Captain Fantastic has a few cute moments, but overall it’s contrived and full of artifice. A completely broken film; generously, 4/10.
On a related note — I’ve talked before about annual trends, and there’s an interesting one that’s developed this year: that of tongue-in-cheek survival in the wilderness: So far, Hunt for the Wilderpeople was the most successful of these; besides Captain Fantastic there was Swiss Army Man.
* * *
Comparison Notes: Short Term 12
Stephanie Zacharek, Time:
…essentially the movie is really just two guys talking in the wilderness for 90 minutes
And that’s the problem with Swiss Army Man. I disagree with the 90 minutes part of that statement, but it’s certainly the case that the filmmakers too quickly ran out of ideas. Again, I know not everything can be Being John Malkovich as far as inventing new ideas, but still, you have to continue on with your movie. I can think of a number of interesting ways in which Swiss Army Man might have evolved, but the “Daniels” were content to stop short.
Even so, there’s enough fun novelty for a marginal thumbs-up. 6/10
Comparison Notes: the TV series The Greatest American Hero. It’s the 4th of July, after all.
Note on the trailer: it gives away too much; watch at your own risk.
Pretty photography captures a mostly silly, ridiculous film. When you’re trying to present a sober mortality play, you don’t want silly and ridiculous. 4/10
For some reason — maybe the poster artwork — I thought Metro Manila was going to be a highly stylized, slick action pic. But it’s hardly anything of the sort; rather, it is a brutal, straightforward depiction of a family attempting to survive abject poverty in a place where it is readily commonplace.
Especially regarding the wife, Metro Manila avoided plumbing the ultimate depths it might have. But make no mistake: this is a great, suspenseful foreign indie. 8/10
ROBERT REDFORD STARS in a nearly dialogue-free tale of survival aboard a sinking sailboat in the middle of the Indian Ocean. All Is Lost is straightforward and simple but effective. I had a couple issues with this movie — I would have liked a little more depth, a point of transcendence — Runaway Train with Jon Voight and Eric Roberts flashes in my mind — and I picked up on a couple storyline glitches.
Redford delivers an impressive physical acting job that demonstrates he could handle probably any role thrown his way; maybe we’ll see more of him now? Not likely, but who knows.
As I suspected aforehand, there are strong similarities between Gravity and All Is Lost — but Gravity is the better movie. All Is Lost is good but not great. If the trailer appeals to you then don’t miss it. 7/10