Redford or Hanks – which Oscar nominated boat movie is right for you?

Here's a review of the films All is Lost and Captain Phillips.

Posted on March 13, 2014 at 3:11 p.m.

Hi there. Do you like to watch movies? If so, great! Welcome! This is a movie review!

Now, the first step to watching a movie is being able to obtain the movie you want to watch. This can sometimes be difficult due to the fact that VHS tapes are so expensive… wait… no… I forgot! We live in the future!

Almost any film you could ever want to watch is now available online, and for dirt cheap too. Maybe, on average, like ten bucks a month, but anyway, my point is, there are thousands of movies out there, and thanks to inventions like Netflix, Hulu(plus), and the vast army of Red Box machines popping up everywhere, the problem is no longer obtaining the film you want to watch – the problem is deciding which one to watch. There are so many choices out there, with new ones are popping up every day, and no sign that it’s going to slow down soon, in fact, it’s only going to get worse.

Have you ever spent more time deciding what to watch with friends than actually watching a movie? I have. It’s fun, but not as fun as watching a good film.

That’s where I come in. I watch a lot of movies. Probably almost as much as the next guy. Heck, I’ve even been formally instructed on how to watch movies. I’ve seen good movies, bad movies, “so bad they’re good” movies, and “so good they’re bad” movies.

All that being said, do you have any idea how hard it is to decide on which movie to review first? It’s like being thrown into a haystack and told to write about a needle. Only there’s no needle, so you just write about the hay. So much hay.

This past week or so, I watched at least five movies. Well, I watched more than that, but there were five that are worth reviewing. All of these films were obtained at my local Red Box, and that’s why this section is called “Movies out of the Box.”

I started off by watching Captain Phillips, a film about that guy, Captain Richard Phillips, who was kidnapped by Somali pirates back in 2009. The film stars Tom Hanks as Captain Richard Phillips, and was nominated for six Oscars, including best motion picture of the year. The technical side of this film is nothing special. There are no crazy special effects, no innovative editing techniques, and no “Oh wow! Look at that shot!” moments, but it was still enjoyable to watch. Tom Hanks gives an… interesting performance and it took me almost half the film to get over the fact that “Haha, Tom Hanks sounds like Peter Griffin.” The actor that sticks out in my mind though is Barkhad Abdi. He gives an excellent performance as the character Muse, who is the ringleader of these Somali pirates. Captain Phillips is Abdi's first film, and wow, is he creepy. A great bad guy, albeit his character is a bit two dimensional, but it’s based on a true story, so I guess real life bad buys don’t quite act like movie bad guys all the time. Either way, I want to see this guy in another, more thought out, role.

Captain Phillips wasn't the only film about a guy on a boat that came out last year.

All is Lost, staring Robert Redford and… that’s it. It’s a movie about Robert Redford on a boat. His character doesn’t even have a name. There's almost no talking in the entire film, which works actually. The idea is that this guy, whoever he is, is out on his yacht in the middle of the ocean alone, and he crashes into something. That’s it. His boat starts to sink, and we’re trapped with him for the duration of the film. It’s very interesting, and at points I caught myself holding my breath along with “our man,” but who is this guy? Should I care about him? I know nothing about the main character other than he is an older man, with a yacht, and he doesn’t seem to want to die. Why’s he out alone on a yacht? Was he a big banker who just did something illegal and had to skip town for a bit? Did he throw the body of his dead wife overboard before the movie started? Despite all this, I was still feeling attached to the guy, and now I know what not to do if I’m ever trapped on a sinking yacht, alone, in the middle of the ocean.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. “But I only have time for one movie about a man and a boat this year!” Well, that’s why I watched both, so you don’t have to, unless you want to, then go right ahead and do it.

If you’re the type of person who likes action, suspense, drama, and repeatedly watching someone go from the frying pan to fire again and again and again and again, then watch Captain Phillips. It is good. It may not be the best, but for a film based on a true story, starring Tom Hanks and a bunch of rookie actors, it’s good. If you prefer a more solitary experience, with a bit more time to catch your breath, and like MacGyver style heroes, then watch All is Lost. From a completely objective standpoint, I believe that All is Lost is the better film, and will be remembered for its technical achievements, as well as Robert Redford’s acting skills. It is hard to convince yourself that there’s an entire film crew on the boat with him, and even without words this Redford guy proves his worth as an actor.

Now, if neither of these movies appeals to you, that’s fine too. I also watched Thor: The Dark World and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. They were both mind-numbingly entertaining, in the good way a film can be mind-numbingly entertaining.

Now, again, all these movies were obtained out of my local Red Box, and are probably still there, but if they’re not, try your local library or the internet.  It's not like anyone actually buys their own copy of movies anymore.

Thank you for taking the time to read this, and I hope that there’s some kind of helpful information in this article that you’ll remember next time your friend says, “Well, what should we watch?”

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