Archive for TSA

Non-Stop

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Thrillers/Mystery with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 14, 2015 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Bill Marks (Liam Neeson) is an alcoholic U.S. Air Marshal; he enrolled in the Air Marshal Service after he was discharged from the New York City Police Department. On a Boeing 767 non-stop flight from New York to London aboard British Aqualantic Flight 10, midway over the Atlantic Ocean, Marks receives text messages on his secure phone stating that someone on the plane will die every 20 minutes unless $150 million is transferred into a specific bank account.

Breaking protocol, Marks consults with Jack Hammond, the other Air Marshal on the flight. Hammond is revealed to be smuggling cocaine in a briefcase. Marks confronts Hammond and the two get into an argument that results in an altercation. Marks ends up killing Hammond during the fight in a lavatory, justifying it as self-defense. This occurs exactly at the 20 minute mark, resulting in the first death. As Marks attempts to stall for time with the texter, he works with Nancy Hoffman (Michelle Dockery), a flight attendant, and Jen Summers (Julianne Moore), a passenger seated next to Marks, to discover the texter’s identity. When the next 20 minutes expires, the Captain (Linus Roache) suddenly dies, presumably of poisoning.

Back in the U.S., the media and the public becomes convinced that Marks is hijacking the plane, as the bank account is in his name and a passenger uploads video footage of Marks treating passengers aggressively and that video is broadcast on television. Co-pilot Kyle Rice (Jason Butler Harner) has been instructed by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to ignore Marks and land in Iceland, the closest destination; he diverts the plane but continues to cautiously trust Marks. Cell phone programmer Zack White, a passenger on the plane, is asked by Marks to design a hack which will cause the texter’s cell phone to ring. It is discovered in the pocket of passenger Charles Wheeler, who claims to have never seen the phone before. After being physically subdued by Marks during the interrogation, Wheeler dies in a similar fashion to the Captain (with symptoms of poisoning.)

In the lavatory, Marks finds a hole in the wall that allowed someone to shoot a poison dart at the Captain; he finds that Wheeler was struck with a dart as well. While Marks and Summers try to gain access to the texter’s phone, it suddenly activates, sending automated messages to the TSA implying that Marks is suicidal and is going to detonate a bomb on the plane.

Marks finds the bomb hidden in the cocaine smuggled by Hammond. Passengers attempt to disable Marks, convinced he is a terrorist. They overpower Marks, but passenger Tom Bowen uses Marks’ gun to make them move away. Marks finally explains the situation, and they agree to work with him.

Unable to land the plane in time, he attempts to initiate a protocol of least damage: by descending the plane to 8,000 feet to equalize air pressure, placing the bomb in the rear of the plane, covering it with baggage and moving the passengers to the front to contain the explosion, and minimizing casualties. As the protocol goes into effect, a fighter jet escort joins the airliner and warns that if it descends into civilian airspace, it will be shot down.

Watching a video clip of himself handling passengers, Marks notices Bowen—whom he had initially cleared of any suspicion—slipping the texter’s phone into Wheeler’s pocket. Realizing that Bowen is the culprit, he learns that Bowen’s father was killed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks and that he and White are ex-military. Appalled by the lack of security at U.S. airports after 9/11, Bowen believes framing an air marshal as a terrorist will lead to drastically increased security. Bowen is prepared to die with the plane and shoots White, who planned to parachute off with the money, after Marks persuaded White to disarm the bomb. As Bowen prepares to shoot Marks, Rice disregards orders from his fighter jet escort and descends, giving an advantage to Marks in the following fight where he kills Bowen with a head shot. Still alive from Bowen’s shot, White then attacks Marks but is also defeated. Immediately afterwards, Marks escapes from the blast radius of the bomb just in time, while White is killed by the detonation.

Rice manages an emergency landing at an air base in Iceland after the bomb explodes. The plane is damaged in the landing, but no one else dies. Marks is hailed as a hero in the media, and he and Summers begin a friendship

REVIEW:

Ever since 9/11, traveling by air has been…an experience, to say the least. I can’t attest to that first-hand since I have a deathly fear of heights and flying, but I can live vicariously through film, right? The fears and paranoia of the public are on full display in Non-Stop, but with Liam Neeson and his particular set of skills (the man is a Jedi and trained Batman for goodness sakes!!!), I’m sure this plane is safe and that this is an enjoyable action thriller…hopefully.

What is this about?

On a commercial flight at 40,000 feet, federal air marshal Bill Marks starts receiving text messages from a threatening blackmailer who claims he’s on the airplane too. Can Marks identify his camouflaged adversary before he begins killing passengers?

What did I like?

Technology. This is a day and age where technology is everything, specifically cell phones, so why not have a film that used them as a way of communication during a terrorist plot? I especially liked how we were able to see what was being said and the cracked screen of one of the phones. It was a nice little touch that I’m sure some overlooked, but I really appreciated.

Action, as promised. There was a time when Liam Neeson was a celebrated dramatic actor. Anyone remember those days? Well, nowadays, we all know him as an action star, and with good reason. I’ll give you that this film doesn’t have as much action as some of his other films, but when it gets going, it gets going! What else do you expect in a plane that has a bomb and random passengers dying every 20 minutes?

Diversity. Someone mentioned to me that this is perhaps the most realistic looking group of passengers seen on screen to date. This was told to me before I actually watched the film, so I was scratching my head wondering wtf?!? I see now what they were talking about, though. All races, creed, sex, nationality, size, and shape are on this plane and, aside from our stars, none of them look like they are movie stars, so kudos to the casting director for making this happen.

What didn’t I like?

Trust. Why is it we believe everything we see on tv? At one point in the film, Neeson’s character is accused of hijacking the plane, setting the bomb, etc., and the news feed it broadcast on the screens on the plane, which causes the passengers to turn on him and/or fear him. What is the cause behind all this? Two things. First, the actual culprit has had money transferred to Neeson’s account and second, some guy on the plane has been recording him “abusing” people on the plane and has been uploading it the whole time, giving the news “evidence”. I guess we, as a society, really are the gullible to be swayed so easily.

Lupita. Academy-Award winning actress Lupita Nyong’o appears as a flight attendant. That really is all she does, appear. I think she speaks a couple of non-important lines here and there, but the rest of the time, she may as well have been a glorified extra. I have two school of thought on this. First is, more than likely, this was filmed before she won her Oscar for 12 Years a Slave, so she was still a nobody. In which case, her role suits her. On the other hand, I believe this was filmed and released afterwards, so there really is no reason she couldn’t have been given a bigger role, or at the very least had a few more lines inserted in.

Protocol. I will never understand how military protocol dictates that a plane, which has a bomb that could kill 150 or so innocent people, has to stay in the air, rather than landing so that bomb experts can disarm it and the people can be safe. Is there something I’m missing here? True, 150 lives are nothing compared to billions, but loss of life is still loss of life, especially if it can be prevented!

Was Non-Stop as non-stop as the title indicated? The opening 30 minutes or so were a bit on the slow side, which is to be expected from this type of picture, but from there on, it steadily picked up the pace. My issues with this film are actually miniscule, but that doesn’t mean it is a perfect flick. Some have said that it is cartoonish, but I didn’t get that vibe and actually found it to be smart, fun, and entertaining. Do I recommend it? Yes, I do, very highly in fact. Check it out, when you get the chance!

4 1/3 out of 5 stars

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She’s Out of My League

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews, Romantic with tags , , , , , , , on August 21, 2010 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Kirk Kettner (Jay Baruchel) is a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in his mid-20s who has low self-esteem and, by his own admission, has not accomplished very much in life. He works at the Pittsburgh International Airport as a Transportation Security Administration officer, and hopes of becoming a pilot one day. He tries to get back together with his self-centered ex-girlfriend, Marnie (Lindsay Sloane), who had ended her relationship with Kirk two years ago, but remained close with Kirk’s parents (Debra Jo Rupp and Adam LeFevre) and overbearing brother Dylan (Kyle Bornheimer), and continues to participate in family activities with her new boyfriend Ron. The movie opens where Kirk is rehearsing his “getting back together” speech to his three best friends who also work at the airport: Stainer (T.J. Miller), Devon (Nate Torrence), and Jack (Mike Vogel). Stainer is depressed by the speech, and tells Kirk he deserves way better. Jack advises Kirk to send the message to Marnie that since the breakup his life has been a nonstop parade of random sex with countless numbers of women, while Devon advises Kirk to just be who it is. When Kirk presents his personal speech to Marnie, she is highly dismissive of his continued romantic interests after his latest pursuit.

Then at work one morning, a beautiful woman, Molly McCleish (Alice Eve), arrives at the passenger terminal for a flight to New York. While proceeding through security, her striking looks attract unwanted attention and harassment from several male employees. Kirk is the only employee to treat her courteously: Kirk’s boss Fuller asks Molly to remove her shoes and belt to get a better look at her, but Kirk asks her to simply step through the frame to see if the alarm sets off. She walks through and no alarm sounds. Fuller then stops her and asks her to step over to the wanding area, claiming Molly had items which caused the wand to go off, but Kirk points out it was only his tie clip. Fuller then backs off, and Molly thanks Kirk for pissing off his boss for her. She then proceeds to her flight, accidentally leaving her phone in the airport security area. Upon realizing she has misplaced it, Molly calls her phone and Kirk, back at the security checkpoint, answers. The two arrange for a time to meet the following evening so that he may return the phone to her.

The following night, Kirk arrives at the Andy Warhol Museum where Molly, a professional event planner, is running a party. Devon accompanies Kirk to the Museum where Kirk returns Molly her phone. After returning the phone, both stay and met Katie, Molly’s sister. Katie then purposefully causes Kirk to spill his drink on the museum director and was asked to leave the museum for being uninvited for the party. Molly offered tickets to Kirk to the Pittsburgh Penguins hockey game vs. the New York Islanders at the Mellon Arena as an apology. During the intermission, while Molly and Stainer go to get drinks, Molly’s friend and work partner Patty (Krysten Ritter) breaks some shocking and unexpected news to Kirk that Molly is into him. The next night at the bowling alley, Stainer, ranking-obsessed, tells Kirk that on a scale from 1 to 10 with 10 meaning the most attractive and successful, he’s a 5, and Molly a 10, and that a relationship does not work if the difference is more than 2. Kirk then receives a call on his cell phone from Molly, whom to his greater surprise, asks him out. Prior to the date, while Katie is helping Molly pick out her dress for her date, Patti objects, claiming that she got hurt dating Cam, so she picks a guy like Kirk because he was safe and she wouldn’t get hurt. Molly simply states that Kirk is a nice guy. When Patti asks when Molly wants the “bad date bail-out call”, Molly says she won’t need it. Meanwhile the next day at the airport, Kirk shows up to work sleep deprived over the thought of him dating Molly. That night, Kirk and Molly go out for dinner at a fancy restaurant in Pittsburgh. Kirk’s nervousness only results in giggles from Molly. While having a conversation, Kirk notices a woman departing the restaurant without her jacket, and brings it to her. Kirk is mistaken by the husband for a waiter, as he pays him a couple dollars (Kirk wears a red jacket which looks almost identical to the waiters), but Kirk explains he doesn’t work there. On his way back to the table, Kirk lets a group of tough looking but non-intimidating men walk through the entrance. One of the men happened to be Molly’s ex-boyfriend Cam. After a brief conversation between the 3, Cam departs. After dinner, Kirk and Molly continue their date by going out for a walk around the downtown area, exchanging stories of themselves. Molly then receives a phone call, but sees it is Patti attempting to make the bail-out call, and lets the call go. When Kirk drops Molly off at her house, Molly kisses him. Kirk thanks her. The next day at work, Stainer is shocked to hear that Molly intentionally kissed Kirk, claiming the world is at a tilt. Molly then gets herself invited to Kirk’s family lunch. Her looks turn the heads of both Ron and Dylan, who invite her into the pool. Marnie and Dylan’s fiancé Deb are angered. During lunch, Molly discusses her work with Kirks family. After Ron and Marnie leave, Dylan and Kirk play slapshot regatta, which Kirk had promised to play in exchange for Dylan not embarrassing him. Kirk defeats Dylan for the first time.

That night in Molly’s house, while the two are making out, Kirk ejaculates in his pants, just before her parents arrive for a surprise visit. Attempting to conceal the ejaculate from her family, he initially avoids standing up but then quickly leaves to avoid Molly and her parents noticing what happened. The next day at work, Kirk and his friends are waiting for their shift to start. Marnie, whom is jealous and upstaged by Molly’s looks, takes an interest in Kirk again, claiming that she sees a change in him, and that she likes it, and proposes getting back together. Kirk says no, and Marnie walks away in disgust. Stainer shares his story about his relationship with Tina Jordan, and how he was a 6 and she was a 10, and that he wasn’t good enough for her. After making numerous comparisons about rankwise unbalanced couples, Stainer states the exceptions in all but one: Beauty & The Beast. Devon then advises Kirk to go up to Molly with confidence. At the airshow where Molly is working, Kirk approaches Mollys tent, where Molly lays down that her spending a whole day with her family, and him not even spending 30 seconds with hers was a red flag. Kirk then explains what happened, and Kirk and Molly are fine again.

During a date, Kirk suggested to Molly to throw a birthday party for her sister, Katie. During the party, Molly’s former boyfriend Cam tells Kirk that Molly has a defect and to avoid saying that she is perfect. After the party, both of them went to Molly’s place. Molly showed Kirk her webbed toes, which Kirk considers so minor that he decides that she is too perfect for him, and he breaks off the relationship. Kirk and Marnie resume their relationship and decide to go on the family trip to Branson.

When Kirk and his family go through security to depart for Branson, Stainer snatches a drink from Ron. He then tells Kirk that he has nothing mutual between any of his family members. Kirk says that he doesn’t want to go to Branson, but Stainer was right about him not being good enough, and proceeds to the gate to board the plane. While Devon gives Stainer a dirty look, Stainer sees the cup he had snatched from Ron was from the French Fry Factory where Tina Jordan worked. When Stainer goes over and asks her why their relationship never worked out, Tina claims that Stainer was plenty good enough for her, but not for himself. With this, Stainer realizes his mistake in telling Kirk that he is a 5 and his relationship with Molly would not work. He attempts to get Kirk off the plane, but Kirk refuses. While Stainer is being dragged off the plane, he shouts to Kirk that he is “a 10” too. Stainer then phones Patty, claiming that it was both his and her mistake for telling Kirk and Molly the relationship wouldn’t work, and pleads for her help by getting her to bring Molly over to the airport. Meanwhile, back on the plane, Kirk realizes his mistake, and gets out of his seat, declaring he would go find Molly and tell her he is good enough for her, whilst saying the f-bomb to all his family but his mom and Ron. His plane exit is shot down in flames when the flight attendant asks him to take his seat, and buckle up, and a $25000 fine would be required for her to reopen the passenger entrance. Kirk awkwardly retakes his seat. Back at the airport, Stainer and Molly rush to the gate, busting right through security with Stainers’ threatening words towards his boss who had been guarding the way. Stainer and Molly check the flights and discover that the flight to Branson has departed. Stainer then phones Jack, demanding that he stops the plane. The status on the flight is then set to delayed, as the plane captain announces that the plane is having mechanical problems, and they would have to de-plane. This angers many of the passengers, but Kirk, with great relief, rejects Marnie and rushes off the flight through the airport to find Molly. Marnie follows, initially in a pleasant tone, convinces Kirk to stay with her. When he takes off his Branson Bound shirt and throws it in her face and runs, Marnie is angered, and chases him. Kirk is sprinting down one conveyor belt, maneuvering around everybody. Marnie is running down another conveyor belt that is parallel to Kirks, and the same direction, but bumps into a man and falls down, giving Kirk time to get further away. Stainer phones Kirk, telling him that Molly is with him and they are in the opposite direction Kirk is running. Kirk turns around to the conveyor belt moving in the opposite direction. Marnie, however, is on the other side, sticking her arm out at chest height, knocking Kirk down, but Kirk gets back up and continues running. Marnie continues to chase him as he jumps on an airport cart. Marnie pulls an airport attendant in the back seat off. This causes tension, as the driver begins to speed, knocking over the popcorn stand. Kirk tricks Marnie into looking at certain people, then knocks her off the cart into a crowd of people. Kirk then finds Molly, and reunites with her. Later, as a surprise, he takes Molly on a trip in a small plane, with himself being the pilot; he has taken flying lessons.

PLOT:

I’m sure all of us guys at one time or another have had that girl that they felt was out of their league, whether they were just friends with them or actually had the good fortune to date them. This is the basis for She’s Out of My League.

Yes, this is a romantic comedy, but it isn’t one of those sappy ones. Often times, us guys could are in the mood for a little romance. Ok…I can’t say type that with a straight face. Most of the time, when we go see a film like this, it is usually a girl wondering why she’s with some guy and then there is all these pointless sappy drama stuff. Luckily, there is none of that here, except for enough to add some conflict to the plot.

The comedy in this film is great, but I would have liked for it to have been more. It seemed like they writer’s were holding back or were scared to put in a good joke here or there becuse *GASP* the audience might laugh.

Plotwise, as I said before, we get a nice story here, but I think there was too much time spent on trying to keep the two apart.  No wonder they felt like they should have been apart. It seemed like everyone was telling them to do so, until the last 5 minutes, of course.

The casting isn’t great, but it works. Jay Baruchel, as I said in my review for The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, has the most annoying voice, but as a geeky, underacheiving loser, as this role calls for, he works. I still didn’t care for his whiny attitude. If  you had a girl that hot, would you be complaining and second guessing? I know I wouldn’t.

Alice Eve is perfect. As the hot chick, she works, and her chemistry with Baruchel is great. Not to mention, she appears to have awesome comedic timing.

The supporting cast of Krysten Ritter, Mike Vogel, Nate Torrence, and T.J. Miller all help (and hurt) the story. Without them, this film would not be half as good as it turned out.

Every year, there are one or two films that come out of nowhere and surprise everyone with how good or bad they are. She’s Out of My League is one of those pictures. When I first saw/heard about this film, I thought it was going to be another horrid comedy, but after watching it tonight, my preconceived notions were proven to be false. This is a really good picture. Now, it will probably be forgotten a year from now, except for Alice Eve’s rising star performance, but that doesn’t take anything away from its quality. Go check it out. It is definitely worth a look-see!

4 out of 5 stars