69. Captain Phillips (A)
I got to see this in a sneak peek at Empire, a week in advance of its wide release. This is Paul Greengrass' first film since the flop of Green Zone
back in 2010, and, for my money, this is easily his best work that I've seen, and one of the year's best films. Tom Hanks was one of the biggest stars of the late 1980s and 1990s, but in the 2000s he largely (and gracefully) slipped out of the spotlight, spending his time lining his shelves with Emmys for producing HBO miniseries and doing smaller movies that mostly didn't attract attention. This is his best role in a very long time, up there with the work he was doing in his peak years, and is a lock to earn him his first nomination since Cast Away
. The other significant performance, Barkhad Abdi as the leader of the Somali pirates, is equally worthy of recognition (and this is his debut performance). The rest of the cast is filled out with largely unknowns (Catherine Keener makes a brief appearance as Mrs. Phillips at the start of the movie).
Last year, Argo
and Zero Dark Thirty
got a lot of praise for taking a well-known situation and milking genuine suspense out of it -- Captain Phillips
exceeds either of those on that score, in my opinion. Greengrass' visual aesthetic doesn't always work for me (and I think it's had a largely negative effect on how Hollywood shoots action movies), but it's perfectly deployed here. On the demerit side, the opening few scenes are a bit creaky in places, indulging in bits of heavy-handed foreshadowing that the rest of the film eschews. The film does an excellent job of balancing the situation, I think; we get a sense of the Somalis' sympathetic motives, without suggesting they're really just victims (though there's undeniably something very pathetic of seeing these violent but hapless guys being targeted by the multi-billion-dollar national security apparatus of the world's most powerful state; they clearly have no idea what they're doing or how badly the odds are against them).
Cinema: 27 (+1)
Home Video: 38
Captain Craig wrote:
Well crap. I was going to save this for DVD. So seriously, it's big screen worthy of my theater dollars? I didn't doubt the quality but wasn't sure it screamed "must see big screen". But it is worthy of my $12 then?
If any movie in the last few years demands to be seen on the big screen, it's this one. It's hands down the best 3D I've ever seen.