Bruce Bennett Short Bio

Bruce Bennett

Bruce Bennett has been the primary contributor to Mad About Movies since it began in 2003. He is an award winning film and theater critic who, since 2000, has been writing a weekly column in The Spectrum daily newspaper in southern Utah as well as serving as a contributing editor of “The Independent,” a monthly entertainment magazine. He is also the co-host of “Film Fanatics” a movie review show which earned a Telly in 2009. Bruce is also a featured contributor at:

His motto: "I see bad movies so you don't have to."

The Flyboys

“The Flyboys” finally lands and is worth the wait

“The Flyboys” is one of this summer’s nicest little surprises. The film offers a compelling story, quality acting from its younger and veteran cast members, some uniquely thrilling action sequences, and sharply placed humor. And all of this is accomplished on a total budget less than what would typically be spent for catering service on a major studio project.
It may have taken nearly six years to get off the ground, but this is the little film that could… And did.

An absolute must-see for people familiar with southern Utah, where much of the story was filmed (Hurricane, Washington fields, and downtown St. George figure prominently). “The Flyboys” should garner plenty of interest from even non-natives who simply want a mostly family-friendly adventure that doesn’t rely on superheroes or science fiction to get your pulse racing-which this film does from the get-go.

New kid in town Kyle (Reiley McClendon) earns a new friend, fellow 12-year-old Jason (Jesse James), when he stands up to a school bully and his dangerous looking older brother. Jason shares his love for aviation with Kyle, and when the two sneak aboard a vintage twin engine plane, the likeable boys become accidental stowaways and are thrust into high stakes mob misconduct.

Among the film’s understated delights is the ease with which big-time actors Tom Sizemore (“Blackhawk Down,” “Saving Private Ryan”) and Stephen Baldwin (“The Usual Suspects”) work their tough guy credibility into what is essentially a young person’s adventure film. (Parental advisory: That credibility includes a fair share of mild obscenities.)

J. Todd Adams, Dallen Gettling and Jennifer Slimko round out the well-cast ensemble. The screenplay includes plenty of twists that balance drama and comedy, and one impossibly-shot freefall scene that is simply one of the more thrilling non-CGI action sequences in recent memory. With no magic wands or superpowers on display, some might call the concept of kids being thrust into an authentically perilous suspense thriller to be pass?. In truth, it is merely long overdue.

The film’s few missteps-which include some ponderous dialogue that could have been juiced with more energy, some sentiment that feels overcooked, and a score that at times is annoyingly melancholy-do little to distract from the film’s main objective: Proving that old fashioned fun at the movies never goes out of style.

This project has been a labor of love for director, co-writer, editor, and producer Rocco DeVilliers who should be applauded for making a rare movie that defines the spirit of indie filmmaking without going over the edge.

Grade: B+
(Unrated at screening time, would likely be a PG-13 for language and intense action)

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