Tempo grade: C+
Mitchell Storyteller Cinema 7.
Rated R for violence and language.
Writing action movies for Gerard Butler nowadays must be like choosing from a batch of laminated 3 by 5 cards with specific plot points printed in bold Helvetica letters. Surprisingly, those plot points tend to be ones that work well for the 53-year-old Scottish-born actor after he began playing secret service agent Mike Banning in three remarkably violent save-the-president-from-terrorists action movies, plus a couple of disaster epics: “Geostorm” and “Greenland.”
Of course, he’s done quite a few other movies in which he gets to really act, but for now, he seems to keep the bills paid by playing gruff no-nonsense action heroes who don’t mind putting the serious hurt on bad guys. That’s kind of the character he plays in his latest.
Titled “Plane,” which homophonically seems to describe how plain this action movie was concocted. Don’t get me wrong, as I said, those 3 by 5 cards seem to hit the nail on the head when it comes to setting up the kinds of adventures that work well for Butler. And, in this one, they help move a story along with quite a few honestly earned white knuckle moments.
in “Plane,” French director Jean-François Richet puts Butler to work as a pilot for a third-rate airline. His Brodie Torrance is strong and commanding, but with a slight hesitancy bred from the personal pain of losing his wife a few years previous and being based in Singapore, far from his daughter in Hawaii.
As the film opens, we see him settling into the pilot’s seat as passengers board the flight in a basic parade of typical characters: the attractive internet influencer young women, the cranky urbanite, the vacationing couple who criticize how shabby the plane looks, and then there’s the brooding, dangerous-looking prisoner, Louis Gaspere (Mike Colter, who is seriously underused in this movie) being transported by an FBI agent.
Then, they take off and fly normally for a while as we get to know a little back story on some of the characters. Suddenly, they run into some turbulence. Then a lightning strike kills their electronics and communication. No one knows where they are and they’re about to ditch over the ocean, when surprisingly Brodie spies some land and a road on which to set the plane down. Whew, but then one of the crew reminds Brodie that the island they landed on is filled with outlaws who like to kidnap tourists and hold them for ransom.
Great. Now, it’s up to Brodie to figure out how to keep his passengers safe, and it’s also about this point he discovers his best ally is possibly the most dangerous person on the plane.
Not a classic in any sense, nor is “Plane” particularly exceptional, yet it fulfills one of the often overlooked tenets of movie-going: Entertainment. It is that and it does it fairly well.
Also showing this week at the Mitchell Storyteller 7 Cinemas
A Man Called Otto
Mitchell Storyteller Cinema 7.
Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material involving suicide attempts, and language.
This is an American remake of the award-winning 2015 Swedish film, “A Man Called Ove,” which was based on the acclaimed novel of the same name by Hannes Holm.
Otto (Tom Hanks) is a grump who's given up on life following the loss of his wife and wants to end it all. When a young family moves in nearby, he meets his match in quick-witted Marisol (Mariana Treviño), leading to a friendship that will turn his world around. Directed by Mark Forster, this film co-stars John Higgins, Lily Kozub and Peter Lawson Jones. Trigger warning: the subject of suicide figures in the plot of this movie.
These films screen daily at the Mitchell Storyteller 7 Cinemas, 110 Old Talpa Cañon Road. For tickets, showtimes and additional information, call (575) 751-4245 or visit storyteller7.com.
Movies on the TCA’s Big Screen
All the Beauty and the Bloodshed
TCA Movies on the Big Screen Sunday (Jan. 15) at 2 p.m., and Monday (Jan. 16) at 7 p.m.
This documentary by Laura Pointras examines the life and career of photographer and activist Nan Goldin and her efforts to hold Purdue Pharma, owned by the Sackler family, accountable for the opiod epidemic.
Goldin, a well known photographer whose work often documented the LGBT subcultures and the HIV/AIDS crisis, founded the advocacy group PAIN (Prescription Addiction Intervention Now) in 2017 after her addiction to Oxycontin, where she had a near fatal overdose. PAIN specifically targets museums and other arts institutions to hold the art community accountable for its collaboration with the Sackler family and its well publicized financial support of the arts.
Since PAIN’s activities most of the targeted museums have severed all ties with the Sackler family and in 2021 Purdue Pharma filed for bankruptcy — Wikipedia
Tempo grade: A
TCA Movies on the Big Screen Sunday (Jan. 15) at 5 p.m.
Rated PG for mild language and some crude humor.
Shrek (voiced by Mike Myers) is a crude, rude and very funny ogre with a heart of gold hidden under his big green exterior. His life in a stinky swamp is just fine, that is until the pint-sized blowhard Lord Farquaad (John Lithgow) kicks all the fairytale creatures in the kingdom out and into the swamp. In a bid to get his privacy back, Shrek cuts a deal in which he will rescue for the Lord the lovely Princess Fiona (Cameron Diaz) from the clutches of a man-eating dragon. So, with his fast-talking Donkey (Eddie Murphy), he sets out on a quest that will turn up some surprises and loads of hilarious adventure. The movie has some pretty catchy tunes as well. — Rick Romancito
Movies on the Big Screen is at the Taos Community Auditorium, 145 Paseo del Pueblo Norte. For tickets, health restrictions and additional information, call (575) 758-2052 or visit tcataos.org.