EVEREST – REVIEW

EVEREST – REVIEW: John Connor and Donnie Darko go up a mountain but Josh Brolin finds it is No Country for Old Men and the whole thing collapses on Michael Kelly like a House of Cards.

The problem with Everest is that the damned thing is so f*cking big. You can’t really see it. And if you see it from the sky as a way of really getting it all in, you’re automatically taking away from it, its key characteristic: which is that it is is higher than everything else. Baltasar Kormákur’s film does a solid job of telling the true story of the disastrous 1996 expedition which was told in Jon Krakauer’s book “Into Thin Air”.  Jason Clarke plays Rob Hall, the leader of one of two commercial enterprises that takes its clients to the summit of Everest. Jake Gyllenhaal is his competitor and friend Scott Fischer who with Russian climber Anatoli Boukreev (Ingvar Eggert Sigurðsson)  is leading the other group. With so many at Base Camp there is a genuine worry that something might go wrong, but there are commercial pressures of getting their expectant clients Beck (Josh Brolin) and Doug (John Hawkes) up especially as it all takes place under the watchful eye of journalist Krakauer (Kelly).

The strength of the film is in a wonderful lead performance by Clarke who is quietly fashioning a series of brilliant character pieces amidst the more generic pay days. His Rob Hall is a gentle, solid, reassuring presence: his expertise and humanity, a tribute to the man. The rest of the cast don’t quite rise to the same level but they are all solid enough. Once the storm arrives and with it disaster, there is a sense of genuine loss – though in its attempt to not point the blame, confusion seeps into the narrative so that we are never quite clear what is going on. The CGI mountain and the real thing clash occasionally, and base camp is so obviously studio bound as to be a real distraction, but in general the mountain comes over as a worthy adversary and the drama is well done if not exactly the peak that its subject seems to demand.

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HBO PRODUCE: TOMMY LEE JONES’ LAUGH IN

HOLLYWOOD – Veteran actor and famous curmudgeon Tommy Lee Jones will star in, write and produce a series of thirty minute comedy programmes for HBO to be screened this September: Tommy Lee Jones’ Laugh In.

‘I want to bring a little sunshine into people’s lives,’ said the In the Valley of Elah star. ‘There’ll be me and a bunch of old buddies and we’re gonna horse around and crack wise. I suppose it’ll be funny. If not, what the heck! We’re gonna die eventually. Me sooner than you like as not.’

The No Country for Old Men star continued:

Michael Shannon’s comedy punch

People think I’m ornery. But I really am not. I just have the kind of face, when it relaxes, it looks melancholy. I have a real talent for comedy. If you watch Men in Black … actually that isn’t a great example. Well, look, once I was over at my mother’s house, this was 1978. And the whole family were sitting out on the porch passing the time in stoic – some might say hostility laced – silence when suddenly a little kitten was crossing the road just as the milk truck barrelled round the corner. It ran over the kitten, squashing it flat. ‘That’s Mrs Heels cat,’ says I. ‘I’ll take it over,’ says my brother. ‘If she ain’t in,’ says I. ‘You can just put her through the mail slot.’ The hollering and whooping could be heard way over in the next county.

Tommy Lee Jones will be joined by hapless comedy sidekick Michael ‘Laugh or I’ll Cave Your Face In’ Shannon – ‘he’s always getting into oafish scrapes’ – and Emily Watson from Breaking the Waves, who will have her own section entitled The Relentless Brutality of Life: ‘A series of monologues about Dachau and the like.’

Tommy Lee Jones’ Laugh In screens on the 21st of September, 2013.