Tag: tom hanks

Cloud Atlas

by on Feb.12, 2017, under Movie Reviews

cloud atlasMultiple intertwined stories from different timelines told simultaneously with numerous actors playing various parts. Confused yet? Yep, me too. I was able to follow along but due to the ambitious nearly 3 hour length of the film, I found myself not caring much towards the end. While clearly an intensive endeavor for everyone involved, they seem to overreach on this one and end up with an exhausting, confusing mess that keeps changing the minute you get a handle on what’s happening only to offer that same formula repeatedly.

Presented by The Wachowskis (from The Matrix trilogy), Cloud Atlas is marked as one of the most expensive independent films of all time. It’s also unfortunately one of the biggest flops as well. It’s a shame, but I see why as while I appreciate the challenge that was undertaken with this project, its delivery is where it falls short of what could’ve been a compelling presentation. I think my biggest complaint is how often it changes from one scene to the other. The problem isn’t just the scene change but the way you change to a whole different character with a different storyline in a different time period, which happens a lot. Every time you connect with what’s going on, you’re thrown off-balance by another scene switch.

There is such a thing as over thinking a film and over-intellectualizing the process in terms of how you deliver it. Cloud Atlas is a perfect example of this (with a $100M price tag). The filmmakers obviously didn’t consider how the audience would experience this and there was a disconnect there that I would guess they’re still licking their wounds from.

The lineup is truly impressive and there are some great deliveries here. However, I saw some instances of what felt like the actors were spreading themselves thin at times. Tom Hanks seemed a little worn down trying different dialects that weren’t always super intelligible. The writing was something that influenced this but other actors played it a bit straighter which seemed to help maintain strong deliveries. Hanks appeared to be trying a little too hard here and there. Halle Berry is hit or miss at times throughout too. The 2 actors I thought were strongest were Jim Broadbent and Hugo Weaving. You have to give credit to all the talented people who played multiple roles here, that’s a challenge no matter what level you’re at. The cast includes Susan Sarandon, Hugh Grant, Keith David, James D’Arcy, and Ben Whishaw.

If you’ve got the endurance and like to challenge yourself, you might want to check it out.

reviewed by Sean McKnight

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Captain Phillips

by on Nov.10, 2013, under Movie Reviews

Captain Phillips is the true story of a cargo ship that is hijacked by a group of Somali pirates. Tom Hanks portrays Captain Richard Phillips, who was taken hostage during the ordeal.

If you followed the story from 2009, you know the ending. If not, don’t worry, I won’t spoil it for you here. Suffice it to say that the tension of the film is well designed and will keep you compelled throughout no matter whether you know the story or not. I followed the story briefly when it broke and new where it was going but was drawn in the whole time nonetheless…

The story is well written and expertly executed both from the directing stand point as well as the acting. The resources for this film were huge with the use of naval ships and authentic locations serving well to provide a rich backdrop. The use of the shaky cam technique gets a little over-used at times, but otherwise the director did a great job creating a tension that’s consistent without being over-bearing.

The acting is excellent. Hanks is in prime form and just makes you feel emotionally drained by the end but with this sense of sad relief that somehow breaks in you during the process of watching his experience through the film. Barkhad Abdi as the lead pirate is intense as are the rest of the actors portraying the pirates. Catherine Keener plays the wife of the captain but is only in the film for a short time.

The film is really well done, I would try to catch it in the theater if you can, it’s great on the big screen.

reviewed by Sean McKnight

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Toy Story 3

by on Dec.24, 2011, under Movie Reviews

Pixar is back with the third installment of the beloved story that started it all. And you would think that it would be tough to keep things fresh but as usual, the excellent talent behind Pixar manages to do just that…

At this point, Andy is getting ready to move off to college and the fate of the toys is in question. Off to college with Andy? Off to the trash heap? Banished to the attic? All weigh heavily on our weary heroes as they end up split up and sent off to different points including a day care center. The Sunnyvale Daycare center seems nice enough but the toys quickly find that not all is as it seems. Meanwhile, Woody is trying to get back to Andy and is torn while trying to reunite with his friends at the same.

It all plays out in a way that you would expect but that’s part of the enjoyment. This is a G film and even though all seems dire, it all works out in the end. The writing is spot on and really keeps you wondering how things will work out and who will end up where. There’s a lot of humor of course, some geared towards kids, some adults (the Ken and Barby segments are really clever). There is a moment where your heart breaks a bit, but they do a very good job at smoothing the moment over and making you glad they did it anyway.

The talent from the first films are back with some new additions. The impressive lineup includes: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, Don Rickles, John Ratzenberger, Estelle Harris, Laurie Metcalf, and newcomers Ned Beatty and Michael Keaton.

See this one with or without the kids, you’ll enjoy it either way.

reviewed by Sean McKnight

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