Saturday, December 18, 2021

On Breaking Boundaries, 14 Peaks, Cargo, The Power of the Dog, Etc.

Breaking Boundaries: The Science of Our Planet (documentary) - We humans are the main drivers of climate change and if we don't rethink/stop our harmful ways, the earth which we call home may be heading towards a point of no return. A point where undoing the damage of what we've done will be mission impossible. That's the core message of this Netflix documentary narrated by Sir David Attenborrough and featuring scientists such as Johan Rockström and Terry Hughes. Generally speaking, the documentary doesn't offer anything that we don't already know. Its message is something we've been hearing for decades already. But it's another documentary on climate change so it's a good thing. More documentaries on the climate crisis means more people getting the message. 

One scene in the documentary that struck me the most was an analogy made by Rockstrom. Imagine planet earth as a truck going up a mountain through a rough and winding road at night. One wrong move and the truck will plunge down the mountain. If the truck is to make it to the top without falling, it must have a good set of lights. In the analogy, this set of lights is science. Planet earth can survive the climate crisis through the guiding light of science. 7/10

14 Peaks: Nothing Is Impossible (documentary) - If you are looking for inspiration to get off the couch and go climb a mountain, this documentary by Torquil Jones should do the trick. It follows the seemingly impossible goal of a team of Nepalese climbers to make it to the summit of 14 of the highest mountains in the world in record time. The previous record was more than 7 years. 

The team summitted all 14 peaks in under 7 months. This should put Nirmal Purja (the leader) and his team up there with the likes of Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay. Legends of the sport of mountaineering. The great Italian mountaineer and explorer Reinhold Messner also makes an appearance in the film. Purja has also written a book about the journey. It's set to be released in January next year. It's called Beyond Possible: One Man, Fourteen Peaks, and the Mountaineering Achievement of a Lifetime. 8/10

Cargo (movie) - This film offers a fresh take on the zombie apocalypse genre by setting it in Australia. It's a low-budget picture so I wasn't expecting it to go full zombie mode. If you've seen the movie The Road (a film adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's novel), Cargo follows the same vein with the addition of zombies. It's about a father looking for a better place for his offspring. It's a film that relies on drama to propel the narrative forward. So it's definitely not for everyone. If you're expecting World War Z, you are going to be very disappointed. I also found the movie too long. I feel like a good 30 minutes of the film should've been left on the cutting floor. Martin Freeman played the main role. It was a commendable performance. 6/10

One Championship Winter Warriors 2 (MMA) - Four fighters under the Team Lakay banner saw action here. In the main event, Danny Kingad lost via unanimous decision to Kairat Akhmetov. Akhmetov dominated the bout with his world-class wrestling. Kingad had his moments in the third and final round. He was winning the striking match when he mind-bogglingly decided to clinch Akhmetov, pin him to the fence, and just stay there. I felt like he had the opportunity to disengage and try to knock Akhmetov out because that was his only chance of winning the fight. It was frustrating to watch. One of the worst examples of fight IQ I've ever seen in One Championship.

In the undercard, Kevin Belingon lost via TKO in the second round. He folded from a well-placed liver shot. With the loss, Belingon has been winless in his last four fights. Fortunately for Team Lakay, two of their fighters won early in the card. Both were making their One debuts as well. Jhanlo Sangiao submitted his opponent in the very first round. Stephen Loman TKOed his also in the first round. Two impressive debuts from two prospects. The future looks bright for these two. Can't wait to see them enter the cage again.

The Power of the Dog (Movie) - This film has been receiving awards left and right. And deservedly so. It's a well-crafted work of art. Everything about it is great - the acting, the cinematography, the pace, the story, everything. The four main leads are in their element - Benedict Cumberbatch, Jesse Plemons, Kirsten Dunst and Kodi Smit-McPhee. This is a western drama that will have the viewer thinking about it long after the end credits rolled. The film is an adaptation of the novel The Power of the Dog by Thomas Savage. The movie also marks the return of New Zealand-based director Jane Campion (The Piano, An Angel at My Table, Holy Smoke!, Bright Star) whose last feature film was released back in 2009. 8/10