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If you haven’t seen Captain Phillips yet, buy a ticket for this weekend right now (we can wait). Aside from it being one of this year’s best films, its also becoming one of this year’s controversial movies.

Captain Phillips tells the true story of the hijacking of the ship Maersk Alabama, and how Captain Phillips heroically sacrificed himself to save his crew.

Of course like any Hollywood movie, the events are dramatized to make them more cinematic, but most of the facts in the film stay true to Phillips’ account of the story. The only problem is, Phillips wasn’t the only one there, and now his ship’s crew has come out publicly to dispute the events and even blame Phillips for the whole mess. Of course, the crew is currently in a lawsuit with  Maersk Line and the Waterman Steamship Corp. for almost $50 million, alleging “willful, wanton and conscious disregard for their safety.” And yes, Phillips is a witness for the defense. So there may be other motives in these comments.

Yesterday director Paul Greengrass was on Reddit doing an AMA (Ask Me Anything) when he was confronted with the recent reports. What did Greengrass say in response? Find out after the jump.

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At this point, there probably aren’t many people who expect a feature film to be a 100% accurate depiction of events, even when it proclaims that it is based on a true story. The idea of dramatic license is well-understood, but there’s always a related question: when does dramatic license steer a project too far away from reality?

It’s one thing to make a film based on disputed story accounts, as is the case with The Fifth Estate, which subject Julian Assange has disowned as “based on a deceitful book by someone who has a vendetta against me and my organisation [sic].” But is it another to remap events so broadly that they deviate wildly from fact, even if the intent behind the changes is good?

In Captain Phillips, Paul Greengrass and screenwriter Billy Ray, along with the cast and crew, use the story of the hijacking of the ship Maersk Alabama to tell a story about two men who represent different lives and cultures. It’s a great story, and it uses the story of Captain Phillips and the Maersk Alabama to raise very specific points and questions. But there’s one problem: some of the ship’s crew says the film doesn’t represent Phillips properly, and it paints a very incorrect picture of events.  Read More »

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Dave and Devindra are joined by Dan Trachtenberg to discuss what makes a genre film great, and also take another look at Gravity’s deceptively simple yet emotionally complex script. Also, Dan makes a shocking revelation about how many times he’s watched Kickboxer.

You can always e-mail us at slashfilmcast(AT)gmail(DOT)com, or call and leave a voicemail at 781-583-1993. Also, like us on Facebook!
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Captain Phillips is not an inaccurate title for Paul Greengrass‘ latest movie, but it is an incomplete one. While the drama does indeed chronicle the 2009 hijacking of the Maersk Alabama from the point of view of the titular hostage, this isn’t really an epic about a brave captain battling vicious pirates. (Or not just that, anyway.) It’s a tragedy about two men caught in a very desperate situation.

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VOTD: ‘Tom Hanks: The Movie’ Supercut

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This weekend’s Captain Phillips doesn’t spend too much time dwelling on its protagonist’s history, but maybe that’s because it doesn’t need to. Maybe we’ve already spent the past twenty years watching it play out.

A new supercut suggests that Tom Hanks has spent most of his career starring in one really long film called Tom Hanks: The Movie that follows its hero from college to the battlefield to outer space to the open seas. Check it out after the jump.

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Captain Phillips

These days, the word “piracy” more readily brings to mind tech-savvy downloaders scouring Google than dangerous criminals sailing the high seas. But in 2009, the capture of the MV Maersk Alabama by Somali pirates served as an unhappy reminder that the latter kind haven’t entirely disappeared.

Paul GreengrassCaptain Phillips chronicles the dramatic hijacking and the events that followed, with Tom Hanks in the title role. The newest international trailer features just as much intense action as the earlier domestic ones have, but also offers some more insight into Phillips’ personal life. Check it out after the jump.

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Tom Hanks stars in Captain Phillips, the new film from United 93 director Paul Greengrass. He’s the captain of the ship Maersk Alabama, which was hijacked by Somali pirates in 2009. The first trailer showed the beginning of that hijacking, but this second trailer is more detailed and intense as it shows the actions and personalities of Phillips and the pirate leader, and hints at the military response to the situation.

Check out the trailer below. Read More »

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One word comes to mind watching the first trailer for Paul Greengrass‘ latest film Captain Phillips: Intense. Few filmmakers are better at creating incredible tension and drama out of real world situations, and it appears the director of United 93, Bloody Sunday and two Bourne movies has done it again. This time he’s joined by Oscar-winner Tom Hanks, who plays the title character in the true story of an unarmed American freighter ship hijacked by Somali pirates.

The film, which co-stars Catherine Keener, John Magaro and others, will but out October 11. Check out the trailer below. Read More »

Briefly: Sony has just announced release dates for two very different projects I’d very nearly forgotten about. Variety reports that Paul Greengrass‘ reality-based Somali pirate tale Captain Phillips is now slated for a March 22, 2013 opening, while Salim Akil‘s music-themed drama Sparkle will hit August 10, 2012.

The former stars Tom Hanks as real-life hero Captain Richard Phillips, who offered himself as a hostage to Somali pirates in exchange for the safety of his cargo ship’s crew. Adapted by Billy Ray (State of Play) from Phillips’ memoir A Captain’s Duty, Captain Phillips comes from The Social Network producers Scott Rudin, Michael De Luca, Dana Brunetti, and Kevin Spacey. The March 2013 date pits Captain Phillips against DreamWorks Animation’s The Croods, which is aimed at a younger demographic.

Akil’s Sparkle is a remake of the 1976 drama of the same title, and is a fictionalized take on the story of Diana Ross and The Supremes. Starring Jordin Sparks, Derek Luke, and Whitney Houston (in her first big-screen role since 1996’s The Preacher’s Wife), the film will feature original music from R. Kelly. Sparkle‘s August release coincides with the opening two rather dissimilar films — Jonathan Levine’s zombie romance Warm Bodies and Jay Roach’s political comedy Dog Fight.

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