With Denzel Washington as the headliner, Robert Zemeckis making his return to live-action after a decade trapped in the world of motion-capture Flight should have been an easy win – and while the star definitely puts on one hell of a performance and the plane crash scene is pretty spectacular, I couldn’t help but be frustrated by everything else the film brought to the table. In addition to being emotionally ham-fisted (particularly the eye-rollingly trite final scene), the film is tonally all over the place. One minute it’s a tragedy that Washington’s pilot character, Whip Whitaker, endangered over a hundred people with his reckless recreational activities, in the next his addictions and flaws are portrayed as comedy, and then the audience is expected to hope that the “hero” actually gets away with the crime he committed. There was serious potential in Flight as a story about addiction and consequence, but it spends too much time figuring out how to get to that point that it never actually gets there.

Looper was a bright spot on my radar for two very specific reasons: Rian Johnson and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Years ago I saw Brick in the smallest theater in Boston and loved every second of it, and when I learned that they would be teaming up for a sci-fi time travel story I could hardly contain myself. But that only contributed to feeling underwhelmed leaving the theater. Great movies will have you thinking about how great they are for weeks after you’ve seen them, but with Looper I just kept noticing more and more plot holes and eventually it got to the point where the substance that the movie does have was overshadowed by the number of flaws. I love the world that’s created and I think Gordon-Levitt’s performance was top notch, but I wish more time had been spent going through it with a fine-tooth comb.

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