Saturday, September 22, 2018
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Adrift

Shailene Woodley and Sam Claflin play lovers lost at sea in Baltasar Kormakur’s survival tale.

Three years after watching teams of climbers struggle to survive their adventure on the eponymous mountain in Everest, Baltasar Kormakur offers a much more intimate survival tale in Adrift, setting two free-spirited lovers off into the Pacific Ocean and seeing how they fare after their ship is disabled by a hurricane. Heavily focused on exploring the magical months the young couple spent together before the accident, the film is likely to appeal to young romantics who know stars Shailene Woodley and Sam Claflin from YA-targeted pictures and the Hunger Games and Divergent series. If the part of the movie devoted to endurance lacks the harrowing power of, say, 2013’s All Is Lost, it at least gives Woodley the opportunity to convincingly sink her teeth into a plum dramatic lead role as a young woman fighting fiercely against the forces of nature (instead of a dystopian civilization).

Woodley’s Tami, you see, is forced to do all the work after the shipwreck, as her fiance Richard (Claflin) was thrown violently from the boat in the storm and badly wounded. After the storm passes, she’s forced to make duct-tape repairs by herself and contemplate her own likely death before spotting Richard, clinging to a dinghy, on the horizon. She gets him aboard, sets the broken bones that are visible (he clearly has serious internal injuries) and spends the rest of their days playing nurse to her barely conscious companion while trying to navigate their broken yacht toward Hawaii.

Even before the terms of this sink-or-survive drama settle into place, the screenplay has tossed us back five months, watching the 23-year-old Tami arrive in Tahiti. An American doing odd jobs as she makes her way around the world, she shrugs when a customs officer inquires about her “final destination.”

Tami learned to sail in San Diego, and has found work in a marina when she catches the eye of a new sailor in port: Richard, a handsome Brit, built his own ship while working in South Africa and has since sailed the oceans by himself. They’re perfect for each other, and soon are going off on long journeys — her proving her merit as a sailor and him revealing his sensitive nature. “When did you become so wild?” he marvels at her. “What does that even mean?,” she replies, as if rootlessness were all she could conceive of.

Tami briefly demonstrates her aversion to being tied down when a rich couple asks Richard to sail their luxury craft to California. She’d love a long spin on this boat, but the trip sounds too much like going home, and she doesn’t want to play tag-along on someone else’s adventure. They work that issue out, and soon are pointed northward, not suspecting the record-breaking storm they’ll shortly encounter.

The script’s frequent jumps back-and-forth from this picture-postcard romance to the dire present tense make it hard for Kormakur to really make us feel as trapped as Tami and Richard are on this boat. They blister in the sun and go loopy from thirst, ration out tins of food and struggle to keep their limping boat on course, and Tami’s spirit drops as it becomes harder and harder to keep Richard from simply drifting off into delirium. “I wish you hadn’t met me,” he laments in one of his increasingly rare moments of alertness. When she replies that she wouldn’t trade their relationship (and hence this tragedy) for anything, one wonders if maybe she’s enjoying the same frequent romantic flashbacks we’ve been watching.

DP Robert Richardson makes those memories persuasively paradisiacal, his underwater photography almost impossibly crystalline as our barely clad heroes frolic in one tropical hideaway after another. Even when the film starts, quite late, to shift its attention mainly to grim endurance — and in flashback, to offer a brief but frightening look at the fateful storm itself — it’s hard not to think that those months of happiness are all we’re really supposed to remember of Adrift.

Production company: RVK Studios
Distributor: STX Entertainment
Cast: Shailene Woodley, Sam Claflin
Director: Baltasar Kormakur
Screenwriters: Aaron Kandell, Jordan Kandell, David Branson Smith
Producers: Baltasar Kormakur, Aaron Kandell, Jordan Kandell, Shailene Woodley
Executive producers: Ralph Winter, Andrea Scarso, Tom Rosenberg, Wang Zhongjun, Robert Simonds
Director of photography: Robert Richardson
Production designer: Heimir Sverrisson
Costume designer: Amanda Neale
Editor: John Gilbert
Composer: Volker Bertelmann

Rated PG-13, 96 minutes

Ocean’s 8 is making out like a bandit.

Warner Bros’. female-led heist movie is on track to debut with about $41.5 million in ticket sales from 4,145 theaters in the U.S. and Canada this weekend, easily dethroning two-time box office champ Solo: A Star Wars Story and holding off fellow newcomers Hereditary and Hotel Artemis.

That figure represents a solid start for Ocean’s 8, toward the higher end of industry projections, and it’s the biggest opening of the Ocean’s franchise, not adjusted for inflation. (Ocean’s 11, 12, and 13 bowed with $38.1 million, $39.2 million, and $36.1 million in 2001, 2004, and 2007.) Time will tell if the series’ fourth installment can match or exceed the global success of its predecessors, which combined to earn more than $1 billion at the worldwide box office. Through Sunday, Ocean’s 8 will have grossed about $12.2 million overseas.

Putting a gender-swapped spin on the Ocean’s movies, which were previously led by George Clooney and Brad Pitt, the latest installment stars Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulson, Awkwafina, Rihanna, and Helena Bonham Carter as a crew of swindlers who plot a major job at the Met Gala in New York City. Gary Ross (The Hunger Games) directed the film, taking the reins from Steven Soderbergh.

Critics’ reviews were mixed to positive, while moviegoers gave Ocean’s 8 a B-plus CinemaScore. The audience on opening weekend was 69 percent female.

Taking second and third place this weekend are two other franchise-extending movies: Disney and Lucasfilm’s Star Wars spinoff Solo, with about $15.2 million, and Fox’s superhero sequel Deadpool 2, with about $13.7 million.

Those numbers bring Solo to a domestic total of $176.1 million after 17 days in theaters, and Deadpool 2 to  $278.7 after 17 days.

Hereditary
Pictured: Toni Collette
A24

Cracking the top four is A24’s buzzed-about horror movie Hereditary, with an estimated $13 million from 2,964 screens. That doubles industry forecasts and marks the biggest opening weekend ever for for the indie studio.

Written and directed by Ari Aster, the film stars Toni Collette as a woman whose family is haunted after her mother dies. Hereditary received a dismal D-plus CinemaScore, but critics gave it glowing reviews.

This weekend’s other newcomer, the Global Road action thriller Hotel Artemis, arrives with about $3.2 million from 2,407 theaters, good for the No. 8 spot. Drew Pearce wrote and directed the movie, which stars Jodie Foster as a nurse running a secret hospital for criminals in near-future Los Angeles. The cast also includes Sterling K. Brown, Sofia Boutella, and Brian Tyree Henry. Reviews were mixed, and audiences gave it a C-minus CinemaScore.

According to ComScore, overall box office is up 4.3 percent year-to-date. Check out the June 8-10 figures below.

1. Ocean’s 8 — $41.5 million
2. Solo: A Star Wars Story — $15.2 million
3. Deadpool 2 — $13.7 million
4. Hereditary — $13 million
5. Avengers: Infinity War — $6.8 million
6. Adrift — $5.1 million
7. Book Club — $4.2 million
8. Hotel Artemis — $3.2 million
9. Upgrade — $2.2 million
10. Life of the Party — $2.1 million

Sam Claflin and Shailene Woodley star in AdriftShailene Woodley and Sam Claflin navigate romance and tragedy in Adrift
Type: Movie; Genre: Drama; Release date: 06/01/18; Performer: Shailene Woodley, Sam Claflin; Director: Baltasar Kormákur; MPAA: PG-13
Based on Tami Oldham Ashcraft’s memoir about a two-handed sailing voyage that capsizes into tragedy, the new high-seas adventure Adrift is essentially two movies in one. The first is a white-knuckle survival tale featuring crashing 40-foot CG swells and 140-knot winds; the other is a slightly sappy Nicholas Sparks-esque romance. One of these halves works better than the other. You can probably guess which.
Shailene Woodley (Divergent, The Fault in Our Stars) stars as Tami — an American free spirit drifting around the world and taking manual-labor jobs on boats while sailing from one exotic port of call to the next looking for life experiences. Like a more well-adjusted cast member on Bravo’s Below Deck, she’s independent, intrepid, and hard not to admire thanks to Woodley’s sunbeam charisma. In Tahiti, she meets another like-minded wanderer – a ruggedly handsome Brit named Richard (played by The Hunger Games’ Sam Claflin) who’s been sailing solo (metaphor alert!) for a while. They fall for one another and decide to head off into the horizon together.
The early stages of the young couple’s carefree love affair in the tropics show them high-diving into impossibly turquoise grottos, filling one another in on the backstories of their lives, and reenacting From Here to Eternity’s sandy make-out session. They swoon, and if you’re the kind of moviegoer who’s considered a photo of rain-soaked Ryan Gosling kissing Rachel McAdams as a screensaver, then you’re sure to swoon, too. But then Richard bumps into a retired British couple he knows. They’ve been called back home and need someone to sail their yacht to San Diego. They’re offering $10,000, which would fund their shared dream of sailing around the world together. He and Tami take them up on the offer.
That’s when disaster strikes in the Old Testament form of a category-4 hurricane…
Directed by Baltasar Kormákur, the Icelandic director of such muscular adventures and high-adrenaline action flicks as Everest and 2 Guns, Adrift isn’t quite as linear as I’m making it sound. From the opening scene, the film cuts back and forth between the dreamy and the nightmarish — between the early days of Tami and Richard’s idyllic romance and the aftermath of the wrath at sea that leaves their boat bobbing like a crumbling cork in the Pacific.
It’s all done expertly and with an unexpectedly deft sleight-of-hand twist in the homestretch that proves once again that Kormákur is the kind of overachieving director that one pigeonholes at their own risk. He has a knack for making the pedestrian feel surprising and fresh. The survival scenes, which span more than 40 days at sea, focus mostly on Tami’s desperation and quick thinking under pressure and are like Woodley’s own version of Robert Redford’s one-man show, All Is Lost. To her credit, it never feels like a performance.
Adrift is what you might call “a pleasant-surprise picture”. You walk into the theater readying yourself for a slight variation of something you’ve seen a million times before done with a baseline level of filmmaking competence. Nothing more. But by the time the end credits roll, you’ll probably say either to yourself or the person you’re with: “Hey, that was a lot better than I expected!” I realize that may not sound like the highest compliment, but it’s one we don’t get to give enough these days.

Adrift (2018) Movie Trailer
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Starring Shailene Woodley (Fault in Our Stars, Divergent films) and Sam Claflin (Me Before You, The Hunger Games films), ADRIFT is based on the inspiring true story of two sailors who set out to journey across the ocean from Tahiti to San Diego.

Tami Oldham (Woodley) and Richard Sharp (Claflin) couldn’t anticipate they would be sailing directly into one of the most catastrophic hurricanes in recorded history. In the aftermath of the storm, Tami awakens to find Richard badly injured and their boat in ruins. With no hope for rescue, Tami must find the strength and determination to save herself and the only man she has ever loved.

ADRIFT is the unforgettable story about the resilience of the human spirit and the transcendent power of love.