Only The Brave

Year: 2017
Directed by: Joseph Kosinski
Cast: Josh Brolin, Miles Teller, Jeff Bridges, Taylor Kitsch, Jennifer Connelly, James Badge Dale

Written by Jessica Peña

‘Only the Brave’ is the biographical drama that tells the fateful true story of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, a unit of trained wildfire control men who lost their lives during the Yarnell Hill Fire in Yarnell, Arizona back in 2013. It is the second greatest loss of firefighter life in the United States since the attacks of 9/11. With a film of this nature, it can be an easy mistake to misinterpret real life people, and even come off as exploitative as a Hollywood project. Director Joseph Kosinski keeps a sensitive dedication to the story that runs deep through its characters and its heart.

The story begins in Prescott, Arizona where a team of forest firefighters are training under the wing of their chief, Eric Marsh, played magnificently by Josh Brolin. The team work hard to get certified to become the country’s first municipal hotshot crew. The term ‘hotshot’ refers to the crew first in line to stabilize forest areas that are on fire. With the inevitable event that this film was based on, the film decides to spend its time capturing our hearts through the stories of the Granite Mountain Hotshots.

The film is in no way manipulative of its true events, and I loved that. Ken Nolan and Eric Warren Singer wrote the script with real life emotions in mind. It was careful to let the characters strengthen the film. Miles Teller embodies Brendan McDonough, the lone survivor of the Yarnell Hill Fire. We follow Brendan through the first part of the film getting to know his struggles with addiction and the sudden news that he’s going to have a daughter. He decides to turn his life around and join the firefighter crew to the doubt of Chief Eric Marsh. Teller proves to be one of Hollywood’s promising young actors. Could the man be in his prime? It’s safe to say so. He just doesn’t quit. Through Brolin’s performance as Marsh, and Jennifer Connelly’s performance as his wife and widow Amanda Marsh, it took the film to a whole new level. Passing its halfway point, we begin to see and understand the character arcs even better. Connelly gives an outstanding and heart breaking act during a scene where Eric and Amanda have a sudden fallout argument in their truck one night. You can feel just how much of it is character driven. Sure, the pace of the story was a tad bit slow in the beginning of the film, but later redeems itself full heartedly.

The cast and crew worked closely with Brendan McDonough as a direct source. In interviews promoting the film, McDonough no longer expresses guilt for not being with his brothers, but gratitude for what can come out of things. ‘Only the Brave’ allowed for a spotlight on forest firefighters and those who put their safety on the line in order to secure that of their community’s. The cast was able to shed a lot of weight and be empowered through the performance in remembrance of the fallen. With the blessing of the families involved, the film was able to exemplify true heroism in light of these real personalities who were truly unforgettable. With excellent portrayals we also see the wildfires come to cinematic life with beautiful aerial cinematography by Claudio Miranda. His past work in ‘Life of Pi’ and ‘Oblivion’ have made him a dominant and worthy director of photography for this project. ‘Only the Brave’ shows us gorgeous mountain tops and a particularly scathing, but beautiful, side to Mother Nature. The environment within the film is warm, it’s dirty, and it’s raw.

There’s a strong sense of community and brotherhood tied into the film. These men were a family. With promising performances from James Badge Dale and Taylor Kitsch, we can feel the bonds get stronger as they spend more time in harm’s way. There was some shortage of performances of the crew that I’m not sure is too inexcusable. With a runtime of 133 minutes, the film remained in focus and was never truly dull for a moment.

‘Only the Brave’ is a well-driven salute to what real world heroism looks like. It is humbling and honest. The stories of these real heroes never miss a beat to tell it straight. It is not a story about chaotic wildfires, it is the incredible collective story of brotherhood and what it was to be one of the Hotshots. As the tagline reads, ‘It’s not what stands in front of you, it’s who stands beside you.’

Jessica’s Rating: 7.5 out of 10
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The JumpCut UK Film Awards Show

It’s been months in the making, but finally we can bring you the results and the full show of the first annual JumpCut UK Film Awards; an awards show put together by film fans, for film fans. If you’re tired of The Oscars, this is the perfect awards show for you.

The show is just a bit of fun, as you’ll see, but at the heart of it is an attempt to celebrate some of the films, filmmakers and performers who were perhaps overlooked by the big awards ceremonies. If you don’t fancy watching the show however, here is a quick rundown of the results. Stop reading now if you don’t want to spoil the surprise.

technical

Best Trailer: Star Wars The Force Awakens
The Guilty Pleasure Award: San Andreas
Best Breakthrough Actor/Actress: Alicia Vikander
Worst Acting Performance: Adam Sandler (Pixels)
Best Soundtrack/Score: Whiplash
Best Visual Effects: Star Wars The Force Awakens
Best Alternative Film: The Lobster
Worst Sequel/Reboot: Terminator Genisys
Best Support Actress: Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina)
Best Support Actor: J.K. Simmons (Whiplash)
Best Horror: It Follows
Best Comedy: Spy
Best Sci-Fi: Ex Machina
Best Action: Mad Max Fury Road
Best Drama: Whiplash
Worst Film: Pixels
Best Editing: Birdman
Best Original Story: Ex Machina
Best Adaptation: The Martian
Best Cinematography: Sicario
Best Lead Actress: Charlize Theron (Mad Max Fury Road)
Best Lead Actor: Miles Teller (Whiplash)
Best Director: George Miller (Mad Max Fury Road)
The Best Film of 2015: Whiplash

Thanks to everyone who helped out, from the nomination process, to the final voting and of course to all the presenters. We’ll be back with an even better awards show for 2016 this time next year, but in the meantime, enjoy the show and let’s hope for some great films this year again!

The JumpCut UK Film Awards 2015: The Nominees

After weeks of agonising over the films of 2015, our esteemed panel have finally submitted their picks for the first annual JumpCut UK Film Awards. The votes have been counted and the nominees are…


actors
Best Support Actress
Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina)
Kate Winslet (Steve Jobs)
Kristen Stewart (Clouds Of Sils Maria)
Marion Cotillard (Macbeth)
Rooney Mara (Carol)
Best Support Actor
Benicio del Toro (Sicario)
Idris Elba (Beasts Of No Nation)
JK Simmons (Whiplash)
Oscar Isaac (Ex Machina)
Paul Dano (Love & Mercy)
Best Lead Actress
Cate Blanchett (Carol)
Charlize Theron (Mad Max: Fury Road)
Emily Blunt (Sicario)
Olivia Cooke (Me And Earl And The Dying Girl)
Saoirse Ronan (Brooklyn)
Best Lead Actor
Abraham Attah (Beasts Of No Nation)
Jason Segel (The End Of The Tour)
Matt Damon (The Martian)
Michael Fassbender (Steve Jobs)
Miles Teller (Whiplash)
Best Breakthrough Actor/Actress
Abraham Attah
Alicia Vikander
Daisy Ridley
O’Shea Jackson Jr
Taron Egerton
Worst Acting Performance
Adam Sandler (Pixels)
Jai Courtney (Terminator Genisys)
Jamie Dornan (Fifty Shades Of Grey)
Johnny Depp (Mortdecai)
Vincent D’Onofrio (Jurassic World)

 

technical

Best Director
Alex Garland (Ex Machina)
Damien Chazelle (Whiplash)
Denis Villeneuve (Sicario)
George Miller (Mad Max: Fury Road)
Ridley Scott (The Martian)
Best Original Story
Ex Machina
Inside Out
The Gift
The Lobster
Whiplash
Best Adaptation
American Sniper
Macbeth
Me And Earl And The Dying Girl
Steve Jobs
The Martian
Best Cinematography
American Sniper
Macbeth
Mad Max: Fury Road
Sicario
The Martian

 

Best Editing
Birdman
Mad Max: Fury Road
Sicario
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Whiplash
Best Soundtrack/Score
Dope
Inside Out
Mad Max: Fury Road
Sicario
Whiplash
Best Visual Effects
Ex Machina
Jurassic World
Mad Max: Fury Road
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
The Martian

genre

Best Action Film
American Sniper
Avengers: Age Of Ultron
Kingsman: The Secret Service
Mad Max: Fury Road
Sicario
Best Comedy Film
Inside Out
Spy
The Lobster
The Night Before
Trainwreck
Best Drama Film
Carol
Me And Earl And The Dying Girl
Straight Outta Compton
Whiplash
White God
Best Horror Film
Crimson Peak
Insidious: Chapter 3
It Follows
The Gift
Best Sci-Fi Film
Ex Machina
Jurassic World
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
The Martian

 

Best Documentary, Foreign, Indie or Short Film
Cobain: Montage Of Heck
The End Of The Tour
Kung Fury
The Lobster
World Of Tomorrow
Worst Sequel/Reboot
Fantastic Four
Hot Tub Time Machine 2
Taken 3
Terminator Genisys
Vacation
Worst Film
Hot Tub Time Machine 2
Pan
Paul Blart 2
Pixels
Vacation
Best Film
Ex Machina
Mad Max: Fury Road
Sicario
The Martian
Whiplash

miscellaneous

The “Guilty Pleasure” Award
American Ultra
Focus
San Andreas
Ted 2
The Interview

 

 

 

 



So there you have it – 24 categories with lots of films and individuals to celebrate. We will be opening up the voting to the public for the following categories: Best Breakthrough Actor/Actress, Worst Film and Best Trailer, and you can cast your vote here (voting closes 31st December). The rest of the categories will be decided by the JumpCut UK team, our official partners and a handful of expert guests, with all the winners announced on our special YouTube Awards Show at the end of January. 

Watch This Space: August 3 – 9

Welcome to your weekly go-to-guide – WatchThisSpace – where we give you recommendations of films to watch in the cinema, on the television and those brilliant films hiding at the back of your DVD collection.

IN THE CINEMA

A decade has passed since the debacle of the original ‘Fantastic Four’, and a lot has changed in that time for the superhero genre. With an exciting new director and a cast of young stars, this version of ‘Fantastic Four’ promises to be much, much better.

Not to be confused with this year’s highly popular action flick ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’, ‘Max’ tells the story of a four-legged hero of the same name; a canine who helped the US Marines in Afghanistan. Dog lovers sit up and enjoy.

For something a bit more intense, there’s psychological thriller, ‘The Gift’. In Joel Edgerton’s directorial debut, a young married couple have their lives turned upside down when a surprise encounter from the past brings much more than just old memories.

ON TELEVISION

Tuesday 21:00 GMT: I watched ‘The Five Year Engagement’ a few months ago on a whim, and was pleasantly surprised. See Jason Segel and Emily Blunt on top form on Film4 – make sure you stay with Film4 after, because you can also catch ‘The Breakfast Club’.

Wednesday 17:10 GMT: Gaining cult status after its release in 2008, ‘Angus, Thongs & Perfect Snogging’ is a fantastic, romantic-comedy starring ‘Godzilla’ man Aaron Taylor-Johnson. Catch this teen favourite on Film4 – again, stick with Film4 because ‘Napoleon Dynamite’ is on straight after.

Thursday 21:00 GMT: A couple of weeks ago Marvel named their new Spider-Man as youngster Tom Holland. Unknown to many, and if you still aren’t too sure who he is, check out what is probably his biggest role to date in the emotional disaster drama, ‘The Impossible’ also starring Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts on Film4.

Saturday 21:00 GMT: Viewed by many as the best film of all time – and ranked number 1 on the IMDb top 250 – ‘The Shawshank Redemption’ is a must see prison drama on ITV2.

Sunday 13:30 GMT: As unpredictable as the British summer, ‘Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs’ puts the spotlight on a town where food rains from the sky! Grab the kids and make the most of some family time on Channel 5 before school starts up again.

DIG IT OUT

This is our favourite part of the WatchThisSpace section. We delve into our own DVD collection and pick out some amazing films, that may not instantly spring to mind when you’re stuck for inspiration to make your movie night a success. Maybe you’ve never seen a film that we pick – or even heard of them for that matter – but you’re gonna have to trust us on this one, and Dig It Out.

Warrior: If you saw ‘Southpaw’ last week and it’s wet your appetite for more emotional, sports-drama, look no further than ‘Warrior’. This MMA drama is the leader of the pack in this genre and also stars Joel Edgerton, director of ‘The Gift’, released in cinemas this week.

In Bruges: The recently released ‘Spectre’ trailer sent the internet and Bond fans alike crazy. We got a glimpse of Ralph Fiennes in a few clips, hopefully having a more fleshed out role than last time. To tide you over until ‘Spectre’, check him out in a less serious but wildly entertaining role in dark comedy ‘In Bruges’. It never disappoints.

Space Jam: Basketball star LeBron James made a couple of surprise appearances on JumpCut UK last week, for his performance in new comedy ‘Trainwreck’, and most notably for the rumours that The King would star in a proposed ‘Space Jam’ reboot. The 1996 Looney Tunes classic is a film which everyone should see in their life, starring Bugs Bunny and the gang, and basketball legend Michael Jordan. Whether you’re an 8 year old child or a slightly childish adult, get watching!

The Cider House Rules: Charlize Theron turns 39 on Friday, and amongst the fantastic repertoire of work she has built over the years, it was hard to pick just one to advocate this week. In the end, we plumped for this riveting drama about life and love – based on the John Irving novel – where Theron stars alongside Tobey Maguire, Michael Caine and Paul Rudd. An Oscar-winning film with a great cast, no brainer right?

This week’s WatchThisSpace was compiled by Jakob Lewis Barnes and special guest Hamish Calvert. Get more from Hamish by visiting his website.

Oscars 2015 Close Up: Whiplash

With just 12 days to go until the Oscars 2015 ceremony, we had better get a move on with our feature on the eight films nominated for the Best Picture category. Film six is Damien Chazelle’s drama, ‘Whiplash’, the story of a young drummer and his ruthless mentor. As well as being up for the Best Picture, J.K. Simmons is currently odds-on favourite to scoop the award for Best Supporting Actor, for his portrayal of the obsessive instructor. Read an interview with Simmons here.