03rd May2016

In the Heart of the Sea (DVD)

by timbaros

Image 20-12-2015 at 19.40Ron Howard and Chris Hemsworth, director and star of 2013’s hit film ‘Rush,’ have teamed up again to bring us a film that can only be described as the epic action adventure film of the year. It’s ‘In the Heart of the Sea.’

‘Rush’ was the true story of two Formula One racing rivals, and the film had lots of pulse racing car races. ‘In the Heart of the Sea’ does it better by telling the real-life maritime disaster that would inspire Herman Melville’s book ‘Moby Dick,’ – the whale that roamed around in the Pacific ocean and caused the deaths of many shipmen. ‘In the Heart of the Sea’ reveals the aftermath of the ship’s crews disastrous meeting with the whale, how they survived at sea for over 100 days, braved storms, starvation, blazing sun and doing the unthinkable, to survive. It’s a movie that could’ve been sunk by any other director, but Howard, who also directed ‘Apollo 13′ and ‘Beautiful Mind,’ superbly directs this film which is based on Nathaniel Philbrick’s best-selling 2000 book ‘In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex.’

The cast and crew make this film a believable tale of a whaling ship called the ‘Essex’ that goes out to sea in search of whales for oil. It’s led by inexperienced captain George Pollard (Benjamin Walker), but First Mate Owen Chase (Hemsworth) is more qualified than him to be in charge of the ship. Cillian Murphy plays Second Mate Matthew Joy. ‘In the Heart of the Sea’ is told not through the eyes of any of these men but it’s told by seaman Tom Nickerson, who was 14-years old when he was on the crew of the Essex. He relays this epic story to novelist Herman Melville (Ben Whishaw) 30 years later. Melville would go on to write a book about the catastrophic event called ‘Moby Dick.’

While ‘Moby Dick’ is a work of fiction, ‘In the Heart of the Sea’ brings to life the true epic journey that begins in 1820 in New England when the whaling ship Essex leaves it’s port to embark on a journey that would find it sailing to the southernmost tip of South America, where it would encounter a whale the size of enormous proportions. It’s a whale that turns on them, and soon enough the hunters become the hunted. And there’s tension between Pollard and Chase; Chase being the more experienced seaman leads the ship’s crew almost every step of the way, however Pollard’s inexperience causes him to make some bad decisions, decisions which endanger the lives of the crew. It’s up to Second Mate Joy to try and smooth the waters between them. And also on the boat is the young 14-year old Nickerson (played by Tom Holland), experiencing his first whaling expedition, and probably the first time out on his own. He’s witness to the catastrophic unfurling events that take place on the boat, not just the life-threatening encounters with the whale, but also being on a lifeboat, with the other men, on the open seas, and surviving to tell the tale. Thirty years later, as the last survivor of the Essex, he’s reluctant to relive the story, but Melville, in the film’s fictional account, get’s Nickerson to tell his story. And what a story it is.

‘In The Heart of the Sea’ is an incredible journey of survival and and the lengths a man is willing to go to save his own life and the lives of others. We are literally transported to another time and place, and for 121 minutes (which fly by), we are taken on a ride that is very convincing and unforgettable. Hemsworth does a fine job as Chase, rugged good looks notwithstanding. Murphy ups the acting stakes as the loyal and determined Second Mate Joy – he’s loyal and has a strong will to live but luck is not on his side. And the whale; it’s a living presence in the film. It’s always lurking in the background, and it looks very real. But credit goes to Howard for allowing us to be swept up into the drama and action as it’s happening. ‘In the Heart of the Sea’ is one of the best films of the year.

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29th Dec2015

In the Heart of the Sea (Film)

by timbaros

Image 20-12-2015 at 19.40Ron Howard and Chris Hemsworth, director and star of 2013’s hit film ‘Rush,’ have teamed up again to bring us a film that can only be described as the epic action adventure film of the year. It’s ‘In the Heart of the Sea.’

‘Rush’ was the true story of two Formula One racing rivals, and the film had lots of pulse racing car races. ‘In the Heart of the Sea’ does it better by telling the real-life maritime disaster that would inspire Herman Melville’s book ‘Moby Dick,’ – the whale that roamed around in the Pacific ocean and caused the deaths of many shipmen. ‘In the Heart of the Sea’ reveals the aftermath of the ship’s crews disastrous meeting with the whale, how they survived at sea for over 100 days, braved storms, starvation, blazing sun and doing the unthinkable, to survive. It’s a movie that could’ve been sunk by any other director, but Howard, who also directed ‘Apollo 13′ and ‘Beautiful Mind,’ superbly directs this film which is based on Nathaniel Philbrick’s best-selling 2000 book ‘In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex.’

The cast and crew make this film a believable tale of a whaling ship called the ‘Essex’ that goes out to sea in search of whales for oil. It’s led by inexperienced captain George Pollard (Benjamin Walker), but First Mate Owen Chase (Hemsworth) is more qualified than him to be in charge of the ship. Cillian Murphy plays Second Mate Matthew Joy. ‘In the Heart of the Sea’ is told not through the eyes of any of these men but it’s told by seaman Tom Nickerson, who was 14-years old when he was on the crew of the Essex. He relays this epic story to novelist Herman Melville (Ben Whishaw) 30 years later. Melville would go on to write a book about the catastrophic event called ‘Moby Dick.’

While ‘Moby Dick’ is a work of fiction, ‘In the Heart of the Sea’ brings to life the true epic journey that begins in 1820 in New England when the whaling ship Essex leaves it’s port to embark on a journey that would find it sailing to the southernmost tip of South America, where it would encounter a whale the size of enormous proportions. It’s a whale that turns on them, and soon enough the hunters become the hunted. And there’s tension between Pollard and Chase; Chase being the more experienced seaman leads the ship’s crew almost every step of the way, however Pollard’s inexperience causes him to make some bad decisions, decisions which endanger the lives of the crew. It’s up to Second Mate Joy to try and smooth the waters between them. And also on the boat is the young 14-year old Nickerson (played by Tom Holland), experiencing his first whaling expedition, and probably the first time out on his own. He’s witness to the catastrophic unfurling events that take place on the boat, not just the life-threatening encounters with the whale, but also being on a lifeboat, with the other men, on the open seas, and surviving to tell the tale. Thirty years later, as the last survivor of the Essex, he’s reluctant to relive the story, but Melville, in the film’s fictional account, get’s Nickerson to tell his story. And what a story it is.

‘In The Heart of the Sea’ is an incredible journey of survival and and the lengths a man is willing to go to save his own life and the lives of others. We are literally transported to another time and place, and for 121 minutes (which fly by), we are taken on a ride that is very convincing and unforgettable. Hemsworth does a fine job as Chase, rugged good looks notwithstanding. Murphy ups the acting stakes as the loyal and determined Second Mate Joy – he’s loyal and has a strong will to live but luck is not on his side. And the whale; it’s a living presence in the film. It’s always lurking in the background, and it looks very real. But credit goes to Howard for allowing us to be swept up into the drama and action as it’s happening. ‘In the Heart of the Sea’ is one of the best films of the year.

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12th Oct2015

Suffragette (Film)

by timbaros

110414SH_18307.nefThe plight of the British women who fought for the right to vote is beautifully told in the excellent film ‘Suffragette.’

‘Suffragette’ is told through the eyes Maud Watts (Carey Mulligan) in London, 1912. She works in a local factory, the Glass House Laundry in Bethnal Green, is married to fellow factory worker Sonny Watts (Ben Whishaw) and they have a young son. Watts has actually been a part of the factory since she was very young: her mother worked in the same factory and would strap her to her back when she went to work. Her mother died when she was four and Maud started working part-time there at the age of 7. At the age of 12, she started working full-time. She’s now a lead washer where she makes 13 schillings a week (compared to the salary a man is paid for the same job – 19 schillings a week). Watts has also been sexually molested by the hard core boss Norman Taylor (Geoff Bell). One day Watts is asked to accompany another women who’s to speak at Parliament about women’s working conditions and a bill to give women the right to vote. Watts wasn’t supposed to speak, but the other woman, Mrs. Violet Miller (Anne-Marie Duff) had been beaten up and didn’t look presentable, so Watts is thrust into giving the preprepared speech. Watts speaks from her heart, and from her experience, ignoring the script that was written. This lights something within Watts and turns her into an activist. She gets more more disgusted at the lack of women’s rights, and even more so when she sees young factory worker Maggie Miller (Grace Stotter), Violet’s daughter, being groped by Taylor in his office. Taylor is a sexual predator who believe women have no rights, and he tells Watts to ‘leave the vote to us.’

But Watts’ pleas to Parliament are not enough. They say that there is not enough evidence to support the bill. The women rebel in front of the Houses of Parliament; many are thrown to the ground by the police with little regard for the women’s safety. Some, including Watts, and fellow protestor Edith Ellyn (Helena Bonham Carter), are sent to jail, where they are humiliatingly stripped naked. But this doesn’t deter them, and this leads to Watts becoming a member of the ever increasing suffragettes – a group of women working full-time to advance the rights of women. The Suffragettes are led by Emmeline Pankhurst (Meryl Streep) – a woman who has given up her life to further the cause. She’s also in hiding for fear of getting arrested for leading the movement (during those times women had very little rights). Determined police inspector Arthur Steed (Brendan Gleeson) puts the women under surveillance – he won’t let them carry on with their protesting and letter box bombings – he wants them all arrested, especially Pankhurst, and calls the women the “East London ladies.” But Pankhurst rallies the women – she tells them at a gathering in a speech from a balcony “We would rather be lawmakers, not lawbreakers.” The women continue their protesting, even resorting to bombing an M.P.’s house, just to get their message across. But Watts eventually loses more than what she bargained for, but she’s more determined than ever to fight for the cause.

‘Suffragette’ tracks the foot soldiers of the early UK feminist movement, working class women who were forced to go into hiding to pursue equality. They were willing to risk, in their fight, their jobs, homes, families, and for some of them, their lives. And it’s a great movie. The film lies heavily on the shoulders of Mulligan’s portrayal of her character, a fictional character but someone who we route for every step of the way. It’s an unflawed performance that hopefully will see Mulligan receive an Academy Award nomination. Streep, who shares top billing, is only in the film for less than five minutes, but her character’s presence is felt all throughout the movie. Carter is perfectly cast as the local pharmacist and fellow activist, with a husband who supports her every step of the way. Carter is actually the great-granddaughter of Herbert Asquith – the Prime Minister during the time this movie takes place. Director Sarah Gavron (Brick Lane), working from a script by Abi Morgan (The Iron Lady), successfully and beautifully blends in actual footage of the real protestors into the film, in a film that effectively uses dark lighting and unglamorous costumes to set the mood of the times. And while the plot may be familiar (the recent Made in Dagenham follows a similar plotline), ‘Suffragette’ is an important film to highlight what women did to get equal rights. And we have to be reminded that they are still fighting, and in some countries around the world (Saudi Arabia), women still have very little or no rights.

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