Broadsheet Movie Barometer



EVEREST (121 minutes, 12A) Directed by Baltazar Kormákur. Starring Jason Clarke, Josh Brolin, John Hawkes.

Everest is Icelandic director Baltazar Kormákur’s dramatization of the 1996 Mount Everest disaster; the deadliest day of the mountain’s history until the recent earthquake in Nepal. If you equate disaster movies with extinction-level annihilation, then recalibrate your expectations. By the recent standards of the genre, Everest is a slow burner. Kormákur doesn’t grab you by the ears, shove your head into carnage and shake your brain loose like Roland Emmerich or Michael Bay. But the human drama is somewhat diminished by a gaping hole in the narrative where the “why” should be. The question of what motivated these individuals to shell out huge money for a holiday with a fatality rate of one in four is left unanswered. I suppose you could say the same about a peak-season trip to Corfu. The impressive ensemble cast do their best under impossible conditions, but it’s difficult to emote in a blizzard. Besides, the real star of Everest is the mountain itself. Kormákur utilises the breath-taking alien landscape to the fullest, and delivers some intensely exhilarating sequences and haunting scenarios. Everest is a grand cinematic spectacle. Put the phone away and watch it on the biggest screen you can find.

Walk in the Woods

A WALK IN THE WOODS (104 minutes, 15A) Directed by Ken Kwapis. Starring Robert Redford, Nick Nolte, Kristen Schaal.

Next to the gargantuan Everest, A Walk in the Woods is a gentle Sunday stroll. Based on Bill Bryson’s memoir, Robert Redford plays the curmudgeonly travel writer as he attempts to walk the 2000-plus mile Appalachian Trail. His wife (Emma Thompson) is understandably concerned (“Can’t you just do this in the Volvo?”) and insists that he brings a companion on this absurd, ill-fated journey. The only blast from Bryson’s past willing to entertain the notion is the wheezing, overweight Stephen Katz (Nick Nolte). Katz is a force of nature bewildered by doors, chairs and other trappings of civilisation. The great outdoors is equally perplexing to Katz, as Nolte wanders through the film like a man capable of breaking nature itself. A Walk in the Woods is too whimsical and slight to provoke any extreme reactions, but it’s impossible to dislike. Redford has nothing left to prove and delivers a subtle, understated performance. The gentle comedy never tries too hard, and the begrudging camaraderie between Bryson and Katz develops in a manner refreshingly free from sentiment. A Walk in the Woods is a pleasant, inoffensive diversion.

D Train

THE D TRAIN (101 Minutes, 15A) Directed by Jarrad Paul & Andrew Mogul. Starring Jack Black, James Marsden, Kathryn Hahn.

Unpopular loser Dan (Jack Black) tries to gain the approval of people he hasn’t seen in over 20 years by convincing the most popular guy from high school (James Marsden) to attend an upcoming reunion. For some inexplicable reason, this involves the heterosexual family man engaging in some consensual afternoon delight with said popular guy. It’s probably best not to overthink this one – heaven knows that neither of the two writer/directors did. That guff such as this is being produced by Ealing Studios is positively inconceivable. Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Sad, desperate and pathetic, The D Train is best avoided altogether. Just like a real school reunion.

Also on release from tomorrow : Tangerines, Horse Money.

Mark Ryall will criticise movies for food. See for a closer look at some of this week’s new releases.

19 thoughts on “Broadsheet Movie Barometer

  1. Tucker Done

    Yes how the mighty have fallen indeed – can you imagine that D Train came from the same place as “St Trinian’s 2: The Legend of Fritton’s Gold”.

    1. Frilly Keane

      Really. Mr D’Arcy’s in that. So ya know.
      Always one ta’watch

      That Back Black lad has just out grown his gag at this stage
      So you could expect stuff he’s in to be fairly D list

    1. Clampers Outside!

      No, not likely.

      But I’d go to the base camp and bring a ladder.

      “That’ll do pig” I’d say when it’s height is fully extended, and everyone would think it’s cool. They would! And then when I’m leaving I’d gift them the ladder. And, and all the hardy types up there at base camp would smile politely at me.
      And then, then they could go on long journeys across the ice and when crevices appear, one of them could remove the ladder from his ladder carrying camels to place it across the crevice so everyone could get to the other side.
      They can, they can, then can then carry on and it’d be there for the return journey, at which point one of them would say “that’ll do pig” as they all remember the gift they got from Clampers.

      And they’d all, they’d all, well, the men, the women, and the people under 4ft 4″ would ski down the hill on electric green environmentally friendly jet pack powered snow boards while the camels made tandem snow walkers from the now seperated two lengths of laddering so that they could walk down the face together.
      THE END

  2. andydufresne2011

    “The question of what motivated these individuals to shell out huge money for a holiday with a fatality rate of one in four is left unanswered.”

    Having gone through a period of being fascinated by all things everest for a long time, I can say that, in a way, why they do it is kind of irrelevant (‘because it’s there’ kind of covers it). People do it for the challenge and because, given the right weather conditions and if you have the money, it’s actually doable for most reasonably fit people. The mountain is the thing. As soon as people are on it they get ‘summit fever’ and their reasons for doing it go out the window. The more you find out about everest and the people who climb it the more their motivations become secondary. It is the highest graveyard in the world. The top part is called the death zone. You literally start to die once you enter it. What more do you need to know? Actually the fatality rate is more like 1 in 8.

    1. Mark Ryall

      1 in 4 was the statistic quoted in the movie. As Mr. T pointed out, those people had families waiting for them. it just seems to me like a very selfish and expensive thing to do, and the film sidesteps that issue.

    2. Spaghetti Hoop

      I too read a lot about the early attempts and climbs. (Yes I believe Mallory and Irvine made it). But today’s climbers seem very egotist and not in the name of geographical exploration as they were last century. Look at the amount of solo expeditions – that’s just nuts.

  3. Frilly Keane

    Oh me Oh Robert Redford

    Was he ever in an unwatchable fillum?

    Oh jaysus he was lovoly in that

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