11:30 p.m. July 31, 2022
Thirteen Lives (12A)
Hollywood is always on the hunt for a great true story. Thirteen Lives has one of the best – the one about the rescue of the Thai football team who became trapped in a flooded cave system.
It has it all: instant global recognition; true heroism; human nature at its best; triumph over impossible odds and a happy ending. Ron Howard’s dramatization does something these movies never do – it actually tells the story.
I don’t claim to be an authority on the events at Tham Luang Cave in 2018, but I’ve seen the splendid documentary about it, The Rescue, and Thirteen Lives covers the same events with admirable restraint. Thousands of people, mostly volunteers, contributed to the operation, but in the end the key to success was a group of quirky British cave divers and an Australian anesthetist who came up with a plan that none of between them thought they would succeed.
In Howard’s film, everyone’s contribution is recognized and nothing is sensational. The problem is that the film knows what it is not but is less sure of what it is. While one can approve of his factual approach, the result is a rather dry procedure. There are so many moments that should have more impact. For example, the discovery that the boys are still alive is oddly commonplace. Although everyone always tells us how treacherous the dives were, the movie doesn’t really give you a sense of its threat. Underwater images are so hazy that the visual impact of compressed space is reduced. I kept comparing it to the horror movie The Descent, about threatened women in a cave system, where the claustrophobia was so intense it was sickening.
And for all his desire to be straight and real, he still has the cliched Eureka moment when one of the divers, Rick Stanton (Mortenson) announces he’s got a crazy idea and his partner John Volanthen (Farrell) announces it. proclaims brilliant. That said, the acting is top-notch throughout. Both Farrell and Mortensen exaggerate the authentic English accent, but they nail the authentic English cussedness. You can imagine that they are both bitter and grumpy traders at a Sunday morning boot sale.
Directed by Ron Howard. With Colin Farrell, Viggo Mortensen, Joel Edgerton, Tom Bateman, Sahajak Boonthanakit and Pattrakorn Tungsupskul. In theaters and available on Amazon Prime starting August 5. Partially subtitled. Duration: 147 mins.
This compound of a true story chronicles the tragic love triangle behind the erection of Gustav’s Great Tower.
Having been made an honorary citizen of the United States for his part in the construction of the Statute of Liberty, Eiffel (Duris) is determined to get his design for a 300-meter tower approved and build it for the 1889 World’s Fair. But when he dazzles Adrienne (Mackey), his passionate past with the wife of his one of his main supporters threatens to derail the project.
This Eiffel is nothing; a dashing, frivolous, and beautifully put-together enterprise with impressive CGI that keeps itself busy; everything and everyone is always in motion. It’s like a musical without songs.
In the title role, Duris is a great showman, the unconventional charismatic genius never more than a few steps away from a grand gesture but always eclipsed by Mackey as the love of his life. She was asked to be vivacious, and although in her first scene unflattering makeup and lighting made her look like Hinge or Bracket, she provided more than enough vivaciousness to keep that Eiffel Tower aloft.
Directed by Martin Bourboulon. With Romain Duris, Emma Mackey, Pierre Deladonchamps, Amanda Boulanger and Jeremy Lopez. French with subtitles. In theaters from August 12. Duration: 108 mins.
Nightclub: the birth of punk rock in New York
NY punk rock: will it be the legendary CBGBs of Manhattan clubs? Ah, but according to the first titles, “the history of Punk Rock in New York is above all the history of two clubs”. This is the story of the other: Max’s Kansas City, a midtown Manhattan landmark from the mid-’60s to early ’80s.
His story is that of Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, Malcolm McLaren, Sid and Nancy, Debbie Harry and Patti Smith, Joey and Dee Dee of the Ramones. Unfortunately, their contributions to this documentary are limited to rough, grainy VHS recordings of their performances. Those who appear to be discussing the old days are a less famous selection: there are no Talking Heads among the Talking Heads.
Directed by Danny Garcia. With Alice Cooper, Jayne Country, Alan Vega, Billy Idol, Peter Crowley and Elliot Murphy. At the Rio Dalston from Friday to Sunday. Duration: 85 mins.
Go to http://www.halfmanhalfcritic.com/ for Johnnie To’s Running Out Of Time Parts 1&2 Eureka Masters of Cinema Blu-ray Release Review.