The Aviator 2004

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The Aviator ★★★½ 2004 (PG-13)

Scorsese's sweeping, rich biopic of eccentric movie producer/aviation pioneer Howard Hughes soars on many levels. The film follows Hughes from maverick producer taking Hollywood by storm in the '20s through his successes in aviation and the founding of TWA, and finally battling Pan Am and Congress in the '40s. Di Caprio, in full-on movie idol mode, captures the drive and intensity of Hughes, letting the audience see glimpses of the coming breakdown, but mostly keeping it bubbling below the surface (until a slightly over-the-top sequence about 90 minutes in). Blanchett also shines in a dazzling portrayal of Katharine Hepburn. Scorsese's eye for detail and love of Old Hollywood serve the proceedings well, providing fascinating peeks into the workings of the old studio system, the testing and building of experimetal aircraft, and the wheeling and dealing of high-stakes politics. 166m/C VHS, DVD, Blu-ray Disc, HD DVD . US Leonardo DiCaprio, Cate Blanchett, Kate Beckinsale, John C. Reilly, Alec Baldwin, Alan Alda, Ian Holm, Danny Huston, Jude Law, Adam Scott, Matt Ross, Kelli Garner, Frances Conroy, Brent Spiner, Stanley DeSantis, Edward Herrmann, Willem Dafoe, J.C. MacKenzie, Kenneth Welsh, Amy Sloan, Kevin O'Rourke, Lisa Bronwyn Moore, Gwen Stefani, Vincent Laresca, Josie Maran; D: Martin Scorsese; W: John Logan; C: Robert Richardson; M: Howard Shore. Oscars '04: Art Dir./Set Dec., Cinematog., Costume Des., Film Editing, Support. Actress (Blanchett); British Acad. '04: Film, Makeup, Support. Actress (Blanchett); Golden Globes '05: Actor—Drama (DiCaprio), Film—Drama, Orig. Score; Screen Actors Guild '04: Support. Actress (Blanchett).