JurijFedorov

IMDb member since October 2004
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    2015
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Reviews

What If...?: What If... Doctor Strange Lost His Heart Instead of His Hands?
(2021)
Episode 4, Season 1

Feels empty
Pretty mediocre. The idea is cool, but it's extremely bareboned. There is only this one single plot line and nothing else to it. No humor, personality, extra events. Just one single mission and a very predictable story. And it feels stretched out. There is only plot for less than 10 minutes here.

I feel like the story was really cool for a full movie with a proper ending. But this short cartoon is just nothing as without the emotions and personality the story itself is pointless. There could be something more here if they wanted to create some proper alternative universe.

Resistance
(2020)

Shoddy history, but okay movie
Ehhhh, it's a hit and miss for sure.

Now, the story seems interesting enough which is why I watched it. I love historical movies and Jews hiding from Nazis sounds pretty darn interesting. That's the good thing about it. Then the budget feels very high for such a small story production. It also never gets overly dull or predictable. It's very much watchable.

Now, there are some very serious issues here that are so glaring that it's hard to just blindly like it. The actors put on a Jewish accent when speaking "French". Meaning that French here is just English with an accent. It's not bad here, but it adds to the overall silliness. The scenes are all overblown Hollywood stuff. Instead of following the real history, which is surely extremely interesting, we have a Hollywood version of the story.

The protagonists are action heros often tricking Nazis or escaping their grasp. That surely happened, but in no way did it happen this way. This kind of overblown action is better fit for fiction Hollywood not real life stories. It really takes you out of the setting and story when you have Hollywood chase scenes and super tricks done to trick the Nazis. It's stuff better fit for a Tarantino movie with "fake" history.

Then you have a ton of messages here all working AGAINST the main message of Jews surviving WW2. It's so much noise that you really don't know what the movie tries to be. Of course the leader of the resistance is a woman and they make a big deal out of that. Because? Why? The main person the Nazi Klaus Barbie captured was a man not as woman. A real life person with a name and real story they could have told instead of this fake history made to fit Hollywood anno 2021. Then there is a Black man in the resistance too who the camera of course lingers on to show us... what exactly? It's a movie about Jews why is it trying to be overly progressive? I watch a ton of movies about Black history and I don't expect random Jews to have scenes in them for no reason. You already have a strong message in the story itself about good and evil. Then you have a scene where Klaus Barbie beats up a gay Nazi at a party. Again, why? Why all these silly over the top scenes? This is not how Nazis acted. The suffering was caused behind fences and locked doors and that's the scary part. Someone walking into a party and beating up a man is something a silly James Bond villain would do. Even the message at the end is about Gypsy kids. They also make a huge deal out of making sure communists and socialists are also seen as the counter groups to Nazis. Everything here is about various groups modern progressives love and it's like the movie doesn't really think Jews are important enough to have a full movie be about them only. It's all a huge mess. It's not bad to make a movie about Gypsies during WW2. Or maybe French women during WW2. It's just silly to just add random scenes like this into a historical movie by forcing them into the story in unnatural ways.

The Nazis overall are just extremely evil in every single way and all their movements and acts are pure evil psychopath actions. There is nothing subtle here. You don't feel like you are watching history. You feel like you are watching a theater play. Furthermore every scene just lingers way too long on things. Emotional scenes are stretched out to be twice as long as they should have been and other events are barely shown.

It's okay. It's just a huge miss and historically a mess because it tries to be overly progressive.

Awake
(2007)

Pretty mediocre all around and forgettable.
Pretty mediocre all around. Don't expect a great movie with a clear plot and a proactive protagonist. This is a setting and you are just watching everything uncover just like the lead does. As he is floating around outside his body he doesn't change a single thing. All the info he gains about the people trying to murder him is info his mom found out about too so it was all fully pointless to show. You basically have 2 detectives doing the work and one is alive and well. So what's the point of his out of body experience? There is none. Zero. He does nothing and gains no useful info. The info he gains is just given to him. He never solves anything. Such a waste.

Before that they tricked him into getting the operation there so he did nothing prior to that either. The lead doesn't do anything whatsoever in the movie despite the mistakes that lead to his near death and his mom sacrificing her life to save him. So what's the point? There is no point. There is no theme as such. It's just a cool setting. I did like the setting, acting, realism and many other things so I didn't hate it. Unfortunately the first 40 minutes are full on soap opera so that part is really hard to get through. Painful in many scenes. At the hospital the movie becomes semi-interesting, but since there is no protagonist doing anything the movie feels like a scene about nothing where you are a fly on the wall. As a movie it clearly doesn't work at all plot wise. But you get to experience a cool feeling for some time.

It's not really recommended. It's a super cool concept they just did nothing with it. So you can watch it, but you'll forget it just as fast. Plus it's very nice to know Hayden Christensen is not a thing anymore. I like him as a person, I think, but man was he an awful actor in nearly everything. This pretty boy role is like poison to him. He's such a bad actor and such a terrible lead. He can fit a few small roles in other movies, but man this was a bad period for him.

The House with a Clock in Its Walls
(2018)

Positively surprised as I usually don't watch much stuff for kids
It's pretty fun even for adults. There are a lot of gags and cool things here and all scenes are professionally made with something going on everywhere. It's also a small setting and never feels too much. All scenes feel mature and focused which makes this a very easy watch. If you are bored put this on and enjoy your time.

It's obviously for children, but that doesn't mean it's bad. Especially the acting saves it as every single actor and actress do their job very well. This is usually my number one issue with most children's movies. This movie has a proper and emotional story too. Of course it's not a movie on the level with movies for grown ups. There are a ton of issues with the setting and story here. For example, you never quite know which outsider sees the magic, when they see it and what they think of it. Basically, the house setting is amazing. The town and school settings are really great, but still undeveloped as we know nothing about the outsiders or how they think about the world. It's also lazy to not do much with the little girl character. I was hoping the boy would show his magic to her instead she plays no role in the story which is a big dud. All the magic stuff is kinda just there, but even at the end when they save the world no one is thanking them even though they all saw the evil magic and that it suddenly stopped. It's all a bit lazy. But overall it's a very fun movie with some really great scenes, CGI, camera work, acting and everything else. It just needed that bit extra to truly be unforgettable instead of just fun to watch. Jack Black is really great in it too and plays an emotional and realistic character.

For kids this is a no-brainer. Seriously, this is great for kids. For adults this is still fun, but not something you have to watch. If you are bored and want a simple fun time this should be on your list though.

Frontline: Boeing's Fatal Flaw
(2021)
Episode 2, Season 40

A very good and short intro to the crashes
I have been following the case since the start and watched quite a few docs and news segment about it. Every segment so far has been a letdown. You obviously need some years to gain access to all the info Boeing is hiding and much of it is surely still waiting for whistleblowers. The older documentaries are not really worth much because they all have the mystery element remaining in them where no one clearly knows what went wrong or who is to blame. The technical aspects were unclear before. Boeing still blames the pilots while basically everyone else, maybe except for American politicians supporting their industry, are blaming Boeing.

This documentary finally makes it clear WHAT went wrong and why and it becomes much more clear what happened. So for that I really like this doc and highly recommend it. But it's still not super great. You for example have no crash recreation. They mention it, but they never tell us what went wrong from start till finish. It's never quite clear if good American pilots would crash the same plane in the same setting? They talk about the simulations they just never mention the outcome for some reason. So were the pilots bad? Yeah, I assume so, but so was the plane and you should expect all kinds of pilots to fly your plane not just good American ones. That's really nothing new to the airline industry they know that even African countries order their planes. To understand if African pilots are to blame or how bad they are you will need to watch other docs. This was a pure hit job on Boeing so all the blame is laid in one place only. But Boeing is to blame too so it's not unfair to attack them.

Instead of showing us what happened during the crash the doc invites emotional talking heads. Usually they are over the top and ignorant in PBS docs, but here I do feel like they added some neutral emotional aspect that did make the documentary easy to watch for laymen and school children. But info wise it does skip all the details you'd get in any proper investigation report documentary and we probably have to wait 2 to 5 years for those docs to come out. But this is the best one I've come across so far. So right now this is the best you get. But in a few years I'm sure we'll get a deeper and better look into the case.

The Dawn Wall
(2017)

Yeah, go watch it. For sure.
It's a very calm and relaxing documentary going from A to B on a climb. It feels overly small, but it's really how you want to tell a story. The personal stories and intro are so emotional that I feel like someone kicked me in the stomach. Such a journey just to get the main story. Hell, the first 40 minutes are just spectacular and must-watch.

There is a big focus on the climbing and you see a ton of cool shots of the climb itself which frankly is rare in climbing documentaries if you watch mountaineering. I personally love mountaineering documentaries and only watch this rock climbing stuff if I can't find more snow climb docs. The fact that I liked this rock climbing doc this much is pretty much all you need to know about it. It's good stuff.

There are some minor issues that don't ruin it. Some talking heads are pointless here. They add a bit of emotion to it, but as you know some of them are always over the top fake and here one guy is this way. The rest of the people feel fairly natural.

If you are even looking into this it means you should check it out. It's not a super action packed and amazing. It's a slow climb and will leave you feeling happy about having experienced this. But you won't feel energized or want to do some great activity. It also feels a bit random or even pointless at times, but that's just what you get from such documentaries.

Nightbooks
(2021)

Not recommended for adults
It's super mediocre. I wanted to watch a modern children's movie, but they are all off and mediocre. Just like old children's movies really. At least now you get way better effects and a bit better acting. But largely it's not good movies. Maybe kids will like it? I can't say. It's a very basic story, the acting is acceptable to good. And the script is very mediocre at best. Often the characters just stand around and do nothing instead of trying to get themselves out of danger which is extremely lazy screenwriting and feels frustrating. A lot of smart decisions could have been made here, but weren't.

My main issue with this movie is the editing. They use multiple cameras and we constantly jump from person to person in dialogues. We get a lot of crooked shots from all angles and you have about a shot per second I think. The camera jumps from place to place even in calm scenes and you get dizzy and confused everywhere. The acting is also over the top. As I said the characters often just stand around in fear and look at the danger so you have a ton of scenes where the kids just scream or act sad which is where the movie really fails. Both the kids are good enough actors in calm scenes, but when the little boy needs to show any emotional range he is horrible. I'm not panning him. Rather the director should have guided the actors much better and made sure they could act out roles that fit their skills. Instead a good enough actor is forced to act out scenes he is just not skilled enough to do and the director clearly guides him into terrible decisions that make for bad scenes.

For adults this is a skip. It's not bad or boring. It just feels pointless and tame. The main story issue is how rushed the background story is. We are just put into the magical apartment while getting zero background info. So you can't even properly root for anyone as nothing here is introduced emotionally. Rather everything is introduced via dialogue. So if you want to know what they care for or what families they are from it's in the dialogue only. For a children's movie this is an especially horrible decision. It's also just lazy and bad writing for such a big production. The emotional pull in this movie is minimal at best because everything emotional is dialogue only.

But having said all that, just because it's not a good movie doesn't mean kids won't like it. Kids like plenty of terrible movies with bad plots. They may like this one if they like PG rated horror movies. It's also a bit better than the typical children's movie. That's not saying a lot, but there are some very great sets here that I did enjoy. Especially the library.

The Legend of Tarzan
(2016)

Don't watch this there is nothing good here
Despite the lousy reviews I still wanted to watch it anyhow. I figured maybe people were just irritated about some stupid idea of concept I could overlook. Maybe they hated how Africans were depicted or didn't like this version of Tarzan? Unfortunately no, it's just a bad movie. It's not that it's just bad it all feels like a green screen set where not a single scene looks real or convincing. It's a bunch of shots just put together to make a movie, but it doesn't feel like a story. It feels like some actors standing in front of a giant green screen just acting to the camera. And the combination of scenes is supposed to make a story, but they remain single scenes.

Tarzan himself is awfully boring. He's some sort of superhero who cannot get seriously injured or die. What he does here is stuff even Batman can't do. He is also dry and boring. Margot Robbie is god awful in this movie. This is just horrible acting. And she's a great actress so what went wrong here? I think it's the director and green screen. She just makes the movie worse. Christoph Waltz is terrible. Every single scene with him is bad. I'm not exaggerating. The acting in this movie is not acceptable.

Only good thing about this movie is Samuel L. Jackson. And he's only a small part of it and not really that great either. It's just a fine role nothing more. I guess some CGI is good enough, though it does dive into terrible at times. Maybe you will like some settings? Personally I didn't. The constant flashbacks also take you out of the story. And the camera just flies all over the place. This is not Tarzan. I don't know what this is? A huge dud. It's not a horrible movie. You are never offended or mad about anything here. It's just a waste of time.

Cervin 1865, une première tragique
(2015)

Pretty good doc, but it needs some editing
It's a good doc with a lot of details about the climbing disaster on the descent of the first ever Matterhorn climb. 7 people were connected with multiple ropes. 4 fell and the rope to the 3 remaining broke and they therefore couldn't do anything to save them from falling. We learn quite a bit background info about the people and their motivations and lives. The first 50 minutes are great, probably even a 8/10 quality documentary and I really enjoyed it. The recreated shots from the mountain are amazing. They really outdid themselves with how well they recreated the climb and how great the drone/helicopter footage looked. It was spectacular.

Overall it's only a 6,5/10 documentary because it's just too long. They got too many talking heads here and they were overly focused on any and all theories about the disaster even ones that appeared decades later. They try to really stretch the story to 1:30 hour, but it's just that we only have 2 people who saw what happened and they retold the story in 1865. So before any sound recording. We have just a few details. It's an interesting disaster, but it's just not enough for this long a documentary as they explore loose alternative theories with little to no evidence. It's fine if you just mention it, but spending half on hour on it is too much. The bad second half makes the whole product weak.

For example, they go into a full conspiracy theory about how the local guide may have cut the rope or the English climber did it. But these theories are complete and utter nonsense that don't belong in a documentary. They tested the rope and it couldn't even hold a single falling man. It doesn't matter if the rope was cut or not. There is no chance in hell it could hold 4 people. Someone cutting it to save themselves won't change anything as the rope was going to 100% fail anyhow. They should have used the higher quality rope they had with them. If they used that they likely would have fallen to their death too? The documentary never explores this. The logic is that if 4 people fall down a mountain 3 people can hold them up if they have a strong rope. I'm not sure I believe this one bit. The weight of the force would be extreme and either the rope would break, which the documentary does mention, or all 7 would die, which the documentary doesn't even mention. There is a great documentary here if they just hire a proper editor. It's worth a watch, but you will feel like it's 30 minutes too long and wasted your time at the end.

HHhH
(2017)

Looks like a TV movie, but the historical setting is interesting
Anthropoid (2016) was released a year prior to this movie. So you'd expect this to be a better version, more expensive version or maybe a more historically accurate version of the story to improve on former versions. That way it would make sense for viewers to pick this one over the older movies of exactly the same event. Yet that's not the case at all. Anthropoid is frankly not that great. It tries to be overly dramatic and self-important. Drama is shouted out instead of acted out and they don't know where to go with the story so they just depict the events without really thinking about making a functional story work as a movie. It's dry and overly long with some good scenes.

Here unfortunately it's even worse. It's way slower and has little to no tension in scenes where you ought to be on the edge of your seat. When they talk about killing the Nazi leader they stumble over their lines in a lazy way like it's some script reading room with actors reading an unfinished script. The actors also all put on accents to... I don't even know why. But you get what I mean, they have to talk with super fake and over the top accents in English to illustrate that they are not speaking English. It's like viewers are meant to see this and think "oh yeah, they are speaking German". If they are even speaking German all the time? Even that's not clear here. Their accents are extremely bad. I don't know if the actors or director is to blame, but any scene with the assassins is an unwatchable mess that lingers waaaaay too long on every single thing they do for some unexplained reason. They ad-lib basically everything and there is no clever lines in the movie because the actors are just acting out a scene while making up lines to illustrate what is going on. You know the style, if someone is hiding he will say he is hiding. If someone is running away he will say he is running away.

The first half of the movie focuses on Reinhard Heydrich and is sorta interesting as it's nice to explore how a Nazi leader would be psychopathic enough to take such a job. His story here makes total sense. He is fired from the navy for having promised a woman he would marry her, but then didn't. So it makes sense he now wanted any job he could get. As other reviewers state this storyline 100% fades away after an hour and we just follow the assassins from that point on. What's the point of having him be the lead and then move away from him? Unless it's a TV show with episodes this will never work. We don't have anyone to root for or follow along with. You don't need an hour to tell the audience this Nazi is evil. We are not idiots. We know that Nazis are not good people. What I think we all wanted to see is the storyline play out. Both Reinhard Heydrich and his wife had very deep emotional paths. His wife actually later sued Germany to get a pension for his death while he was fulfilling a government job. So she lived in prosperity while defending her former husband. Utter psychopath. Could be nice to have a movie about such women too as they of course avoided prison sentences and fines.

The worst part is the dialogue and then the god awful camera work. It makes the whole movie feel like a TV movie from the 80's instead of a big modern project. With the camera work and ad-lib this movie is made as sorta a "feel like you are there" type of movie where it's supposed to feel like a B tier documentary. Instead it all feels overly fake when the assassins show up. So while watching the movie you are sitting and waiting for the evil Nazi to show up on screen again because at least he can act. Making me miss the Nazis? Good job movie.

But overall it's not terrible. I just don't see why anyone with any decency wouldn't want such a project to shine when making it? It's a huge historical event. Why half-ass it? Still, I love seeing such WW2 stories so I think huge fans of historical movies will get something out of it. The first hour is fun enough. The second half is crap and very hard to watch it's extremely predictable and basic. But it does kinda work like a documentary telling the story no matter how cringe the acting is. I don't see why anyone would pick this to watch over Anthropoid. The only things the movie did better was getting the ages of the actors right. In Anthropoid everyone is 20 years too old for some unexplained reason which is also pretty terrible for a historical movie.

Cerro Torre: A Snowball's Chance in Hell
(2013)

Obnoxious, but features some good climbing
This is an overedited mess that never lingers on an event or part of a story. It tries to rush over the initial Cerro Torre story and Maestri's 2 climbs. It's all presented in an obnoxious way like some over the top TikTok video with noisy music and happy-go-lucky energy. And the climbers don't have much wise to say so it's just random statements.

Yet the bad production and frantic messy way it's all presented doesn't take away from the climb. It also does acknowledge that the Red Bull team ruined part of the mountain with bolts to film the first climb attempt. Then only on the next climb attempts did they use a helicopter to film instead. It's nice that they are honest about it. Unfortunately all this background story is super rushed and you don't get much info at all here. You will need to watch another documentary about Cerro Torre to get all of this stuff. Also, David Lama wanted to rappel down to put up safety bolts so that he could free climb the mountain a known way with those temporary bolts already in place for protection. He didn't do that because of huge internet backlash, the doc never even mentions this.

The climb itself is cool. David Lama wore a head cam and you really got to see the mountain up close. You even saw some difficult climbs he made. All of this is nice and I wonder how cool this documentary would have been if it was only the history and then the climb? Without any of that random stuff they put in to make it "action".

Some interviews are fine som are super cringe. There are a lot of talking heads so you constantly see people just talk about themselves and about how they feel about climbing. Completely pointless stuff. The doc doesn't know what it tries to be as it jumps from Cerro Torre to some old American climber talking about how hippie and cool he was when he was young. What the hell does that have to do with Chile and Argentina and that specific mountain? Why just have random climbers speak to the camera when you could have shown us more history from the mountain or more of the climb itself?

They also skip the death on a mountain nearby when they were there and the Red Bull helicopter filmed a woman, Carlyle Norman, who was left behind all alone try to climb down. They never told the rescue team about her being alive. The rescue team tried to climb up, but couldn't as the storm got too bad. She stood not chance at survival and fell down to her death. This doc tries to be childish and fun so of course they won't even hint at this event that took part days before their climb. But people do die on mountains and it would have been great for them to illustrate that. Hell, David Lama himself later died on a mountain. It's not something you can hide forever.

Zabardast
(2018)

Not a mountaineering documentary at all
The quality is great! 95% of the mountain climbing documentaries out there are still not in digital recording and they frankly can't show much climbing at all because you often can't carry huge cameras up mountains. This documentary is super simple and about nothing, yet it has the amazing quality going for it. Right now most mountains still don't have such amateur recordings with mini cams so you have to watch regular huge cams set up in camps only recording people just talking into the camera - not quite the same.

Now, while this is amazing quality it's not really the same as seeing an older documentary about a dangerous climb of a mountain where people even died or did a first. Those documentaries are about a big story.

Here you have a group of friends climb up mountains and snowboarding or skiing down them. So interesting shots for sure, but this is a vacation. It's a cool vacation and this is a curious plan. But at the end they just snowboard for a very short time down a slope, then rest in tents and do it again.

I guess it's easier to film this stuff than climbing where you are very high up - in the death zone. Here they always know what to do and are never in trouble.

It's like one of those Youtube videos where young people build a huge slide and do crazy jumps into a lake. This is it, but with a bit of climbing too. The climbing is maybe less than 5 minutes of the documentary.

They all take turn narrating and try to play it up by being super dramatic and overly emotional. Clearly the narration was done way letter and planned down to minor detail where they are always overly positive.

If you like vacation documentaries this is for you. If not then you'll like the first 35 minutes anyhow, but then it will get pretentious. Rich kids having a ton of fun splashing cash on fun stuff. I did find it fun for a bit, but it's not really a documentary. It's a flashy Youtube blog video.

Annapurna South Face: The Hardest Way Up
(1970)

Pretty dry, not much here
Bad video quality is one thing. It's before digital cameras so you can't really expect much from it. It's below DVD quality. The bad sound is a different issue. The climbers have a lot to say, but they are mostly speaking like rednecks with accents and swallowing their words. The mics are maybe mediocre? There is a lot of background noise.

Quality is unfortunately crucial in mountaineering documentaries because seeing the mountain and climb is a huge part of reliving the experience.

Besides this the doc is a basic following of a climbing team with a narrator. The narrator voice sounds like an old 1930's radio voice. Low quality too. It's about the climbing of a new route on the most dangerous mountain on Earth. I wanted to see the dangers and the suffering. Of course they can't just climb with heavy cameras. Today you can easily climb with small digital cameras and everyone has one up in the mountains.

There is not much to this documentary. Not much new psychological stuff, basically zero group interactions or conflict. It's mostly the narrator explaining where they are climbing and then talking heads just sitting around mumbling about being tired and having a hard time. It's a very tame and dry documentary that won't really engage any modern viewer.

Still, it's not bad. While the narrator doesn't explain much about anything and doesn't tell us anything about technical or technological matters we do get the very basics. Overall the climbers just sound super tired and it makes for a slow doc that doesn't really seem like a wise choice to watch over the newer HD digital Mount Everest series or single climbs on other mountains with digital cams. There are a lot of free-to-watch HD docs on Youtube that are super fun if they film the climb itself.

Jeremy Clarkson: Greatest Raid of All Time
(2007)

Dramatic and fun little doc
I just wanted to write a mini-review. It's a doc that starts out fast with good tension, dramatic music and a big plan. Jeremy Clarkson draws you in right away. It's for sure a fun watch for the first 30 minutes. It does calm down at the end and slows to a less dramatic and more weird style where talking heads take over. The ships sailing to the dock yard is so dramatic. They use very rudimentary CGI to show what happened and you can feel the tension as you see bullets fly at the screen. Unfortunately the CGI scenes very soon fade away and we get person after person just stating something about the event which unfortunately doesn't work. I think what they should have done is go full CGI from start till finish and then have used photos to tell us a bit more. A raid is only as interesting as you tell it. So A to B, clean and effective. No extra steps or hurdles please.

It's a very cool raid though and Youtubers like TIK could make an extraordinary video on this for sure. There is a big story here. With big show presenters you do get a very personal style though and it takes you out of the raid. It fun to watch Jeremy Clarkson, but a less known presenter could have been a narrator only for example.

Ultimate Survival: Everest
(2004)

One of the best Everest documentaries, easily.
Annabelle! What a charismatic hero. She's so good on camera. I had to get this out of the way.

I have watched quite a few Everest documentaries. There are always more, but it's likely over 20 at this point or something plus all the rest mountain climbing documentaries I watch. This is quite obviously a step above nearly everything else. I'm sad I didn't get to watch it in HD as I think it could look awesome in full quality. I live the Youtube life. But either way it's very proper quality and not the usual stuff you expect where you mostly see talking heads and some photos. Discovery actually got cameras up the mountain to make this documentary and it was a huge victory. You pretty much should start with these kind of documentaries showing you the actual climb.

On top of this the doc delivers some really great narration and he pulls no punches. I do think it was over the top in many places though. The narrator kinda made this into some impossible task, but it's not nearly as hard as he makes it out to be as you can see even old overweight men climb the mountain. But it is extremely dangerous for many climbers. 6 died during this season alone. Unfortunately Discovery didn't quite luck out with this expedition team because while we saw some great summits the ones who couldn't make it just turned back. They were too professional and rational. In reality what you'd often expect to see is a team with leaders just doing their own stuff and beginner climbers getting themselves into trouble and dying. Here no one was close to dying. But Discovery did save 2 lives so that explains it. One older man refused to even acknowledge that he would be dead without them. But normally such people are either saved by Sherpas guided by base camp or left to die. Here cameras were filming everyone so you kinda had to do some extra work to save such people. And the Discovery team was largely on their way down when they saved the 2 climbers.

The narrator give us a ton of extra info besides the big words. A lot of jargon and info about Mount Everest. This is pretty much a documentary to replace 90% of Everest documentaries for you. But obviously with new HD cams this would have been astonishing. You just need both, the info and HD cams. You can't get both everywhere.

Some episodes and parts are kinda slow and boring because you follow so many people that you kinda zone out. Not all these people were interesting. The expedition leader was unfortunately boring on camera. Not his fault, but the doc suffers when a huge chunk of the documentary is focused on a man who barely could make it out of basecamp and seemed to just hinder other climbers. It's not great TV when all his big leader decisions are not filmed. With other climbers you often felt like you only saw 5% of the climb. The doc just switches between people and places on the mountain which is a huge shame because I do feel like they could have made an even better series if they had filmed one single small team making their way up.

This is definitely an underrated documentary. But it's also Discovery. They are trying to make something flashy for the family. None of the 6 deaths are talked much about and largely we focus on the smiles and success stories. Which is fine, but lacking a bit of what we really came here for. The narrator even promises that 6 people will die. Of course none from these groups do so. Discovery knows what sells, but also know they can't show the very extremes on their huge channel. I do want to see people make mistakes and there were none here. Which is not normal for Everest let's be fair. The narrator tells a story of a regular Everest team, but this was just not it. They had plenty of Sherpas and professional help. This was a huge and very expensive project not a regular dangerous climb.

Last Breath
(2019)

It's fine, overly long and drawn-out, but not bad
There are 2 huge issues with this otherwise good documentary. I get why people really like it. It's a simple yet emotionally important story and there is a lot of tension here. It has that fake feel of being overly important and dramatic that the regular viewers love. But for anyone who watches documentaries regularly this is a letdown in some ways.

Firstly, it's for sure 30 minutes too long. Like, that shouldn't even be a debate. For the story it tells and scenes it has it's a 1 hour documentary. They constantly input small statements, acted scenes or videos of some equipment just being there. They even do small flashback sequences!!! That's stuff you see in B movies not in documentaries. Yet here everything is stretched out to feel more important and to fill the runtime. Furthermore, they have that extra 30-40 minutes to actually tell us what happened technically and how the various technologies work. The ship, the sub, the bot sub, the diving suits, the computer on the ship. We basically learn nothing about it because most of the runtime is filled with mini shots of various things. And instead of giving us extra details they will give us statements about what they felt or say things like "we restarted the computer and then it worked again". Okay, that's a serious letdown for people who want to learn anything about diving. This is not for smart people, but rather for people seeking that over the top drama with overly emotional scenes, but not much to learn. It's kinda a huge issue that the main problem they experienced is not even explained. That's crazy.

Secondly, this documentary DIDN'T tell us when it used recreated shots and when it used real shots. Honestly, anyone respecting documentaries should really pan this doc for it. You cannot know when what you are seeing is fake. That's a huge issue! Mostly I could spot it as the replicated shots were way better quality. But often you don't know. They have recordings from the ship, but then also have recordings from the ship they recreated. They have recordings from the dive, but then clearly also some recreated some scenes. This is maybe good for the drama, for some, but this is terribly if you want to tell a real story with nothing extra to it. The recreated scenes also all felt like slow motion making it drag a lot.

It's just too long for the story it tells. I got bored after 40 minutes. It's a very cool story for sure. But you need to have some stellar patience for this. Otherwise I recommend watching other such stuff or having it on in the background. I don't get the huge praise I see. It's fine, but it's really nothing you should run out to watch.

Mount Everest: Then & Now
(2021)

Super short intro on Mount Everest
It's waaaaaay too short. This is not a history of Everest, but rather a short summary of some main events. They even skip a ton of huge climbing stories and "first time ever" events. They skip most of the big deaths and accidents and movies and docs about it. They skip most Sherpa stuff. Hell, it basically skips everything. But still it's a well-made documentary and everything they do say here is completely factual and relevant. This is a strong intro.

Overall I can't really recommend it to people seeking a good deep docs about Mount Everest. If you like such documentaries and watch them already it's also an easy skip. If you know nothing at all about Everest this is for you. I did enjoy the basics presented here, but overall it feels like a short video you'd see in a museum presenting some topic. Also, when a doc just presents the basics you really miss the story and human connection. The single climb stories have depth and humanity to them. This one is a shallow mass info campaign.

They do introduce the basics, from George Mallory to Edmund Hillary and then to modern mass climbing. So you do get the basics presented in a flashy package with no great bias. But no one will watch this and feel something deep or admire the mountain.

Messner
(2002)

Strong short doc
Nothing much to it. It's not digical recordings so it looks kinda crappy, but it's a lot of interesting climbs and ideas. Most of his first climbs are very interesting. The Mount Everest climbs without oxygen are the best thing. But unfortunately the last half of the documentary is quite mediocre/bad. You hear Messner explain a lot of his theories about the world and the doc just gets stuck on this and his current home and personal museum. Stuff that many people do today besides him. Instead I wanted to see more climbing or hear about his other climbing stories. Hell, the guy has published 80 books by now, surely you can fill out 45 minutes with his climbing stories?

Basically, there are 2 very interesting climbing stories here. First no-oxygen climb of Everest and then first no-oxygen climb of Everest alone. But they spend a few minutes on that only. If you like to know who Messner is a person, how he thinks and how his house looks like this is a documentary for you. Personally I still liked it because I was introduced to the greatest mountaineer ever. But thinking back I don't think it was particularly good. And since there are hundreds of documentaries with him or about him I'm sure there are MUCH better intros about him that could easily replace this one. Especially now that not all recordings look like mediocre VHS tapes. Some digital shots, maps and 3D recreations of mountains would be perfect for a proper documentary about his climbs. We for example hear that his brother died on a mountain with him there, but the doc spends 20 seconds on that story. Come on now... Instead much of the time is spent on that other boring stuff. And even worse, Messner has remarried several times since then so his personal life story and philosophy is not fully told in this old documentary. It tries to be a biography and fails. But as an intro it's good enough.

Mountain Men
(2001)

Very cool, too short though
There are 3 hugely exciting stories. Each one by itself could easily be a book, and surely are it's just that most of them are not on audiobook so I can't read them all. These documentaries tell you very short stories that deserve way more time and that's a huge issue. The doc is fun for 50 minutes and will introduce very exciting stories, but they leave you hungry for more info and details.

One of the first K2 climbing attempt was a huge disaster. An American expedition badly prepared with fools trying to do something they shouldn't be trying. While the best climbers were at the top the leader in a high up base camp got tired of waiting and decided to take the sleeping bags from the tents and go down making it impossible for the team at the top to climb down, rest, and climb up again. Sherpas emptied the tents for everything else. Food was thrown into the snow as the Sherpas, for some reason, figured everyone above them were dead. This forced the German climber, Fritz Wiessner, to go ALL the way down without food and rest, alone. An Englishman, Dudley Wolfe, stayed on the very top as the German promised to return back to help him down, but now Wiessner was completely wasted and couldn't climb anything. Sherpas went after the Englishman. They found him waiting in the tent not even going outside to do his business. He said he would go down the next day. 3 Sherpas went after him the day after but none of them were found again. Again, one has to wonder why they didn't force him down or leave him to die. Why do the extremely dangerous climb again with fewer people? Stupid again.

Next decade new people decide to create a team of very likeable people to not suffer the same disaster. But this time they are maybe missing a few more experts? They are caught in a storm. One can't climb down so they try to drag him down - which is of course impossible, luckily for them he somehow falls off the mountain saving the rest of the team from certain death trying to drag him down. But before this one of the climbers saved the rest of the climbers by holding the rope while everyone else slides down. Hero.

The last expedition is Italian in 1954, just a year after the failed attempt. The documentary just mentions it. We don't know what happened there, but they reached the top because they were extremely well-prepared, well-selected and just had a ton of equipment for safety measures. Very smart! Because they were that much smarter than everyone else I guess it made for a boring expedition with no deaths so documentaries don't care about it. But in reality plenty of happened up there and several people nearly died because of hybris.

Overall a great short doc. But it's very short and often you don't understand what actually happened. There are no 3D graphics or maps. No animation of what happened.

Operation Everest: Summiteers to Saviours
(2015)

This feels unprofessional and the story is lacking
An Indian team of 30+ soldiers want to climb Everest to celebrate the 50th year anniversary of the first Indian to climb on mountain.

There are some interesting things they experience here and there. Unfortunately the documentary itself is made by amateurs/novices that kinda experienced something semi-interesting, but don't know how to present it well.

Climbers, just above the first base camp, get covered in snow from an avalanche and go down again. That part of the story is nothing. They try to make it into a big thing, but in reality none of them were in any danger and they also largely happy and calm. The documentary tries to play it up though which makes it look overblown and silly.

In the basecamp the teams actually experience a danger. The avalanche flattens some tents and knocks a few of them off their feet. It's not much. 2 are bleeding a tiny bit, one has an injured wrist - that's it. Then suddenly there is one single line in the documentary explaining that some may have died. Who died? How? From what teams? What is he talking about? All we see on camera is one minor wrist injury and that's what the narrator mentions 3 times over.

It feels like a school documentary set in a cool setting. The storytelling is not great and it doesn't seem like much happened here. But obviously something did happen. 22 people died that day! 61 people got injured. Why are we seeing just one single injury out of 83 people?

I really wanted to see what happened there and what the danger was. I've seen it in other documentaries already. Unfortunately while this doc is fun enough to watch it's an utter failure that doesn't respect the lives that were lost that day. These brave climbers deserve a better documentary.

Nova: Secrets of the Psychics
(1993)
Episode 12, Season 20

A good intro to James Randi's work, but nothing you haven't seen before.
It's yet another James Randi intro. There are probably about 50 such short intro videos to his work in investigating fake psychics. It's obviously a good episode because he's a very interesting person and it's always nice to see how fakesters are doing their tricks and how they respond to his investigations. But if you have seen a bit about it you know it all. You can guess what happens in this episode and you already know what Uri Geller scenes feature in this episode because you have seen them 20 times before by now, we are not in 1993 anymore.

James Randi in this episode spends most of the time in Russia investigating the new fakesters post USSR. And there are a lot of them. They are also surprisingly good. I was very impressed by the 2 women at the end, if Randi had given them just a bit more info about the person in the photo I bet you they would be able to tell you eerie specific details about him. They are not just random charlatans. These are utterly professional charlatans who are very good at their job.

Unfortunately many of the investigations and tricks Randi presents are a bit hard to figure out. In USA he's in a class and they only show the end of the tricks not everything from start till finish. In Russia they also do the same type of cuts just jumping to points and the translation is lacking and often not even there. The episode kinda jumps all over the place never quite presenting the full story about anything and jumping from person to person. This alone really should make you want to seek a longer intro. This episode should have been 2 hours long at least. There are too many details here they just skipped. But it's a good intro to his work and it never gets boring. Very good episode.

I did want to enjoy it a bit more. But at the end this is about charlatans. This gives the episode a negative energy to it. You always feel like cheaters and liars are getting TV time here while James Randi really doesn't have anything positive to replace their ideas with. He's disproving not proving. You need to prepare yourself to be really irritated by some of these assholes telling people they just cured their cancer or other such things.

I Shouldn't Be Alive: Boys Adrift
(2010)
Episode 5, Season 3

Very strong episode!
I really like this one. It's about survival and they could in fact have died if they had stayed on the water for a few more days which makes this a true survival story and not just one of the episodes where the people were found in 2 days and were not in any real danger.

It's curious how well done the episode is compared to most other episodes. As always the acting is not ideal, but here it's not a huge issue. In other episodes the actors just scream and shout to make it all look overly serious. Here the same screams and shouts are subdued by the narration. They have the 2 former teens, and then one dad praying for their survival at home. These 3 people have so much to say that the awful acting scenes are often shown while they narrate the story which works perfectly. You can see the actors scream, but only hear the narration. No high school drama club ruling the day here.

Furthermore it's always nice to see what the people did at home. The dad was really suffering. This filled out the runtime. As these episodes are always 48 minutes most of them feel 5-10 minute too long. This one feels just right as there are plenty of things to explore. It's not just "2 kids on a boat for 48 minutes".

But of course the show has some serious issues besides the bad acting. For one they exaggerate the danger. Every time someone is rescued at the end of an episode the narrator says "they would have been dead in a few hours". Yeah, right. They even say this with people being rescued after 48 hours. No matter how long people have been missing it's "they only had hours left". Of course any viewer who has watched more than one episode understands that this cannot possible be true for all cases. It can't be true for every single case no matter how fast they were found. These kids only had days left to live that's horrible enough. No need to say the usually overly dramatic stuff to create fake drama. I'm not sure how to rate this stuff? It's not true, but it's not like there is another survival show like this one I can watch instead.

Then there are issues with other claims as in all episodes. Like the dad saying that search and rescue stopped searching for the teens. Now, in this very show they say in the helicopter crash episode that search and rescue on sea goes on way longer than anyone can realistically stay alive. They still search for dead bodies on the ocean way later and overall just assume some miracle kept the people alive. Here, according to the dad, they stopped searching right away? This is not how their rules for this work at all. I'm not sure why the dad said this, but it's just not how it works. I read a few articles to look into this question. Seems like the dad was likely misconstruing their words. The search, as I read it, never stopped, but rather they prepared for alternative outcomes. And why would it stop after a few days? It logically makes no sense at all. Imagine the media backlash if you said the kids were 100% dead by now, then stopped searching for them and yet they were found alive days later. You'd have whole departments being fired on the spot and media raging about it even 20 years afterwards.

It does seem like the show adores drama and plays up stuff that doesn't need it. We just want to see survival. But it's something you have to accept here. Maybe a new show can avoid it? Let's hope.

Channel 4 News: Episode dated 16 January 2018
(2018)

This famous interview is very misunderstood
"Cathy Newman interviews the Canadian psychology Professor Jordan Peterson on various topics."

I'm gonna say it, this interview is way underrated. It's a piece of important internet history and some of the most misunderstood history we have. It's also very fun to watch and rewatch. Do it if you have the time.

Firstly, yeah, Cathy Newman doesn't exactly shine in this interview. You'd think she was some random women stumbling around near a studio and then pulled in to do a scientific interview. She basically doesn't put a foot right. Instead she makes it into a gotcha style interview trying to catch the "evil supremacist" in a lie or bad moral statement. You can do that with anyone even an expert in his field. But you can never do it if you don't read up on the subject! Hell, Jordan Peterson is religious, there are plenty of ways to attack his logic by leaning into the concepts of proof and belief. Cathy Newman instead is fumbling in the dark. That's not horrible though, most regular MSM interviewers can't be experts on everything and they will say stupid stuff all the time as many of them don't even have a high degree and are not book smart. They then interview smart people all day long, of course they will mess up. Yet what Cathy Newman did besides this is perceived as mean or nasty as she seemingly tries to ruin the life of a top social scientist.

I'm not sure she is trying to cancel someone here though. I get that we live in cancel culture times and this is what it looks like, but I think she just tried to make herself look smart not understanding that you can't look smart on a subject you don't even care to read up on. She also tries to look tough. Peterson has a lot of lectures on masculinity in a modern society and Cathy Newman likely tried to "act like a man" as she saw it. Tried to be everything an alpha male can be. In her eyes that implies being some sort of a bully who doesn't listen to feedback. Even after the interview she stayed arrogant about it and blamed women haters for the negative feedback. Not even admitting that she could have done better no matter who said what afterwards. Even if some evil people gave her negative feedback that doesn't imply she did a good job here.

But overall this became a huge win for Peterson and that is how the interview should be remembered. Peterson surely earned some extra millions from this. He got huge exposure and for someone selling books this is frankly ideal. Furthermore, most who saw the interview did see that he didn't mess up. No matter if you like or hate him it's quite clear that this interview was a huge win for him and that there are no moments here that can be used to show that he is wrong. Actually, there are plenty of OTHER interviews where he makes some logical errors. How could there be big errors revealed here when Cathy Newman doesn't have the skillset to seek them out? Again, I'm not saying he's flawless. Many of his theories are largely in the periphery of social science so many are not yet fully accepted scientific theories and some will have evidence go against them.

Overall this interview is a win for Peterson and a positive note in his life.

I Shouldn't Be Alive: 76 Days Adrift
(2010)
Episode 6, Season 4

Pure survival and little to no overblown drama
There is the narrator and then the actor. The narrator is great, the actor is great. This is it, pure survival.

Most of the episodes have "survival" for only a few days where the survivors just stay put or float around until someone finds them. This is 76 days of pure survival where he needs to get water and food and survive. It's pretty much what this whole show should be about. Of course you don't just luck into such stories as most of Earth is inhabited and rescuers are looking for survivors after just hours. Here it's a guy who didn't send out a mayday signal on a boat alone. No one is looking for him. He is obviously someone who survives by himself and knows how to survive so this episode shows him making largely good choices. There are other episodes where every choice people make is a stupid one getting them into greater danger. Those people wouldn't even make it out of the sinking boat in this episode let alone survive for more than a week on a raft.

The Outer Limits: Patient Zero
(2001)
Episode 2, Season 7

I get the "drama" it's just not realistic
A man travels back in time to keep a virus from being created. So he needs to kill 2 people. Instead he likes the woman he is supposed to kill so he just makes sure she doesn't meet up with her doctor. We later find out that this keeps the virus from getting created. Expect for the fact that it is still created into him so he must die.

All of this is a really great idea. Hell, the movie 12 Monkeys is awesome. But here it's just big city melodrama. The episode is set in the 90's. So you don't really explore sci-fi or the future. Instead the killer gets injured and lo and behold the woman takes him inside her apartment to help him out and even allows him to sleep over. Keep in mind this is a big city with criminals everywhere. He was just hit by one in a hit and run! And he tells her that she must not call the cops or bring him to a hospital. So clearly she knows he is not some outstanding citizen. This is a criminal hiding from the cops. This of course doesn't change any plot. She's still acting like this guy is some small injured girl not a mean tattooed man with deep secrets. At night he stands over her bed with a knife ready to kill her. Because... I mean... what the hell did you expect here? The guy told you he is hiding from the cops and no one knows he is in your apartment. Of course there is a chance he'll gut you during the night. A high chance even. Her surviving is pure luck. If they set it in a small town it would at least be somewhat realistic. But either way the whole idea of any of this happening is baffling and ruins the episode for me.

Besides that the plot doesn't really feel fulfilling. Apparently the virus is wiped out, but we basically only saw a lab in the future so we never see how the future changes. 90% of the episode is set in the past/current time. So we have no emotional connection to their story.

It's also a big issue that the plot is never explained clearly. We just find out at the end that the virus is now created inside of him. But it's just a point coming out of the left field. The least they could do is show us how his family survived from the virus in the future because of this sacrifice in leading the future to understand where patient zero is now - in him. Instead they just tell us about it in the dialogue... so lazy and cheap. This is crappy. A better idea would be to have his coworker kill him to marry his now surviving wife. Just some extra spicy drama. With the current plot he kinda does nothing and then dies. If he had done his job and killed the 2 people the virus would not be created either. So the outcome would be the similar. Instead he dies and those 2 stay alive. But he never would imagine he would die if he saved them. We only learn about this at the end with him. So he kinda dies because he is empathetic?

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