John Smithson

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127 Hours Review

Danny Boyle brings his considerable filmmaking energy to bear on this claustrophobic true story, and the result is a bracing thriller that puts us right into the mind of a man trapped in an unthinkable situation.

In April 2003, adventure sportsman Aron Ralston (Franco) heads into Utah's Blue John Canyon for a day of hiking. He meets two girls (Mara and Tamblyn) along the way, and stops to show them a cool underwater lake. Then he heads on his own into a narrow slit in the earth where a bolder falls and pins his right arm against the wall. Unable to move, he spends the next five days pondering for the first time his own humanity and mortality. And after trying everything imaginable, he only has one option left.

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Deep Water Review

With The Amazing Race through its tenth season, the concept of racing around the world for a prize isn't exactly groundbreaking. In 1968, however, people were startled by the idea of sailing around the world. In documentary form, Deep Water recounts the first round-the-world boat race, and the tragic adventures of a one man who stood up to the challenge.

In 1968, The Sunday Times announced the first non-stop, round-the-world sailing competition. Anyone who attempted a continuous circumnavigation was automatically entered. The first man to the finish line would receive the Golden Globe; the second a cash prize.

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Touching The Void Review

If you need convincing about the virtues of good conditioning, see this documentary. Without its subjects' extreme fitness the outcome of this mountaineering adventure would have been far different, more disastrous, and likely not told.

But it is told, and by the survivors of a climb that holds you spellbound in the expectation of grave misfortune even as you know how it will turn out because its talking heads are the adventurers themselves. As the film progresses, you keep expecting a camera pullback to reveal lost limbs and paraplegic narrators.

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