Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

ALSO SHOWING; RED TAILS Cert 12a, 125 Mins

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

ALSO SHOWING; RED TAILS Cert 12a, 125 Mins

Article excerpt

AFTER officially stating that black American airmen were not fit for combat during the 1914-18 war, the US Defense Department decided to use a whole squadron in the Second World War. Called the Tuskegee Airmen, they were given old planes and detailed to routine patrols. Finally allowed into battle, they distinguished themselves, despite the entrenched racism of the high command, and were eventually officially thanked by the US Government.

Anthony Hemingway's film, significantly produced by George Lucas, is a fictionalised account of their derring-do, rather like a Boy's Own adventure with a bit of romance attached. The impressive cast includes Cuba Gooding Jr, Terence Howard, Nate Parker and David Oyelowo, but bigger attractions here are the aerial dogfights and production values which detail the war-torn Italy of 1944.

The screenplay, however, turns almost everyone into stock figures, even Oyelowo, who woos an Italian girl (Daniela Ruah) with the same persistence as he takes risks in the air. It's all very inspirational in a familiar Hollywood vein and, as Lucas has said, "as close as you'll get to Episode VII (of Star Wars)".

THE INNKEEPERS Cert 15, 100 mins THE innkeepers in question are an asthmatic young girl (Sara Paxton) and a hippie-like older man (Pat Healy) who appear to be the only staff left at the Yankee Pedlar Inn, whose owner is away in Barbados and is about to close the place when he returns. They are ghosthunters of a sort, convinced the place is haunted but a bit bored with the process of watching and listening.

The few guests include a psychic actress (Kelly McGillis), an angry mother (Alison Bartlett) and a strange old man (George Riddle). There is also the ghost of a woman who killed herself in the hotel years before.

Ti West's film allows itself long stretches of sometimes amusing but somewhat desultory conversation between the two staff and takes a good while to get going properly. It is, however, more intelligently made than many horror thrillers and, as it vouchsafes its secrets slowly but surely, you do feel there's a decent film-maker at its helm of the kind of frightener that's not afraid to be a bit original. …

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