FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #79 – “Everest” (dir. Baltasar Kormákur)

This week on the podcast, Glenn and Daniel climb the mountain of conflict as they bicker on how well Everest stacks up to its IMAX and geographical namesakes. Strap on your oxygen tanks and tune in – your survival may depend on it! (37:05)

May contain NSFW language.

FilmWonk rating: 6/10 (Daniel); 7.5/10 (Glenn)

Show notes:

  • Music for tonight’s episode is “All I Wanna Do” by Sheryl Crow, from the film’s soundtrack.
  • The fact-checking website we referred to is known as History vs. Hollywood, and features quite an impressive entry on this film.
  • The world record holder for summitting Mount Everest the most times is Apa Sherpa, at 21 times. We were definitely talking out of our butts a bit on this subject – check out a complete list of the records on Wikipedia.
  • A helicopter has indeed landed on the summit of Mt. Everest – on May 14, 2005, French pilot Didier Delsalle landed an AStar helicopter at the summit, and remained there for approximately 4 minutes before taking off again. The helicopter had several unnecessary items (such as passenger seats) removed to reduce weight, but was otherwise just a stock AStar model. You can view video of this world record landing here. The search result page that contains that video has quite an impressive array of high-altitude rescue landings, and confirm that this film portrayed such flights with an impressive degree of realism.
  • CORRECTION: We conflated a pair of related conditions – high-altitude hypoxia, and high-altitude cerebral edema (HACE), both physiological effects of high altitude and failure to acclimatize, but with different effects.
  • CORRECTION: We referred to a USAF helicopter crashing on Mt. Baker during a rescue – the incident actually occurred on Mt. Hood, and was televised live throughout the region. Video is available here. While several climbers were killed from the initial fall into a crevasse which had prompted the rescue, none of the helicopter’s five crewmembers died in the crash.

Listen above, or download: Everest (right-click, save as, or click/tap to play on a non-flash browser)

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #31 – “Zero Dark Thirty” (dir. Kathryn Bigelow)

Poster for "Zero Dark Thirty"

This week on the podcast, Glenn and Daniel take an understandably spoiler-filled look at director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal‘s triumphant followup to The Hurt Locker, featuring a performance from Jessica Chastain that makes or breaks the film to an exceptional degree. (30:45)

May contain some NSFW language.

FilmWonk rating: 9 out of 10

Show notes:

  • Music for this episode is the track “Flight to Compound“, from Alexandre Desplat‘s score.
  • The European Court of Human Rights does consider sleep deprivation to be “a practice of inhuman and degrading treatment” (and thus a violation of the European Convention on Human Rights), but not precisely torture, as it does not “occasion suffering of the particular intensity and cruelty implied by the word torture”. According to memos released by the CIA, sleep deprivation is a technique that was used in post-9/11 detainee interrogations, and whether or not it constitutes torture is still controversial.
  • We refer back to our podcast of Act of Valor from last year. Check it out!
  • As promised, I did look into whether or not the audio recordings of 911 calls from September 11th were genuine or reenactments produced for the film. I have been unable to find definitive word on this (I’m sure the director’s commentary on the DVD will settle the issue eventually), but in the course of searching, I found many 9/11 recordings and transcripts that were as disturbing or more so than the ones featured at the beginning of Zero Dark Thirty. I will not link to them here, and I would encourage you not to seek them out.

Listen above, or download: Zero Dark Thirty (right-click, save as, or click/tap to play on a non-flash browser)