Film Reviews

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Rating 4 out of 5

Director: Stephen Grynberg
by: Ed Douglas
Date: Sunday, 27 February 2011
Producer: Stephen Grynberg
A Life Ascending
A Life Ascending

A beautifully shot and moving flm about the lives of mountain guide Ruedi Beglinger and his family in British Columbia's Selkirks, and the fateful day in 2003 when seven people died on a ski trip he was leading.

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Rating 4 out of 5

Director: Sender Films
by: Ed Douglas
Date: Wednesday, 2 December 2009
Producer: National Geographic International
Alone On The Wall
Alone On The Wall

The extraordinary story of American  climber Alex Honnold told as he makes landmark solo ascents of Moonlight Buttress at Zion and Half Dome at Yosemite. Alone On The Wall has some of the best and most terrifying footage of rock climbing ever shot. Sender Films, known for their quirky, insider look at climbing, have made the difficult transition to the mainstream without losing their edge and gaining some story-telling skills along the way. This is part three of a six-part series due for transmission in the UK in 2010 and for release on DVD later that year.

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Rating 3 out of 5

Director: Al Hughes
by: Ed Douglas
Date: Sunday, 20 December 2009
Producer: alhughes.tv
Birdman Of The Karakoram
Birdman Of The Karakoram

John Silvester is one of British adventure's unsung heroes – and he probably likes it that way. He's like an aerial Eric Shipton, exploring the Himalaya from his paraglider, making flights through the mountains that no one else has. This film is a kind of profile, but while its understated tone is a welcome change from the revved-up pace of so many outdoor films, it skates over Silvester's background and his motivation. Still, there is plenty here to inspire, and it shows a face of Pakistan as a friendly and welcoming place. The photography of the flights themselves is incredible.

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Rating 3 out of 5

Director: Pavol Barabás
by: Ed Douglas
Date: Thursday, 14 January 2010
Producer: K2 Studio
Carstensz - The Seventh Summit
Carstensz - The Seventh Summit

Carstensz, or to give its local name of Puncak Jaya, is the most obscure of the seven summits, with a tough approach trek though the Papuan jungle and, in the parlance of nineteenth century explorers, restive natives. This Slovak film follows the occasional highs and many lows of a successful ascent but what begins as a conventional adventure film gets darker as the team's porters turn menacing before an unexpected and shocking finish.

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Rating 3 out of 5

Director: Dave Brown and Paul Diffley
by: Ed Douglas
Date: Wednesday, 14 November 2007
Producer: Hot Aches
Committed
Committed

Ambitious and wide-ranging, Committed tries to capture the true essence of traditional climbing in the UK through a range of sometimes contrasting characters, from Jude Spancken to Kev Shields.

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Rating 3 out of 5

Director: Paul Diffley and Dave Brown
by: Ed Douglas
Date: Monday, 1 December 2008
Producer: Hot Aches
Committed Two
Committed Two

Tighter than the original offering, the sequel to Committed does what American journalism professors are always telling their students: show, don't tell. A varied sequence of committing climbs are shown in all their palm-sweating intensity.

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Rating 4 out of 5

Director: Paul Diffley
by: Ed Douglas
Date: Monday, 18 November 2013
Producer: Hot Aches
Distilled
Distilled

Paul Diffley follows up the hugely successful Long Hope Route with a lower-key but thought-provoking film that weaves together the extraordinary life of ex-miner Andy Cave with the harsh, elemental appeal of Scottish winter climbing. Cave's engaging commentary and impressive footage from the Ben and elsewhere combine to offer a meditation on the appeal of wild environments and a life of adventure.

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Rating 2.5 out of 5

Director: Marek Klonowski
by: Ed Douglas
Date: Monday, 11 January 2010
Producer: Marek Klonowski
Free Tibet
Free Tibet

Although the viewer will watch the start of Free Tibet in a state of confusion – what's happening, and why is it called Free Tibet when the action is set in Canada? – there is plenty to enjoy in this amateurish but enthusiastic account of Marek Klonowski and Tomasz Mackiewicz making an audacious traverse of Mount Logan from Yakutat Bay to Chitina.

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Rating 3.5 out of 5

Director: Rich Heap and Ben Pritchard
by: Ed Douglas
Date: Wednesday, 14 November 2007
Producer: Slackjaw
Hard XS
Hard XS

An eclectic mix of characters and routes with the unifying theme of risk, Slackjaw's noughties update on Hard Grit is more nuanced and intelligent but without the raw appeal of the former.

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Rating 3.5 out of 5

Director: Directed by Greg Chaney and Hig Higman
by: Ed Douglas
Date: Tuesday, 24 January 2012
Producer: Greg Chaney
Journey on the Wild Coast
Journey on the Wild Coast

A married couple attempt to walk, paddle and ski under their own power from Seattle to the Aleutians along the wild and remote northwest coast of North America. The film's charm, of which it has plenty, lies in the odd mixture of down-to-earth ordinariness and jaw-dropping adventure – topped by a heart-warming conclusion.

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