Movie Review: Captain Phillips (2013)

Yo-ho yo-ho, a pirate’s life is not for me, that shit sounds fucking dangerous. Think I’ll stick to land… or at least stick to waters that don’t have pirates.

Disclaimer: I know this thing is based on a true story, but I will not base my review on how perfectly accurate to the real situation it may or may not be, but I will instead judge it as a movie… which it is. Disclaimer over.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Captain Phillips”.

Richard Phillips (Tom Hanks) is the captain of an American freighter ship going outside the coast of Africa. During one such trip the ship gets boarded and taken over by a group of Somali pirates. So now Phillips and his crew has to do everything they can to survive this horrible situation. So now we have our hostage-drama-thriller. And I must say that the plot here is pretty great. This is an incredibly tense plot. From the moment that Phillips sets his foot on the ship, a feeling of unease started to set in. Then when the pirates are put into the mix, getting close to the boat, that’s where the plot starts getting truly intense. And that tension never really lets up throughout the plot. It’s also handled pretty realistically, very little about this feels Hollywood-y. It brings the tension, it brings the drama, it’s just a damn good plot.

While the characters here aren’t the deepest out there, they’re still really interesting and I found myself caring about them. I think it’s safe to say that Tom Hanks is good in everything he does, and this is no exception. As a matter of fact, this might be one of his best (though “Philadelphia” is still his best in my opinion) performances ever. The character is likable, but he is also brave and clearly terrified for what might happen. And Hanks just portrays all that flawlessly. The men playing the pirates here are all terrific, which makes it extra interesting when you find out that none of them had really acted before. They really nailed the ruthless and intense pirate roles perfectly, with Barkhad Abdi being an absolute standout among them. Then you get various other actors in the movie all doing well for themselves, including Michael Chernus, David Warshofsky, Corey Johnson, Max Martini, Chris Mulkey, and a few more. So yeah, it’s a well acted movie.

The score for the movie was composed by Henry Jackman and it was great. His score is intense, dramatic, and just overall well composed. It often helped raise the tension throughout. It really added a lot to the movie.

The movie was directed by Paul Greengrass, and he brings his signature handheld style to this movie. And while handheld shaky-cam tends to be really annoying and awful, he knows how to do it right (though “Bourne Supremacy” had some problems with that). His directing here is intense, with the handheld shakiness actually adding to the overall intensity of the movie, really making me feel like I was there with them. And again, nothing about the directing here felt Hollywood-y, it felt pretty realistic.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 93% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 8,3/10. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,8/10. The movie was also nominated for 6 Oscars in the categories of Best picture, Best supporting actor (Abdi), Best film editing, Best sound editing, Best sound mixing, and Best adapted screenplay. 

“Captain Phillips” is a great drama-thriller. It has a great plot, really good characters, fantastic performances, great music, and great directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Captain Phillips” is a 9,88/10. Which of course means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Captain Phillips” is now completed.

Look at me… I’m the captain now.

Movie Review: The Bourne Legacy (2012)

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We are now here, at the fourth part in my series of reviews leading up to “Jason Bourne” this July. For anybody new here: Over the past few months I have been watching and reviewing all of the “Bourne” movies. And at long last we have gotten to the fourth one. So let’s just get into it and see what happens!

Ladies and gentlemen… “The Bourne Legacy”.

So in this film we don’t follow the character of Jason Bourne (Matt Damon), oh no. Instead we have a new guy named Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner) who is on the run because of reasons triggered by the previous three films. And he teams up with a female doctor (Rachel Weisz) because there needs to be a female lead. Look, I had trouble following the plot because it makes no damn sense and it’s not even really there. I’m being one-hundred percent serious guys… the plot is not good or compelling or memorable and let’s just move this shit along so I don’t start rambling too much.

Where the story happens to be lacking (a lot!), the actors kind of make up for it. Jeremy Renner does a really good job in his role as Not-Bourne. Rachel Weisz is good in her role too. Then we also get some really good supporting performances from people like Stacy Keach, Edward Norton, Joan Allen and Oscar Isaac. Sure, the characters aren’t that interesting overall, but the acting I think makes up for that pretty well.

The music for the movie was composed by James Newton Howard, who is a composer that I’m a fan of. And how was his score in this movie? Meh. It was fine for what it was trying to do, which was to be music for an action movie. But there’s no piece here that I would even dare call memorable. In the previous three films I could listen to the music and go “Ooo, that was a great tune! Oo, THAT was a great tune!”, but I never had any such moment here. It wasn’t bad, just not that great. And how was this film’s version of Moby’s “Extreme Ways”? Meh. It isn’t a bad version, but it’s not that great either.

So this movie wasn’t directed by Paul Greengrass… or Doug Liman for that matter. No, for this one they got Tony Gilroy, the screenwriter for the previous three films. And did he do a god job directing the movie? Yeah, I’d say so. It’s a pretty smooth movie, filled with a lot of really good shots. Sure, it doesn’t have the shaky intensity of Greengrass’ “Bourne” films, but it at least looks good. And the action in the movie was actually pretty good. Sure, there was never any tension in the action taking place in front of our eyes, but it was entertaining to look at. I can’t say that I found it boring at all. The word I would use though is… toothless. Like I said, there was no tension in it at all. But it was pretty fun. Don’t expect too much action though, because there isn’t too much. This is a more dialogue-driven film… although, the dialogue is pretty mediocre if you ask me… so I’m conflicted.

This movie hasn’t been that well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 55% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 61/100. Roger Ebert gave it 2,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,7/10.

“The Bourne Legacy” is a bit of a mixed bag for me. While the story isn’t that compeliing or interesting, there is still some good stuff, including good acting, decent music, and good directing/action, even if it lacks tension. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “The Bourne Legacy” is a 7,25/10. While not that great of a movie, it’s still worth a rental.
Rent it

My review of “The Bourne Legacy” is now completed.

“Jason Bourne” is finally out in a month… what will I do until then?