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Sully

This movie is like Tom Hanks himself – a celebration of the everyman, in this case, Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger (Hanks), the US Airways pilot who was thrust into the limelight by a confluence of gut instinct and really good luck that culminated in the so-called “Miracle on the Hudson” on January 15, 2009. Sully and first officer Jeff Skiles (Aaron Eckhart) were justifiably hailed as heroes in the aftermath of that incident for their ability to remain incredibly calm and composed as they “landed” their Airbus A320 in the middle of the Hudson River after a bird strike took out both engines shortly after take-off from New York’s LaGuardia Airport. Miraculously, all 155 souls on board the plane that day survived. We all saw it, either live or on constant televised replay… dramatic images of commuter boats and first-responders in helicopters plucking scores of passengers from the wings of the aircraft. And therein lies the problem with Sully. It’s hard to get overly-invested in the drama when you know everything works out in the end. So while director Clint Eastwood makes an admirable attempt to tell an interesting, lesser-known story about the subsequent investigation by FAA and NTSB desk jockeys and computer-simulated recreations devoid of the “human factor”, all that really matters is the 208 seconds that had passengers and crew heeding the Captain’s call to “brace for impact!” and flight controllers on the ground fearing the worst when the plane drops off their radar. It’s dramatic stuff for sure. But you can only replay 208 seconds so many times in a movie that stretches to hit a 95-minute running time.

Genius

Growing up in small town Asheville, North Carolina, we didn’t have many famous people we could claim. But the great writer Thomas Wolfe was ours. So when they made a movie about him, we had to see it. Genius isn’t just about Wolfe (Jude Law) though. Adapted from “Max Perkins: Editor of Genius” by A. Scott Berg, the film looks at Wolfe’s relationship with Perkins (Colin Firth), the editor who had an out-sized role in crafting his masterpieces and was his closest friend. Given the subject matter, the film should have been a lot better.

Mr. Holmes

Just how many Sherlock Holmeses can the world sustain at once? We’ve got the Robert Downey Jr. action hero version and the Benedict Cumberbatch Aspberger’s take. And now we have a senior and somewhat senile interpretation of the perennial sleuth portrayed perfectly by the classically trained yet suddenly everywhere Ian McKellen (X-men, Lord of the Rings.) Personally, I think we should all be grateful for this embarrassment of riches. Three very different Sherlocks and all such fun to watch! This time around, the mystery dear Holmes must solve involves his final case, decades prior, before he moved to the Sussex seaside to raise bees all by his lonesome. It is the case that drove him to retire.

The Details

The Details is opening under the radar, and I think for good reason. It tries really hard to be a dark comedy, but doesn’t really get either part of that equation right. It is not funny enough or dark enough, and for me the biggest problem was the casting of the lead – Spiderman, er, Tobey Maguire. The movie is about Jeff whose nice little life suddenly seems to spin out of control. He is an obstetrician with a beautiful wife (Elizabeth Banks) and a cute kid, and they live in Seattle in a lovely house. But when raccoons take over his newly sodded back yard, everything else starts to unravel, and somehow that leads to poisoning, porn, infidelity, organ donation, blackmail and murder!