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For England, for home, and for the prize! Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World is directed by Peter Weir, it stars Russell Crowe as Jack Aubrey and Paul Bettany as Stephen Maturin. It is spliced from various novels in the Aubrey–Maturin series written by Patrick O'Brian. The film takes place during 1805, during the Napoleonic Wars and finds Captain Jack Aubrey and the crew of British frigate HMS Surprise ordered to intercept, destroy or take as a prize the French privateer Acheron. But the Acheron (The Phantom as the crew of the Surprise call her) is no ordinary ship, and her Captain is smart. So Lucky Jack has his work cut out; not only in the pursuit of the Acheron, but in harmonising the crew under his command. Especially his loyal and trusting friend Stephen. It's pretty evident within the first few minutes of Master & Commander that this is no standard blockbusting naval based war movie. If you are after, or was expecting, a wave to wave Bruckheimer carnage a-like piece, well you best, or should have, stay(ed) away. For this is a Peter Weir movie, in fact this is a Peter Weir "period" movie, where attention to details and character dynamics are the order of the day. There's battle action here for sure, beginning and end, and terrific they are too, as first cannonballs crack and splinter their targets (note the sound work here), and later as blade meets blade - it's exhilarating stuff alright. However, this is more interested in palpable tension, both on deck and on the waves. Threat is never far away, again, this is is covered by the impending duel with the Acheron and Aubrey's tactical pursuit/escape of her. As the Aubrey machinations unfurl, the crew give us a series of character dramas to involve us in the make up of a man-o-war's personnel. How different classes and males (there's not one female in the film) of all ages have to work together as one efficient unit in order to survive and triumph. Except for an interlude spent on the lusciously filmed Galapagos Island (Russell Boyd Best Cinematography Academy Award Winner), the film is set 99% of the time out at sea, on a cramped ship, this tells you that Weir is interested in telling a character driven story, one that is cloaked in realism above all else. The teaming of Weir with the highly rated O'Brian material looked a good one, and to someone like me who has never read an O'Brian novel, it is. Unsurprisingly many of O'Brian's fans have been upset by either the stuff missing in the film, the stuff put in to fully form Weir's vision of the characters, or for Crowe not being Pugwashy enough. These complaints were inevitable since they come with practically every adaptation of novels these days. It should be noted, though, that Weir was very much a fan of O'Brian, and in fact always felt inspired by the tight intricate detail of his writings. What of the author himself? Well he passed away three years before the film was released, but he had always envisaged Charlton Heston for the role of Aubrey. So, who in the modern era comes closest to Heston's physical presence on screen, why Russell Crowe of course. Who not only brings that to the character, but also depth, because Aubrey comes with many traits. Strength, honour, stubbornness, leadership and loyalty are a given for a Captain on the high seas. Yet Aubrey is also vulnerable, self aware, playful, knows his limitations and is able to laugh at himself. Crowe peels off each layer and delivers a high quality performance - from our first encounter with Crowe as Aubrey, the realism so loved by Weir is given a shot in the arm - and it stays throughout the movie. So an excellent piece of casting then, as is that of Paul Bettany as ships surgeon, science and nature lover, and best pal of the Captain, Stephen Maturin. Bettany and Crowe had formed a friendship on 2001's A Beautiful Mind, where their on screen chemistry lifted an already fine film, to an even better one. So it be here also. Stephen & Jack's relationship is the core of the piece, two very different men yet as tight as two peas in a pod, with Stephen serving as the code breaker for the audience as sea talk and tactical intrigue weaves in and out of the story. It's there where Bettany excels, for he not only has us believing in this warm (platonic) friendship, he's also got us rooting for him since he is in essence the odd man out on this ship. Our sympathy is firmly with him, our friendly rebel if you please. Of the rest there's note worthy turns from Billy Boyd, James D'Arcy & Edward Woodall, while Lee Ingleby gives a really heartfelt and emotionally engaging turn as the haunted Hollom. The film is not without flaws, though. The pace of the piece does slip from time to time, while the talky middle section may stretch the patience of some, and the film isn't long enough to give the main characters some back story for the audience to work off. Yet it's still a terrific movie, ripe with intelligence and interesting characterisations, and boasting enough adrenalin, humour and upset to fill out a big budgeted 1950s historical epic. So get on board folks, for this is quality film making and it demands to be seen via the best format available. 9/10
This is a rousing sea yarn with great camera work, but it also shows comraderie and relationships in a realistic way on board a British fighting ship. As happens sometimes but not always, I enjoyed this movie more than I liked the book it was based upon. O'Brian has written a lot of great sea tales, but this one confused me. I felt like checking to see if the pages were in the correct order. The story seems simplified in this adaptation. (Some may say that is not a good thing!) The first several minutes of the film move the viewer around the ship, and I felt like It was a realistic representation of what it was like to sail on it. The creaking and other ever-present noises, the tight spaces allotted to the crew, all helped me feel like I knew what it was like more than just reading about it. There are a lot of characters aboard ship, so out of necessity some of them never really developed, but even the glimpses we get of them here and there illustrate that they are people, not stereotypes. There were a few rather unlikely plot turns later on in the film, but by then I was drawn into the story and right there with the crew, so I forgave them. I have watched Master and Commander twice so far, and wouldn't be averse to seeing it again.
I enjoyed 'Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World'. The early scenes are surprisingly (given the relatively close release dates) similar to fellow 2003 release 'Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl', with a hidden enemy ship spotted amid foggy conditions and then one person spots unexpected cannon fire and tells others to duck... there are even main characters named Jack (lead!) and Will! With those amusing (to me, given that POTC is my favourite film) connections noted, the film goes on, of course, to do it's own thing and I'd say it comes out very nicely. The constant (supremely shot) action is a major plus, as are the performances of Russell Crowe and Paul Bettany. I coulda done with more characterization for those behind Crowe and Bettany as I didn't overly care for them, though the support cast are all solid to be fair.
What you have here is Crowe still thinking that he's the greatest actor that ever lived. That all takes away the fun of a movie that had the potential to be a high seas epic like, say, Captain Blood. Peter Weir lets Crowe go crazy and you can almost taste the ego dripping out of the pours of every seen, so much so that he doesn't allow Paul Bettany to shine and he's a good actor in his own right, as is James D'Arcy and again, Crowe seems to want to hog all the acting glory there too. Honestly, its hard to sit down and watch a man try to upstage everyone in every scene, especially when they are actors that could hold their own against Crowe...if Crowe allowed that to happen. So, you get to sit back and watch ego and that gets boring. It's a shame, the script and directing were there, it could have been a great film if we didn't just see ego shine.
This has shades of "Horatio Hornblower" to it, but is much grittier. Russell Crowe delivers a strong, convincing, portrayal of the doughty captain "Aubrey", in command of HMS "Surprise" and charged with tracking down a French privateer that is raiding the vital British whaling fleet during the Napoleonic wars. Coming up against an equally courageous and skilful French captain and engaging in a lethal game of cat and mouse, he must outmanoeuvre this cunning foe before he and his crew end up in Davy Jones' Locker. The film nods to the social issues and superstitions of living on a 19th Century frigate and to bravery (and cowardice) in a subtle yet plausible way. Above all, it's an adventure film and there is plenty of action as we go. A strong ensemble cast in support (though Paul Bettany as the doctor and "Aubrey's" best friend on this voyage didn't quite wash with me) complement some great maritime cinematography; a good score and Peter Weir's able and exciting direction.
Recently widowed Mary Bassett and her three children have hit difficult times on their farm. Suddenly, Mary’s wealthy and estranged mother Isabella comes to visit upon receiving a devious letter from the eldest daughter. Mary resents her mother’s attempts to help them out of their financial difficulties. In the end, more than money will be needed to heal deep wounds and rampant scarlet fever.
Darren Shan is a regular teenage kid. He and his friend Steve find out about a Freak Show coming to town and work hard at trying to find tickets. They do, and together they go to "Cirque du Freak" where they see many strange acts including a wolf-man and a bearded lady
Due to a genetic disorder, handsome librarian Henry DeTamble involuntarily zips through time, appearing at various moments in the life of his true love, the beautiful artist Clare Abshire.
A woman moves into a young man's home and starts to run his life - a process that makes him fall hopelessly in love with her.
In the days of King Henry IV, stalwart young Myles and his sister Meg have been raised as peasants, without any knowledge of who their father really was. But one day, they journey to Macworth Castle. There, Myles falls in love with Lady Anne Macworth, makes friends and enemies, and learns to be a knight.
The film concerns the life of King Naresuan, who liberated the Siamese from the control of Burma. Born in 1555, he was taken to Burma as a child hostage; there he became acquainted with sword fighting and became a threat to the Burmese empire.
The "lowly ronin" meets a child who is being chased bymen that killed his father before his eyes. Feeling indebted to the child for buying him dinner, the Ronin takes the child back to his village. There, the Ronin reluctantly gets involved in a pathetic revolt by the cowardly villagers against their tyrannical governor. Mifune at his best!
Billy Pilgrim, a veteran of the Second World War, finds himself mysteriously detached from time, so that he is able to travel, without being able to help it, from the days of his childhood to those of his peculiar life on a distant planet called Tralfamadore, passing through his bitter experience as a prisoner of war in the German city of Dresden, over which looms the inevitable shadow of an unspeakable tragedy.
A 19 year old Brooklyn boy who is torn between two worlds when his photography portfolio wins him a partial scholarship to NYU. He must figure out how to balance his Italian neighborhood roots with the expansive, sophisticated world on the other side of the East River. Based on Tim McLoughlin's novel "Heart of the Old Country".
11-year-old Eliza is the invisible element of her family unit: her parents are both consumed with work and her brother is wrapped up in his own adolescent life. Eliza ignites not only a spark that makes her visible but one that sets into motion a revolution in her family dynamic when she wins a spelling bee. Finding an emotional outlet in the power of words and in the spiritual mysticism that he sees at work in her unparalleled gift, Eliza's father pours all of his energy into helping his daughter become spelling bee champion. A religious studies professor, he sees the opportunity as not only a distraction from his life but as an answer to his own crisis of faith. His vicarious path to God, real or imagined, leads to an obsession with Eliza's success and he begins teaching her secrets of the Kabbalah. Now preparing for the National Spelling Bee, Eliza looks on as a new secret of her family's hidden turmoil seems to be revealed with each new word she spells.
The classic tale of David Copperfield's life is brought to the screen in this faithful and entertaining animated feature for your kids and family.