The Aviator

Rated PG-13 2004

Like all biopics in which there are no surprises, Martin Scorsese's biography of Howard Hughes keeps its course and touches all the inevitable points: his days as a moviemaker, his love affair with Katharine Hepburn (Cate Blanchett, clearly channeling), his purportedly platonic relationship with Ava Gardner, his acquisition of TWA and subsequent battles for the right to travel to Europe, his setting several air records, his descent into paranoia and madness. Barking orders at his underlings, Hughes (played by Leonardo DiCaprio) comes off as an impudent child who wants all the toys in the store; nothing is off limits to a man willing to blow his last dime on a reverie. His giddiness is infectious: The movie can plaster a smile across your face as it soars from Hollywood set to golf course to nightclub in search of a bad girl and a good time. It's great fun, but ultimately nothing more -- a Technicolor sketch of a man, a few years of a wondrous and tortured life reduced to some grins and giggles.

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