1 million tons of steel. 100,000 people at risk. 100 minutes to impact. Inspired by actual events, “Unstoppable” is an adrenaline rush fueled by director Tony Scott’s signature mark of propulsive action rooted in the reality of ordinary people placed in extraordinary circumstances. A veteran train engineer (Denzel Washington) and a young conductor (Chris Pine) race the clock to stop an unmanned runaway train – effectively a missile the size of a skyscraper – and prevent disaster in a heavily populated area.

I think Unstoppable should have been a Thanksgiving release because it was too good to be released on a regular weekend. In Unstoppable, the villain in the movie is literally a runaway train. This movie wasn’t about hunting down some elusive serial killer or terrorists, or whatever the usual good guy-bad guy concepts are. Unstoppable is about hunting down and stopping a train that has the potential to kill thousands of people. To me that premise alone is fascinating and in my opinion it was incredibly well executed.

First, a number of people online were saying how is it possible that there aren’t easier ways to stop a runaway train? Within the first 20 mins, you understand why. And as one of the characters, Connie, said, we don’t need to get into the intricacies of locomotive operations but you will understand why this train in an unruly beast. It is not a coaster, which is an unmanned train that slows coasts along but can easily be stopped if you throw a slider switch. This is a train that was on full power – due to human error in so many ways.

Second reason I like the concept of a villain train is because this particular train was truly a villain and you were left with no doubts about it. Tony Scott did a brilliant job of almost characterizing the train – it’s train 777, it’s racing at 70mph and it just can’t be stopped. And as you watch the train, and watch the movie, you can feel the dangerous potential of the train and there is no doubt in your mind it has to be stopped – soon. When Stephen King wrote Cujo which was later translated to the big screen, people were skeptical about a movie that is centered entirely on a dog as the villain. If you’ve seen Cujo, you know that dog is crazy scary. Trust me, train 777 is even more bad-ass.

In Unstoppable, the danger is real.

I like the movie also because of Denzel Washington (Frank), Chris Pine (Will), Rosario Dawson (Connie) and Lew Temple (Ned). Their acting was superb. Denzel and Chris pulled it off perfectly. They weren’t superheroes. They weren’t ex-marine or Seal or whatever they make regular guys to be in order to justify implausible movies. They were regular, train guys who just had an idea of how to stop the train. They risked their lives not because of recognition, but because this was a darn dangerous train and it had the potential to harm their families.

Unstoppable has a 87% rating on Rotten Tomatoes which is surprisingly good. The exuberant audience clapping at the end of the movie says it all: Unstoppable is an A.

Go see it. It’s all about precision!!

TV Rave of the Week


So Oprah makes it on my list of rave two weeks in a row. For her last season, Ms. Winfrey is pulling out all the stops! From the Sound of Music reunion, to the President Bush special and now the sit-down with Katherine Jackson and Michael Jackson’s kids. I recorded the show but couldn’t watch it for days. For reasons I just can’t explain, Michael Jackson’s death was really painful for me. Michael died too early and worse of all, he just didn’t realize how much people loved him. For such a troubled person, I just feel he should have died in peace. His life ended too tragically and too early. So I sat on the recording for days until yesterday.

Katherine Jackson is a strong, strong woman and I am her new fan. I don’t think I have ever watched an interview with Mrs. Jackson until the Oprah interview and I was stunned at how real and genuine she was. I hate to sound cliché, but she reminded me of my grandmother – just a genuine, honest traditional black mother and grandparent. Her demeanor and mannerism was just so real, I don’t know how to describe it. Her choice of words weren’t staged or prepped. It was almost as if the cameras weren’t there. When Oprah asked if she knows Lisa Marie Presley, Mrs. Jackson said she spoke to her once and she was doubting it was Lisa because she sounded like a black girl. That was funny. I think not much else was comical. Katherine Jackson is in pain and it’s evident. She couldn’t help tearing up at the mention of Michael each time his name came up – which of course was a lot. She loved her son. You can’t question that. She misses her son terribly. You can’t question that either. When she spoke about the day he died, and how she found out, I cried, and I mean major crying with tissues. What tore Mrs. Jackson’s heart and mine when she spoke about it, was when Paris, Michael’s daughter said to her, ‘What happens to us now, grandma? Where do we go now?’ Dang, I wept.

Oprah also spoke to Joe Jackson and Michael’s kids briefly. Paris is the talkative one, Blanket is very shy and Prince is in between but more like Paris. I think it’s awesome the kids are growing up with their grandma and their cousins, and attending regular school. They seem like strong well rounded kids already. And no matter what anyone says about Michael Jackson, it’s obvious he loved his kids and I’d even go out on a limb and say he was probably a really good dad. Paris repeatedly said that, and it’s a shame the kids have to defend their father like that. He loved them. Full stop.

In all, it was a good show. I wish Katherine Jackson and Michael’s kids all the best. We miss you, Michael!!

No TV Rant, it’s been a good week of TV. By the way, everyone should watch ‘The Walking Dead’ on AMC. It rocks!