Εμφάνιση αναρτήσεων με ετικέτα Tom Hanks. Εμφάνιση όλων των αναρτήσεων
Εμφάνιση αναρτήσεων με ετικέτα Tom Hanks. Εμφάνιση όλων των αναρτήσεων

Τρίτη, 1 Απριλίου 2014

Saving Mr. Banks (2013)

Director: John Lee Hancock
Writers: Kelly Marcel, Sue Smith
With: Emma Thompson, Tom Hanks, Annie Rose Buckley, Colin Farrell, Paul Giamatti, Bradley Whitford, B.J. Novak, Jason Schwartzman
Duration: 125'

Production: USA, UK, Australia

Saving Mr. Banks is a movie talking about a hard woman, a character so stiff and difficult, you might think it is all fiction. But it is not. It is the story of P.L. Travers, stage name for the acclaimed writer Helen Lyndon Goff, writer of Mary Poppins. 

Walt Disney's daughters always begged him to make the famous children's book series about the magical English nanny Mary Poppins into a movie. He was unsuccessfully trying to convince P.L. Travers to sell to him the book rights. After what seems to be 20 years and due to lack of money, Mrs Travers will eventually succumb to Disney's will to make a deal, being though immensely difficult in terms of the adaptation of her books on screen. 

What begins as a light and funny story of this extraordinary woman, who beneath this dominant attitude she in nothing more than a disappointed from life human being, soon evolves into a serious drama about the hard childhood she suffered, living in Queensland, Australia. 

Her father was a banker who above all loved to live and made everything nice and beautiful for his children. A man who found it hard to devote his whole self into work, instead he preferred playing around with his children, showing them how magnificent life is. In his long attempts to synchronize with his tough work reality, he enslaved himself to alcohol, which made him eventually lose his job. He died of influenza a couple of years later. 

All these aspects of her life we see via flash - backs in her early years, while at the same time she arrives at Los Angeles to talk through the adaptation of her book. In the movie we see that she hasn't sold the rights to Disney yet, something that really helps the plot go on, but in reality she had already done it. In what seems to be a period of some weeks, she, from a harsh, dominant personality and almost disgusted towards Disney, will eventually yield to his will to make a musical with actors and cartoons, even if she never really liked it. 

The extreme loneliness this woman felt all her life begins to unravel while she works with Disney's team through the film script. She keeps remembering the true story behind what inspired her, a story that is not funny or even a musical. Even if the direction shows in parts this tension, we still found ourselves locked into her tough past, something that helps us understand her strictness towards people. 

She never really reveals to the Disney team the real aspects of this story or for the matter the real Mary Poppins, a harsh lady that arrived one day to help her mother with the house and raise the children. A personality that seems Mrs Travers evolved to. She holds inside her the real Mary Poppins and in order to make her life less tougher than it was, she used her talent and imagination and created the character in the book. So that all this burden would finally get off her shoulders. 

P.L. Travers loses herself in her own thoughts. The people around her can see, in the course of time, that she is nothing more than a hurt little girl who just wants to be truthful to her vision of her own life and work. She remembers her drunk father as a loving man who did his best for his family, she evolved him into Mr. Banks, the character in her book. 

He was her life and inspiration for years and even till the end she refuses any changes the studio is planning to make on him. She lives her life dictated by her past, but the past she chose to remember. She made it better, nicer and even more wonderful through her books, only to be able to live through it. 

The movie doesn't really know where to stand. Is it a comedy using Travers' attitude towards people in order to be hilarious? Is it a drama about the life of this family who beneath all the sadness kept hidden the golden beautiful treasures of love and real life meaning? At the end it doesn't really matter, because "Saving Mr. Banks" talks about the life of this woman, her travel through her past and the -what it seems- settlement with her present. 

Emma Thompson seems to be the best choice, since she can perform with absolutely perfectness a role that requires both humor and depth. Even if she wasn't nominated in the Oscars after all, what I believe was extremely unfair, it doesn't really matter. Her work and depiction of the hard, strict, complainer P.L. Travers is amazing. She managed to reveal the human side of hers, her creativity, her talent and her deep love for her father. 

The relationship we see unravel in the movie between Travers and Disney was much more problematic in real life. She hated the final movie and never accepted any of the songs or cartoons participating in it. After the premiere, they never talked to each other again. 

She was devoted to her personal vision till the end of her years and never made more adaptations. However in the movie, she appears to be touched from the immense talent of the Sherman's brothers, something that needed to be screened, in order to depict how creativity is evolving as a process and how the people behind the scenes deserve more of the spotlight. 

As a viewer I would love to see more aspects of her real life, more evidence of how she became such a tough woman, of why she never had children, of how she really managed to transform her past. In this semi-biographical film, the vision and work of P.L. Travers revives in order to show us how some really hard things in life can be transformed into something so unique and beautiful. 

She will be remembered for many years to come and through "Saving Mr. Banks" so will her constant attempts to protect her family, the father she loved so much and the Mary Poppins who helped her get through it all. 

Τρίτη, 21 Ιανουαρίου 2014

Captain Phillips (2013)

Director: Paul Greengrass
Writer: Billy Ray (screenplay), Richard Phillips (based upon the book "A Captain's Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALS, and Dangerous Days at Sea" by)
With: Tom Hanks, Barkhad Abdi, Barkhad Abdirahman
Duration: 134'
Country: USA

One of the movies that claim the title “Movie of the Year” has already six Oscar nominations for this year, along with Best Achievement in Film Editing, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay and Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role for Barkhad Abdi. Having almost 70 nominations, the movie has already claimed a position in the “favorites” list.

The screenplay (Billy Ray) of “Captain Phillips” is based on the the book “A Captain's Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALs, and Dangerous Days at Sea” (2010) by the real Richard Phillips who was taken hostage by Somali pirates in the Indian Ocean as part of the Maersk Alabama hijacking in 2009.

The US-flagged MV Maersk Alabama was the first American cargo ship to be hijacked in two hundred years as IMDB informs us on the movie's page, where it has scored 8, 1 so far. With most of the nominations gained for the performance of Tom Hanks and his co-star Barkhad Abdi, “Captain Phillips” has become everyone's favorite action thriller of the year.

We follow the extraordinary story of a captain who, while on duty in the Indian Ocean, his cargo ship was hijacked by Somali pirates. We watch with extreme precision how the captain realized the menace and how he managed to prevent the hijacking by using all means from his crew, the ship and his own head.

While proving to be prepared with solutions for preventing the incident, he is unaware of what will follow next. The horror and fear he will face in the hands of these “fishermen”, who are nothing more than poor men in need for money for the boss who rules their lives.

Muse, the leader of this mission thinks that he got lucky choosing an American cargo ship. He believes its crew and captain will obey his orders and hand him the ship's money. But he miscalculates and soon realizes nothing is going to be easy with this captain.

The story unravels slow revealing its characters feelings. While we observe the growing tension we cannot help but notice this peculiar relationship created between Captain Phillips and the leader of the hijackers, Muse. 

Looking at each other deep in the eye, they are trying to show who is in control. Muse wants to impose his domination over his own crew, but mostly over the captain. Captain Phillips though, wants to preserve his own authority and is trying to maintain a neutral attitude towards the pirates. And he also tries the same thing: to show his own crew that he still has control.

After some serious incidents, everyone realizes that things have changed into worse. The pirates act recklessly doing the unthinkable. They kidnap Captain Phillips for at least two days, while the American coast guard along with trained marines await the appropriate moment to attack and disarm or better, eliminate them.

The negotiations fail to come to a desirable result and the USA justs wants to get rid of the targets. The morality that is hidden behind all these, the power America shows over anything named as terrorism or pirates is overwhelming. If you stand in front of the Americans as an obstacle, they will do anything to take you down in the name of national security. The movie tries hard to remind us this.

All this tension unraveling throughout the movie, bursts out at the last sequence, where Captain Phillips collapses. And here is where the sublime performance by Tom Hanks takes place. Weak and confused he gives up, he falls apart, he loses the control he fought for. His vulnerability is magnificent on screen. 

DiCaprio managed to steal the 'Best Actor in a Leading Role' nomination from Hanks, and me being a fan of both of them, cannot help but think this: Hanks has already proven his value, while DiCaprio still fights for a position in the Oscar Hall of Fame. Well, maybe Leo will get it this time.

One thing I admire in Paul Greengrass's direction is that he managed without any Hollywood tricks and effects to exhibit this slow growing tension and succeed in giving us a thrilling action movie with great performances (don't forget Barkhad Abdi's nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role).

One of the feelings I cannot hide for this movie, is my deep sadness over those poor Somali people who had no choice but to hijack, threaten, kidnap just to survive. They live in a world so different, where they grow up under war conditions. Even though this movie focuses on a more American way of dealing with things, it still makes us wonder why these people have no choice but turn to crime.