Tag Archives: movies

Captain Phillips Review

15 Oct

627-2We all want to survive. That’s the essence of the film. If you don’t know the story of Captain Phillips, then go ahead and read it; it won’t take away from your enjoyment of this movie. This well-made thriller by Paul Greengrass (Bourne Ultimatum) is a fantastic tale of an ordinary man in an extraordinary circumstance.

That’s nothing new, but the film does it in a way that the ending doesn’t feel at all triumphant. All this is is a tale of survival, a tale of people that have to do what they have to do to survive in this world. The Somalian pirates know violence because that’s the only way they can make money, and the film does a nice job of humanizing them without it feeling forced. Yes, what they’re doing is terrible, but for them, it’s necessary.

The film is essentially broken down into two parts. The first consists of the pirates aboard the MV Maersk Alabama, run by a crew led by the titular character. The second consists of the pirates and Phillips in a lifeboat. They both convey a sense of horror, loneliness, and sadness. The first places the crew of the Maersk in a position where they have no way out: no weapons and no one to save them. They know the ship, but they’re trapped in the tiniest of spaces, encompassed by their own boat. The second places the pirates in the same position; they’re near their own mainland, but they have no way out. The Navy’s bearing down on them, the SEALS are standing by, and their own people have abandoned them. They’re in the tiniest of lifeboats, encompassed by their own waters.

It’s easy to tell that the film is drawing the parallels between the two groups, and while it can get a bit heavy-handed at times, Greengrass still does a great job blurring the lines of what’s right and wrong, even amidst actions that we know to be so very wrong. This works largely in part of the acting. Hanks is at his absolute A-game here, conveying the captain’s resourcefulness, compassion, and most importantly, fear; his final scene is one of the best performances I’ve seen this year. The pirates are fantastic as well, and the way Hanks plays off of them is a beauty to watch. His scenes in the lifeboat with them are claustrophobic, heartening, and devastating all at once.

The directing is great as well, although I’ve never been a fan of the shaky cam. Still, Greengrass ratchets up the tension with each subsequent sequence, ending in a long, drawn out half an hour climax.

(Spoilers)

This climax does feel a bit overlong, but it gets the job done. Phillips pushes the kid he helped into the water, once again emphasizing that need to survive. After that, we have a long sequence in which the Navy tries to rescue the captain, culminating in the dispatching of all three pirates (Phillips being in a blindfold actually has more of an effect on his psyche, as he’s a guy that needs to know what is going on. Only being able to hear those three shots is more jarring than seeing the pirates die, and Hanks conveys this beautifully). It’s overlong, that’s for sure, but the final scene of the film is gorgeous, and not in a conventional way.

Phillips is taken to a room to be looked at, and he can’t find the words to say nor the ability to keep his composure. He’s so overwhelmed by emotion, by sadness, by fear, and Hanks is perfect here in this cathartic, transcendent moment. It’s a stunning scene, and if that doesn’t earn him an Oscar nomination, I’m not sure what will.

The camera then pulls back, revealing the lifeboat in the center of all the huge Navy ships. It just shows you how small that lifeboat is, but how big Captain Phillips should feel. However, he doesn’t feel that way. Who can blame him?

GRADE: A-

Credit to Michael De Luca Producions, Scott Rudin Productions, Translux, Trigger Street Productions, and Captain Phillips for all pictures. I own nothing.

Charlie Hunnam realizes what he got himself into, backs out of “Fifty Shades of Grey”

12 Oct

627Charlie Hunnam in a leather jacket, which he would’ve used freely in this movie ^^

After initially mistaking his “Fifty Shades of Grey” role as one in which he gets to play a Kaiju in the bedroom, Charlie Hunnam has finally realized that no, he is not the right person for the job. After arriving on set and being asked to engage in, and I quote “Sexy stuff with sexy toys”, he went home and rummaged through his trash to find his mother’s copy of the book. He flipped to page (inset literally any page) and started reading, then immediately got an erection and threw the book into a cauldron of his blood and tears.

Universal, the production company for the movie, released a statement stating

The filmmakers of Fifty Shades of Grey and Charlie Hunnam have agreed to find another male lead given Hunnam’s immersive TV schedule which is not allowing him time to adequately prepare for the role of Christian Grey.

This statement tells us two false things: 1) Charlie Hunnam was made by a filmmaker, and 2) Charlie Hunnam has an immersive TV schedule. Hunnam apparently spends every second of his day perusing “Sons of Anarchy” scripts and smoking joints with Kurt Sutter, and therefore cannot prepare for his role. Or, the statement most likely means

Charlie Hunnam would be terrible as Christian Grey and he wouldn’t even prepare for it anyway and he has a stupid American accent.

No word yet on Dakota Johnson, but she will presumably be leaving just as soon as she comes to her senses and decides to pass on her role to a more “respected” actress (as if anyone would still be respected after engaging in softcore porn on screen for 2 hours).

Credit to FX and Sons of Anarchy for all pictures. I own nothing.

“Prisoners” Review

26 Sep

627“Prisoners” is an intense, moody thriller that is a fully satisfying ride through the dark waters of murder and intrigue. An obvious comparison would be to David Fincher’s masterpiece Zodiac, and rightfully so; the direction, the ambience, and the slow build up of dread all emulate that movie, and while I believe that nothing can touch Zodiac, Prisoners is able to make itself its own film.

The acting is superb, anchored by a strong performance by Hugh Jackman as a father hurtling down a dark path, the days ticking on as his daughter gets farther from him. However, while he nails certain scenes, he sometimes falls into the trap of equating yelling with emotion. I’m more interested in Jake Gyllenhaal’s portrayal of Detective Loki, a man with obvious hidden demons, but a man capable of hiding them. The dynamic between the two characters is perfect, though, realistically portraying the war of patience vs. strength.

The rest of the cast is superb on star value alone, containing the likes of Viola Davis, Terrence Howard, and Melissa Leo in excellent roles. The main standout is Paul Dano as Alex Jones, a seemingly naive, yet terrifying man who gets the full brunt of Dover’s rage. His character is also inherently tragic, and Dano plays that aspect to perfection.

As for the story itself, it’s well crafted. At a running time of 153 minutes, the film naturally becomes muddled and repetitive at times, but the story is honed enough so that it doesn’t plod on. The cinematography is beautiful, reflecting the rain soaked windows, the dreary, meticulous nature of the town, and the desperation of the characters.

(Spoilers)

The ending of the film is predictable, yet wholly satisfying. On the surface, it seems as if Dover’s actions have been vindicated, but at closer look, it only seems to condemn what he’s done. On the one hand, his endless barrage of torture may have been justified, but on the other hand, torture is still inherently bad. Dover’s subjected an innocent man to his own pain, and he realizes what he’s done.

There are a couple plot twists that feel contrived at the end, and the show moves toward the “Melissa Leo is the bad woman” a little too suddenly. However, it’s all worth it for that gorgeous, gorgeous scene in which Loki rushes toward the hospital in his car. The directing, cinematography, and acting in that scene is untouched by any other in the movie.

The ending scene obviously evokes the symbolism of the moment, with Dover being rescued due to the very thing that started this all. However, as he’s come full circle, he’s carried a burden that has caused him to partake in terrible activities.

(End spoilers)

This is a movie well worth watching, and while the show fails at times to fully tell its story of the human psyche, it succeeds as an intense, gripping thriller.

Grade: B+

Credit to Alcon Entertainment and Prisoners for all pictures. I own nothing.

Hello, I’m a polar bear.

23 Aug

Welcome to this blog. There are millions of other blogs out there, but you chose to look at mine. No, you did not just randomly come across it; you chose it. I will accept nothing less.

As for what we do here, I think the title’s pretty explanatory. I’m a polar bear, and yes, I do watch TV. I am obsessed with various forms of pop culture, in particular television and film, so I started this to get my thoughts down in writing. I am a member of the fabulous online community of The AV Club (which all of you should check out), and I wanted to do something similar to that.

What will we review? Lots of stuff. Our TV reviews will include American Horror Story, Dexter, Breaking Bad, The Bridge, The Americans, Wilfred, Louie, Justified, Parks and Recreation, Community, Sons of Anarchy, Hannibal, Orange is the New Black, Boardwalk Empire, Homeland, Treme, Mad Men, Game of Thrones, Archer, New Girl, Parenthood, Orphan Black, Person of Interest, The Walking Dead, Childrens Hospital, NTSF:SD:SUV::, Girls, Nikita, Strike Back, Veep, Banshee, The Vampire Diaries, How I Met Your Mother, Arrow, Revenge, Scandal, The Newsroom, Raising Hope, and others I can’t think of right now. Only some of these will have regular coverage, but I’ll try to get in some posts about all of them. I will also be reviewing new pilots, and may decide to pick up some more shows.

Our TV Classic reviews may include shows like The Shield, The Wire, The Sopranos, Deadwood, Friday Night Lights, House, 24, Lost, Chuck, Terriers, Arrested Development, The West Wing, Fringe, Boston Legal, and others.

*I apologize, but many of these shows’ reviews will start in the middle of their seasons, as I am just starting to write. However, I will try to give some thoughts on the episodes before.

Our film reviews will include whatever movies I decide to watch at home or in the theater, and can be new releases or old.

I might also post some random stuff; fan fiction, thoughts on entertainment news, etc.

Enjoy.

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