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Category Archives: Film

This Film About a 40-Year-Old Avalanche Helped Me Process My Own Trauma

It’s been 40 years since former avalanche forecaster Jim Plehn dug his friends’ bodies out of the snow. A massive avalanche had crashed into the base area of Alpine Meadows ski resort, near Lake Tahoe in Northern California, after a four-day, late-season storm had dumped seven-and-a-half feet of snow and brought 100-mile-per-hour winds to the […]

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Everyone Wanted to Make a Movie About the Thai Cave Rescue. Did Any of Them Get It Right?

On June 23, 2018, twelve members of the Wild Boars, a youth soccer team based in the jungled mountains of northern Thailand, and their young assistant coach parked their bikes in the mouth of Tham Luang Cave after practice. The cave network was dry when they entered, but as they traveled more than a mile […]

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In ‘Edge of the Earth,’ Jimmy Chin Goes Beyond the Instagram Wins and Fails of Elite Athletes

In 2018, when Free Solo was busy breaking box office records and blowing minds, Jimmy Chin—who shot the film and directed it with his wife and collaborator Elizabeth “Chai” Vasarhelyi—was getting the same question a lot: How was Alex Honnold not paralyzed by fear as he clung to the face of El Capitan without a […]

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The 20 Best Climbing Films of All Time

Not so long ago, the headline “Dirtbag Rock Climbers Walk Down the Red Carpet to Accept Their Academy Award” would have seemed like an oxymoron—a violation of the very laws of nature. But in 2019 it happened: light stopped being the fastest thing in the universe, up became down, and a little rock-climbing film called Free […]

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3 New Survival Thrillers That Almost Made Us Poop Our Pants

It’s been a slow summer for Hollywood, but there’s been no shortage of monosyllabically titled thrillers set in the outdoors. Prey started streaming on Hulu last month, Fall hit theaters on August 12, and Beast premiered last Friday. All three films are human vs. nature (or alien?) stories designed to prickle the sweat glands underneath […]

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Here’s Every Movie in Which Dwayne Johnson Walks into a Jungle

When I was laid up with COVID-19 earlier this summer (a two-week period that I like to call “Netflix and ill”), I noticed something: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson appears in a lot of jungle-themed movies. They’re almost a natural habitat for his typical on-screen personas: he swings machetes, he fights dangerous wildlife, he raises one […]

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‘Nope’ Updates the Story of the West and Who It Belongs To

In the 19th century, an estimated one in four cowboys were Black, but you’d never know from reading and watching Western books and films. This canon has served as an act of cinematic and literary nationalism, portraying cowboys of the Old West as white, craggy men of few words and many pistols. And when Black […]

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How Viggo Mortensen Transformed into the Cave Diver Who Rescued a Thai Soccer Team

In June 2018, the rescue of twelve boys and their soccer coach from a flooded cave in Northern Thailand captivated the world. Over the course of 18 days, thousands of volunteers, including more than 100 divers, extricated the soccer team amid monsoon rains. Not surprisingly, Hollywood was enthralled too: Tinseltown’s best screenwriter couldn’t have dreamt […]

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Michael B. Jordan Is the Most Endearing Nature-Doc Narrator

You probably know actor Michael B. Jordan as the star of the Creed franchise or as Black Panther’s antihero. But this year, the Sexiest Man Alive (according to People magazine) has ventured into new territory: nature documentaries. And honestly? We’re here for it. Following in the footsteps of celebrity narrators like Morgan Freeman and Sigourney Weaver, […]

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This New Documentary About A Volcanologist Couple Is Remarkable

A car chugs across a snowy landscape. Two red-capped figures emerge, pick their way across a ridge of black rock, and stop when they reach its crest: there, in front of them, lava boils out from a volcano. One holds a camera to capture the sight. They are Katia and Maurice Krafft, a pioneering husband-and-wife […]

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