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14 Peaks: Nothing is Impossible

I JUST DO NOT GET THESE extreme sports/activities that people willingly do. There is High Lining which is crossing from one cliff to another by balancing and walking on a single rope. Free solo climbing is another activity that makes no sense to me, as well as a 6-day marathon that crosses 154 miles through Morocco, I believe. Why would anyone want to do something so dangerous? There was a documentary I reviewed some time back about a man who does free solo climbing. Seeing him climb without any safety apparatus seemed crazy to me. Granted, the extent of my climbing achievements was climbing trees when I was a kid. The highest I ever went was to the level of a 2nd floor of an apartment building. I understand a person who wants to be the fastest runner in the world or hit the most home runs in baseball; but doing something just for the sake of saying you did it, is not a good enough excuse for me to risk my life. I hope this is not coming across like I am judging, because it is not my intentions. I just do not understand the appeal of such an activity and to tell you the truth I am sure those who participate in such activities do not understand why I like to sit and watch movies.      ON THE OTHER HAND, I APPRECIATE individuals who do remarkable things. For example, I enjoy more individual sports than team ones. Someone who can lift more weight or run the fastest or hold their breath underwater the longest are things that I admire because it is humans doing nearly unhuman things. Since I have been active in the fitness field for decades, I appreciate such activities because I am looking at the upper limits of what a human body can do. Seeing the body do unhuman things fascinates me; I think that is the main reason why I like that traveling circus with the different acts from around the world. The acts seem to be always pushing the limits of their bodies. I can remember a student from elementary school who was double jointed. They could bend their arms and legs in all these weird positions that no one else in class could do. So, you might be wondering why, knowing what you know about me, would I sit and watch this documentary. It was not on my radar; however, someone told me about it, and I was curious to see the scenery. And let me tell you, climbing a mountain would be the last thing I would want to do, unless they had a designated easy trail and gift shop/restaurant along the way. But I must tell you I was mesmerized by what I was watching in this thrilling adventure film.      WITH SOME OF THE HIGHEST MOUNTAIN peaks in their country’s backyard, a man from Nepal feels the world does not fully recognize what role his country has played in the activity of mountain climbing. He wants to change the perception by doing the unexpected. Directed by Gabriel Clarke (Steve McQueen: The Man & Le Mans, Finding Jack Charlton) and Torquil Jones (Bobby Robson: More Than a Manager, The American Fall), this award nominee was a thrilling and awe-inspiring movie. Nirmal “Nimsdal” Purja, the mountaineer from Nepal, was something to see with his infectious personality. The filming was exquisite to the point I felt I was experiencing the location without leaving my couch. I admit the idea for this audacious project was borderline insane; but I appreciated the message Nirmal was trying to convey. And a shoutout to his wife, who at least in the film supported his plan. I know it is hard to compare any one feat from another person; but I have to say, this movie will show you something that you have never seen before and I am guessing will be glad you got to see it. Several scenes had Nepali spoken with English subtitles.

3 ½ stars  


Flash Movie Review: He Named Me Malala

Even when education is supposed to be free it may come with a price. I was fortunate to grow up in a place where every child was obligated to have access to free education. However, I did not realize my schooling would take a toll on me. Until my college days my school years were filled with a variety of land mines, some intended for me others just because I was the victim who happened to be in the right place at the wrong time. There were school days where I was that day’s target, where the usual bullies focused on making my life miserable. Being overweight at the time, I was an easy target for them. There were times I was smacked in the back of the head with a textbook or knocked  down with a shove as I walked between classrooms; those were some of the mildest ones. I used to wonder why I was singled out but looking back now I know there were others who were going through their own misery. The few incidents where I thought I saw another student being abused, I could not figure out what we all had in common that would trigger such an attack. In the big picture the things that took place in my school years were traumatic for me and there were times I did not want to go to school. The majority of attacks took place in the school building; if I could last until the final bell and get out past the school grounds, I knew there would be a chance I would be a less likely target. This was not the case for this extraordinary teenager who was targeted for being a girl.    PAKISTANI teenager Malala Yousafzai was a vocal advocate for girls’ education in a country where females were being denied the right. Her outspokenness was enough reason to be targeted for assassination by the Taliban. This film festival nominated documentary’s subject was bigger than the story. Malala is an incredible, articulate, passionate individual who would not let a bullet stop her. Directed by Davis Guggenheim (An Inconvenient Truth, Waiting for Superman), I wanted to learn more than I already knew about Malala, the youngest person to ever win a Nobel prize. Sadly this movie did not provide information in a cohesive way; places and times jumped around to the point where I felt I was only getting snippets of Malala’s life, without really getting any background story. The mix of animated scenes into the dialog was understandable since they tended to depict some of the more dangerous aspects of her life. As I said earlier, she truly was bigger than what this movie was capable of showing the viewer. It was because of Malala that I was able to stay engaged and interested in what was taking place on screen.


2 3/4 stars





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