Slipped Between the Cracks

This is 40

This is 40 (2012)

Directed by: Judd Apatow

Written by: Judd Apatow

Cinematography by: Phedon Papamichael

Starring: Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann, John Lithgow,
Albert Brooks, Maude Apatow, Iris Apatow

Rating: C

I really enjoyed Knocked Up (2007). It’s my favorite Apatow flick. I found it to be the perfect balance of the type of comedy and emotional drama that Judd would become known for. Having said that, the last thing I really wanted was a sequel, however loosely tied, to that film, especially one that followed Pete (Paul Rudd) and Debbie’s (Leslie Mann) family, consisting of their two daughters, Sadie and Charlotte (Maude and Iris Apatow, respectively). Was I pleasantly surprised by the film? Sort of. I mean, it’s funny, and it seems to be a step up in terms of exploration and maturation for Apatow, but I found it lacking the replay value I have with its semi-predecessor, or even Apatow’s previous effort, Funny People (2009), which received mixed reviews, primarily because those expecting the film to live up to its name didn’t anticipate the Great Gatsby-ian turn the film would take. Perhaps I’m not the core demographic for the film, being in my mid 20s, but I was genuinely invested in Ben (Seth Rogen) and Allison’s (Katherine Heigl)’s journey, where as Debbie and Pete in comparison, are just kind of there, and we’re witnessing moments unfolding around them. But maybe that’s precisely the point; that after years of marriage, life is just life, a mere series of moments–the good, the bad, and the absurd–shared with loved ones.

Flight

Flight (2012)

Directed by: Robert Zemeckis

Written by: John Gatins

Cinematography by: Don Burgess

Starring: Denzel Washington, Don Cheadle,
John Goodman, Kelly Reilly, Melissa Leo

Rating: B+

From the director of the Back to the Future trilogy (1985/1989/1990), Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988), Forrest Gump (1994), and Cast Away (2003) comes…a dark character study of a deeply troubled pilot (Denzel Washington) who becomes a hero in the aftermath of a plane crash? Not what you’d probably expect from him, but welcome back Robert Zemeckis. I missed you dearly here in the world of live action filmmaking, and what a return he makes. Hollywood doesn’t seem to make such journey films anymore. This isn’t a film about the plane crash (though that portion is expertly handled and visually thrilling). This isn’t even a film about questioning whether or not the pilot was having issues with drugs and alcohol prior to the crash. This film pulls no punches. Everything is shown to us within the first twenty or so minutes. What matters is all that follows. Denzel is absolutely brilliant in his role. We get to bare witness to a life spent avoiding any sense of responsibility now finding itself in the public spotlight, with every detail being poked, prodded, and pulled apart, only to reveal a man who has quite literally become a toxic hero. It begs the question, that in a world so sorely in need of such heroes, what lengths would we go to, to both ensure and destroy that very concept?