I want to start off by wishing everyone a happy and safe fourth of July. While yesterday’s film was loosely based on a true story, today’s film Everest claims to be based on a true story of the 1996 tragedy. Ever since the first person to successfully climb Mount Everest, the tallest mountain in the world, Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary in 1953, people have been obsessed by making the climb which is 29,000 plus feet in the air. In 1996, Rob Hall (Jason Clarke) led an expedition to the top of Mount Everest, but what was supposed to be a triumphant occasion quickly went south. While up at the top of the summit, a wild and crazy storm hits the mountain forcing all the men to fight for their lives as they try to make the trek back down the mountain. The film also stars Josh Brolin (No Country For Old Men) as Beck Weathers, Jake Gyllenhaal (Zodiac) as Scott Fischer, Sam Worthington (Terminator: Salvation) as Guy Cotter, Emily Watson (Red Dragon) as Helen Wilton, Tim Dantay (Summer) as John Taske, Michael Kelly (Now You See Me) as John Krakauer, Naoko Mori (Spice World) as Yasuko Namba, John Hawkes (Lincoln) as Doug Hansen, Martin Henderson (The Ring) as Andy Harris, Keira Knightley (Domino) as Jan Hall, and the film was directed by Baltasar Kormákur (2 Guns).
Before I get into what is fact and what is fiction about a film that clearly says that it’d BASED on a true story, I wanted to say that I really loved the film. There were way too many names to list in the above paragraph, but this was just an excellent film with excellent performances all around. Jason Clarke is a superstar and is becoming one of my favorites in the business and you can’t go wrong with the performances from Jake Gyllenhaal or Josh Brolin. It was truly an all star cast in my opinion in a film that could have gone one or two ways. This could have been a boring film about mountain climbing, but it ended up being a story about the power of belief and the will of man. These men faced unbelievable odds while climbing the mountain and while I said what was supposed to be a day of triumph turned into tragedy. Apparently John Krakauer has said this about the film, “It’s total bull … Anyone who goes to that movie and wants a fact-based account should read Into Thin Air.” After watching the film, he was annoyed at the notion that he never attempted to help anyone on the rescue mission, he says, “I never had that conversation. Anatoli came to several tents, and not even Sherpas could go out. I’m not saying I could have, or would have. What I’m saying is, no one came to my tent and asked.” To read the rest of the article, click here. There is always going to be differentiating opinions on what really happened in a film, you just have to take it or leave it. I shed some tears at certain parts of the film that I won’t give away, but it has to do with Rob and his wife Jan. Check out the film on HBO or HBOGO right now. I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade.
When it comes to creature features and wonders of the world of fiction, there have been none greater than the likes of King Kong since his debut in 1933. He definitely began the world’s obsession with larger than life creatures and characters. In 2005, Peter Jackson (The Lord Of The Rings) would direct this remake that starred Jack Black (Orange County) as director Carl Denham. Carl needs to create a movie that is unlike anything the world has seen, but the studio doesn’t believe in him. Naomi Watts (The Ring) stars as struggling actress Ann Darrow who is just looking for a big break. The two will eventually run into each other and she is hired to star in his film. The only problem is that the film is to be filmed on an island that no one has been to and they bite off more than they can chew when the eight wonder of the world shows up. The film also stars Adrien Brody (The Jacket) as Jack Driscoll, Thomas Kretschmann (Wanted) as Captain Englehorn, Colin Hanks (Orange County) as Preston, Andy Serkis (Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes) as Kong, Evan Parke (Django Unchained) as Hayes, Jamie Bell (The Fantastic Four) as Jimmy, Kyle Chandler (The Wolf Of Wall Street) as Bruce Baxter, and John Sumner (District 9) as Herb.
I still have yet to see the original 1933 classic that actually has King Kong listed as an actor in the film. The only other version I have seen is the 1976 version that starred Jeff Bridges and Jessica Lange. The one thing you can guarantee when it comes to watching this film is that the special effects are going to be amazing compared to any other version before it. The CGI alone makes this a version worth watching because they can do so much more with the film then they were able to do in the past. One of my favorite things about this film is when they are actually on Skull Island because that is where the fun and adventure is in this film. From the crazy looking natives to all the creatures that inhabit Skull Island like giant spiders, dinosaurs, and so much more creepy crawlers. The fight scene between Kong and the three T-Rex’s is absolutely amazing and one of my favorites. This is actually one of many films where Jack Black flexes his acting abilities and shows us he doesn’t have to be an imbecile all the time on screen to entertain people. Adrien Brody does a terrific job in the film as well as Naomi Watts, the beauty that kills the beast. They have the iconic climbing of the skyscraper scene in this film and it’s superb as well as other iconic shots. This was definitely a cool movie that I enjoyed and I can not wait for Kong: Skull Island to come out in 2017. I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade. Check it out on Showtime or Showtime Anywhere right now.
I never got the chance back in the day to check out the film Smokin’ Aces which looked like a bad ass movie. That is until today and that is why I am presenting it to you guys as today’s challenge film. Buddy Israel (Jeremy Piven) was a wannabe gangster Las Vegas performer who decides to turn snitch for the FBI against a rival crime family. Now he needs protection because a hit has been put on his life to make sure that he never gets the chance to snitch. The hitmen are coming from everywhere and anywhere to try and collect on it, but the FBI has to get to him to get him out before the hitmen come. The film also stars Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool) as Richard Messner, Ray Liotta (Goodfellas) as Donald Carruthers, Joseph Ruskin (The Scorpion King) as Primo Sparazza, Ben Affleck (Dogma) as Jack Dupree, Peter Berg (Collateral) as “Pistol” Pete Deeks, Martin Henderson (The Ring) as Hollis, Common (Run All Night) as Sir Ivy, Andy Garcia (The Godfather Part III) as Stanley Locke, Alicia Keys as Georgia, Taraji P. Henson (Date Night) as Sharice, Chris Pine (Star Trek) as Darwin Tremor, Kevin Durand (X-Men Origins: Wolverine) as Jeeves Tremor, Tommy Flanagan (Sons Of Anarchy) as Lazlo, Joel Edgerton (The Gift) as Hugo, and so many more.
This movie has a wild and crazy collection of a cast that includes a mix of 80’s, 90’s, and the stars of today all rolled into one awesome cast. Matthew Fox plays the head of security of the casino/hotel, Jason Bateman plays a weird lawyer, Curtis Armstrong who played Booger in Revenge Of The Nerds is in this movie as well. Chris Pine plays an insane character who belongs in a Mad Max movie which shows you how over the top insane and awesome this film was. One thing is for certain, you never have to question Jeremy Piven and his performance because he is a top notch actor that delivers. Ryan Reynolds doesn’t really open up in the film until the last half of the film, but when he does he also delivers. He certainly does in this film as a drugged out paranoid wannabe mob boss. The action in the film at one point becomes non stop as double crosses and hots just keep coming. I will say one thing if you have never seen the movie you may think it’s over at one point, but the ending of the film may shock you. There is a lot that is revealed and of course I will not spoil it for any of you. I really liked this movie and I have to be honest and say that I went into it with no expectations and it paid off. It was tough to decide a grade for this film because it lies on the B+/A- border and that’s how I’ll keep it.