Air Force One
Director: Wolfgang Petersen
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Release Date: 1997
Lead Actors: Harrison Ford, Dean Stockwell, Gary Oldman, and Glenn Close
Plot: The president of the United States is en route to Miami, Florida after a state visit to the former Soviet Union to celebrate the capture of Khazak military dictator Gen. Ivan Radek. Air Force One is then hijacked by the other military supporters of Radek. They manage to board the presidential plane due to the connivance of the secret service agent Gibbs. With the president of the free world refusing to leave his plane, what ensues is an action-packed retaking of the White House in the sky led by Pres. James Marshall. As the battle to retake the plane ensues, the United States is embroiled in a constitutional crisis and finds itself in the difficult position of having to negotiate with a terrorist to minimize the loss of lives on board the plane.
Exploration: The movie utilized the use of single straight-through shots with only a camera for most of the movie. Due to the confined shooting space, it was more efficient to shoot in such a manner to ensure that all the shots could be tightly edited together. The lighting gave the actual feel of the indoor of an airplane even though it was only a soundstage. The computer-generated effects/animation that was used in the film were so flawless that it would be hard to tell if actual planes were used in some scenes or not. The sound aspect of the film acted to involve the viewer even more because of the realistic sound effects used in the high-action sequences. In all, the movie was a well-thought-out psychological action thriller that depicts what could happen if the most protected man and plane in the world fell into the hands of terrorists.
Down With Love
Director: Peyton Reed
Release Date: 2003
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Lead Actors: Renne Zellweger, Ewan McGregor
Plot: Barbara Novak is the hottest women’s rights author of her time. While her book Down With Love revolutionizes the way women treat men and sex, it also catches the ire of men who are not used to having the shoe on the other foot. When Catcher Block loses his woman to Ms. Novak, who was scheduled to interview for his magazine, he sets out on a vendetta to make her fall for him so that he can learn her secrets and ruin her. In a throwback to the Doris Day – Rock Hudson sex comedies of the 1950s, the well crafted romantic comedy shows us that there is no such thing as Down With Love and up with sex once two hearts finally make a love connection.
Exploration: Peyton Reed mimics the directing style of the 1950s in this film and heavily uses special visual effects to recreate and set the mood of the era for the movie. The character costumes, lighting, set design, sound, and animation, all remained true to the era it portrayed and helped the viewer go back in time for a few hours. The dialogue and some scenes had obvious sexual innuendo but were dealt with so lightly that one could not help but laugh at the punch lines thrown our way. The acting was a bit exaggerated but understandable since this film is somewhat of a parody of a bygone era in Hollywood. In totality, the film is a refreshing blast from the past after one has gotten used to the new crude dialogue and in-your-face action of modern Hollywood films. The film does not spell everything out for the viewer through actions and energizes our brain by forcing it to recognize the comedy through the thinly veiled innuendos. A great film to watch with your best guy or girl on movie date night.