This week on the podcast I'm not talking to Jenny. This week I'm on air with Ted Bull, whom I've never met until I walked into the studio. So I was ill-prepared. This would have to be the most hilarious radio interview I've ever done. These questions arise.
Will Ted stop talking and let me get through all the films?
Will the CIA arrive in the studio and pull us off air?
Will Ron Howard ever talk to us again?
Who hasn't Ted interviewed in his radio career?
Can I convince him to go see Sully?
And why does he keep saying 'Dead!' every time I mention certain actors?
The answers and many laughs are had in this interview. I adore Jenny Seaton but every now and then you need a sprinkle of Ted Bull.
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SULLY ✪✪✪✪ Opens September 8
We all know the story of Sully and his miraculous landing of the American Airlines A320 Airbus on the Hudson River around 3:20pm on a freezing winter day. What we didn't know about was that for the days after Sullenberger had landed the plane, he was investigated by the Federal Aviation Administration suggesting that the pilot and co-pilot could have made it back to La Guardia without loss of the plane. This film tells that story.
The scenes of the actual crash are gut-wrenching. When the hostesses shout "Brace, brace, brace," and continue to shout the words, I very nearly burst into tears imagining the terror experienced by the passengers.
Tom Hanks is, as usual, masterful and his sympathetic portrayal of a quiet, unassuming hero is always note-perfect. Aaron Eckhart as the co-pilot Jeff Skiles also delivers. For most of Clint Eastwood films, I'm usually a fan. Here I think this film is the perfect marriage of great director, great actors, and a good script. Definitely a film to see on the big screen. I'm still thinking about it.
The passengers on the aircraft each received a letter of apology, $5,000 in compensation for lost baggage, or $5,000 more if passengers can demonstrate more than $5,000 in losses, and a refund of the ticket price. Beginning in May 2009, passengers received their baggage and other belongings. In addition, passengers reported they were offered $10,000 each not to sue US Airways for damages by American International Group (AIG), the airline's insurance carrier.
On January 15, 2009, the world witnessed the "Miracle on the Hudson" when Captain "Sully" Sullenberger (Tom Hanks) glided his disabled plane onto the frigid waters of the Hudson River, saving the lives of all 155 aboard. However, even as Sully was being heralded by the public and the media for his unprecedented feat of aviation skill, an investigation was unfolding that threatened to destroy his reputation and his career
Bridget Jones's Baby ✪✪✪½ Opens September 15
This series has never been a favourite of mine. The last film the 2004 Bridget Jones: Edge of Reason was certainly rather weak against the original passable comedy. Of course, Renée Zellweger is the charm in all the movies. She is the embodiment of Bridget, despite the original controversy with an American cast in the very British roll in the original 2001 feature, which was adapted from a very popular English novel by Helen Fielding.
This film has definitely brought the series to a good place to conclude Bridget's story (I hope it's over, please don't go back ... this is good). It is charming, funny, relatable in a weird way, and nearly everything you would want in a romantic comedy. Romantic comedies are not my thing and it takes a lot to win me over and Bridget has done that. Maybe it's the baby. Or the addition of Patrick Dempsey, still gorgeous, as the alternate suitor that also helps. Colin Firth is his usual tight-lipped but vulnerable, somehow, Darcy, and Emma Thompson is fantastic in her role as the hilarious take-no-silliness obstetrician.
It's a chick flick, although I do think the boys wouldn't be totally bored with it. There really are some great laughs. Bridge Jones has delivered a good looking baby this time.
Oscar® winners Renée Zellweger and Colin Firth are joined by Patrick Dempsey for the next chapter of the world’s favorite singleton in Bridget Jones’s Baby. Directed by Sharon Maguire (Bridget Jones’s Diary), the new film in the beloved comedy series based on creator Helen Fielding’s heroine finds Bridget unexpectedly expecting.
After breaking up with Mark Darcy (Firth), Bridget Jones’s (Zellweger) “happily ever after” hasn’t quite gone according to plan. Fortysomething and single again, she decides to focus on her job as top news producer and surround herself with old friends and new. For once, Bridget has everything completely under control. What could possibly go wrong?
Then her love life takes a turn and Bridget meets a dashing American named Jack (Dempsey), the suitor who is everything Mr. Darcy is not. In an unlikely twist she finds herself pregnant, but with one hitch…she can only be fifty percent sure of the identity of her baby’s father.
SPIN OUT ½ Opens September 15
We have enjoyed some fantastic Australian films over the past couple of years. Nearly two years ago, there was much talk about the poor quality of Australian films and their woeful box office showings. Then suddenly we had a run of brilliant films like Paper Planes, Mad Max Thunder Road, The Babadook, Predestination, The Infinite Man, That Sugar Film, Embrace, Chasing Asylum, to name a few.
Outside of these and more, we've also had some duds. However, I think we now need a lower ranking than 'Dud' to describe Spin Out from directors and screen writers Tim Ferguson (Doug Anthony All Stars) and Marc Gracie.
Yes, you can argue I didn't enjoy because it's not aimed at my demographic. I would reply, who is this aimed at? What teenager is going to revel in this silliness and relate to these overblown, over wrought characters? My demographic, should, like me, greatly object to what this portrays as admirable behaviour being sold to teenagers.
The story centres on a single night of a Bachelors and Spinsters' party in the bush, which is a set up for a lot of fun. However, in the ninety odd minutes they manage to cram in extremely dangerous driving several times, one night stands (many), drinking competitions until the participant has almost killed himself while others cheer him on, multiple fights, chauvinism like you wouldn't believe, nudity that's supposed to be amusing but has no point, a sling at homosexuality, a mocking of city folk as compared to country folk (seriously, does anyone think like that these days?), vomiting, urinating, and defecating wherever suits, and a wonderful scene of dozens of young 'uns passed out after their 'great' time the night before. Aww, their mums would be so proud and so glad they let them attend.
My friend and most others I spoke with after felt the same as me. Glorifying this behaviour in this day and age is appalling. However, this is not the film's greatest sin. The worst thing about this is that the story is boring and predictable, the characters cliched, and the lack of humour (nobody in our screening laughed at all) makes for checking of the time quite often.
You feel as though you're watching a film created by the Americans who know nothing about Australians except for watching a few cartoon characters, Crocodile Dundee, and movies from the seventies. This thing might still have some use because certainly this won't fair well at the box office against the enjoyable Bridge Jones's Baby that does deliver laughs. If the Australian government is serious about deterring refugees from coming to our shores, just show this in their countries. We won't have to worry about anyone wanting to come to Australia anymore, that's for sure.
Billy and Lucy have grown up together in a small, close-knit country town, where they form one of the town's most formidable Ute driving teams. When Billy takes one risky car stunt too far, Lucy declares she is moving to the city - sending Billy into a spin. Amid the mayhem of the town's annual "Bachelors and Spinsters" party, Billy only has one night to wake up to his true feelings for his best friend - or lose her forever. Spin Out is a fresh, feel-good comedy romance for the young and the young at heart.
PETE'S DRAGON ✪✪✪½ Opens September 15
Somehow in my youth I missed seeing the original 1977 animated film voiced by Helen Reddy, Mickey Rooney, Jim Backus and Shelley Winters. I guess my non-enthusiasm as a child might have been because I wasn't keen on dragons. Give me a vampire or a zombie as a kid. That's what I wanted as a pet.
Never to fear, though, because if the story is beloved, they'll bring it back, retread the thing, and offer again to the next generation.
Disney is continuing their mixed animation live films, which began with the very enjoyable Jungle Book with Pete's Dragon. While I did enjoy this film, I don't think the experience soared to the heights it could have. Bryce Dallas Howard does not impress me as an actress. She just doesn't have charisma on screen and her face is wooden. Just me, probably, but I didn't love her in Jurassic World, either.
I know this might be a strange comment, but I found the story just too Disney, the music too sweeping and sweet, the story trying too hard, and all of it too formulaic. The one thing I did get from it, though, is I would now like a dragon. Does anyone know where you can get one?
A reimagining of Disney's cherished family film, "Pete's Dragon" is the adventure of an orphaned boy named Pete and his best friend Elliott, who just so happens to be a dragon. "Pete's Dragon" stars Bryce Dallas Howard ("Jurassic World"), Karl Urban ("Star Trek"), and Oscar (R) winner Robert Redford ("Captain America: The Winter Soldier"). The film, which is directed by David Lowery.
For years, old wood carver Mr. Meacham (Robert Redford) has delighted local children with his tales of the fierce dragon that resides deep in the woods of the Pacific Northwest. To his daughter, Grace (Bryce Dallas Howard), who works as a forest ranger, these stories are little more than tall tales...until she meets Pete (Oakes Fegley). Pete is a mysterious 10-year-old with no family and no home who claims to live in the woods with a giant, green dragon named Elliott. And from Pete's descriptions, Elliott seems remarkably similar to the dragon from Mr. Meacham's stories. With the help of Natalie (Oona Laurence), an 11-year-old girl whose father Jack (Wes Bentley) owns the local lumber mill, Grace sets out to determine where Pete came from, where he belongs, and the truth about this dragon.
The Beatles: The Touring Years ✪✪✪✪
Opens September 15 for one week only
You forget how incredibly talented the Beatles were/are, so it's wonderful to be reminded. Fifty years later, their music is just as catchy and toe-tapping as it was when first released. Director Ron Howard, better known for his big budgeted but always entertaining adventures, proves he also has a good feel for documentary story-telling.
From start to finish The Beatles: The Touring Years is fascinating and a joy to watch. Probably no great revelations here because their lives have been documented so much, but that doesn't detract from the entertainment value. It's simply fantastic to sit in a cinema, uninterrupted, and listen to these songs of, well, in my case, our youth.
Be prepared to come straight home and start playing your Beatles collections immediately or, in my case, streaming from Spotify. These guys were and are still the bomb.
An added bonus only for cinema-goers is an extra thirty minutes of their performance at the Shea Stadium, digitally remastered. This bonus will not be on the DVD or streaming when the film is released on those services. Those who attended the original performance couldn't hear for all the screaming fans and neither could the Beatles hear their own playback, but you will be able to hear it perfectly. So do stay after the credits.
We all know the moment. February 9th, 1964, 8:12pm EST - after a brief commercial break, four young men from Liverpool step onto the Ed Sullivan stage, changing culture forever. Seventy-three million people watched The Beatles perform that night, the largest audience in television history. By the time the band quit touring in August of 1966, they had performed 166 concerts in 15 countries and 90 cities around the world. The cultural phenomenon their touring helped create, known as "Beatlemania," was something the world had never seen before and, arguably, hasn't since. It was the first time much of the world felt truly unified - bound by aspiration and attitude, rather than divided by race, class, religion or nationality.
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