MOUNTAIN — Review by Susan Wloszczyna

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Mountain is a thing unto itself. It isn’t so much a documentary as it is a mesmerizingly immersive tone poem. It intentionally frees the mind — aided by a mood-enhancing chamber music score and an essay-like narration provided by Willem Dafoe — from having to absorb facts and figures or names and places. Instead, the viewer is given license to simply be in the moment while enjoying an up-close and personal perch to safely contemplate mankind’s need to conquer these soaring monoliths. Continue reading…

Prepare to be awestruck by the often vertigo-inducing visuals from around the globe as captured by high-altitude specialist Renan Ozturk. Using drones, Go-Pros and helicopters, he and director Jen Peedom (whose Sherpa in 2015 covered similar terrain as it focused the native guides that lead climbers up Mount Everest and happened to capture a real-life tragic event) shot 2,000 hours of footage in 22 countries, including Antarctica, India, Tibet, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa and the USA.

But, as the generic title indicates, the images shift locales without a hint of where we are going next, save for the mother of all summits, Nepal’s Everest. Each mountain may be different and yet their effect is the same, whether overflowing with lava or encased in ice. As we witness humans who voluntarily put themselves in harm’s way as they struggle up a seemingly unending vertical expanses of rock or fall out of a helicopter before landing on skis and sailing down miles and miles of snow-covered slopes, it underlines the fact that there is something bigger out there than all of us. And these sky-piercing towers of power will stand as a symbol of nature’s majesty long after we are gone.

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Susan Wloszczyna

In her nearly 30 years at USA Today, Susan Wloszczyna interviewed everyone from Vincent Price and Shirley Temple to Julia Roberts and Will Smith. Her coverage specialties include animation, musicals, comedies and any film starring Hayley Mills, Sandy Dennis or hobbits. Her crowning career achievements so far, besides having Terence Stamp place his bare feet in her lap during an interview for The Limey, is convincing the paper to send her to New Zealand twice for set visits, once for The Return of the King and the other for The Chronicles of Narnia and King Kong, and getting to be a zombie extra and interview George Romero in makeup on the set for Land of the Dead. Though not impressive enough for Pulitzer consideration, she also can be blamed for coining the moniker "Frat Pack," often used to describe the comedy clique that includes Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn and Will Ferrell. Her positions have included Life section copy desk chief for four years and a film reviewer for 12 years. She is currently a senior editor for the online awards site Gold Derby. Previously, she has been a freelance film reporter and critic, contributing regularly to RogerEbert.com, MPAA’s The Credits, the Washington Post, AARP The Magazine online and Indiewire as well as being a book reviewer for The Buffalo News. She previously worked as a feature editor at the Niagara Gazette in Niagara Falls, N.Y. A Buffalo native, she earned her bachelor's degree in English at Canisius College and a master's degree in journalism from Syracuse University.