Sunday, October 14, 2012

NYFF50 closes tonight with the lengthy Robert Zemeckis/John Gatins FLIGHT

It has been only two weeks and two days since the 50th New York Film Festival opened (with Life of Pi) and now here it is closing already, with four screenings this evening of the newest film from director Robert Zemeckis and screenwriter John Gatins, the simply-titled FLIGHT. The film's real draw, of course, is its star, Denzel Washington, one of the few men who can still pack 'em into theater seats. He certainly packed 'em into the final press screening this morning at the Walter Reade Theater, and I must say that, in person (I passed him coming up on the escalator as I was going down) he looks even better than he does on screen -- at least in this movie, in which he plays a fairly obnoxious alcoholic druggie who can still fly a damaged plane more successfully, it would seem, than anyone else in the world.

It is encouraging to have Mr. Zemeckis (shown at right) -- who in former decades delighted us with everything from I Wanna Hold Your Hand and Back to the Future to Forrest Gump and Roger Rabbit -- directing something other than that faintly obnoxious brand of animation he now seems to prefer, but I wish I could feel a bit more welcoming about the end result. I'll have more to say about this very well-acted, alternately feel-bad/feel-good, coincidence-prone, manipulative, and mostly mediocre movie when it opens theatrically on November 2. To obtain information about today's remaining NYFF screenings of Flight, click here.

Meanwhile, though no official stats are offered (that I know of) by the Film Festival folk, I am told by one in-the-know that this just-closing, half-century edition of the fest is its most successful ever -- both in terms of the amount of films (new and old) shown, the amount of movie-goers who came and feasted, and the amount of money taken in. All of which makes further expansion of the NYFF a likely and looked-forward-to expectation.

As to the quality of the films, this is always a mixed bag. Of the seven movies I managed to see, two were special (Life of Pi and The Paperboy), three worthwhile-to-mixed (Holy MotorsPassion and Room 237), and two disappointing (Amourabove, and Flight). I'll have my specific reasons at the ready by the time of each film's theatrical release.

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