Monday, November 18, 2013

Movie Review : Gravity, Captain Phillips, The Family & Escape Plan

I’m reviewing a couple of intense movies – sci-fi with heart-stopping scenes in ‘gravity’, tom hanks, a ship and pirates in ‘captain phillips’, a mob family under a protection program in black comedy ‘the family’, and prison-escape story with a twist in ‘escape plan’.

don’t munch the popcorn too loud. unless you’re at home. or screw it, just munch and scrunch away.


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‘gravity’ is tom hank’s ‘cast away’ in space. SPACE. no air. no coconut trees. no fedex boxes containing possible useful items. ‘gravity’ makes ‘cast away’ looks like a walk in disneyland. it’s not science fiction. this is a straight-up horror movie.

sandra bullock carried this movie on her own just like what tom hanks did to ‘cast away’. the problem with this kind of movie is that 1) you HAVE to like the actor playing that lone character coz he/she is the only one you will see talking and doing stuff, and 2) the story MUST be interesting. no, it cannot be OKAY, it cannot be boleh-lah. it MUST be engaging. and sandra bullock got my attention.

if you’re not a fan of sandra bullock, or space (who the heck doesn’t like space???) then move on, this movie will bore you.

the story : it’s space. sandra bullock was fixing something outside of the space station with george clooney, and boom – she’s cut off from where she’s held. she’s suddenly thrown out there in the void, completely alone, bobbing aimlessly; in one of the most terrifying scenes I’ve seen in a movie. the camera even spans from INSIDE the space helmet, to show her point of view. alone, no control of your movement. hazy. panic. breathless. we all felt it.

normal circumstances, a person could just die of fright. right there and then should this really happen. just stop breathing. out of fright.

also, in ‘gravity’, anything that could go wrong in space, went wrong for sandra bullock. if it’s not lack of oxygen, it’s flying debris. if it’s not lost contact with earth, it’s lost contact with the one other person in the movie. and when you think things couldn’t get any worse – there’s fire INSIDE the space station or the instruction is in another language she couldn’t understand. omg what?!

it’s a crazy movie. get ready to get all tense up. it proves that sandra bullock, the america’s sweetheart of comedy, is also the queen of thrill and drama. oscar-worthy performance right there.



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speaking of tom hanks, AND oscar-worthy performance, have you check out ‘captain phillips’? another intense drama with no boring scenes. each scene get you at the edge of your seat, wondering whether each action of the pirates, or captain phillips, or the rescuers will be the end of it all. and when it doesn’t, you get tense up again.

this is the true story of captain phillips and the 2009 hijacking by somali pirates of the US-flagged MV maersk alabama, said to be the first american cargo ship to be hijacked in two hundred years. no wonder it was a big deal. when I was watching with mr. khairul we were like ‘why do they bring the whole army fleet to rescue this one particular captain?

I am also very curious on the casting of the somali pirates. they were also the star of this movie. their expressions, the way they say their lines – they were convincingly good alongside the awesome tom hanks. we felt their desperation during the final hours.

and tom hanks – oh my, he deserves a third oscar for his performance; especially the final scene (SPOILER) where he just breaks down and sob like a little boy during the check-up by the paramedic. and that’s just perfection – because that’s what normal people would react after such a traumatic experience. tom hanks expressed that trauma with such conviction, with so much reality; it’s as if I’m watching a real-life documentary.

I cried with him, I felt his pain, and felt like we were with him during the whole ordeal – from the moment he directed his crew to hide, to all those intense hours in the small cramped submarine. a highly-recommended movie. just for that final scene alone.



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after two intense movies, let’s move on to comedy. but this black comedy ‘the family’ is no less intense!

‘the family’ is about a witness protection program, which sounds normal and boring enough until you realize that the family is ‘the manzoni family’, from a notorious mafia clan! all they want was to start a normal life in france, trying to fit in, while not blowing their cover.

just when you thought it’s only the DAD who is a dangerous mafia and the rest of the family is just innocent victim tagging along – the MOM blew up a store just because. the daughter can be a maniac, and the son is too street smart for his own good; negotiating shady deals and bribes.

‘the family’ is NOT any normal family.

john d’leo and dianna agron as the siblings are awesome. looking like any normal teenager on the outside, and all weird on the inside. michelle pfeiffer is deliciously wicked and funny, though looking so much aged than ever before. robert de niro is in his usual masterclass of acting – cool and calculating. love it!

the ending calls for ‘the family returns’ or ‘another family’ – and I will be waiting. it’s gonna be another fun thrill-ride.



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I’m not a fan of stallone, or schwarzenegger. that’s why I haven’t watched any of ‘the expendables’ movies. however, the storyline of ‘escape plan’ is intriguing. I’m curious. they got my attention.

stallone plays ray breslin, and his job is reminiscent of one of my fav movies ‘sneakers’ where the main characters’ job is to rob banks to prove that their security system has a flaw. here in ‘escape plan’ ray breslin’s job is to get sent to prison, and escape, to prove the flaw in the prison security system.

very interesting job; and highly risky – you could get murdered by inmates, or get shot by prison guards while trying to escape (since the guards don’t know you’re not really a prisoner) or simply die from falling down or drowning in your escape attempt. but that’s what stallone’s character does – and a new assignment seems extremely difficult from the rest – the world’s most secret and secure prison; plus the people who sent him wants him to stay there. for good.

and that’s when schwarzenegger comes in. another inmate, his help from the inside. together they try to find ways, patters, habits and routine – information to help them both escape.

oh, and I like jim caviezel. but it saddens me that he’s the bad guy in this movie, and a deliciously devilish at that! he’s one of those good actors that are often overlooked for lead roles; and I guess now he accepts bad-guy roles just to keep up. kesian. he should’ve been cast as superman’s dad instead of russel crow. he SO look the part!

overall, an interesting plot, and I enjoyed watching stallone and schwarzenegger’s performances in ‘escape plan’ which helps even more when they’ve got this good chemistry goin on. and that’s as far as I can say as a non-fan to both. ‘escape plan’ is an interesting movie. highly recommended for fans of prison-escape movies.



Sparkly Sharky said...

gravity is the only movie tht i missed watching at the cinema. ive been looking for the dvd every week but it's still not clear. thx for d review, can't wait!

Syigim said...

sabrina, yah kalau watch kat big screen dgn 3D lagi best! real! tgk kat tv pun dah so intense!

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