Sunday, October 13 2013, 10:35 AM MDT
Box Office: Recommended Films for October 11-17, 2013
(KUTV) Recommended films showing in Salt Lake City for the week of October 11 - 17, 2013.
1. Gravity (PG-13)
2. Captain Phillips (PG-13)
3. Blue Jasmine (PG-13)
4. Rush (R)
5. The Worlds End (R)
1. Monsters University (G)
2. Despicable Me 2 (PG)
3. Cloudy with a Change of Meatballs 2 (PG)
4. Planes (PG)
5. Turbo (PG)
1. Blue Jasmine (PG-13)
2. Don Jon (R)
3. In a World (R)
4. Enough Said (PG-13)
5. Wadjda (PG)
4 out of 5 Stars
Director: Paul Greengrass
Starring: Tom Hanks, Barkhad Abdi, Barkhad Abdirahman
Genre: Biography, Crime, Drama
Recommended To: Those looking for an intense award-worthy drama with terrific performances.
Synopsis: In 2009 a US-flagged cargo ship captained by Richard Phillips (Tom Hanks) was hijacked by Somali pirates.
Review: Captain Phillips is a story about courage and desperation. It features a strong performance from Tom Hanks as the no-nonsense sea captain and an even more impressive portrayal of Muse, the leader of the Somali pirates, by Barkhad Abdi. Phillips is a fairly simple character. He wants to protect his crew and return to his family. Muse, however, is far more complicated and Abdi gives the character a true sense of inner turmoil that propels him and the films plot to its inevitable end.
Many have criticized director Paul Greengrass (Bourne Supremacy) distinctive use of shaky cam, but it works quite well in Captain Phillips as it gives the audience a sense of being caught up in the chaos as well as the constant back and forth sway of the sea. A smoother approach wouldn't have matched the undercurrent of the characters emotions and would have robbed the final acts sense of claustrophobia.
My only real complaints about the film are that Henry Jackman's (Kick-Ass, Wreck-It-Ralph) score is distracting at times and the movie could have been edited a little more tightly. There are scenes, particularly at the beginning and at the end of the film, which should have been trimmed back or eliminated altogether. Fortunately neither qualm ruins the experience and I suspect well be hearing more about Captain Phillips come award season.
Romeo and Juliet
1.5 out of 5 Stars
Director: Carlo Carlei
Starring: Hailee Steinfeld, Douglas Booth, Damian Lewis
Genre: Drama, Romance
Recommended To: Those that like pretty people running amuck of Shakespeare.
Synopsis: Star-crossed lovers from two feuding families become the innocent victims of their bloodlines pride.
Review: Working from a script by Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellows, director Carlo Carleis take on Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet is caught somewhere between Twilight and a perfume ad. Gone is most of the subtext and violence in favor of ramping up the romantic elements of the story (so much so that I expected the film to swap out the plays ending for a more appealing one). Douglas Booths Romeo looks the part, but his performance is unconvincing. Meanwhile Hailee Steinfeld, who was amazing in Joel and Ethan Coens remake of True Grit, underwhelms as Juliet. Had the film managed to show any teeth her sugary-sweet innocence might have resonated, but when everything comes candy coated its hard to discern what might have been.
Baz Luhrmann's Romeo Juliet might have been more style than substance, but it at least tried to do something new with the story while keeping a fair balance of violence and romance intact. Even at its least effective moments the actors didn't appear to be overmatched by the material given to them. That's not the case here as Carlei's cast speaks the words but never convey their meaning. This disconnect leaves Paul Giamatti looking rather foolish as he appears to be the only actor emotionally involved in their performance. Sadly, not even Giamatti's Friar Laurence cant save this film from its narcissistic emptiness.
The Saratov Approach
3.5 out of 5 Stars
Director: Garrett Batty
Starring: Corbin Allred, Maclain Nelson, Nikita Bogolyubov
Genre: Action, Drama
Recommended To: Those looking for a solid thriller with an uplifting message that does well with its modest budget.
Synopsis: A pair of LDS Missionaries are kidnapped and held for ransom while serving in Russia.
Review: Based on real events The Saratov Approach is a good story told effectively by writer/director Garrett Batty and his small cast. Its a no-frills sort of production that is rough around the edges, but never feels like a victim to its limited budget. Actors Corbin Allred and Maclain Nelson are clearly too old for their missionary roles (by a decade or so), but their performances are good enough to keep the age discrepancy from being too much of a distraction. Batty's script doesn't feel weighed down by any sort of religious agenda. There's a lot of Mormonism on display, but rarely does it feel forced or overplayed.
-Ryan Michael Painter
(Copyright 2013 Sinclair Broadcasting Group)