Sunday, October 13, 2013

Captain Phillips receives heroic praise

Movie Title:  Captain Phillips

In a Nutshell:  This intense docudrama of the Maersk Alabama hijacking keeps you on the edge of your seat, an especially impressive feat, considering the movie is over two hours long.  I kept imagining myself in each situation, wondering what I would have done, sure I would have been toast in mere minutes.  Each decision has consequences and turns the direction of the outcome.  Even if you remember the news story from 2009, you’ll feel like you’re experiencing the dramatic ordeal for the first time.

Things I liked:  I absolutely adore Tom Hanks.  Who doesn’t?  His emotion at the end brought tears to my eyes.  So powerful.  (SPOILER ALERT:  I wanted to be that nurse and give him a big hug.)  Some of the close-ups were SO close that you could see the pores of the skin on people’s faces.  Not that I’ve ever actually met a real Somali, but the actors seemed very authentic.  You hate the pirates, yet feel sorry for them at the same time.  (SPOILER ALERT: The audience I sat with cheered at the end when the words on the screen revealed that Captain Phillips returned to work on ships after the terrifying ordeal.)  The human spirit is inspiring.

Things I didn’t like:  I wish there had been more character development of the crew on both sides – good guys and bad guys.  The beginning scenes in the flick were a bit choppy…perhaps intentional to reflect the movement of the water that was to come?   

Uplifting theme: Heroism is doing scary things with courage.  Navy Seals are total studs.  In the words of Captain Phillips, “You gotta be strong to survive out there.”

Funny line:  Not really funny, but true:  “I got bosses" says the leader of the Somali pirates.  Captain Phillips replies "We all got bosses.”

Tips for parents: Violence and blood, but not as much swearing as you would expect from a ship’s burly crew.  The Somalis constantly feed on a stimulant called Khat.

Grade: A-

Gravity takes off at the box office

Movie Title: Gravity

In a Nutshell: Wow. How did they film that? Gorgeous. Simply stunning. A feast for the eyes.

Things I liked: I loved it when Sandra Bullock (SPOILER ALERT) finally gets back into the capsule, strips off her astronaut gear and slowly sinks into the fetal position, floating and breathing like a baby in the womb. Very powerful. I also loved it when she (SPOILER ALERT) crawls out of the ocean like a primordial creature and collapses with the sand between her fingers. She staggers and has a joyful, celebratory moment of life on earth. The musical score was wonderful and the pictures of earth from space were breathtaking.
Sandra Bullock is more bankable than ever.

Things I didn’t like: There wasn’t much of a plot. It really was about the physical and emotional journey and the miracle of life. I get dizzy easily, so I specifically chose not to watch this film in IMAX 3D, but I imagine it’s amazing.

Uplifting theme: Life is worth fighting for. While the universe is an incredible masterpiece, mankind is God’s greatest creation.

Tips for parents: Two swear words. Two scary dead people faces. Young kids may be a bit bored.

Funny line:  "Man, I hate space."

Grade: A-