Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Old Man and the Sea

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Old Man and the Sea

Article excerpt

'All Is Lost' ****

"All Is Lost" is an astonishing one-man show for Robert Redford.

It opens with a vague voiceover of just a minute or two, establishing our nameless hero's peril on the Indian Ocean, with no biographical details or backstory. We then immediately flash back to the start of his crisis eight days earlier.

In the middle of a solo voyage through the Indian Ocean, 1,700 miles from land, our experienced senior-citizen sailor is jolted awake to find a disaster of mini-Titanic proportions: He's soaking wet, and his state-of-the-art yacht is taking on water after colliding during the night with a huge shipping container jettisoned on the high seas.

The container is incongruously spitting out tennis shoes and other cheap Asian goods. He hooks up to it -- like Ahab harpooned to Moby Dick -- to stabilize his own little vessel while assessing the damage, inside and out. His navigation systems and radio are disabled. But this is not the kind of man who panics.

There's lots to do: ropes to be knotted, winches to be winched, hatches to be battened. He salvages what little seawater-drenched equipment he can and, like a maritime plastic surgeon, does makeshift repairs to the skin of his craft. There's a new crisis every hour. There's the relentless sun, the circling sharks, the end of his food and water supply. The ever-resourceful sailor is at the end of his resources.

Writer-director J.C. Chandor ("Margin Call") delivers a tense adventure with minimalist storytelling for 106 tight minutes -- nothing gratuitous or extraneous. The distressed yachtsman never talks to himself (or us) out loud, not even by interior monologue. The film is wordless but hardly silent: Wind, water and the rumble of thunder were never so ominously articulate.

And at 77, Mr. Redford has never been more naturalistic or charismatic.

Rated PG-13 for brief strong language.

Extras include commentary, featurette on making a complicated film with a limited budget and four making-of vignettes.

-- Post-Gazette

'Best Man Holiday' **1/2

The tones and moods shift like a pendulum in "The Best Man Holiday," a sequel to the hit 1999 comedy about college friends reuniting for a wedding.

The ceremony was jeopardized by an autobiographical novel with some damaging details about the best man and bride-to-be. After much drama, professional football player Lance (Morris Chestnut) wed Mia (Monica Calhoun), and there were proposals, breakups and hookups as well in "The Best Man."

Writer-director Malcolm D. Lee stages another reunion in his follow-up, with Mia inviting the old gang to the couple's mansion for the Christmas holidays; yes, football has been very good to Lance, who is on the verge of breaking the NFL's rushing record in his final season. He and Mia have four children while Lance's frenemy Harper (Taye Diggs) and his wife, Robyn (Sanaa Lathan), are expecting a child after much heartache. …

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