PLANE action movie mini-review

Not too plane; this non-stop action-adventure has some flavor. Received my annual dose of mindless disaster movie fun in the Gerard Butler captained Plane. Schlocky movies work best when they know precisely what they are, and rock it. Which is precisely what we have here, a sufficiently entertaining over-the-top disaster/rescue movie that understood its flight plan, and stuck to it.

Pilot Brodie Torrance (Butler) saves passengers from a lightning strike by making a risky landing on a war-torn island — only to find that surviving the landing was just the beginning. When dangerous rebels take most of the passengers hostage, the only person Torrance can count on for help is Louis Gaspare (Mike Colter), an accused murderer who was being transported by the FBI.

From takeoff to landing, Plane is exactly what you need to reset your cinema palate from the awards contender-heavy autumn to prepping for what 2023 cinema has in store for us. Strap in for Gerard Butler and Mike Colter to take you on a white knuckle adventure filled with CG squibs and death defying action. To be honest, as moderately enjoyable as the movie was, with some Die Hard dialogue and one-liners thrown in there, it would have increased the entertainment value significantly. All you need to know is that the movie is fun! Also, never forget that it’s perfectly fine for a movie to be entertaining for an hour-and-a-half and that’s it. Not everything needs to be deep, inspirational, thoughtful, avant-garde, or provocative. It’s when movies that are clearly schlocky try to be something grander, that they crash and burn. Think of Plane as some good ol’ junkfood. Perfect for one of those weekends wherein the weather is cold, snowy, or rainy.

Ryan teaches Film Studies and Screenwriting at the University of Tampa and is a member of the Critics Association of Central Florida and Indie Critics of America. If you like this article, check out the others and FOLLOW this blog! Interested in Ryan making a guest appearance on your podcast or contributing to your website? Send him a DM on Twitter. If you’re ever in Tampa or Orlando, feel free to catch a movie with him.

Follow him on Twitter: RLTerry1 and LetterBoxd: RLTerry

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THIRTEEN LIVES docudrama mini review

Interesting. Ron Howard’s big screen adaptation of the true story of the daring rescue of the Thai youth football (soccer) team from the flooded cave is faithful to the wikipedia page, but with an impressive addition of underwater cinematography. Thirteen Lives chronicles the seemingly impossible rescue that captured the attention of the entire world in summer 2018. While Howard’s docudrama is well-made all the way around, what audiences will find most fascinating is the mechanics of the rescue. It took thousands of volunteers in the labyrinth of caves, mountain peaks, and basecamps to bring all the boys and their coach to safety. Although none of the performances particularly stand out, the film delivers solid casting. Thirteen Lives is a different kind of “based on the true story” film, because it does not have particularly strong plotting to map-out the narrative. On one hand, it is a simple plot rescue the boys, but the film ultimately plays as a blow by blow description of what happened. Upon viewing the film, I thought to myself, why not just make a documentary instead; and then it occurred to me, that there would have been little to no footage of the inside of the caves. Therefore, docudrama was the way to go. There really isn’t much in the way of connective tissue between plot points; events just happen. That’s not to say that what we are watching isn’t terrifying in places–it certainly is–especially if you have kids; but at the same time, it doesn’t feel like a cinematic story in the conventional sense. Even though we all know how the true story ends, the film focuses on the steps that were taken in order to rescue the youth soccer team. Is it good? Well, it’s not bad. It just kind of is. Often we see based on a true story films that take so much dramatic license that it’s no longer a faithful big or small screen adaptation; sometimes, character or situational nuances or motivations are lost in translation. Thirteen Lives is so incredibly focuses on a dutiful adaptation, that it sometimes forgets that it’s also supposed to be finding the narrative amongst the facts. I wouldn’t wait to see this on the small screen, catch it during its limited theatrical run because the visuals are impressive.

Ryan teaches Film Studies and Screenwriting at the University of Tampa. If you like this article, check out the others and FOLLOW this blog! Interested in Ryan making a guest appearance on your podcast or contributing to your website? Send him a DM on Twitter or email him at RLTerry1@gmail.com! If you’re ever in Tampa or Orlando, feel free to catch a movie with him.

Follow him on Twitter: RLTerry1