Thursday, March 13, 2014

MOVIE WEEKEND: CAPTAIN PHILLIPS

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Today I present for your consideration another movie based on a true story. It's Captain Phillips (2013, PG-13, Available On DVD).

I'll address the truthiness, or lack thereof in this movie, in a post following this one. You might not want to read the truthiness post until you've seen the movie because it will have some spoilers, though I think most people know how this story turns out.


Captain Richard Phillips (Tom Hanks) takes command of the Merchant Vessel (and thus, unarmed) Maersk Alabama during 2009. Somali pirates come after the ship. Phillips and the crew do what they can to keep the pirates from boarding the vessel, but the pirates succeed. Eventually, they leave the ship in a lifeboat, taking Phillips with them. A major feature of the film is the cat and mouse game between Phillips and the pirates' leader Muse (Barkhad Abdi). Who is the Captain now?

This movie had me on the edge of my seat even though I watched two documentaries on Netflix Screaming about the Alabama and knew what was going to happen. I also recall news accounts from the time, yet I feared for Phillips and other crew members. Captain Phillips is an action/adventure feast, with outstanding performances by Tom Hanks and Barkhad Abdi. I don't know why Tom Hanks wasn't nominated for an Academy Award, but if he had been, who would have been left out? Although I love Jared Leto's Academy Award winning performance in Dallas Buyers Club, Abdi was nominated for Best Supporting Actor, too. Abdi actually outshines Leto. Abdi goes toe-to-toe with Hanks all the way.

The scenes in the lifeboat (which was a model built to scale) are claustrophobic and terrifying. The sight of the Navy SEALs parachuting in is overwhelming. I had tears in my eyes. The SEALs deserve more attention in the film. They played a vital role in the mission, but I understand that the focus is really on the tension between Phillips and Muse.

The one thing I wanted to see in this movie that didn't occur was a volleyball floating by he ship and Tom Hanks shouting, WILSON! I'm just kidding. (Not really. That could have been the very best part.)

Captain Phillips is beautifully made. It earns The Janie Junebug Highest Seal of Approval.

I wouldn't allow young children to watch this movie, but teenagers, yes. As always, I urge you to watch the movie before allowing your kids to watch.

Happy Viewing!


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

24 comments:

  1. See... and a friend of mine said it was too cerebral for her. To be honest, I'll not likely see it, even though I do really like Hanks. Incidentally, I did see DBC... really good. And while I agree Jared's performance was good, Matthew's was also good. Scary how skinny they both got.

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    1. I guess it's cerebral in the sense that Phillips and Muse are playing mind games with each other, one trying to outfox the other, but it's not a cerebral movie that's difficult to understand. It's very good. Jared and Matthew lost a lot of weight. Matthew still looks very thin. Tom Hanks lost even more weight though (51 lbs., I think) for Castaway. When Matt Damon was in one of his first movies, he lost so much weight to play an addict that he became ill.

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  2. I was going to say that it sounds like a "guy film" (what's the opposite of a chick flick?) But I checked the user ratings at imdb and they are exactly the same for men and women. 8.

    I thought Tom looked better as the skinny castaway compared to Matthew's AIDS victim.

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    1. I don't think it's a guy movie. It's a people movie. I agree that Tom looked better, but he's gotten a little chubby over the years so he probably had more weight he could lose and still look good. MM is fit, so losing weight changed his appearance a lot.

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    2. Plus, I'm sure Tom worked out and Matthew probably didn't.

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    3. Yes -- Matthew needed to look sick and rundown. I recall Tom being pretty buff in Castaway because he has to work so hard to stay alive.

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  3. Interesting. I would never have called this movie cerebral. It's a smart action movie with a lot of tension and a simple plot. Was much better than I expected. Like you, I had already heard the basics, knew the outcome, and yet I was drawn into the tension and fear of the loose cannon pirates. I don't know how they did it, but they made you feel like you were going through this with Tom Hanks/Captain Phillips. Just excellent acting and editing and directing, I guess. Those last few minutes of the movie with Captain Phillips right after he was rescued--excellent! I actually felt the shock and relief!! Very good movie. :)

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    1. I don't think it's cerebral. I agree that the plot is simple, but Phillips and Muse have a strangely complex relationship. Maybe that's why someone thought it was cerebral. I think the acting drew me into the story. Phillips and Muse are so intense that it seemed as if the events were occurring.

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  4. LOVED Castaway and Wilson. It's a testament to Hanks' ability as an actor. Who else could have pulled off an entire feature-length film with almost no dialogue for the entire middle section? He's brilliant. We were at a water park and the waves came on and there I was, out there in the middle of the water yelling, "WILSON!" Phil just looked at me like I was nuts. But then again, I probably am. Looking forward to this one, even if Wilson makes no appearance.

    -andi

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    1. If I were in some waves, I'd shout for Wilson, too

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    2. I just watched "All Is Lost" with Robert Redford. At 77 years old I was amazed at what he went through to make this movie. Other than him reading a letter in a voice-over the beginning, I believe he says one word in the entire movie. It's just him and the ocean--trying to survive. I was impressed. :)

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    3. I saw All Is Lost but haven't reviewed it yet. I know a number of people were disappointed that Redford didn't get an Oscar nomination.

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  5. Tom Hanks is an excellent actor. This is one movie I'd like to see.

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    1. I hope you like it. I think it's great.

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  6. A good movie based on an actual incident but not riveted to the truth.

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  7. I saw this in the theater, Janie and I really enjoyed it. I felt for the crew and especially the very brave, Captain Phillips. The lifeboats scenes were absolutely claustrophobic and I could feel the terror he must have gone through. Did you know that the real lifeboat is on display in Florida? Complete with bullet holes..yikes. I have a friend who visited it and she sent me pictures. Wow. Good recommendation and I agree, screen before letting kids watch. Great review.

    Steph

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  8. This movie is the kind I'd like to see in a theater. It deserves to be seen on a big screen. I know that the lifeboat is on display, but I don't remember where in Florida. It's probably not close enough for me to see it. While they were shooting the lifeboat scenes, since the "lifeboat" was a model built to scale, they were really packed in there and crew members got seasick and puked on Tom Hanks.

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  9. I'll ask her where it is and let you know. She is by St. Lucie so I think it must be near there. I am going to Jupiter and West Palm in April and I would like to check it out.

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  10. I'm a Tom Hanks fan, and this is a movie I'd definitely like to see. (Especially since it now has the coveted Janie Junebug Seal of Approval.)

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  11. This movie has been sitting on my desk since my surgery but I haven't watched it yet. I will SOON!!

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    1. You'll be so engrossed in it you'll forget about pain, but I hope you aren't having much.

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