“Flight” is a compelling movie, but I’m not sure it was good. “Homeland” makes my head spin. And Tyler Hicks’ amazing photos of Gaza

Sometimes you go to a movie and as the credits role, you can’t stop smiling at how good it was, and you don’t want to get up and ruin the moment.
Othertimes you go to a movie and it’s so disappointing that you want to run out of the theater the minute it’s finished.
And then there are times like I experienced last weekend, after “Flight.” I sat there kind of dumbfounded, trying to decide in my own head whether I liked it or not, and whether it was any good.

There were lots of good parts; if you have seen it already you’d probably agree. Denzel Washington was terrific as pilot Whip Whitaker, the plane in a storm sequence in the beginning was beautifully shot, and John Goodman, well, he’s just jolly good fun whenever he’s on screen these days. I thought the way they showed Whip’s inner demons, his wild mood swings thanks to alcohol, and his troubled relationship with his son were all spot-on.

But there were some really strange holes in the plot, and odd decisions made, too. Like what the point was of the redhead Nicole, other than to give Whip someone to play off of? She disappears halfway through the movie and isn’t missed one bit?
And the whole final scene with the NTSB lady Ellen Block just played out really oddly to me, like nobody knew exactly where she was going with her line of questioning, including Ellen Block herself.

Still, if you haven’t seen it, I tentatively recommend “Flight.” If nothing else, you get to see John Goodman in two or three hilarious scenes, which is worth the $13 ticket price.

**What another heart-racing, pulse-pounding, what-are-they-gonna-do-next episode of “Homeland.”
I swear, each hour of this show has me scratching my head in confusion, awe, and sheer joy at how good of a show this is.
This week brought lots of questions, including…
— The biggest hole in believability this week was that the CIA was utterly and totally convinced that Nasir would be dumb enough to actually be directly involved in the “homecoming explosion” mission, and that he’d actually be in one of the cars in the parking lot. Why would Nazir take such a risk, when he’s not even sure he can trust our hero Nick Brody anymore? Just seemed like a silly assumption by the CIA.

— So Quinn, after all this time, is actually an assassin hired by a rogue former CIA Agent named Daradell, and he was two seconds from killing Brody in that limo? And who is that baby mama policewoman? And is Quinn going to get back at Saul, now that he knows it was him who interrogated the baby mama? So many fascinating questions around Quinn. He’s become a very interesting character.

So many great things about this episode, including Brody still leaving us guessing as to which side he’s on. I’m even willing to put aside the ridiculousness of Jessica deciding to shtup Mike while her kids are in the next room and they may be killed at any moment. Come on, she can’t be that horny.

Three episodes left, and I have absolutely no idea what will happen. Which I love.

**Finally, I’ve written before about my admiration for my one-time co-worker and current incredible New York Times photographer Tyler Hicks. The man is fearless and brave and a remarkable storyteller with his images, and he was at it again last week in Gaza. Check out this slideshow of images from the awful fighting, and read his thoughts about how he deals with seeing so much devastation every day.


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