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On My Watch List: The Butler, Rush, Gravity and Captain Phillips

– Posted in: Film Review

The Butler was good like Luna bars are good (i.e., super tasty but you won’t mistake this for dessert). I appreciated The Butler, but didn’t enjoy it. Of course, the subject matter is super difficult to tackle and the film did an admirable job here, successfully navigating the delicate line between being too preachy and romanticizing uncomfortable subject matter. Still, it was no Life Is Beautiful. I was never swept away into the story of The Butler, as I was with Life Is Beautiful. I couldn’t shake the feeling I was in history class, albeit with a very engaging teacher. Maybe it would have helped not to cast Oprah – some people are just too big to play everyday people. (See my musings on celebrities and horror movies for this reason!). So, yes, see The Butler, if nothing else than to participate in what should be good water cooler talk at the office, and try Luna bars too.

Rush is my favorite of the fall movies so far. I loved it so much I covered it for my Forbes column. It’s about as non-diverse as it can be, but hey, it’s race car driving in the 70’s. So enough said for the FBC Films blog, except that I do recommend it.

Gravity is another science fiction movie where the minority quota is filled by a faceless, story-less ambiguously ethnic character who dies quickly. I have to disagree with all the rave reviews and not just for the diversity issue, but just because I got bored with the film after the first few minutes. If you want to feel like you’re in space, I strongly recommend the Star Tours ride at Disneyland. If you want to read more about Gravity, I strong recommend this witty review by Rhonda Talbot.

Captain Phillips features a powerhouse performance by Barkhad Abdi, who I will watch in any other movie just to see what else he can do. Tom Hanks is also as good as always. The film is thrilling without being graphic or exploitative. If you want to save money, wait for the DVD – I don’t think this warrants big screen treatment.

 

Coming up for me: Nebraska and The Fifth Estate. What do you recommend for the fall movie line-up?

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