The Aviator

  • Directors: Martin Scorsese
  • Producers: Michael Mann, Sandy Climan, Graham King, Charles Evans Jr
  • Writers: John Logan, Michael Mann
  • Genres: Biography, Drama
  • Actors: Leonardo DiCaprio, Cate Blanchett, John C Reilly, Ian Holm, Kate Beckinsale, Jude Law, Alec Baldwin, Alan Alda, Brent Spiner, Frances Conroy, Willem Defoe

The Aviator has no opening credits other than the title. The film begins in 1914 with nine-year-old Hughes being bathed by his mother, who warns him of disease: “You are not safe.”

The film next shows him in 1927, as a 22-year old preparing to direct Hell’s Angels. Hiring Noah Dietrich (John C. Reilly) to run Hughes Tool Company, while he oversees the flight sequences for the film, Hughes becomes obsessed with shooting the film realistically, even re-shooting the dogfight himself. By 1929, with the silent film finally complete, Hughes realizes the premiere of the The Jazz Singer, which was the first part-talking film, means that sound films would soon become the industry standard. Hughes re-shoots Hell’s Angels with sound, costing another year and $1.7 million. Hell’s Angels released as a sound film in 1930 is a huge hit, and Hughes also produces Scarface (1932) and The Outlaw (1943). However, there is one goal he relentlessly pursues: aviation. During this time, he also pursues Katharine Hepburn (Cate Blanchett). The two go to nightclubs, play golf and fly together, and as they grow closer, move in together as well. During this time Hepburn becomes a major supporter and confidant to Hughes, and helps alleviate the symptoms of his obsessive-compulsive disorder. As Hughes’ fame grows, he is seen with more starlets.

Hughes successfully test flies the flying boat himself. After the flight, he talks to Dietrich and his mechanic, Glenn Odekirk (Matt Ross), about a new jetliner for TWA (the Avro C102 Jetliner) and makes a date with Gardner at a celebration party on the Long Beach shoreline. Hughes seems free of his inner demons until he sees three attendants in business suits and white gloves edging towards him, which triggers an obsessive-compulsive fit as he begins repeating “The way of the future.” Dietrich and Odekirk take Hughes in a bathroom and hide him there, while Dietrich fetches a doctor and Odekirk stands outside guarding the door. Alone inside, Howard has a flashback to his boyhood, being washed by his mother and resolving he will fly the fastest aircraft ever built, make the biggest movies ever and become the richest man in the world. As the film ends he mutters “the way of the future… the way of the future” into a darkened mirror.

The Tale of Despereaux

  • Directors: Sam Fell, Robert Stevenhagen
  • Producers: Gary Ross, Allison Thomas
  • Writers: Novel, Kate DiCamillo, Screenplay, Gary Ross, Will McRobb, Chris Viscardi
  • Genres: Adventure, Animation, Comedy, Family, Fantasy
  • Actors: Matthew Broderick, Emma Watson, Dustin Hoffman, Robbie Coltrane, Christopher Lloyd, Kevin Kline, Tracey Ullman, Ciaran Hinds, Frances Conroy, Tony Hale, Richard Jenkins, Frank Langella, William H Macy, Charles Shaughnessy, Stanley Tucci

The film opens with a ship sailing into the kingdom of Dor’s dock. Roscuro (a rat) (Dustin Hoffman), is aboard a ship with his human friend Pietro, sailing to the kingdom known for its soup on “Royal Soup Day”. “Royal Soup Day” in this area is held in higher regard than Christmas.

As they are taking in the sights, sounds, and smells of the festivities, Roscuro is mesmerized by the smell of the huge pot of soup being prepared in the castle. He leaves his human companion in search of the aroma. Meanwhile, André (the royal head chef) (Kevin Kline), pressured into finishing the soup minutes before its presentation, sends out his staff, and argues with a sentient anthropomorphic “Soup Genie”, named Boldo, over the ingredients of the soup to be presented to the royal family. Roscuro’s search for the soup’s smell takes him to a chandelier directly over the royal soup bowl. Upon presentation of the soup to the queen and her subsequent first taste, Roscuro is overcome by the aroma, loses his grip, and falls into the queen’s soup bowl, causing her to have a heart attack, which led her to death.

Roscuro is horrified to see what he has done and tries to apologize but is chased through the castle, to which he sees Pietro’s ship leaving the dock with out him. Roscuro then falls down a grate into the castle dungeon, where he meets Botticelli (Ciaran Hinds), the leader of the Rat world. Botticelli dislikes Roscuro’s gentle ways and tries to force him to conform to the brutal nature of the other rats.

Mig is rescued by the jailer, who is revealed to be her father in an emotional turn of events. Roscuro is reunited with Pietro aboard the ship that brought him. The princess and the king decide to soothe their grief of losing the queen by relying on each other for love and support. And Despereaux is reunited with his family. Despereaux and the princess remain close friends and the little mouse continues his adventures.