Filmmaker Robert Zemeckis is back with this exciting and terrific film. Whip Whitaker (Denzel Washington) is a pilot who, after a night of drinking and snorting cocaine, crash lands a routine flight to Atlanta, rescuing most of his passengers and crew. An instant hero, Whitaker knows that other people know what was in his system, and the dynamic dance plays out from there. It’s sophisticated storytelling, with the audience unsure of how to feel about such a conflicted protagonist, but Washington is marvelous, as usual, and it’s a highly entertaining flight. R (drug and alcohol abuse, language, sexuality/nudity and an intense action sequence).
A boy reanimates his dog in this animated adaptation of the Frankenstein legend. A typically dark labor of love for director Tim Burton: incredible technique, limited appeal. 1 hr. 27 PG
This Halloween film concerns a Cleveland high school senior (Victoria Justice) who misplaces her preteen brother (Jackson Nicoll) on trick-or-treat night. This film is a soul-crusher, completely devoid of any humor, point, quality or value. The narrative shape recalls other more successful one-crazy-night films, but this fails magnificently. I don’t know for whom the hell this bell tolls. Maybe it will toll for Nickelodeon-fed offspring, but I doubt it. PG-13 (crude and suggestive material, partying and language).
HERE COMES THE BOOM
Scott Voss (Kevin James) is a burned-out high school biology teacher, a single man barely able to muster the gumption to ask out the school nurse (ummm, Salma Hayek). Their crumbling school needs $48,000 to save the longtime music teacher (Henry Winkler). Solution: Voss, who wrestled in college, enters mixed martial arts and makes it all the way to the Ultimate Fighting Championship in Vegas. Though it takes a while to get going, it’s actually all right. PG (bouts of MMA sports violence, rude humor and language).