JUNE 2009













Denzel Washington, John Travolta, James Gandolfini, John Turturro, luis guzman, Michael Rispoli, Gbenga Akinnagbe, Alex Kaluzhsky (Directed by Tony Scott; Written by David Koepp; Columbia)

One of the most entertaining and terrifying thrillers of 1974 was Joseph Sargent’s “The Taking of Pelham 123,” which was adapted by Peter Stone from John Godey’s novel. Here’s how New York Times critic Nora Sayre described the story line in her rave review: “Four highly efficient hoods hijack an IRT subway car and hold eighteen people hostage for a million dollars; if the city doesn't pay within an hour, one hostage will be shot a minute. The Transit Authority, the Police Department, the Mayor and his colleagues all go into frenzied but coordinated action, while the film cuts most expertly between the stalled car and its passengers, the T.A. Command Center, Gracie Mansion, and the city streets.” With director Tony Scott and screenwriter David Koepp in charge, we are once again hurried along on a harrowing trip through the jangly streets and dark tunnels of the Big Apple. Denzel Washington tries on the role of the cool transit cop played by Walter Matthau in the original, John Travolta inherits Robert Shaw’s role of a lethal hijacker, and James Gandolfini--on leave from Jersey--is the panicky Mayor of New York. To read Guy Flatley's 1976 New York Time interview with John Travolta, click here. --Guy Flatley Now Playing














Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, Brian Geraghty, Ralph Fiennes, David Morse, Guy Pearce  (Directed by Kathryn Bigelow; Written by Mark Boal; Summit Entertainment)

The riveting focus in Kathryn Bigelow’s fierce, suspenseful, documentary-like drama is on three G.I.’s assigned to Delta Company, a team whose day-to-day goal is to detect, defuse or, if need be, detonate hidden I.E.D.’s from the path of their fellow soldiers, Iraqi troops and civilians.

The trio whose progress we observe in harrowing detail consists of Owen Eldridge (Brian Geraghty), a frightened, seemingly doomed Specialist; Sgt. J.T. Sanborn (Anthony Mackie), a cautious, strictly professional trooper who is secretly sickened by his participation in a war he doesn’t understand; and Staff Sgt. William James (Jeremy Renner), an irreverent, fanatical technician who seems addicted to the intense, swiftly-moving danger that is the central component of his mission.

No one who has seen “The Hurt Locker” will be shocked to hear that it won an Oscar nomination for Best Picture of 2009.  The film’s other unsurprising, well-deserved nominations: Kathryn Bigelow (Best Director); Mark Boal (Best Original Screenplay); Jeremy Renner (Best Actor); Barry Ackroyd (Cinematography); and Bob Murawski and Chris Innis (Film Editing). –Guy Flatley Now Playing