The 3rd Annual Remembering James Horner Blogathon: The 33 (2015)

This post is part of the Remembering James Horner Blogathon hosted by Film Music Central

The 33 (2015)

The 33

Director: Patricia Riggen

Cast: Antonio Banderas, Juliette Binoche, Rodrigo Santoro, James Brolin, Lou Diamond Phillips, Mario Casas, Jacob Vargas, Juan Pablo Raba, Oscar Nunez, Tenoch Huerta, Kate Del Castillo, Gabriel Byrne

Based on the real-life event, when a gold and copper mine collapses, it traps 33 miners underground for 69 days. – IMDB

I’m going to be honest that I tend to avoid biographical drama in general. For one, I tend to like my entertainment far from reality and second, I tend to like my entertainment more light and fluffy or something that requires me to suspend belief or whatnot. I do have to admit that I was intrigued by The 33 when it was first released despite the genre that it falls in. The usual idea in these movies especially one based on a traumatic event is the personal stories and the devastation of the situation. The line to draw here it to make it believable and not so manipulative, which for the most part, The 33 does quite well. The stories here do feel rather genuine and while there were 33 men trapped in the mine, the movie focused on a few of them only, while also alternating to the rescue efforts on the surface, showing their families and government and the different faces of who is also pulled into the situation. It is a smart move to make sure that the stories don’t get too shallow and gives at least some characters their own depth and development.

The 33

With that said, there are some familiar faces here. The obvious leader of the pack in the movie and the movie is Antonio Banderas who plays as Mario who naturally is the glue and the one the men trust and is entrusted with the key to the food to ration for everyone. Antonio Banderas does a great job here. While I can’t say that I’ve seen Antonio Banderas in a whole lot of films, this is one that stands out to me especially when I always saw him as the slick and charming man but here is, given the circumstance of the film setting, rugged and devastated. We only get a few men down there with a spotlight, like Mario Casas as Alex Vega who has a pregnant wife to get back to, or Juan Pablo Raba as Dario, a recovering alcholic who spent his life being mad at his sister Mario, played by Juliette Binoche, for abandoning him and trying to find out how to make it work. Then you throw in the Bolivian who adds a bit of a social conflict in the group. In the parts of the 33 men trapped there, its hard to not feel devastated with them especially in the beginning when they don’t know whether anyone is going to save them and going through the roller coaster of emotions of hope and being hopeless and eventually feeling like they can get out. 69 days is a long time and its an honest miracle. I think the downfall of this is that somehow the emotional trauma of these men were never fully explored. However, you can argue that it took away from the emotionally manipulative angle and tried to just keep it real.

On the other hand, the surface characters included names like Juliette Binoche that I mentioned before. It was quite a surprise to see her here as she is a French actress. However, she is her stellar self even in a role like this as a worried sister waiting for her brother to come back. The same goes to Kate Del Castillo that plays Mario’s wife. Its a lot of characters to go through so despite focusing on just a few families, the plot has a hard time focusing on what is important and that takes away from how much we actually get to know these characters because how can we not care because The 33 was an actual thing that happened. Even if we knew the outcome, it still has its significance. However, adding into the surface mix is Rodrigo Santoro, who I’ve seen in a lot of movies in supporting roles as the Minister of Mining. In many ways, it seems his character gets the most development as he proves that he isn’t just talk to particularly Maria. The trials and failures and eureka moments from the surface were almost more devastating than the men that were trapped down there, as I watched the film.

The 33

This is part of the Remembering James Horner Blogathon so its a must to look at the score and it does a fantastic job. James Horner scores the piece knowing exactly when to use the subtle music to accompany the scene but also knowing exactly when to create the tension, the danger and of course, emotion. He does a fine job at it and I do love the score quite a bit.

Overall, The 33 is a sufficient biographical drama. It reflected the dangerous situation that happened, highlighted  the social and political issues as well as the personal and emotional trauma that the whole thing brought up. There are some fantastic performances here that pulled at our heartstrings and it was properly devastating in some parts. The collapse at the beginning f the film was definitely the most effective part of the film as well as the revelation of how to learn from their mistakes. Its a pretty decent film even if its sheer indecision of what issue to focus on made it sometimes less poignant as it should have been.

You can check out my previous two years participation post for:

Once Upon a Forest
The Spiderwick Chronicles

Double Feature: Paris When It Sizzles (1964) & Take the Lead (2006)

December 1st is apparently the big day of when a ton of movies expire on Netflix. So I had to make choices.  Not sure if I made the right ones BUT if Audrey Hepburn’s movie is ever going to expire, you can expect that is the first one I’ll watch just to make sure I get it in, because I just love her so much. So yeah, Paris When it Sizzles was going to expire and I watched that one.  Then on Sunday night to relax and clear my mind after NaNoWriMo craze with Take the Lead, a dance movie with Antonio Banderas.

Lets check it out!


paris when it sizzles

Director: Richard Quine

Cast: Audrey Hepburn, William Holden, Gregoire Aslan, Noel Coward, Raymond Bussieres

Hollywood producer hires an often drunk writer, Richard Benson to do his next screenplay.  Days are left before the deadline and an assistant, Gabrielle Simpson is sent in to help him finalize it. Much to her surprise, he hasn’t even started it due to writer’s block and having a little fun. With her push, she tries to inspire him to write the script while using themselves to figure out how the plot should go.

paris when it sizzles

This is not anywhere near as awesome Breakfast at Tiffany’s or Roman Holiday, I mean those are masterpieces. Paris When It Sizzles is still extremely fun to watch.  Audrey Hepburn and William Holden go between present day where they are formulating the plot together while learning about twists and dissolves and all that, while jumping to the fiction world of the story playing in front of our eyes. Whats kind of cute is how they make references to movies that Audrey Hepburn’s been in.  Maybe even William Holden but I’m not familiar with his. Its a witty and fun little piece.

paris when it sizzles

I have an immense love for Audrey Hepburn.  She’s like my ultimate girl crush.  Even my boyfriend who experienced half this movie with me and well, his first Audrey Hepburn viewing thought she was a pretty lady.  Seriously, she brings in a movie in the most funny and absurd plot ideas they come with, and she just shows so much class and elegance that its really hard to not like whatever she’s in.  Of course, thats just me.

Paris When It Sizzles is nothing as well done as Roman Holiday but its a whole lot of fun to watch packed with some really funny moments 🙂


take the lead

Director: Liz Friedlander

Cast: Antonio Banderas, Rob Brown, Yaya DaCosta, Alfre Woodard, Jonathan Malen, Elijah Kelley, Jenna Dewan(-Tatum), Dante Basco, Lauren Collins

 Dance instructor, Pierre Dulaine (Antonio Banderas) volunteers to take over the detention for some troublesome high school students to teach them how to ballroom dance.  Although, not supported at first, he teaches them trust, teamwork, dignity and self-respect in the process.

take the lead

I’m a sucker for these inspirational true stories.  Freedom Writers is the first the pops in my head but this one is really good too.  Its normal and possibly predictable but the message is what is important here. Sometimes thats really what I ask for.  Most of the time, when I know what I’m heading into, my expectations change a little, as I believe it should be.  Its like when I watch Sharknado, I don’t hold the same expectations as when I watch The Last Emperor (just putting an extreme out there). Inspirational movies can get formulaic but the characters themselves, when they do carry a great charisma to the screen, it connects well with the audience.  I was impressed by Antonio Banderas and even the group here including Jenna Dewan, Rob Brown, etc.

take the lead

I have a take a moment and talk about this charming man, Antonio Banderas.  Its a bit embarrassing to say that the closest thing I’ve ever seen of Antonio Banderas (other than in magazines) is his voice work for Puss in Boots. I always found he seemed a little dated.  Like he’s not a hot man or anything (at least not to me) but after seeing Take the Lead, he definitely has charm. He carries the old-fashioned gentlemanly charm very well.  There’s something that makes him very appealing to watch.  I think I’ll seek out more of his movies 🙂

I’d gladly add Take the Lead to my collection.  It seems Jenna Dewan-Tatum is invading my life without my knowing though. Haha! I didn’t know she was in this one and I’ve been binge watching Witches of East End.

Overall… I liked both of them.  They were fun and entertaining.  For Paris When It Sizzles, it actually inspired me to break my writer’s block while I was putting together the final bit of my NaNoWriMo novel, while Take the Lead just made me want to learn ballroom dancing even more.

Have you seen Paris When It Sizzles? How about Take the Lead? Any fans of Antonio Banderas? Mind sharing which movies you like of his?