House of Lies: Glengarry Glen Cheadle

by Ethan Alter January 9, 2012 6:00 am
<i>House of Lies</i>: Glengarry Glen Cheadle

If you weren't particularly impressed by House of Lies' pilot episode -- what with its annoyingly exposition-heavy fourth-wall breaking, so-smirky-you-want-to-punch-them-in-the-face characters and sex scenes that try way too hard to be risqué -- trust us: it does get better. By the third episode of Showtime's newest comic serial, set in the high-powered world of management consulting, the writing has settled down somewhat and the main ensemble has developed a great rapport that helps overcome the at-times shaky material. Even then, House of Lies isn't smart or savvy enough to rank with cable's best comedies (like, say, Curb Your Enthusiasm or The League), but at least it develops into a decent half-hour diversion.

Denzel Washington and Robert Zemeckis Are High on Flight

by Ethan Alter October 29, 2012 6:00 am
Denzel Washington and Robert Zemeckis Are High on <I>Flight</i>

With its potent combination of an award-winning director and star (Robert Zemeckis and Denzel Washington), a celebrated supporting cast (among them, Don Cheadle, John Goodman, Bruce Greenwood and Melissa Leo), dark, emotional subject matter (alcoholism) and expertly executed spectacle (most notably a terrifying plane crash), the new drama Flight is sure to be one of the fall's leading Oscar contenders. The film, which was penned by actor/screenwriter John Gatins, casts Washington as commercial airline pilot Whip Whitaker, who manages to land his free-falling plane with a minimal loss of life. He's celebrated as a hero for his actions... until it emerges that he's got serious personal problems that may or may not have contributed to the crash. Following the film's premiere at the recently concluded New York Film Festival, the cast and crew of Flight answered questions from the press, including how the project first began and whether it cured (or contributed to) their fear of flying.

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