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Thirteen Lives Review: Ron Howard’s Thai Cave Rescue Drama

Against all odds. One miracle that united the world.

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On June 23, 2018, 12 boys, ages eleven to sixteen, walked into Tham Luang Nang Non cave in northern Thailand along with their 25-year-old coach. Unexpected heavy rainfall soon trapped the young explorers in a life-or-death situation. Thirteen Lives recounts this incredible true story and of the tremendous global effort it took to rescue the soccer team. Faced with insurmountable odds, a team of the world’s most skilled and experienced divers- uniquely able to navigate the maze of flooded, narrow cave tunnels-join with Thai forces and more than 10,000 volunteers to attempt the harrowing rescue. With high stakes and the entire world watching, the group embarks on their most challenging dive yet, showcasing the limitless of the human spirit in the process. 

Academy Award-winning director Ron Howard crafts this unbelievable story with a visceral dramatic style as the film boasts immersive sound design, captivating cinematography, thrilling and suspenseful sequences and incredible performances as throughout, the film depicts how the rescuers, engineers, and divers tried everything in the face of outrageous odds. The movie at times made me feel claustrophobic as we witness the narrow underwater tunnels its tension driven but Howard centres the film’s narrative on the parents, volunteers and decision-makers, this adds to the film’s emotional weight as we as the audience are taken through each day and plan to reuse the boys and their coach. 

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Thirteen Lives is a well-scripted and edited film that also showcases Thailand’s expansive natural beauty and Community. Monsoon season has strikingly arrived early and the cave becomes flash flooded trapping all thirteen on a ledge many miles inside what now has become dark underwater passages. The Navy Seals join forces with the volunteers and attempt to extract the boys. However, the pitch black waters and the tunnels become more perilous so an international effort intensifies so Rescue divers Rick Stanton (Viggo Mortensen) and John Volanthen (Colin Farrell) from the UK have the experience of diving where no one else had. They flew in to join 10,000 volunteers. The two men take on the mission of mapping the caves and in hope of finding these boys, they recruit more rescue divers including Australian physician Dr Richard Harris (Joel Edgerton) for the most dangerous and never seen rescue attempt. 

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These characters based on real-life people showcase an example of cooperation, humanity and the power of expertise that happens when you’re under pressure. It’s a film that focuses brilliantly on suspense, mystery, fraught, and physical danger but also an emotional danger as we as the audience are on the edge of our seats anticipating the divers finding the boys, however, what does it mean if there’s a misstep? how long is the rescue really going to take? and what is the ultimate price that has to be paid to achieve this rescue operation?. Director Ron Howard has found critical success in crafting historical and biographical films like “Apollo 13” and “ A Beautiful Mind” He knows how to shoot the details which are utterly captivating. He also spent time with the real-life divers Rick Stanton and Jason Mallinson, and spoke with John Volanthen, Chris Jewell, and Dr Harris, collecting information. 

The film also boasts some emotional and incredible performances. The film puts together a team of actors and an International ensemble. To play Rick Stanton, three-time Academy Award nominee Viggo Mortensen brings a sense of stoicism, determination, and smart, grizzled humanism. And To play John Volanthen, Colin Farrell found that a mix of gentleness and heroism would be just the first layer of understanding the actual person he was playing, a man first seen as a father and family man.

Joel Edgerton portrays Dr Richard “Harry” Harris, an Australian cave diver and physician contacted by Stanton to help with the rescue. Each character is a determined protagonist but throughout the film we see them struggle and make sacrifices in order to rescue the boys. The emotional performances also come from the boys’ parents and the local Community and showcase Thai culture respectively. 

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The film acts as a ticking clock thriller as we watch the divers proceed through the darkened waters. Every minute is tense and well utilised as the cameras show the impact of the rescue mission. Thirteen Lives is truly cinematic. 

https://youtu.be/R068Si4eb3Y

The incredible true story of the greatest rescue the world has ever seen

hits select theaters exclusively for one week on July 29, launching globally on Prime Video on August 5

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Gen V Season 1 is Bloody and Disgusting, Yet Utterly Compelling

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Ever since The Boys premiered on Prime Video in 2019, it has consistently dropped jaws and blown people’s minds with its weirdly whacky, bloody and horny storytelling about corrupt superheroes. Hollywood had never seen anything quite like this. It is developed by Eric Kripke and creative forces such as Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg were also involved. Three incredible seasons have made it into one of the biggest shows right now. It was no surprise that Prime Video would expand such a beloved universe and greenlight a spinoff series titled Gen V which is finally coming to Prime Video.

 

Gen V is focused around teen supes studying at Godolkin University, who strive to make their careers in crime fighting and potentially join the seven one day. This 8-episode series is set after the events of The Boys Season 3. This series is developed by Eric Kripke, Craig Rosenberg, and Evan Goldberg. It stars Jaz Sinclair, Chance Perdomo, Maddie Phillips, Lizzie Broadway, and Patrick Schwarzenegger among others.

 

If anyone was worried that this series would not be as wild and horny as The Boys just because it is set around teens, let me put those worries to bed because this series stays true to every aspect of its predecessor and maintains the unfiltered storytelling throughout. The tone is as outlandish as always and keeps up all the horniness in the characters, including the obsession with penises. It is very much a hard R-rated show, so it might be safe to think about who you recommend it to.

Chance Perdomo (Andre Anderson)

The performances here are excellent, by everyone. Jaz Sinclair who plays Marie Moreau, and Chance Perdomo who plays Andre Anderson are particularly great. They have an emotional vulnerability that makes them totally convincing and makes the viewer sympathize with them. Shelley Conn is mysterious and shrewd as Dean Shetty. Maddie Phillips and Lizzie Broadway are good too. But there isn’t a powerhouse performance such as Antony Starr as Homelander.

The story still revolves around supes, though this time a younger generation of them, and the overall world-building of this franchise but it is surprisingly deeper and more mature than most would expect. At its core, there is a meaningful coming-of-age story about dealing with loss, power and the pressure of high expectations. Every character has interesting arcs and the character development is very smooth. The writers also managed to juggle so many subplots at the same time and managed to keep most of them intriguing. The pacing is also very consistent and rarely slows down.

Several people just find The Boys too disgusting and can’t stand the extreme and explicit nature of the narrative. Gen V also runs on a very similar track in terms of storytelling. So those who did not enjoy The Boys, will most probably not enjoy the new spin-off either. But this show will definitely delight the die-hard fans of this iconic franchise. Gen V does take a lot of shortcuts in its narrative and I wish they let the relationships between characters marinate for a little while longer. The plot may also seem overstuffed at times and there is arguably a lack of action so far.

Gen V embraces the outrageousness of The Boys while delivering an engaging coming-of-age story and manages to stand out on its own. It is as bloody, horny, crudely funny and dramatic as you would expect. The series finds new energy and carries the legacy of its predecessor. The first six episodes are thoroughly engaging and get you invested in the characters and their motivations. Expect to have a blast and see a lot of cameos.

Episodes Viewed – 6 out of 8.

Gen V episodes 1-3 will stream on Prime on September 29 with the finale on November 3.

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Official Trailer & Key Art Released for Double Trouble Series ‘Dead Ringers’ starring Rachel Weisz

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“I want to change the way that women birth.” “How does that vomit-inducing idealism translate into $$?”.

Today, Prime Video released the official trailer for the highly anticipated psychological thriller Dead Ringers. A modern take on David Cronenberg’s 1988 classic film, Dead Ringers is a limited series starring Rachel Weisz playing the double-lead role of Elliot and Beverly Mantle, twins who share everything: drugs, lovers, and an unapologetic desire to do whatever it takes—including pushing the boundaries on medical ethics—in an effort to challenge antiquated practices and bring women’s health care to the forefront. All six episodes premiere on the 21st of April exclusively on Prime Video in more than 240 countries and territories worldwide.

Photo by Courtesy of Prime – © Amazon Studios

Rachel Weisz also serves as an executive producer for the limited series, which is created, written, and executive produced by Emmy-nominated writer and playwright Alice Birch (Normal PeopleSuccessionThe Wonder). The series’ ensemble cast includes Britne Oldford (The Umbrella AcademyAmerican Horror Story: Asylum) as Genevieve, Poppy Liu (HacksBetter Call Saul) as Greta, Michael Chernus (SeveranceOrange Is the New Black) as Tom, Jennifer Ehle (Zero Dark ThirtySaint Maud) as Rebecca, and Emily Meade (The DeuceThe Leftovers) as Susan.

This looks wild and bold and devious! The two Weisz’s are tantalizing fun, but the deeper goals behind what they’re doing and how they’re trying to flip things over looks genius.

The psychosexual thriller premieres exclusively on Prime Video on the 21st of April. Here’s the main official trailer (+ official key art) stay tuned to the site for our coverage

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Henry Cavill to Headline ‘Warhammer 40K’ Series on Amazon Prime Video

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With much of the talk surrounding Henry Cavill regarding his exit from Netflix’s The Witcher along with the shift of mentality from new DC Studios leadership, the actor is in need of a new franchise to jumpstart. It appears that Cavill has done just that with the latest news that comes from The Hot Mic podcast via Above the Line.

It appears that Cavill (Man of Steel, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice) will steer head an adaptation of Warhammer 40,000 for Amazon Prime Video. Cavill confirmed the news this morning via his Instagram. The property started as a miniature war game akin to Dungeons & Dragons where players control different characters across a battle board, so to speak. The game was a staple in England where Cavill played it much as a kid and his passion for the property has stuck ever since. So much so, that the actor still paints figures to this day for when he engages in play.

The property which is often abbreviated to Warhammer 40K, features a fictional war set 40,000 years into the future between humans and other mystical beings that include orcs, gods, demons, elves, aliens and supernatural entities. The game eventually was brought to the video game space where it amasses tons of players across the sci-fi fantasy gaming landscape. The property also lends itself to novels leaving a lot of room to grow as a franchise in the entertainment space with lore to play with.

Amazon continues to take steps towards building out large franchise plays for their streaming service, Prime Video. In addition to the acquisition of the rights to Warhammer 40,000, the streamer has recently made deals for video game properties like God of War, with creators like Mike Flanagan (The Haunting of Hill House) and of course, a 2022 that was massive for the streamer with the launches of the pricey Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power and Thursday Night Football. As they look to compete with Netflix, Disney+ and other streaming services, it’s a clear shift from Amazon to take some bigger risks for bigger rewards. 

Cavill was most recently seen reprising his role as Sherlock Holmes in Netflix’s Enola Holmes 2 starring Millie Bobby Brown. In 2023, Cavill will star in Matthew Vaughn’s Argylle which aims to kickstart a new spy-based franchise similar to Mission: Impossible which Cavill also appeared in. He will star in Argylle alongside an all-star cast that includes Catherine O’Hara, Bryce Dallas Howard, Sam Rockwell, Bryan Cranston, Samuel L. Jackson, John Cena, Ariana DeBose and Dua Lipa.

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