December 16th, 2019

It’s amazing how quickly the year goes by.  It seems like yesterday it was TIFF.   That was 3 months ago.  Wow!  We are rapidly closing in on and Christmas, and this guy already had the first of his family Christmas parties!

Free Solo: Alex Honnald is a remarkable young man.  He is a world class climber, rock climber that is, and he can do youtubes that address the believe-ability of the climbing sequences.  Like here:

I had previously reviewed the other climbing movie about The Dawn Wall.  That movie focused on Tommy Caldwell, another world class professional climber, who was tackling the Wall in Yosemite.   He was looking to climb a very difficult path up this mountain.   It was his struggle along with his partner, who found one section particularly challenging.   Caldwell makes an appearance with Alex in his quest to scale this mountain.   The catch for Free Solo, is that as the name suggests Alex is looking to do this without the use of ropes, or with a partner.   It is him, his skills and the mountain.   One slip.  One mistake and he falls to his death, like many of the colleagues of his on other mountains.   The film is a documentary, and the tension increases as you see what Alex endures, both physically and mentally.   It’s a challenge in all aspects of his life, include close friends and his girlfriend.   She simply can’t understand him and his desire to put himself at such risk.   The scenery is spectacular along with the ability to get this film made (how do you get a camera up there with Alex to record it?).   This movie deservedly won the Oscar for Best Documentary earlier on in the year.   There is drama, suspense, and one sits in amazement as you see Alex precariously perch himself halfway up a mountain only securing himself with his hands and feet.   If you have ever done any rock climbing in a gym or aboard a ship, you will realize that he is holding his body up and in place by little cracks and creases hard to even see.   The strength in his fingers must be amazing.  Not to mention his arms and legs.  This is an elite athlete training and working on a life achievement.   See this, and on a large screen TV with High Definition (or even better a large theatre) and enjoy.   A good double feature would be this and The Dawn Wall.

While on the subject of documentaries, there was a movie about Jane Fonda called Jane Fonda in Five Acts.   I knew about Jane Fonda, the actress who was the daughter of American acting icon Henry Fonda, who like Jimmy Stewart and Gregory Peck were viewed as close to perfect people.    Jane reveals in these five acts, the first four which revolve around the men in her life, how less than idyllic that being raised by a legend can be, for her and her actor brother Peter.   I didn’t know other aspects of her life, like the suicide death of her Mother.   Nor about about early marriage and birth of child to French director, Roger Vadim, in France.   She has won two Oscars, for Klute and Coming Home.   She has been nominated seven times.  This from a young woman who had no aspirations in acting whatsoever.   But then she was an activist, protesting Viet Nam but taking on many other causes.   In hindsight turns out that she was right.   But then ushering in the video era with her highest selling VCR tape, Jane Fonda’s Workout from 1982.  Oh and she had assigned the rights to these videos to the organization she was working with.   Then she ultimately ends up with Ted Turner, the billionaire media mogul but that lasts less than a decade.  She finishes realizing that she doesn’t need a man, and can stand on her own two feet.  She is still working.   Quite a life.   By the way, she went many years thinking that she was “fat” and also hated her hair.

Finally, Netflix has released the latest Michael Bay film with Ryan Reynolds entitled 6 Underground.   Here is a film that wants to be Mission Impossible, Bourne Identity and other group terrorist fighting organiations (rogue or otherwise) who wants to make the world safer.   In the meantime, to accomplish this goal they “blow up good” just about everything in sight.  Never mind the pedestrians walking the streets and museums in Florence, they are collateral damage.   There were some clever one liners and quips (mostly delivered by Reynolds) in his best DeadPool way.   He plays smart ass well.   But in the end, the death and destruction just didn’t add because I wasn’t seeing the position results.   Maybe we don’t see that in the recent MI films either  with baddie Solomon Lane.   But this wasn’t at that level.   Not by a sniper’s shot into a roof top condo pool!!



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