2016) – Director: Clint Eastwood. Writers: Todd Komarnicki (s/p).
Chelsea Sullenberger & Jeffrey Zaslow (book Highest
Stars: Tom Hanks, Aaron Eckhart, Laura Linney, Valerie Mahaffrey,
Delphi Harrington, Mike O’Malley, Jamey Sheridan, Anna Gunn, Holt
McCallany, Ahmed Lucan, Laura Lundy Wheale, Onira Tares, Gary Weeks,
Katie Couric, Patch Darragh, & Jeff Kober. Color, Rated PG-13, 96
never thought I’d be so glad to be in New York.” says Jeff Skiles
(Eckhart) after the “Miracle on the Hudson” on January 15, 2009.
Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger (Hanks) is still disturbed and
concerned about his passengers and crew until he finally gets a count
of survivors – 155, all accounted for. He calls his wife Lorraine
(Linney) on his cell phone to let her know that he’s alright and
she wonders why. He tells her to simply turn on the television.
This biopic is only
one hour and 36 minutes long, but it is intensely emotional,
beginning with Sully’s nightmare of how the incident could have
ended. He’s haunted by thoughts of the disaster he averted
throughout the movie. If that weren’t enough, the investigative
committee led by Charles Porter (O’Malley) is threatening to end
his career. After hearing that 20 computer simulations were run and
all concluded that it would have been possible to land at either
LaGuardia or Teterboro Airports and that one computer analysis stated
that his left engine was running on idle and could have provided
thrust, he starts to doubt himself.
To the world, Sully
is a hero, but not to himself. He was doing his job. The harrowing
review process can only be resolved by adding in the human factor of
a 35-second delay and locating the left engine, which broke off when
U.S. Airways Flight 1549 hit the Hudson River.
Sully is baffled by
all the attention he’s getting from the media and even people he
meets casually. A Marriott hostess hugs and kisses him. A bartender
names a drink after him. “It’s a shot of Grey Goose with a splash
of water!” His only relief is knowing that everyone on board
survived and from Tom Hanks’ performance, this is palpable. You
feel what he feels. A sterling bit of acting.
The crash landing is
shown from two different perspectives and both are believably real. I
was amazed at how subtly after take-off we heard the word “birds!”
before both engines burst into flame. It was a flock of migrating
geese, not just birds. I found myself almost on the edge of my seat
even though I know what happened that day. Patch Darragh did a great
job playing air traffic controller Patrick Harten, who was devastated
when the plane dropped below radar and communication, and he thought
he’d lost them. Laura Linney, though her part was small, was no
small actress. She clearly demonstrated the stress that came from
possibly losing her husband and sole source of income and, as a
result, losing their house.
Kudos should also go
to director Clint Eastwood and the special effects department, who
made a flashy news item into a meaningful humanitarian experience,
complete with flashbacks to Sully’s early flight career on a
biplane and a fighter jet. I enjoyed seeing the background material.
It helped flesh out the character and made the story more
interesting. There were no dead spots and even young children would
like this film. I know I did.
Kat & Theo
proved to be an amazing dining experience from the four young trees
on the sidewalk in front of the beautifully etched plate glass window
to the dining room with its ceiling of wooden beams and walls of open
brick and faux stone, with dark wood tables flanked by bare wood and
iron chairs and soft leather banquettes.
Shortly after my
server, Mona, arrived with the menus, I chose my drink: the Metal and
Dust cocktail – pasilla and mulato chili infused reposado tequila,
tempus fugit cacao, merlet crème de fraise, vanilla syrup, dark
lager, lime and mole bitters, garnished with somethings called
strawberry leather. It was spicy and smoky, and the strawberry
leather was like strawberry jerky. What an original concept!
Looking through the
wine list I found two reasonable Portuguese wines that showed
promise. Mona sent the resident sommelier, who helped me choose a
2010 Quinto de Foz de Arouce red wine made from Baga and Touriga
grapes. It was simply amazing. Up until then, my entire experience
with Portuguese wines was Mateus and various ports, all sweet. This
was a complete departure from that flavor, a rich, medium-bodied red
with delicate nose and chocolate overtones.
My first dish was a
plate of homemade chips with olive tapenade and Labneh cream
cheese/butter. Soon after, Mona brought my soup. The bowl she placed
before me had the “lobster salad” lined up in the center on a
diagonal. She carefully poured the local tomato gazpacho around it.
It was like no other gazpacho I’ve ever had: no excessive cilantro
flavor, just smooth herbal-graced tomato, and of course the lobster
with a little dill, delightful.
Next to arrive was
potato gnocchi mixed with bacon, shallots and English peas and
crowned with a delicate foam. The peas are perfect with the tender
potato dumplings, and we know that everything tastes better with
There were four main
courses I was interested in, but I ended up choosing the rabbit
crepinette. Arranged on the plate in five pieces, four loin segments
and a rib section with yellow and green summer beans and mustard, it
was juicy and tender, with the beans and mustard giving it a savory
and succulent flavor. As a side, I ordered the summer squash accented
with lemon verbena and crème fraiche. The gourds were grilled but
still had a crunchy quality and full flavor. I’m not a person who
adds lemon to any dish, but in his case, it was fantastic and
Mona helped me
choose dessert. We both agreed upon the market strawberry – African
strawberries with salted caramel and the most outrageous choco-peanut
butter mousse. It wasn’t exactly like a mousse, fluffy and light,
but more like a dense ice cream or halvah. I loved it. Then a nice
cup of Darjeeling tea and a thistle glass of port wine finished my
A little over a year
old, Kat & Theo has many more years to come and hopefully, more
visits from myself. I thanked both Mona and the sommelier profusely
and left happy.