127 Hours [2010]

127 Hours [2010]

127 Hours [2010]
Directors: Danny Boyle
Genre: Adventure/Drama/Thriller
Language: English
Country: USA

What would you do to survive? That is the $1,000,000 question in 127 Hours, Danny Boyle’s latest film. The movie is based on the real life story of Aron Ralston, a mountain climber and all-around adrenaline junkie who became trapped by a boulder in the massive Blue John Canyon in Utah in 2003. With his arm stuck between the boulder and a rock wall, Aron is forced to make a difficult decision: stay where he’s at and hope for some kind of miracle (that’s not going to happen), or cut off his arm and live the rest of his life as an amputee? Obviously, as this was a major news story when it happened, most people should be familiar with the end result. It’s one hell of a story, but I had to question how well it would translate to the big screen.

In the wrong hands, there’s no doubt that 127 Hours could have been a disaster. However, this is a Danny Boyle film. The man can do no wrong. His trademark visual styles are in tact, and his frenetic action shots are exactly what this kind of film needs. Still riding high from Slumdog Millionaire, Boyle teamed up with Indian composer extraordinaire A.R. Rahman once again, and the man put together one hell of a soundtrack. The music is diverse and accurately encapsulates the gamut of feelings that Ralston is experiencing on screen. I am ecstatic that these guys teamed up again, and I hope they do so again in the future.

127 Hours [starring James Franco]

Rest assured, this is also the James Franco Show. This is arguably his strongest performance yet, as he perfectly portrays the cockiness and eccentric behavior that is Aron Ralston. We learn more about Ralston’s back story and his thought processes via occasional flashbacks and hallucinations, but the majority of the movie is just Franco in a canyon with his arm smashed against a rock wall. Luckily Franco plays a very likable character, and he keeps things fresh by talking to his camcorder, hilariously interviewing himself and by trying anything he can think of to stay alive and escape.

When the movie finally gets to the breaking point of Ralston cutting off his arm (with a piss poor dull knife, mind you), it is some powerful, powerful stuff. It’s a gruesome scene, no doubt, but there is a huge sense of relief when it finally happens. 127 Hours is an adrenaline rush from beginning to end, and it should not be missed.

8/10

Frozen [2010]

Frozen [2010]

Frozen [2010]
Directors: Adam Green
Genre: Drama/Thriller
Language: English
Country: USA

After watching the excellent Buried recently, I was intrigued to check out more movies with similar concepts — namely being stuck in a very difficult situation. Frozen is a survival thriller along the same lines. Three friends (a couple and the “third wheel”) get trapped on a ski lift due to an employee’s negligence. This situation is made worse due to the fact that the ski resort will not reopen for another five days. Oh yeah, and the three of them left their cellphones in their vehicle. They are pretty much fucked.

Frozen has an interesting premise, and that is why I was drawn to the movie. I have only been snowboarding once in my life, and I did not like riding on the ski lift at all. Since I am not particularly fond of heights, getting stuck on a ski lift would be absolutely terrifying for me. In building a sense of fear and suspense, Frozen succeeds. There is definitely a lot of tension, and it frequently makes you ponder what you would do in that situation. The problem herein is that the characters who are trapped are TOTAL IDIOTS. They do some foolish things to try to get off of the lift, and they ignore some basic principles that would help fight off frostbite and other problems caused by the cold (i.e. failing to stay as covered as possible, refusing to huddle up together, etc). It just blows my mind that they did not think of this stuff, and there are some even more glaring issues that I will not discuss for sake of spoilers.

During the opening stages of the movie, Frozen also comes across as painstakingly amateur. The three main characters (played by Shawn Ashmore, Kevin Zegers and Emma Bell) struggle with basic acting, and the dialogue is laughably bad. It isn’t until they get stuck on the ski lift that the movie picks up steam.

Even though I had issues with the way the characters acted, and there were some notable problems with certain situations in the movie, I have to give credit to director Adam Green for maintaining a high level of suspense throughout. There are some pretty nerve-wracking moments, and the tension is always present. If they would have cleaned up the plot a little bit and added some creative (or even logical) thinking from the characters, Frozen would be much better. As it stands, it is watchable — you’re just going to have to suspend your disbelief a little bit.

6/10