| Flicks

FLICKS: Captain Phillips, Escape Plan & Great Beauty

Posted on 27 November 2013 by LeslieM

By Dave Montalbano


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