Wednesday, February 5, 2014

mini-film reviews: In a World, Peeples, and Captain Phillips

In a World by Lake Bell

Lake Bell does triple duty in this comedy she wrote, directed, and starred in. She plays a  Carol, a struggling vocal coach who finds relatively unexpected opportunities in voiceovers for movie trailers, a strictly male-dominated field. The film's biggest strength is its smart, often dark humor. When it veered into schmaltz at times, it was less successful, but still highly enjoyable. Intelligent comedies with strong female characters are far too rare, and this one is definitely worth watching.

Rating: 4 out of 5
Availability: dvd

Peeples by Tina Gordon Chism

Peeples is an utterly forgettable script made quite entertaining by the tremendous talent of its cast. Kerry Washington, unsurprisingly, is amazing as Grace Peeples, a smart, talented young woman from a rich, Sag Harbor family. She's dating (and living with) Craig Robinson, but her family has no idea she is. He's goofy and likable, but I found their coupling on the laughable side of believable. Both give great performances, but there is no chemistry there. The rest of the Peeples family are similarly excellent, particularly S. Epatha Merkerson as Grace's mom. I thoroughly enjoyed this film, but the unnecessary romantic comedy ending was way too over the top for my taste. It's not a great film or even a good one, but is in an enjoyable one (except for that last scene.)

Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Availability: dvd

Captain Phillips by Paul Greengrass

Admittedly, I had low expectations for Captain Phillips. I don't particularly care for Tom Hanks (shocking to most, I know), and the ads struck me as a good (white Americans) versus evil (black Somali pirates) battle I wasn't sure I would embrace. I was wrong: Captain Phillips is not only good, it's thought-provoking and morally complicated. I even thought Tom Hanks was excellent in it (as was Barkhad Abdi), particularly in their scenes together. The film was intense throughout, but even though the real story had been rather well publicized, this fictional interpretation transported me directly to the high-stakes story.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Availability: dvd

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  1. I saw Captain Phillips last weekend, and it was better than I thought it would be, too.

  2. I hope to see Captain Phillips soon. I was going to see it a couple of weeks ago but The Girl cannot see it. She is too emotional and would be too upset by it so I have to pick a time when she is not around, which is not often.

  3. We have so many of the same movie tastes!! I agree about Captain Phillips. I am surprised it hasn't been more well known or received more acclaim. I mean, I know it was nominated for an oscar but I hadn't heard about it before then. My husband and I both agreed we liked this one better than American Hustle which is one that got so much praise!

    1. Oh and I was going to add In a World is high up on our list too! Looks fun.


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