4 items from 2015
Director Kevin Macdonald’s Black Sea an is a sturdy old-fashioned thriller, an adventure and treasure hunt set within the confines of a submarine. its captain is played by a burly Jude Law, who leads a group of ruffians down to the bottom of the Black Sea to find a sunken Nazi sub that is rumored to have tons and tons of gold on board. With the drama of the film ratcheted up with crew tension and water conditions, Macdonald’s film is a tense throwback, albeit a parable about the 99% helping each other since they’re on the same boat.
Macdonald previously directed films like How I Live Now, The Last King of Scotland, The Eagle, and Touching the Void. He was also the filmmaker chosen to compile a worldwide stack of footage for the documentary endeavor Life in a Day.
I sat with Macdonald in a roundtable interview »
- Nick Allen
Though his documentary “Touching the Void” earned him a BAFTA, Kevin Macdonald has segued into narrative films like “The Last King of Scotland” — which won an Oscar for Forest Whitaker — and the new thriller “Black Sea,” starring Jude Law as a submarine commander.
What made you think of Jude Law as a rough-and-tumble Scottish submarine captain?
Jude has always been great when he’s done character roles. In this film, he really committed himself in a big way. He aged himself, he put on a lot of weight and he mastered this difficult Scottish accent.
For someone who didn’t intend to make fiction films, you have a way with actors.
Mostly I’m just in awe of them. I could never do what they do. When an actor gives a great performance, it’s the closest you can get to magic, because you don’t fully understand how they »
- Jenelle Riley
By Anjelica Oswald
After narrowing the Oscar documentary feature shortlist to five at the 87th Academy Award nominations Jan. 15, a number of notable exclusions were featured, particularly Al Hicks‘ Keep on Keepin’ On, which documents the mentorship and friendship of a jazz legend and a blind piano prodigy, and Steve James‘ Life Itself, about the life and career of famed film critic Roger Ebert. (James is no stranger to snubs and the exclusion of his 1994 film Hoop Dreams led to rule reform within the documentary category.) Both films hold 97 percent positive ratings on Rotten Tomatoes.
Some films surprised when they didn’t even land a spot on the shortlist, such as Red Army, which examines the rise and fall of the Soviet Union’s hockey team from the perspective of its coach. That film holds a 100 percent positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
In light of these best documentary feature snubs, »
- Anjelica Oswald
Do: check the instructions (Wild)
This month sees the release of Wild, based on Cheryl Strayed's memoir about her solo hike along the gruelling 1,000 mile Pacific Crest Trail. Cheryl (Reese Witherspoon) certainly doesn't make it easy for herself, buying the wrong type of gas cylinder for her stove and thus being forced to subsist on a diet of "cold mush."
Don't: give up (Touching The Void)
Consider the obstacles that Joe Simpson faced during his calamitous attempt to climb Peruvian mountain Siula Grande: a broken leg; a fall into a crevasse; and zero hope of rescue after partner Simon Yates left him for dead. And yet, as recounted in classic documentary Touching The Void, Simpson gritted his teeth and dragged himself through hell to reach safety.
Do: stay calm (Life Of Pi)
Travel is unpredictable. One minute, like Indian teenager Pi (Suraj Sharma), you're emigrating to Canada aboard a freighter. »
4 items from 2015
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