The Stuart Reviews Stuff Room 101 Part 3 – The Internet

February 26, 2013

facebook-dislike-button

For the next edition of my own personal Room 101 – digging back through topics I started on the East Football Room 101 forum – I’m going to focus on certain elements of The Internet & People’s Online Behaviour that bug me.

And we’ll start with…

Help Me Get 1,000,000 Likes So I Can…

Urgh.

It seems to be a trend these days that when some bloke wants to do something and – as is usually the case – their wife says no, he goes to Facebook to ask for a certain amount of ‘Likes’ in a bid to get her to change her mind.

The first one I saw was quite amusing. I think it was a bet between a couple that if he could get one million people to like his status he could call their child Skeletor. So you have a laugh and a chuckle knowing that it probably won’t amount to anything.

But now Facebook is flooded with them.

The most recent one was “I’m a Bradford City fan living in Australia and my wife will only let me go if I get one million likes”. 

Two things son…

  1. If your wife will allow you to go to the game for such a frivolous reason as getting a certain amount of likes on Facebook, there’s no good reason why you can’t go anyway.
  2. Grow a set of balls and go regardless. even if it annoys her. If you’re a Bradford fan, that was probably the only chance you’ll have in your lifetime to see them in a cup final.

It’s unoriginal attention seeking nonsense and people who do this sort of thing deserve to be keel-hauled.

People Who ‘Like’ Their Own Status Updates

Sticking with the ‘Like’ theme…

The ‘Like’ button on Facebook is for people to click on your status update if they like what you have to say. It’s not for you to click on your updates.

People don’t need to see that you approve of yourself, and you don’t need to tell them either.

Idiots.

95% Of You Won’t Repost This…

If you’re on Facebook, I’m sure you’ve had a status update come up with a bleeding hearts story about how someone’s cat fell down a well and that it’s such a terrible thing. And it’ll come with the addendum that 95% of the people who see this update won’t repost it, but the 5% who do will go on to live a happy and fulfilled life, safe in the knowledge that they are good people.

Well if you’re anything like me, that person who did share that on your friends list is now on block.

Yes, bad things happen in life, but we don’t need you sharing the grief of someone you’ve never met on our Facebook newsfeeds, just to show us what a good person you are.

But there’s all sorts of things like this that are designed to prey upon people’s insecurities about themselves.

Someone I know recently clicked like on a photo of a woman’s arse because it had the tagline “Click like if you’re not gay”.

Jeeeeesus.

Fraping

The concept of Fraping has the potential to be amusing.

The problem is that most people aren’t funny, and so their frapes aren’t either.

I saw an update on a co-workers facebook wall that said “I love it up the arse” (although it was said in a cruder way). Now that’s not funny or original, it’s just embarrassing. If that girl had any family as Facebook friends they’ll have seen it and she no doubt would have been mortified and felt victim to cruel bullying rather than a supposedly funny joke.

Similarly, I know a bloke whose girlfriend would hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiilariously frape him once or twice a day. And she wouldn’t even frape him with anything bad. It would just be stuff like “I love my girlfriend soooooo much. She’s the best” and then like clockwork he’d respond a few hours later with “Haha, fraped again lol”.

You don’t need to be a psychologist to see that she’s desperate for affection and petrified of him leaving her.

Quick love, you’d better get pregnant! That’ll keep him.

The Concept of First World Problems

In the eyes of some, people aren’t allowed to complain about anything these days because they are merely ‘First World Problems’.

If something bad has happened to you or if something has personally affected you, there’s always some humourless and pedantic twonk out there who seeks to trivialise it by reminding you that somewhere in the world, someone has it worse and that you have no right to complain.

And I think that is ridiculous.

Of course people have it worse than us; we know that. But we’re allowed to be annoyed about things that personally affect us without some blowhard trivialising the genuine problems in other parts of the world as a means of online point-scoring.

Misleading Thread Titles on Football Forums

Whenever a player is rumoured to be signing for a football club, or if a manager is on the verge of quitting or being sacked, internet football forums become awash with supposedly amusing thread titles designed to deliberately mislead others.

So for example, when Peter Houston was rumoured to be leaving Dundee United, some jolly japester would start a thread called

“Houston off…”

Some people would then open it thinking “Is this the news of him finally leaving” only to find the thread contained the line

“…home for the day after training” or something to that effect.

The very first time it happened, that was probably funny, but the joke has been done by so many people so many times that it’s not only not amusing, but it’s not even remotely convincing any more.

Next Time…

In future editions of Stuart’s Room 101 we’ll deal with Football, People and Behaviour.

Agree of Disagree?

Do you agree or disagree with any of the stuff written here? Leave a comment and let me know.


Films: Wreck-It Ralph Review (or “A Fantastic Nostalgia-Fest For Anyone Who Likes Video Games”)

February 20, 2013

These days you just assume a Disney film will be made by Pixar, but not Wreck-It Ralph.

Indeed, this will only be the second 100% Disney film I’ve seen in the last 10 years, the disappointing Bolt being the other one.

So can Disney emerge from Pixar’s shadow to make a movie that people will compare to the likes of Toy Story?

What’s This One About

Wreck-It Ralph is a villain in an old arcade game who wants to be the hero for a change, so he decides to leave his own game and tries to win a heroic medal in a different one.

Thoughts – A Great Film For Arcade Fans

In many ways this is like Toy Story, but in an Arcade Game setting.

While the toys in Toy Story come to life whenever Andy is out of the room, in Wreck-It Ralph the game characters live their lives when the Arcade shuts at night, and mix amongst each other in their own little world.Wreck it Ralph

Immediately then, you get the feeling that while this is a film that will appeal to kids, it’s really one that is made for guys like me, by guys like me. In other words, it’s made for people who were old enough to play Arcade games in the 1980s and 90s.

And what a nostalgic treat it is.

While the two main games featured in the movie are fictional, there are cameos from characters from games like Sonic the Hedgehog, Pac-Man, Q-bert, Root Beer Tapper (obviously, they all drink in Tapper’s bar), Street Fighter, Mario, Dance Dance Revolution, Qix and Burger Time Deluxe.

Seeing these characters on-screen is just fantastic for anyone who has grown up with the evolution of video games.

While it’s fair to say that the young kids watching it won’t really appreciate that since…well…Arcades aren’t exactly in vogue any-more, I don’t think it’ll make much of a difference to their enjoyment, but it will instantly mean the film is a winner in the eyes of my generation.

But Is It Any Good Beyond The Nostalgia?

Of course, a film can’t just work on nostalgia alone; if Wreck-It Ralph was pish beyond that, it’d be hard to compliment it.

Luckily though, it’s a strong film with a plot that moves along fairly well.

I say fairly, because I do think it slowed down a bit too much in the middle, but it started and finished strong.

What it is though is standard Animated film fayre (I would say ‘Disney fayre’ but Shrek is the same) about a hero (or anti-hero) who goes on a journey, meets an unlikely sidekick who he initially doesn’t like but ultimately becomes great friends with and then overcomes some sort of moral problem before living happily ever after.

I can accept that as a story for kids – even if it is much of a muchness – because it gives off a feel-good and morally acceptable message to them.

Animation

The animation of Wreck-It Ralph is also very good.

I saw it  the normal way, so I can’t comment on how it looked in 3D, but I was pleased with the rich colours, the realisation of the animated characters and also the way each of the characters moved. That last point might seem a bit odd, but what I mean is that the characters from the old pixelated games from the 80s move like characters from games from that era, even when they are shown in their full 3D form. It adds a level of authenticity to the animation of a film that you can tell was made as a labour of love (although because it was made in the Disney Studio – aka Mousewitz – it’ll be a labour of love made under ridiculous pressure).

Random Observations

  • As you’re probably aware, Disney films always start with an unrelated animated short before the main feature. In this case it’s a short called Paperman. It’s a black & white animation set presumably in the 50s or 60s about a Brief Encounter between a young man and woman. They bump into each other in a train station but she leaves before he can get her number. He then sees her some time later in the building opposite from his office window, as tries to get her attention with a paper aeroplane. It’s a simple cartoon with no dialogue, but it’s beautifully hand-drawn in a traditional 2D style and is probably better than Wreck-It Ralph, which isn’t doing the main feature a disservice in the least.
  • More films should be drawn in that style.
  • I like the whole sidestory of “Going Turbo”, as well as its resolution, which is actually quite surprising.
  • I had no idea Zangief was a video game villain.
  • King Candy has a voice that sounds very much like Roger Rabbit, but alas it’s not the same guy.
  • The end bit is reminiscent of – but suitable different from – The Iron Giant, which I think is probably one of the more underrated animated films out there.
  • If I was to criticise the film, I’d say it might be slightly too long for some kids to enjoy. I went to an early afternoon showing, and by the last half hour, the under-10s in the audience were clearly losing focus. Then again, they’re probably too young to be in a cinema anyway.

Should You Go To See Wreck-It Ralph?

While it’s sad that there will be plenty of people who will refuse to go to see a Disney film unless they have children with them, these people are missing out.

Wreck-It Ralph is hardly a new formula for Disney, but where it stands out is that offers guys like me who have an appreciation of video games and arcades of the past a proper nostalgia fest for a couple of hours.

And it does it very well.

What’s more, it also shows that Disney are capable of making a good, well-animated movie without Pixar.

 


Films – Hitchcock Review (A Film That Tried To Cover Too Many Bases And Failed)

February 14, 2013

It’s not often that I go to see a film that I’ve heard from multiple sources is rubbish, but today I did.

Personally, I hadn’t read any published reviews of Hitchcock, but I’d read people’s opinions on Twitter, as well as hearing the ‘Word on the Street’ from members of my family.

But reviews be damned, I wanted to see it, and at only 90 minutes long, and with an Unlimited Card in my wallet I didn’t see the harm.

So what’s the Stuart Reviews Stuff word on this one?

What’s It About?

A film that combines the making of Psycho with Alfred Hitchcock’s own personal and marital problems.

Thoughts – A Film That Casts Its Net Too Wide

By no means is Hitchcock a bad film, but the problem with it is that it’s not quite sure what it wants to be.Hithcock

Is it a film about Hitchcock and his relationship with his wife and leading ladies – as was the case in the recent BBC drama ‘The Girl’ – or is it a film about the making of Psycho?

You might think the latter wouldn’t be a particularly interesting subject, but I disagree. Psycho was a film made under trying circumstances, with Hitchcock having to fund it himself, getting his cast to agree to lesser fees, having to deal with censorship boards and having to film in black & white to keep the budget down.

It was also the first Hollywood film to start the ‘No late admission’ trend. My knowledge on the subject is sketchy, as I’m not film historian, but it was common practice in those days for people to come into films half way through, and because the supposed star of the show – Janet Leigh – is killed off so close to the start, Hitchcock wouldn’t allow that to happen. Essentially it shaped our own cinema-going habits to this day.

So to me, that’s something that could really have worked as the subject of the film, and I was very much looking forward to it.

Unfortunately, the making of Psycho is really an afterthought to the personal relationships of Hitchcock and his wife Alma, with most of the issues surrounding Psycho’s creation being hurriedly dealt with in a 5 minute period towards the end.

And as a result, we’re left with a film that tries to do too much and ultimately fails to deliver.

It starts off well, but you seen begin to realise that time is almost up and it hasn’t dealt with half the stuff you’d expect, and so many of the plot threads have limp resolutions.

The Girl & Anthony Hopkins

Another part of the problem for me is that what it tries to do too much of – namely focusing on Hitchcock’s marriage – the BBC managed to do better in The Girl.

That was a TV show that – while not spectacular – knew what it was doing. It focused on Hitchcock and his unsuccessful desire to be with the platinum blonde starlets he cast rather than his frumpy wife, and did a solid job of it.

Here, Hitchcock’s wife was portrayed as…well…more glamorous than she perhaps should have been. I’m only 30, so I don’t see the appeal, but I understand gentlemen of a certain age consider Helen Mirren to be quite the catch. So she was mis-cast in my opinion.

Not just that, but Hopkins himself wasn’t anywhere near as good or as convincing as Toby Jones in the BBC production. In fact, Anthony Hopkins came across as a bloke in a fat suit doing a rather over the top impression at a party.

The rest of the cast were fine, but ultimately had very little to work with.

So to me, having seen something better on the subject recently, it misfired.

The Bits In His Head

I might be missing something here – as I did miss the first couple of minutes of the film – but I had no idea what the point of the dream sequences were either. Not only did they add absolutely nothing to the plot, but they didn’t make sense and took time away from dealing with stuff that could have been interesting.

Should You Go To See Hitchcock?

I wouldn’t say so.

Don’t get me wrong; it didn’t drag on, and was a decent watch, but it just didn’t do all that much for me.

The star wasn’t all that good, the leading lady was mis-cast, the rest of the cast didn’t get much of a look in and it didn’t seem to know what direction to go in.

The writers should have decided to focus on one aspect of the film or the other. Either make it about the troubles he had making Psycho, or make it a film about personal relationships like The Girl.

It did neither, so it left me cold.


Stuart’s Week In Entertainment – Playing Catchup With Films, Games and TV Shows

February 14, 2013

It’s been a while since I did a ‘Week In Entertainment’ so I’ve got plenty of catching up to do.

Here are the highlights of what I’ve been watching and playing lately…

Films

Didn’t get round to doing a review of it, and it’s a bit late now, but I recently watched the BBC Film, My Week With Marylin. 

Made in 2011, it’s the story of when Marylin Monroe came to the UK to film The Prince & The Showgirl in 1957.

As a direct contract from Lincoln, I found this biopic to be an interesting and well told story that made me actually want to find out more about the subject.

Better than Lincoln

Better than Lincoln

Michelle Williams is excellent as Monroe, capturing her spirit perfectly, rather than coming across as someone trying to act like someone else.

A film well worth your time.

Television 

Argh, so much to get through.

So I’ll go through the shows I’ve watched one by one…

Big Bang Theory: Still the most consistent comedy on TV, the Big Bang Theory has been firing on all cylinders again lately. I’d say the best part of the show remains the dynamic between Penny and Sheldon, and it’s nice that they’ve focussed a little more on that in recent episodes. Not just that, but they’ve actually gone in for some character development, which is rare for a sitcom. The scene where Penny corners Sheldon on his relationship with Amy added some depth to Jim Parsons’ character, and that can only be a good thing. As a minor warning though, the most recent episode contained some ridiculous spoilers for the third season of the Walking Dead, so if you’ve yet to see that, beware…

Castle: I’m currently half way through the Fourth Season and loving every minute of it. Castle manages to blend the classic ‘One Episode Whodunnit’ formula with some nice humour and great characterisation. I must admit that the “Will they/Won’t They” aspect of Castle’s relationship with Beckett has probably been stretched to breaking point, but it doesn’t stop me from enjoying the show. The cast all work well together, and – crucially – the writers manage to come up with fresh and interesting mysteries each week. If you’re a fan of crime dramas or mysteries, this is a great show to take a chance on.

Community: The ‘Meta’ comedy is back at long last, but the first episode was a bit hit & miss for me. Once again, I think they have gone too far with the autistic side of the Abed character, and while I got a great chuckle from the Muppet Babies parody, the Hunger Games sub-plot left me a bit cold, while the “This is the beginning of the end” theme was too self referential. Then again, could we expect anything less from Community?

Girls: I gave this supposedly good HBO comedy a shot, and it left me a cold. I think the fundamental problem with it is the lead character/writer/director/producer.

You can just tell that anyone who chooses to combine all four of those roles, especially when they aren’t exactly well-known in the first place will be a spectacular mix of self-assurance and self-loathing, and that’s certainly how she comes across.

The problems with Girls are many. It’s not particularly funny, the characters are all mostly unlikeable, it’s bleak and – worst of the lot – the main character can’t help but get her kit off in every episode.

I have a couple of problems with that. First of all, the nudity isn’t necessary to the plot, really. If you compare it to the aforementioned My Week With Marylin, which suggested nudity but didn’t need or use it to get the point across, Girls comes across as wanting to use nudity to make it stand out.

The second point might seem a bit off, but I don’t care. The human body can be a nice thing to look at, but Lena Durham’s body is not. She’s fat and covered in tattoos. Yes, I’m sure you’ll read this and think “Oh, I bet you wouldn’t be complaining if it was a hot woman with a nice body”, and if I’m honest – if anyone is honest – that’s probably true to some extent. But it’s the same with women. I’m sure a woman would rather watch a bloke with a tight and toned body getting his kit off than someone who looks like Onslow off Keeping Up Appearances.

But I suppose that’s at the root of this whole thing isn’t it? She’s getting naked to prove some sort of point borne out of insecurities about herself that she’s trying to deflect as being problems that we have with seeing her naked. A quick google

I'm enjoying Up All Night, but I can't see it lasting without a character so fundamental to the plot as Christina Applegate's

I’m enjoying Up All Night, but I can’t see it lasting without a character so fundamental to the plot as Christina Applegate’s

search for the term “Why does Lena Durham insist on getting naked” comes back with scores of articles on the subject. It’s a mixture of people saying “Put your tits back in love” to “Ra ra ra, we love you sister. Why should it always be attractive people who get naked. Stick it to the man”.

To me, if the reason for it is so obvious, it makes it seem even more pathetic.

I don’t think I’ll be going back to watching Girls any time soon, and I should point out once again that it’s not just because of the nudity, but because it simply isn’t that good, even if it does paint a more realistic view of modern life than most shows. We watch TV for escapism, not to be reminded about how terrible life can be.

How I Met Your Mother: You know my thoughts on the decline of How I Met Your Mother, and things seemed to reach a nadir in the run up to the episode where Barney & Robin get engaged. But you know what? It’s actually improved a bit since then. Dare I even suggest I enjoyed some of the recent instalments. Of course, Mosby is still a sociopath, but hey, that comes with the territory.

Modern Family: On a similar note, Modern Family – which had been on a creative decline throughout the whole of 2012 – has improved dramatically as well. Sure, the show would be better if they killed of Luke, who can barely talk let alone act, but episodes like the New Years Eve one were actually very good; as good as the show was in its early prime.

Parks & Recreation: Sadly it’s not going to be three for three, as Parks & Recreation is in a rut that it’s struggling to get out of. The characters are becoming more like caricatures – especially Andy and Leslie – and it’s becoming a bit of a struggle to stay interested in. The episode where Andy was bored at work and pretended to be a detective looking for clues was insultingly bad. He’s becoming near enough retarded now. And there’s not enough Ron Swanson either.

Up All Night: I think I might have got on board with this one a little bit too late. The sitcom starring Christina Applegate and Will Arnett is not hilariously funny, but charming enough and worth a chuckle. The problem with it is the character of Missy (Jennifer Hall) who is another one of these over the top, cartoon-like characters. My understanding is that she gets written out at the end of the first season though, which can only be a good thing.

While I’m enjoying it, I can’t see it lasting much longer. With a shift from a single camera format to a more traditional multi-camera-in-front-of-a-studio-audience affair, as well as the departure of the main character, it just won’t last.

Shame.

Room 101: Always worth a watch, but the BBC need to make better use out of Frank Skinner. Bring back Baddiel & Skinner: Unplanned

Weekly Wipe: I like Charlie Brooker, but he’s beginning to be very repetitive. Oh yes Charlie, we know that you’re a sulky git, but stop recycling the same jokes and hating for the sake of it. Whatsmore, please realise that the funniest person on your show is you. Drop your excruciating mates like Barry Shitpeas and Doug Stanhope, please!!!

Games

Lately, my gaming has been consumed with three things.

Borderlands 2: This is my current ‘Campaign Game’ of choice. Looks fantastic on my PC and plays well, but I can imagine it’ll get boring long before I’m finished. Sometimes games just try to be too big for their own good. I like the satisfaction of actually finishing a game, knowing it’s been completed from beginning to end, but with the likes of this and Skyrim, it just isn’t going to happen.

Some might think that’s good, but for me it’s bad.

Call of Duty Black Ops 2: My weekend afternoons when I’m not at the football are consumed with playing this online with my mates. We’ve got a group of seven of us, and so the multiplayer shenanigans are aplenty. But what’s great about this

Addiction!

Addiction!

game is that you can add AI controlled bots to flesh out your party. So even if a few of us can’t make it, we can still have epic sessions without having to play with the sort of person who is on it for 11 hours a day and removes any of the fun by being too good.

Candy Crush Saga: The Facebook game everyone is playing. Yes, I’m hooked. I have the tune burned into my mind and when I close my eyes all I can see are the bloody candy ovals on the board. This is what it must be like to be addicted to drugs.

It’s a good game, and a simple one, but what I must applaud the makers for is the business model. I personally won’t spend any money to buy power-ups to beat a level, but there are millions upon millions of people playing this who will.

So when you hand over your spondulix out of sheer frustration, take a moment to think about the genius of the people making the game; they forced you into it and you didn’t even realise.


TV: House of Cards Review (US NetFlix Version)

February 12, 2013

The first season of the US version of the Office is a load of rubbish.

The reason for that is because it tries to replicate the UK version’s first season line for line and it just comes across as a bland tribute act.

It was only when they started to develop their own ideas and characters that the show became enjoyable.

I bring this up because there was always the risk that a US remake of the wonderful BBC One series House of Cards could have been a huge flop.

Released by Netflix as their first major move into the TV serial market, House of Cards comprises of 13 episodes available all in one go on demand. No longer do you have to wade through commercials or endure the nonsense that is the house of cardsAmerican TV ‘break’ system where a 23 episode season is spread out over 40 weeks.

Everything has been released in bulk, in fantastic High Definition, streaming directly onto your PC, Laptop, iPad, Xbox 360 or any device you might think of.

To me, that’s a far better way of doing things. I’d rather be able to watch shows at my own convenience, and not be held to when the TV station fancies putting the show on.

And all for a mere £5 per month.

So was it any good? Did it manage to be suitably different from the original, and does it work in its own right?

What’s It About?

US Congressman and Chief Whip Francis Underwood has been passed over for Secretary of State under the new President, and so sets the wheels in motion to get the power he wants, his way.

Some of the pawns he uses to get what he wants include journalist Zoe Barnes, Philadelphia Congressman Peter Russo, his own wife Clare, the Teachers Union and many more.

Thoughts – Is It Different Enough?

The simple answer is yes.

There are of course similarities that you would spot at first, like how Francis takes a young and eager reporter under his wing, and has a member of his own party under his complete control, but as the season develops it begins to shine as a TV show in its own right as opposed to a cheap knock-off.

Obviously with 13 episodes instead of 4 it allows a lot more character development, not just of the lead but of the supporting characters like his wife or his second in command and so it plays out as more of a long game.

With stellar acting from all concerned – especially from Kevin Spacey as Underwood – and strong plots that give a perhaps more realistic view of the gritty world of US politics than an aspirational show like the West Wing, this was enjoyable Political Drama from beginning to end.

If I was to criticise it for anything though, it would be that there seemed to be less of a need for Spacey breaking the fourth wall and talking to the camera.

While Ian Richardson’s Francis Urquhart was ultimately more sinister, he had a certain mischievous nature to him that led the viewer to feeling as though they are part of the scheme. Here, it just felt like Underwood was a bit of a bastard, and his talking to camera was more to stick to the established format. At one point he just turned to the camera and said “I hate children”, which was a bit b00-hiss for the sake of being boo-hiss, if you know what I mean.

Also, while I believe many of Underwood’s relationships were far better represented here than in the UK version – like with his wife and his peers – the one he has with Zoe Barnes isn’t as strong as the one Urquhart had with Mattie Storrin.

But those are just minor complaints in what I found a gripping and highly entertaining 13 episodes of TV, with the promise of more to come..

Should You Subscribe To NetFlix for House of Cards?

Though I imagine it will probably be available through less than honourable means, for most of us, House of Cards comes at the price of subscribing to NetFlix.

But then NetFlix does only cost £5 per month (without a contract) and has a multitude of other TV shows and films available on demand as well.

When you consider that costs less than a cinema ticket, I think it goes without saying that it provides bang for your buck.

You should definitely give it a chance.

Moreover, you can even watch the first episode for free on the NetFlix website – linked here

You can’t say fairer than that.


Films: Flight Review (or ‘Cocaine – An Apparent Miracle Cure’)

February 7, 2013

The hook to getting you in to see Flight is that – on the surface at least – it’s about a pilot who manages to save a plane from crashing with some fantastic flying skill, despite being dangerously drunk at the time.

But what it’s really about is an alcoholic who struggles to come to terms with his problems.

Starring Denzel Washington as the booze guzzling, coke snorting pilot, William “Whip” Whittaker, Flight is a good film, but once again it suffers from the same problem as every single film I’ve seen at the cinema this year; it would have been Flight_film_posterbetter if it was slightly shorter.

Thoughts 

It would be fair to say that this is another “Game of Two Halves” style film; the first half being about plane crash itself and the second focusing on the pilot himself.

And there is a place for both.

For anyone who doesn’t like flying, the plane’s troubles and ultimate crash landing are worryingly well executed, with it flying upside down for a spell in a successful bid to prevent crashing to Earth at a fatal speed.

The whole sequence is high on drama and superb in terms of acting and special effects.

But the positive aspects of Flight don’t begin and end with that. Washington is very good as Whittaker, and the aftermath of the incident is handled in an engrossing way.

For me at least, it was interesting to see how his own brilliant piloting plays second fiddle to a blame game over who was ultimately responsible.

And I did enjoy Whittaker’s breakdown, as he gradually becomes consumed by his problems, with it all coming to a head the morning of the official enquiry.

Where the film could have lost a little bit of time was on the setup of the character of Nicole. Ultimately she became an incidental character with about 50 minutes left, so wasting a good 15 minutes of scenes introducing her seemed a bit needless.

Three Cheers For Cocaine, Kids! (Spoilers)

What I didn’t like though – if I was to be perhaps a little bit over-critical – was his acceptance of his alcohol problems at the hearing. To me, that’s poor storytelling because it’s too easy and obvious.

Throughout the whole film, he’s brushed over his problems like any other alcoholic that you’ve ever known, lying to everyone around him and to himself as he fails to come to terms with his issues.

For him to finally admit to them right at the end, just at the point where he could have got off scot-free, was a bit too mushy and Hollywood for my liking.

It makes for a feel good-ending, but not necessarily a realistic one.

Of course, had he not come to terms with his problems, the film would have finished on a sour note, as if it was validating alcoholism, but I’m sure there are ways of overcoming it.

Actually though – and bear in mind I’m the sort of person who hates Ferris Bueler’s Day Off because it encourages and indeed glamorises truancy – one thing this film does do is promote cocaine as a wonderful way to recover from a hangover in short order.

Now I don’t drink, and I certainly don’t take drugs, so it’s neither here nor there to me, but I did feel that some people might come away from it thinking “You know what I need? Some cocaine!!”. Sure, Whittaker acknowledged that he had a problem, but snorting some coke meant he could still fly a plane better than most other sober pilots and attend a hearing an hour after being found on his hotel bathroom floor, pissed as a fart and barely conscious.

Maybe that’s what coke does, I wouldn’t know, but it seemed to be promoted as a miracle cure here, sold by John Goodman in a Hawaiian shirt. And it shouldn’t be.

Drugs are bad kids, okay?

Should You Go To See Flight?

My issues with the ending and the glorification of cocaine aside, Flight was a pretty decent film, all things considered.

It’s the sort of film where I’d watch the first 45 minutes or so again of it was on TV, just to see the brilliantly done plane crash, but beyond that, I don’t think I’d bother.

But I enjoyed it as I watched it, and though it would have been better running under two hours, it didn’t drag all that much.

So it’s solid, but unspectacular.

And Denzel Washington is good in it.