Released in 1991, Backdraft may be director Ron Howard‘s most underrated film. Starring William Baldwin and Kurt Russell as estranged brothers and firefighters, the script by Gregory Widen (mostly known for his ties to the Highlander and Prophecy franchises) deals with several themes including family dysfunction, a mystery concerning a rash of unexplained arson, and the younger McCaffrey brother’s (Baldwin) quest to prove himself in the line of work that killed his father and consumes his older brother to the point it cost him his marriage.
Despite featuring Howard’s weakest leading man, Backdraft has held up well over two decades and the scenes of characters both fighting fire and discussing it remain its biggest strengths. Russell and Baldwin sell the contentious older/younger brother dynamic and the backstory of Brian’s historic lack of direction also explains his older brother’s attitude towards his new career.
Originally written as a short story published in the August 1977 issue of Analog Science Fiction and Fact, author’s Orson Scott Card‘s story of a complicated boy who is humanity’s best chance at survival took another eight years before it was released as the full novel Ender’s Game. I first read the novel more than two decades ago. It’s held-up remarkably well, although given its subject matter I doubted would ever be made into a movie.
As an epilogue to the show which went of the year earlier this year, Transformers Prime: Beast Hunters – Predacons Rising returns the Autobots and Decepticons to the restored planet of Cybertron to face the new threat of Unicron (John Noble) who has assumed control of Megatron‘s (Frank Welker) fallen body and returned to Cybertron to destroy the planet once and for all. Sadly, like the series which proceeded it, the Beast Hunters movie closes without and appearance (or mention) of Grimlock and the Dinobots.
Even more than winners and losers, championship runs and crushing defeats, sports are defined by rivalries. In Rush, director Ron Howard and screenwriter Peter Morgan (Frost/Nixon, Hereafter, The Queen) turn their attention to Formula One and the mid-1970s rivalry between two upstarts whose competition eventually would make them both world champions.