I am a huge movie lover - I will see pretty much anything once. Like my book blog, this is a place where I will write reviews of the movies that I see. As always, these reviews are strictly my opinion and I welcome and encourage discussion and debate on my postings~

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


Prisoners (2013) - Run time: 2h33min


When two little girls go missing, a father (Hugh Jackman) goes to any length to find them.  Meanwhile, a local police officer (Jake Gyllenhaal) tries to find the kidnapper before time runs out for the little girls.  This movie has a huge cast of big names that play supporting roles, including Maria Bello & Viola Davis as the distraught mothers, and Terrence Howard as the other father who tries to keep his friend from going to far in search of their daughters.


I don't know what it is with Hollywood these days making movies that run well past the 2 hour mark, and I sure hope it isn't a growing trend.  Having said that, this is yet another very LONG movie that doesn't feel that long while you are watching it.  I had high hopes for this movie, mostly due to the cast, and I have to say I wasn't disappointed.  As I have said before, I am no movie critic - all I want is to be entertained, and this movie delivered.  It is suspenseful almost right from the start, and keeps the drama and suspense coming right to the very last second.

Hugh Jackman gives a great performance as the father who will do whatever it takes to get his daughter back.  I think what I love best about his performance is that you absolutely feel his fear and anger, and you totally understand why he is doing what he is doing.  BUT ... at the same time you wonder if he isn't taking things a bit too far.  This conflict between supporting his motives and disliking his methods creates even more drama.  Maria Bello plays his wife and I have to say I think she is a bit underutilized in this film.  I love her and basically all she does through the entire movie is lay in bed and cry.  While I understand this, I am used to seeing her play much stronger characters and I would have liked to see her do a LITTLE bit more than fall apart completely.  Jake Gyllenhaal's character was a bit strange for me.  On the one hand, he played the "cop" very well and even managed to bring a bit of humour into an otherwise very dark movie, but on the other hand, for some reason they (or he) decided to give his character what I can only describe as autistic/Asperger's type qualities.  He is not very good when dealing with other people and has this weird little blinking tick thing going on.  I think it took away from his otherwise great performance and didn't really seem to fit with the rest of his character or seem necessary.  I did like his character, he was just sometimes hard to watch on screen (which I didn't think could be possible for Gyllenhaal!).

Now for my few critiques: First, there were some great plot twists in this movie, but I found that I was able to guess them 5-10 minutes prior to them being revealed in the film.  If you are going to come up with such great twists, don't let your audience see them coming!!  Second, there were several times throughout the movie where I found myself shouting (in my head of course) "WHY WOULDN'T HE JUST _______!!!" Overall, I found this film to be fairly realistic and the characters relatable, but every once in a while someone would do something that made no sense.

Overall, I really liked this film.  As I said, I was certainly entertained and it didn't feel as long as it was.  There was some graphic violence in it, but I don't think they took it too far and it was always for a reason.

Rating 8/10 - Some minor flaws but definitely worth a watch. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

I'm Back!!

Well, what can I say - much like the many diaries of my youth, I started this blog with good intentions and high hopes, and then .... stopped.  BUT I'm back and I will say that I certainly didn't stop watching movies while I was gone!  I'm hoping to keep this up on a much more regular basis and if I have extra time, I will try and make up for my absence by adding some extra reviews for some of the movies I have seen over the past few years!  And if anyone is still reading this, thanks for sticking with me!!

Captain Phillips

Captain Phillips (2013)- Run time: 2h14min


Captain Phillips (Tom Hanks) is leading a container ship which gets taken over by a crew of Somali pirates who plan to hold the ship captive for a ransom. It's a true story based on the real hijacking of a U.S. ship in 2009. Captain Phillips tries to keep his crew safe while the Somali pirates hope for a large payout.


Let me preface this by saying I am a HUGE Tom Hanks fan and there is little this man does that I don't like. I went into this hoping to be entertained but not expecting much. I figured that most of the suspense was probably given away in the previews and was not expecting much more from the movie. I did know that it was based on a true story, although I don't remember hearing about it in the news at all back in 2009 when it took place. I also didn't realize the movie was over 2 hours long. Having said all that, I was very pleasantly surprised by this movie. Besides Tom Hanks as the title character, the only other face I recognized was that of Catherine Keener, who plays Captain Phillip's wife and gets about 5min of screen time (which is a shame because this woman can be great). This film was suspenseful from start to finish and I certainly did not feel like I was sitting there for over 2 hours - the time flew by. The action kicks off pretty quickly in this movie, which is great as many other 2+ hr movies take forever to get to the good stuff.

This movie did an excellent job of taking you through a range of emotions. At various points throughout the film I felt scared, angry, sympathetic, frustrated and a million other things I can't even describe. The relationship between Captain Phillips and the captain of the Sumali pirates is one built on false trust and survival. Each need something from the other in order to survive. As always, Tom Hanks was superb in his role of Captain Phillips - although I have to say his accent was really annoying - NO idea what part of the US he was supposed to be from! Aside from that, he put in a great performance, as did most of the cast. I also think the movie did a great job of keeping things realistic in terms of emotions, reactions and motives. There wasn't a "USA is the BEST" vibe from this movie at all - and the characters were all believeable. Overall, I really enjoyed this movie - it was better than I expected it to be, which is always a nice surprise!!

Rating 9/10 - it was better than expected, and it didn't feel nearly as long as it was. Having said that, it's not the kind of movie you are probably going to watch over and over. Definitely worth the watch though!