Saturday, September 7, 2013

Captain Phillips and Rush: Oscar Contenders

Two films have been screened in a sort of psuedo-festival way, so I decided to put them in a separate post from the festival ones. Both have Oscar recognized directors, big names in the cast, and are both getting good reviews from critics. Now the response has been a bit muted compared to Gravity and 12 Years a Slave, both of which are definitely critical favorites. That being said, there is definitely enough critical support to launch a full-on Oscar campaign for both, which will most likely ride on their thrilling premises to box office success.

Captain Phillips has already been declared a full-on Oscar contender by several A-rated Oscar pundits, including Actor for Hanks, Director for Greengrass, the techincals for sure, and finally, surprise supporting performance by Barkhad Abdi. It is also described as thrilling, and well-made, and it looks like it could be a big box office success as well.

Todd McCarthy from The Hollywood Reporter writes:

"From Gravity to All Is Lost and 12 Years a Slave, 'tis the season for survival stories, and another good one joins this classy club with Captain Phillips, a pulsating account of the kidnapping of the captain of an American cargo ship by Somali pirates. Something of a companion piece for director Paul Greengrass to his superb United 93, which was based on the real-life takeover of one of the 9/11 aircraft, this immaculately made reconstruction of a chaotic incident will have a much better time of it commercially than the earlier film due to the presence of star Tom Hanks and because it has a happy ending. Set to world premiere as the opening-night attraction of the New York Film Festival on Sept. 27, the Sony release will go out commercially Oct. 11."

Rush is one that I am still a bit hesitant about, simply due to the racing storyline, something that has not historically done well. But apparently the film is extremely well made by Oscar winner Ron Howard, and its thrilling and entertaining. The cast is also apparently on top of its game particually Daniel Bruhl, who may have found his breakthrough role. I will still hold back on the Oscar enthusiasm until we get a more rounded set of reviews and maybe even some box-office numbers, but watch out, this one could be a dark horse contender this year.

Peter Debruge at Variety raves:

"Mozart vs. Salieri. Kennedy vs. Khrushchev. Gates vs. Jobs. Add to that list of epic clashes Formula One adversaries James Hunt and Niki Lauda, whose larger-than-life bout for the 1976 world championship title fuels Ron Howard’s exhilarating “Rush” — not just one of the great racing movies of all time, but a virtuoso feat of filmmaking in its own right, elevated by two of the year’s most compelling performances. It’s high-octane entertainment that demands to be seen on the bigscreen, assembled for grown-ups and executed in such a way as to enthrall even those who’ve never watched a race in their life."

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