Film Review: Non-Stop

Release date: 27th February 2014
Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Cast: Liam Neeson, Julianne Moore, Scoot McNairy, Lupita Nyong’o, Linus Roache, Michelle Dockery
Classification: M (Violence and Infrequent Coarse Language)

Review by Peter Gray

THANKS to the surprise success of 2008’s ‘Taken’, Liam Neeson has seen a career resurgence as such as the go-to guy for enjoyable action escapes.  We’ve seen him locate his kidnapped daughter (the aforementioned ‘Taken’ and its sequel), fend off wolves (‘The Grey’) and lose his memory (‘Unknown’), so where to next for his signature brand of simple concept actioners? The sky of course!

Well thwarting a plane hijacking is the more correct setting for ‘Non-Stop’ which sees Neeson join the ranks of Kurt Russell (‘Executive Decision’), Wesley Snipes (‘Passenger 57’) and Jodie Foster (‘Flightplan’) as the exact type of passenger you want with you on an international flight when something sinister goes down.  The hijacking in this case is cleverly twisted around so that Neeson’s air marshal Bill Marks is believed to be the culprit by his bosses down on the ground from the information they are relayed from inside the plane.  The actual situation involves Bill receiving a series of text messages from an unknown source, claiming someone on board will die every 20 minutes if $150 million is transferred into a special account.

It’s the most basic of plotlines but it nonetheless works thanks in large part to Neeson, who even at 61 years of age moves with a swift pace and never presents a questionable doubt that he won’t get the job done.  Though his character is grumpy, and isn’t subtle in expressing this, there’s something instantly likeable about him, and it’s that trait that keeps you invested, not to mention the film has done a particularly stellar job of not making the actual perpetrator obvious.  One of ‘Non-Stop’s strengths is indeed its support cast, all of whom at one point will have you questioning their true character.  Is it Julianne Moore’s slightly flirty constant flyer who shares Neeson’s aisle?  ‘Downton Abbey’s Michelle Dockery as the helpful flight attendant? The surprisingly calm-under-pressure pilot (Linus Roache)?  Scoot McNairy? Lupita Nyong’o? The possibilities seem endless and when the villain is eventually revealed, you have to hand it to the film for offering a genuine surprise.  The only downside is the motive is relatively weak but that’s almost to be expected, and thankfully it doesn’t deter ‘Non-Stop’ from its entertainment destination.

Director Jaume Collet-Serra has seemingly landed a profitable package deal with Neeson as they previously struck gold with ‘Unknown’, as dragged out as that was, and the duo are set for a return next year with ‘Run All Night’ which will see the star as an aging hitman forced to take on his former boss in an effort to save his family.  It doesn’t sound highly original but I dare say it will hit the right mark for the director who has found his niche in the action genre following horror outings ‘House of Wax’ (2005) and ‘Orphan’ (2009).

Though ‘Non-Stop’ is highly improbable and the finale is predictably over-the-top, complete with the trailer money-shot of Neeson flying through the air guns blazing, it never wavers in regards to audience satisfaction, and if you’re willing to check your brain at the door and enjoy it for what it is, I guarantee you’ll be pleased with your in-flight entertainment.

My rating 3.5/5 (‘Non-Stop’ fun)

Your Vote Counts … Sometimes

LET me get this straight.

So the public consultation the State Government has demanded the Gold Coast City Council undertake to gauge locals’ views about a cruise ship terminal might just come down to a leaflet in a letter box?

What happened to the referendum?

Well, apparently Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney’s people were on the phone before dawn to Mayor Tom Tate’s people demanding there not be a referendum that could cost $1 million.

Yet more evidence the State Government has no intention of this cruise ship terminal ever happening.

Cr Tate is now reportedly looking at a mail-out with a yes or no question, similar to a plebiscite.

And there’s the problem. Unlike referendums, plebiscites are non-binding.

So even if the vast majority was against the terminal, the council could ignore the result.

Much like former premier Anna Bligh once ignored an expensive public consultation and survey on daylight saving which found the vast majority of people wanted it – just not in the seats Labor needed to win.

Vale Daylight Saving.

Never forgive, never forget.

But I digress.

So, without the careful processes and proper oversight of a referendum, how do you reach every person who is eligible to have a say?

How do you ensure the votes are not manipulated?

How do you enforce the findings?

Let’s be frank, most of us don’t trust politicians.

What’s to trust?

They simper and smirk and make love to us all, to steal a line from Jane Austen, and once elected are rarely seen until the next election.

No matter what important promises they make to get our vote, they can basically go ahead and do anything they want after they have secured it.

If a new issue or problem comes up we must ‘trust’ our elected representatives to make decisions on our behalf.

But it’s not really working, is it?

They usually follow their party’s agenda instead of their constituents and hope everyone forgets before the next election.

Quarry? What quarry?

Why, in this age of incredible technological advances, can we not have more of a direct say in what is happening?

 

 

 

 

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Australian man fined $105,000 in first Twitter defamation trial

GOLD COASTERS are reminded to be mindful of what they post on social media after a former NSW student was found guilty of defaming a music teacher on Twitter and ordered to pay $105,000 in damages.

Former Orange High School student Andrew Farley posted a series of defamatory comments and false allegations on Twitter and Facebook about music teacher Christine Mickle in November 2012.

Mr Farley, who graduated from the high school in 2011 and was never taught by Ms Mickle, was aged 20 at the time he made the public accusations.

He has been ordered to pay $85,000 in compensatory damages and an additional $20,000 in aggravated damages.

It’s the first Twitter defamation battle ever in Australia to proceed to a full trial.

Media law expert David Rolph, an associate professor at the University of Sydney Law School, told the Sydney Morning Herald the case reinforced that even private individuals were subject to defamation law on social media and should be careful in what they say.

$30M to improve Gold Coast Waterways

MILLIONS of dollars will be spent upgrading more than 160 kilometres Gold Coast Waterways over the next four years.

Following months of community consultation, the 10-year Waterways Management Strategy has been finalized by the State Government.

$30 million has been committed across four years to improve the management and access of the Gold Coast waterways.

Emphasis will be on improving infrastructure such as boat ramps and pontoons and continued protection of the environment on and beside the waterways. Speed limits will also be reviewed, as some locals believe it’s either too low or too high in some areas.

In the second half of this year, works will commence on dredging programs at a number of key locations including the Labrador channel and a new boat ramp and pontoon at Southport Broadwater Parklands.

Member for Broadwater Verity Barton said with more than 160 kilometres of channels and about 40 per cent of the state’s recreational vessels, the waterways were at the heart of the Gold Coast lifestyle.

“This strategy is about better access to the waterways through dredging projects, new infrastructure and improvements to navigational aids,” Ms Barton said.

“The strategy will kick start a comprehensive review of speed limits across the city, including hot spots such as high speed areas on the Nerang River and the Broadwater.”

Visit www.gcwa.qld.gov.au to view the three year rolling program of works detailing the projects and initiatives of the Authority.

Titans team for NRL Rd One clash against Sharks

THREE Titans recruits will step out in the blue and gold for the first time in the NRL Round One clash with the Sharks.

Coach John Cartwright has named Brad Tighe, Maurice Blair and Paul Carter to make their debut for the Gold Coast at Remondis Stadium on Monday night.

Tighe (from Penrith) and Blair (Melbourne) will form a new combination in the three-quarters and utility forward Carter (Canterbury) has been chosen on the bench.

Prop Luke Douglas will play his 195th consecutive NRL match, breaking Jason Taylor’s record for the most successive games in the club’s history. With a sense of coming full circle, his debut was in the opening round for Cronulla in 2006.

Co-captain Nate Myles will play his first match since returning from Australia’s World Cup campaign while hooker Beau Falloon also goes into the season without any pre-season action.