| Flicks

FLICKS: Captain Phillips, Escape Plan & Great Beauty

Posted on 27 November 2013 by LeslieM

By Dave Montalbano

http://cinemadave.livejournal.com

In the midst of covering the 28th Annual Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival and the 30th Miami Book Fair International, one of the most asked questions I heard was, “Have you seen Captain Phillips?

Captain Phillips has Oscar nomination written all over it. It is a big story about an international incident circa 2009. It features Oscar winner Tom Hanks acting his heart out as the title character, with lesser-known actors adding believable menace to our everyday hero. So is Captain Phillips another manufactured Oscar contender like The Butler? Hardly. Captain Phillips captures the claustrophobic despair of being a hostage.

The Captain skippers a cargo ship of charitable supplies off the African coast. When the US-flagged MV Maersk Alabama is hijacked by Somali pirates, Captain Phillips must utilize his wits to save his crew. What was supposed to be a routine kidnapping for these thugs, becomes a global television affair involving the U.S. Navy. Perhaps if these pirates read Davy Jones & the Heart of Darkness, they would not have gotten involved in such a disastrous venture.

Best known for his work on the overrated Bourne amnesia spy movies, the director Paul Greengrass, who was Oscar-nominated for United 93, a movie about the 9/11 plane crash. Thanks to Greengrass, the intensity of Captain Phillips never lets up as a human story. When violence occurs, it is sudden, explosive and quick. One movie that no one mentioned to me was Escape Plan, the Sylvester Stallone – Arnold Schwarzenegger buddy movie. This team-up has been three decades in the making, though diffused by the Sylvester- Arnold Expendables of recent years. Escape Plan is pure Saturday matinee afternoon escapism.

Ray Breslin (Stallone) makes a living breaking out inescapable prisons and has written a book about the subject. After a successful payday, Breslin is kidnapped and sent to the Tomb, a prison of his own design. The villainous prison warren (Jim Cavielzel) is a student of Breslin and has an odious henchman (Vinnie Jones) do his evil bidding for him. Fortunately, Breslin befriends Emil Rottmayer (Arnold), a convict who rules the prison yard. The two team up to plan an audacious escape.

Despite a too-pat ending, Escape Plan works as an action thriller. To the credit of Summit Entertainment Marketing executives, the trailer did not reveal important plot twists and surprises. The two 60-year-old action icons provide some edge-of-your-seat moments with humor. While Captain Phillips is an Oscar contender, Escape Plan is a lot of fun.

Italy’s Oscar selection for Best Foreign movie, Great Beauty, opens tomorrow. The Observer will have a full review in next week’s edition.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Comments are closed.

Advertise Here
Advertise Here

front page

COVER