With another noisy and bombastic summer movie season behind us, two new superb adult dramas hit theaters this month.
Gravity - Alfonso Cuaron's cutting-edge space thriller is more than just a technological marvel; it's an emotionally wrenching tale about finding the will to survive against all odds. The filmmakers bravely build their story exclusively around Sandra Bullock's tour-de-force performance. Told in fluid, mesmerizing long takes and backed by an incredibly atmospheric score by Steven Price, Gravity is a movie unlike any other you'll see this year.
Captain Phillips - Another intense docu-drama from Paul Greengrass (United 93), Captain Phillips boasts what may be Tom Hanks restrained, empathetic performance in decades. With Greengrass at the helm, you can expect that there won't be a moment of screen time that won't have you on the edge of your seat. The screenwriters take time to humanize the invading pirates (led by newcomer Barkhad Abdi), which mades the ensuing conflict all the more intense because of the clearly established motivations. The film builds to an unbearably tense and emotional climax, making the audience ultimately feel as worn out as the title character.
Some other dramas currently playing for adults:
Rush - Ron Howard's Formula One drama tells the absorbing tale of the feud between James Hunt and Nicky Lauda. By keeping the story's focus narrowed tightly on these rivals, the movie holds our interest largely thanks its lead performances. Ron Howard can't resist indulging in over-length and the occasional sports cliche, but as long as the two leads hold the screen the movie plays. In terms of film craft, it's one of the more impressive-looking Ron Howard films out there.
Prisoners - This bleak kidnapping drama is 2/3 of really great movie, until the final act slides off the rails. Hugh Jackman gives one of his best performances as a Dad on the verge of becoming a vigilante, and the entire film has an imposing yet highly watchable quality. Worth seeing just for the scenes between Jackman and Paul Dano.