As a movie, Flight doesn't completely compel, but this is probably 2013's first legitimately stunning Blu-ray release...
Paramount / 139 Minutes / 2012 / Rated R / Street Date: February 5, 2013
There are elements in Flight absolutely worth applauding. First and foremost, it marks the return of Robert Zemeckis to live-action filmmaking. His motion-capture efforts like Beowulf were technical triumphs, I suppose, but there was an element of humanism lost in those films: with Flight, he gets a chance to tell a complicated, often compelling story about some of the pitfalls of the human experience, and when he really gets going (especially the plane crash sequence here), it's a thrill.
Secondly, Denzel. His performance as the boozing, coke-crazy lead in Flight proves distinctly just how powerful of an on-screen presence the star really is. There are limitations to the dramatic potential here, but Washington never got that memo: even in Flight's least earnest moments, he brings a focused, salt-of-the-earth quality to his performance that keeps the movie functioning throughout.
Third, that plane crash. The pivotal sequence in Flight is one in which pilot Whip Whitaker (Denzel) and his co-pilot Ken (Brian Geraghty) have to crash land a commercial jet while en route from Orlando to Atlanta. In hindsight, it's kind of an unusual endeavor (I won't ruin it, but the plane lands... uniquely), but as it unfolds, this ten minutes of film is a terrifying shock to the system. It's a bravura piece of moviemaking.
It's a shame, as it turns out, that the rest of Flight dissolves into movie-of-the-week slickness. As the film starts, we get a look at a man splintered by substance abuse and a lack of connection to the world at large, but after the crash scene, his struggles default to cliche with disappointing regularity. Put simply, Flight has moments of grandeur to it, but even with a bona fide knockout ten-minute nugget of celluloid to its credit, it ends up falling flat. It's probably still worth a watch, but with the high-profile pedigree here, more could have been accomplished.