When surfing legend Frosty Hesson pulled a drowning 8-year-old boy out of the water while he was surfing, he was unaware that their bond would develop and change their lives forever. Seven years later, Jay Moriarty is a teenager and an enthusiastic surfing amateur. Jay is estranged from his father and sees the aloof Frosty as his idol who first inspired him to ride the waves. One day, he discovers that the mythological surf break, Mavericks, is more than just a story; it's real and a matter of miles away from where he lives in Santa Cruz, California. He is determined to ride the massive waves at Half Moon Bay to the extreme worry of Frosty who cannot bear to see Jay at risk again. When Jay's mother tells Frosty that nothing he says will stop Jay riding the wave, he decides that he will instead train him to survive it with a variety of intense exercises. They soon come to release that their journey is no longer about surfing, but about freedom and believing in yourself.
Continue: Chasing Mavericks Trailer
C. S. Lewis's Epic tale continues this December with the third cinematic instalment from The Chronicles Of Narnia, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.
49 Up marks a return to basics and fine form. It's a more thoughtful documentary about life in England, and a better-organized one than the past entries. Finally, for the first time in years, the stories are told with grace and power, and the film really sucks you in. Now that Apted is in his 60s and he's hitting Up with its seventh installment, maybe he's finally determined the best way to present this material.
Continue reading: 49 Up Review
The 40-minute Seven Up! introduces the kids briefly, then promptly ends. The films that would follow: 7 Plus Seven, 21 Up, 28 Up, 35 Up, and finally 42 Up, duly check in with our kids to see where they've gotten to in life. (All six films are now available on a box set DVD edition.) But the problem with the Up series is that nothing changes in the lives of these kids year after year. They get older, and as expected their dreams of being movie stars and astronauts fade into more recognizable realities. And maybe this is part of the momentum of the British class system -- but no one dramatically leaps out of poverty, and no wealthy children ever fall from lofty heights. (Perhaps this series would have been more interesting if made in a more socially fluid country?)
Continue reading: Seven Up! Review
The ostensible highlight here -- as Apted probes the titular "inspirations" for his collection of musicians, painters, sculptors, architects, and choreographers -- are interviews with renowned painter Roy Lichenstein and famous musician David Bowie. Unfortunately, their inspirations are not terribly compelling as cinema. The genesis of Lichtenstein's pop art is revealed (obviously) as his love of comics. Bowie doesn't seem to have any inspiration at all except to do what he wants to do, critics and audiences be damned.
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Unfortunately, 35 Up is exceedingly long and repetitive. Apted repeatedly asks if the lower-class folks are upset they didn't have enough opportunity, and he asks the upper-class people if they feel guilty about it. Remarkably, everyone answers no on all counts. The controversy will have to wait. And so with the intrigue that goes along with it. C'est la vie. Literally.
Continue reading: 35 Up Review
Now clocking in at a monstrous 2 hours, 19 minutes, the sixth installment of Michael Apted's ambitious but uniformly unenlightening Seven Up! series drags us down a familiar road, kicking and screaming all the way.
Continue reading: 42 Up Review