Ground Control (1998)

Director: Richard Howard

Writer: Mark Shepherd, Robert Moreland (Screenplay) Talaat Captan, Robert Moreland (Story)

Starring: Kiefer Sutherland, Bruce McGill, Kristy Swanson, Robert Sean Leonard, Kelly McGillis, Margaret Cho, Ruben Paul

Plot: A disgraced former air traffic controller is called back into service when the airport’s traffic control system malfunctions.


Tagline – No Radar. No Contact. No Control.

Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Nice Smart Thriller

Story: Ground Control starts as air traffic controller Jack Harris (Sutherland) loses one of his planes in an accident, with nothing being his own fault. Jack is out the game working on developing a video game in air traffic controlling when his friend T.C. Bryant (McGill) comes to him in need of help because of the workload thrown upon his team.

When Jack reluctant agrees to work for one night, he must face his past, even with hot shot new trafficker Cruise (Leonard) not wanting to work with him and rookie Julie (Swanson) willing to learn off Jack.

Thoughts on Ground Control

Characters – Jack Harris was once one of the best air traffic controllers in the business, he does suffer the nightmare of all the air traffic controllers have, losing a plane, turning to the drink to blame himself for what happened. He has turned to designing video games, but it talked into return on a business night, where he must finally face his own past and deal with the pressure once again. T.C Bryant is the friend of Jack’s who has turned to him for help deal with the added pressure piled onto him, he controls the team with his work, which sees him showing off his micromanagement skills. Julie is the rookie on her first night in the team, nervous at the start, Jack offers to help her, while Cruise is willing to put her under pressure. Cruise is the hot shot that gets through the day with his abilities that could make him the best in the business, his attitude has been the one thing that has always held him back, where he is the closest to a villain we have in this film.

PerformancesKiefer Sutherland was a strange choice for this role, when it comes to being in the controller persons, he is great to watch, but when it comes to the unsure nervous filled with regret side of the character he does seem slightly miscast. Bruce McGill, Kristy Swanson and Robert Sean Leonard are all great to watch in their roles in the film.

StoryThe story here follows one night in an air traffic control station which has had increased number of flights thrown onto them and the pressure forces the boss to turn to his old colleague to help even though he has been battling his own problems. This is a story that does come from a strange angle because instead of doing anything glorified or over the top, it simply just looks to focus on the pressure these teams will be facing while working on daily basis. We do have the incidents that will show how calm they need to be and how easily they can work to solve the problems they face and by the end you will find yourself gripped to what is happening.

Action/AdventureThe action involved in the film is mostly off camera, it follows what could happen with the planes during difficult decisions, while it does have an adventure tone through how Jack wants to overcome his problems.

SettingsThe film is set within the air traffic control station which shows us how close the team must work together for when the pressure grows.


Scene of the Movie – The last plane to land, it is an intense scene.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Sutherland doesn’t seem to fit the nervous unsure figure.

Final Thoughts This is a tidy thriller that does keep us guessing just to what will happen next with the pressure being piled upon the team, it does keep everything feeling realistic too by only showing the team at work.

Overall: Air Traffic Thriller.

ABC Film Challenge – Catch-Up 2019 – O – The Kid (2019) Movie Review

This is going under O because of the director Vincent D’Onofrio, clutching at straws again here.

Director: Vincent D’Onofrio

Writer: Andrew Lanham (Screenplay)

Starring: Ethan Hawke, Dane DeHaan, Jake Schur, Chris Pratt, Leila George, Adam Baldwin,

Plot: The story of a young boy who witnesses Billy the Kid’s encounter with Sheriff Pat Garrett.


Tagline – An Outlaw. A Lawmen. A Boy Caught In The Crossfire.

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Typical Western

Story: The Kid starts when Rio (Schur) and Leila Cutler (George) must go on the run after killing an abusive parent, with Grant (Pratt) the brother of the victim chasing them down, the pair meet Billy The Kid (DeHaan), while he is getting chased down by Pat Garrett (Hawke), finding themselves caught in the middle of their battle.

Once Grant catches up with the siblings, Rio must look to break Billy out to learn where his sister has been taken, showing that he has learnt a lot from his limited time with the famous outlaw.

Thoughts on The Kid

Characters – Rio Cutler is a young teenage boy that defended his sister, forcing them to go on the run from their Uncle. He learns a lot from Billy The Kid, wanting to be like him, fighting for the people who get walked over. He must learn to break the law to save his sister, joining forces with the most notorious outlaw in America. Billy The Kid is the outlaw we know, he will always look to escape from Garrett and isn’t afraid to kill, he isn’t as friendly as the other films portray him. Pat Garrett is the Sheriff that has been hunting down Billy and his men, he wants to claim the rewards, which does make him enemies on both sides of the law, he is just as heartless as any bounty hunter. Grant Cutler is the Uncle that wants his Rio and Sara to pay for the death of his brother, he will do horrible things to them if he catches them, forcing Rio to new limits to stop him.

PerformancesEthan Hawke and Dane DeHaan are both strong with the iconic names from history, being the cold heart figures. Jake Schur is great in his role for such a young actor, while Chris Pratt surprises us all with his truly disturbing performance.

StoryThe story here follows a couple of siblings that get caught up in the middle of the battle between Billy The Kid and Pat Garrett, with their own battle, putting them in a position of not knowing which one they could trust to help them. This does bring a slightly new twist to the Billy The Kid story, where this one stands out more is by showing both the positives and negatives in both Billy and Pat, with a young teenage boy needing to decide which would be able to help him through his own struggles. By doing this we get to see how the people could saw the two men, how they would have been judge while the chases were on. How everything plays out though, is nothing fresh, we have been seeing this style of story for years and you know exactly what is going to happen before we get to the end.

WesternThe western themes are here and strong throughout, using two iconic names from the history does help, with the stand offs, towns and mentalities all being shown through here.

SettingsThe film does keep the settings making us feel like we are part of the old west, the small towns with dust running through, it all works for the film.


Scene of the Movie – Showdown with Grant.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – We could have spent more time with the Grant, Rio story, instead of just following how Billy and Pat are doing.

Final Thoughts This is a typical western that doesn’t do too much to break the genre trends, the performances are strong throughout, which is the highlight of the film.

Overall: Strong Performances.