 Gabriel García Márquez and Akira Kurosawa Talk Film, Writing and 'Rhapsody in August' in 1991

'Flight' Review; Zemeckis, Washington and Cheadle Talk at NYFF Press Conference (VIDEO)

Thompson on Hollywood By Sheerly Avni | Thompson on Hollywood October 14, 2012 at 3:59PM

Denzel Washington waltzed in late to the press conference following the NYFF screening of the Robert Zemeckis-directed "Flight." The audience didn't mind of course, because he's Denzel: His appearance prompted wild applause which immediately drowned out the voice of screenwriter John Gatins.
0


"Flight"
"Flight"

Denzel Washington waltzed in late to the press conference following the NYFF screening of the Robert Zemeckis-directed "Flight." The audience didn't mind of course, because he's Denzel: His appearance prompted wild applause which immediately drowned out the voice of screenwriter John Gatins. (Skip straight to minute 2:21 in the video below, aspiring WGA members, for an example of just how much people will care about the ten years you spent agonizing over your baby's archetypes when your star finally decides to drop by.)

Of course Washington can do any damn thing he pleases, especially after managing to make audiences root for "Whip" Whitacker, a deadbeat dad and eternally drunk airline pilot who has spent decades holding the pieces of himself together with a mix of equal parts Stoli, cocaine and self-pity. Washington pulls off an impressive, believable performance as a man whose greatest act of heroism also brings the world tumbling down on the lies he's told himself and the rest of the world. And the rest of the cast is terrific-- especially John Goodman, hysterical (if somewhat off-message) as The Guy In The World You'd Most Want To Do Do Coke With.

The film itself is far less terrific, and its many misses include far more AA than any non-12 stepper should have to bear, and one too many debates with wise bald terminal cancer patients about the existence/omnipotence/benevolence of God (along with some heavy church symbolism -- complete with a destroyed cross -- that detracts from rather than adds to the film's spiritual dimension). Also, though Washington gained a bit of weight for the role and is convincing as a middle-aged man in decline, the preternatural beauty of Whitaker's three on-screen love interests, all either half his age, built like brazillian bikini-models, or both, doesn't do much to dull the movie's slick Hollywood sheen.

None of that matters, though, when Don Cheadle finally steps in as the lawyer hired to make Whitaker's problems go away.  In 1995's "Devil in a Blue Dress," Washington had more chemistry with Cheadle than with any of his nubile love interests before or since, and almost 20 years later, nothing about that chemistry has changed. The few short scenes the two actors share give hints of how crackling "Flight" could have been if it had toned down its leaden redemptive beats.

Below, Cheadle and Washington talk about how it felt working together again after so many years.

This article is related to: Festivals, Festivals, New York Film Festival , NYFF, Reviews, Reviews, Interviews, Interviews , Flight, Bob Zemeckis, Denzel Washington, Don Cheadle


E-Mail Updates








Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.