The Aviator Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Cate Blanchette, John C. Reilly, Alan Alda Director: Martin Scorsese The film: Howard Hughes was by all reports an enigmatic character, so in a way it's fitting that Martin Scorsese's sprawling biopic runs to some 170 minutes - and still leaves you wanting to know more. And as brilliant as the director has been throughout his career - and as close to his heart as some of his subjects have been - you get the impression that he revelled at the chance to plump for all-out entertainment. And entertain he does, throwing us into Hughes' life as his star was rising and letting loose Leonardo DiCaprio to play the man as a wildly charismatic and driven playboy. Scorsese (right with DiCaprio) charts Hughes' foray into the film world and you can feel the delight the director took reproducing the sets of a man as driven towards perfection as he is himself. In the same manner he tackles Hughes' obsession with flight - and we're urged to look on in wide-eyed enthusiasm too. The support cast walk in and out of the action in what is a roll call of the rich and shameless of 1930s America - from Cate Blanchette in her Oscar-winning role as Katharine Hepburn to Alan Alda's superb turn (Oscar nominated) as the sinister Senator Ralph Owen Brewster. Visually the film is a treat. Scorsese goes for the Technicolor look of the era and he seamlessly employs CGI effects for the first time in his career. More of Hughes' darker side - and history has shown him to be a pretty nasty piece of work - might have added gravitas to the production. While we do get glimpses of his eventual unravelling, by the time the credits roll you're in no doubt that this was a lavish exercise in entertainment - pure and simple. The extras: A fantastic selection with close to three hours of material on disc two. And most of it's worth the effort too, from individual featurettes on all aspects of the filmmaking process, to a few on Hughes himself (although his film career gets short shrift in these). Loudon Wainwright talks about his family and their musical contribution to the project and there are two panel segments featuring the director and his star and then DiCaprio and Alda. The first disc has a particularly good, anecdote-rich commentary from Scorsese, editor Thelma Schoonmaker and producer Michael Mann. The verdict: Scorsese shows once again why he's one of the most polished directors in the game. Maybe one day that Oscar will come.