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Review | ‘Thirteen Lives’: Thai cave rescue film offers thrills without frills

Review | ‘Thirteen Lives’: Thai cave rescue film offers thrills without frills


(3 stars)

The dramatic true saga of the Thai boys’ soccer team trapped in a flooded cave, and their rescue by an international team of divers — including, most notably, a handful of mostly British volunteers — riveted the world during the summer of 2018. Four years later, the story’s theme of overcoming great odds continues to fascinate filmmakers and audiences.

Last fall, there was “The Rescue,” a spellbinding documentary by Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, the husband-and-wife duo behind the mountain-climbing docs “Meru” and the Oscar-winning “Free Solo.” And this week brings not one but two narrative features inspired by the same story: “Cave Rescue,” a dramatization, available on demand and in select theaters, in which diver Jim Warny plays himself, and Amazon’s “Thirteen Lives,” directed by Ron Howard (“We Feed People”) and starring Colin Farrell and Viggo Mortensen as divers John Volanthen and Rick Stanton — the same two divers who pretty much stole the show in “The Rescue.” (On Sept. 22, Netflix will debut its own six-episode miniseries, “Thai Cave Rescue,” told from the point of view of the boys.)

To be honest, I will probably watch them all.

It’s not that “The Rescue” isn’t tough competition. Chin and Vasarhelyi laid out the story — told largely via interviews with Volanthen and Stanton, and mixing archival video footage from the Thai cave with reenactments shot in a pool in England — with a gripping intensity that is hard to beat. But Howard’s film does exactly what it needs (and sets out) to do: immerse you in the nail-biting events and the claustrophobic setting — dark, cold and muddy-water-filled caves and crevices, many of which are studded, top and bottom, by daggerlike stalactites and stalagmites. “Thirteen Lives” vividly re-creates both those physical dangers and what exactly was at stake, with a cast of young Thai actors.

But’s the film’s true genius, if that’s not too strong a word, is in centering the action on Farrell’s and Mortensen’s characters, after the scenario shifts from the ineffectual efforts of the ill-prepared Thai Navy SEALs to divers recommended by Vern Unsworth (Lewis Fitz-Gerald), an expat British cave explorer who lived near the cave. (You may recall that Elon Musk publicly insulted Unsworth after Unsworth criticized Musk’s plan to build a mini-submarine for the rescue.) Joel Edgerton also has a prominent role, as an Australian diver and anesthesiologist who played a critical — and, for some who may not recall the story’s details, surprising — part in the rescue.

Farrell and Mortensen do an admirable job of capturing not just the quirky personalities and eccentricities of Volanthen and Stanton but their nerdy appeal: They’re elite yet amateur heroes who, over a lifetime of practicing a strange niche hobby, have become the best in the world at what they do for fun (which, it should be noted, is something most sane people wouldn’t do for any amount of money). It’s made clear in “The Rescue” that these guys are, like elite mountain climbers, a — how shall I put this? — special breed. In short: They both become more calm, centered and focused under circumstances that would immediately freak the rest of us out.

“Thirteen Lives” is a solid achievement, technically and dramatically, using a ticktock timeline and periodically superimposing on-screen maps of the miles-long cave system to build tension. Like its protagonists, it isn’t flashy but is all business. It gets the job done with a minimum of histrionics, yet a mountain of suspense.

PG-13. Available on Amazon. Contains some strong language and unsettling images. In Thai, English and French without subtitles. 147 minutes.

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Pride Week in the Battlefords offers historic number of events

Pride Week in the Battlefords offers historic number of events

Pride Week in the Battlefords looks to showcase the growing LGBTQ2SIA+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Questioning, and Two-Spirit) community.

THE BATTLEFORDS — Priide Week 2022 has officially begun in the Battlefords. This past week, sidewalks in Battleford and North Battleford were re-painted by the Battlefords Pride organization in order to mark the 2022 event.

Each year, participation in and recognition of the event has grown, and with restrictions uplifting, 2022 Pride Week in the Battlefords will be historic in terms of its events offered to the public.

Acting deputy mayor Bill Ironstand from city council led the flag-raising ceremony at City Hall Monday morning. Following the ceremony, the giant flag was on display at the Don Ross Hill from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., complete with a photo-op option.

Tuesday will see Queers and Beers take over at Downstairs bar at Portabella’s, featuring social, trivia games and karaoke.

Wednesday involves free admission to Gutters Bowling from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., donations are welcome.

Thursday’s theme is art and crafts, with artist Holly Hildebrandt leading the way at the Lion’s Park Gazebo in Battleford from 6 to 8 p.m.

Friday’s movie night at 11 p.m. at Capitol Theatre will screen To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar.”

Saturday will be the most jam-packed day. Family Circus Day will overtake Kinsmen Park from 2 to 6 p.m. following the 1 p.m. Pride parade. The free family fun will feature bouncy castles, a circus tent, face painting, art projects, vendors and more. Live music will come from Lance Whitecalf, Gypsy Moonbird, and at 7 p.m., LJ Tyson will headline.

Sunday evening will see the YXE Drag collective return for their rendition of their hit tour “Drag Me Across Saskatchewan.” There will be an all-ages show at 7 p.m., followed by an 18-plus show at 9 p.m. at the Cadet Hall in North Battleford.

For complete details and to keep updated on events, check out the Battlefords Pride page.

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City of Nanaimo offers free shuttle buses for Canada Day, three other summer events – Nanaimo News Bulletin

City of Nanaimo offers free shuttle buses for Canada Day, three other summer events - Nanaimo News Bulletin

Free shuttle bus service will be offered during four popular events in Nanaimo this summer.

At a Regional District of Nanaimo board meeting Tuesday, June 14, directors approved a City of Nanaimo request for use of two RDN Transit buses for Canada Day, Dragon Boat and Marine festivals and Vancouver Island Exhibition. Shuttle service would run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. during one day of each event, according to an RDN staff report.

Jamie Rose, city manager of transportation, told the News Bulletin the actual days are still being determined. The plan is to have bus exchanges at Woodgrove Centre and Vancouver Island University as starting points for the direct service, but the city is still awaiting confirmation.

At a May 30 city council meeting, Lainy Stevenson, city active transportation project specialist, told council members that bike valet and secure bike parking will also be part of the service, with spots for 100 bikes initially.

“We’re going to start with Canada Day,” Stevenson said at the May 30 meeting. “This is the first time we’re doing this; we really don’t know how it’s going to go. Of course, we hope that all 100 spots are going to be used and events from there will be able add more capacity.”

The city will pay a maximum of $3,000 per day, with $20,000 of its alternative transportation education and marketing and ‘Healthamongus’ budgets, a May 30 city staff report stated.

The Silly Boat Regatta and Truth and Reconciliation Day were other days that were mentioned when service could be provided and Rose said the city would “wait and see” if it can provide the shuttle service to those events.

“This is another example of the city as a whole working together to find ways to support events and create opportunities for people to get out and have fun and given even more options to not use your car,” said Rose.

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Modernism Offers Special May 2022 Events in Palm Springs

bobby berk casa tierra
Modernism Week Showcase Home: Casa Tierra

May 12-15, $55

Discover a completely renovated and re-imagined private estate hidden in the hills of Palm Desert, designed by Bobby Berk, design expert and Emmy-nominated host of Netflix’s Queer Eye. This is the first time this expansive hillside Spanish style retreat will be open to the public.

Originally built in 1950, this unique Spanish-style property features more than 5,000 square feet of living space and has been transformed into a world class destination, with modern touches and an emphasis of Bobby Berk’s design style throughout. The design scheme reflects the colors and textures of the desert landscape, and seamlessly integrates with the outdoors. Participants will enjoy breathtaking panoramic views from this 2 ½ acre hillside setting as they stroll past balconies, a pool and hot tub, and the private covered seating areas found throughout the property. Indoors, they will appreciate Bobby’s aspirational yet attainable style, on display throughout the 5 bedroom, 5 ½ bathroom main house as well as in the two casitas with their own kitchens and bathrooms.

Midcentury Top 10 Tour: 10 Architects Who Made Palm Springs Modern

May 12 and 14, $130

 Join architectural tour guide Trevor O’Donnell for an in-depth exploration of the works of the ten most notable desert modernists in Palm Springs. This fascinating small-group tour highlights representative works by the journeymen designers whose work in the city’s midcentury heyday left a legacy that’s now famous worldwide.

 Participants will travel with fellow modernism fans in a small motor coach (20-seats) to visit representative works, consider how they relate to one another and learn how they fit in the sweep of modern architectural history. This is a fun, fascinating traveling tour designed to identify the distinctions and commonalities, successes and failures and enduring achievements of the Palm Springs architects whose humble work in a small desert town ended up captivating the world. Trevor O’Donnell is also the guide for Architectural Tours by Modernism Week, a seasonal tour available to the public at

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Ignite the Arts offers 10 days of superb events

Weekend events guide

The enthusiasm for the first-ever Ignite the Arts Festival from co-organizers Paul Crawford and Julie Fowler is contagious.

The 10-day event kicks off Friday and runs through until April 3 at various venues across the city.

“We want people to know there’s all these incredible artists coming, but as well, we have a lot of free stuff to offer,” Fowler said in an interview. “We have the more-traditional ticketed festival on the final weekend, but a lot of what we offer is free, especially in the first week.”

Fowler coordinated the Arts Wells Festival in Wells, B.C. for 17 years. She retired on good terms in 2019 and then COVID — combined with a shortage of accommodations — basically sealed the fate of the event.

Much of what was done in Wells will be mirrored in Penticton.

“A lot of this will be an experiment for the first year,” Fowler admits. “We will learn a lot and we are hoping to lay down a foundation for years to come.”

Ticket buyers might be confused by the fact a lot is going on — all at the same time.

Organizers encourage visitors to go online to research the artists and then plan their week accordingly.

Part of the festival’s concept was to involve all of the partner groups from the community and many are hosting their own events during the 10-day period.

“There’s always been a notion that arts are fractured in our community,” Crawford said. “We want to gather everyone under one umbrella. This is not the Penticton Art Gallery’s festival, even though we’re the ones organizing it. It’s Penticton’s festival.”

Fowler, a board member with the Penticton Arts Council for four years, said she’s never witnessed so much positive collaboration in all her years in Penticton.

On the first weekend, a free concert, “Awakening: First Blossoms/Spring Equinox” will be held at the Cleland Theatre. Victoria Jaenig and Ullus Collective, Devyn Destinee, Mariel Belanger, Rich n Beka, The Melawmen Collective and Curtis Clearsky and the Constellationz will all perform sets on Sunday, March 27 from 7-11 p.m.

Other week-one highlights include the unveiling of the square mini-murals on opening night and then a parade to nowhere, Saturday at 6:30 p.m. outside the gallery. The parade’s walking route will be determined spontaneously based on the number of people who show up.

On the weekend of April 1-3, the festival will have simultaneous performances at venues including the Penticton Art Gallery, Slackwater Brewing, Cannery Brewing, The Dream Café, Tempest Theatre and Okanagan Lake Park.

Vaccine passports will be required at most indoor venues as provincial health orders are not being adjusted until April 8.

The format for the final weekend is similar to the Pentastic Jazz Festival where visitors can travel from venue to venue or remain at one venue for the entire day.

Among the recognizable names scheduled to perform are Juno nominee Al Simmons, a longtime collaborator with children’s performer Fred Penner; internationally-renowned Aboriginal musician Kym Gouchie; and Juno nominees Oot n’ Oots.

“Ours is offering a much more diverse lineup of artists than other festivals,” Crawford said. “If you listen to CBC or go to folk festivals, you will have heard a lot of the artists we have coming here. Just because you haven’t heard of them doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy them. With the exception of the Cleland (Theatre), our largest venue seats 100 and everything is going to be an intimate performance.”

While the final week of March seems like a strange time to host a major festival, Ignite the Arts team believes it’s perfect.

“By having this over spring break, there’s a lot of people who traditionally leave (for holidays) and we’re looking to have people stay here,” Crawford said.

“Why do something over the summer when you’re competing against 100 other special events?”

Fowler echoes, “With climate events such as forest fires, summer is now becoming a challenging time to organize anything. In the spring, the worst thing we’re looking at is maybe a major snowstorm that will make it hard for people to get up here from the mountain pass.”

While most of the attendees are expected to be from the Okanagan, tickets have been purchased from as far away as Vancouver Island.

Tickets for the final weekend are available until Thursday at the reduced rate of $100 which includes a $15 voucher for select businesses, gallery and artist merchandise.

Tickets for students ages 13-17 are $25 for the weekend and children 12 and under are free. Adult tickets are $125 as of Friday at midnight.

To view the entire schedule, purchase tickets, sign up to volunteer or view artist biographies visit: ignite-the-arts-festival

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NCAA kicks off Season 97 with men’s basketball, offers 3 other events

NCAA kicks off Season 97 with men’s basketball, offers 3 other events

As NCAA action tips off with men’s basketball in a bubble on March 26, the country’s oldest collegiate league also plans to hold women’s volleyball, online chess, and taekwondo

MANILA, Philippines – The NCAA returns after a two-year layoff with the Season 97 men’s basketball tournament on Saturday, March 26, held inside a bubble at La Salle Green Hills in Mandaluyong.

Games will be held in a single-round format with double-header schedules every day except Mondays and Thursdays at 12 pm and 3 pm. The only difference will be the March 26 opening day games which will happen at 3:30 pm and 7:05 pm after the 2:30 pm opening ceremonies.

Kickstarting the league’s return to action will be the defending champion Letran Knights going up against the College of St. Benilde Blazers, followed by a classic rivalry battle between the powerhouse San Beda Red Lions and retooled Lyceum Pirates.

Apart from the star-studded opener, the NCAA blood feud between San Beda and Letran will also finally start a new chapter on April 12 at 12 pm.

Multiple key prospects will strut their stuff this season, like ex-UST star Rhenz Abando of Letran, former NCAA juniors MVP Will Gozum of CSB, Lyceum standouts Mclaude Guadana and John Barba, and former Batang Gilas star Rhayyan Amsali of San Beda.

After the basketball tournament, the league will also hold women’s volleyball, online chess, and taekwondo, the latter two of which were included in the virtual hosting of Season 96. Two major sports, athletics and swimming, are notably absent.

Women’s volleyball, and possibly the other two sports, will start around two weeks after men’s basketball. Due to the limited number of events, there will be no general championship.

There will also be no fans and cheering squads in attendance due to the full bubble setup.

However, things may change by the playoffs depending on the COVID-19 situation as the league is also eyeing the Mall of Asia Arena, the Araneta Coliseum, and the FilOil Flying V Centre.

“For two years, we’ve been waiting for contact sports to return, and we’re excited to have basketball and volleyball games back,” said Season 97 management committee chairman Dax Castellano.

“The preparations are still very challenging with the pandemic situation, but with the support of (television network) GMA, I know this will be a successful season.” –

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Union County Offers First Scrap Metal Recycling Events of 2022 on Thursday, April 7 and Saturday, April 16 – County of Union, New Jersey

Union County Offers First Scrap Metal Recycling Events of 2022 on Thursday, April 7 and Saturday, April 16 – County of Union, New Jersey

Union County, NJ – March 15, 2022 — The Union County Board of County Commissioners reminds residents that Union County’s free drop-off recycling program for scrap metal begins this year on Thursday, April 7. A wide variety of metal goods, from household appliances to gutters and sheds, are accepted at two countywide collection sites in Cranford and Rahway twice a month from April to November.

“We encourage everyone to check their homes and yards for broken or unwanted metal items, and bring them to our collection sites. It’s an easy, effective way to help conserve valuable resources,” said Commissioner Chair Rebecca Williams.

Scrap metal will be accepted Thursday, April 7 and Saturday, April 16 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at two drop-off centers:

  • Cranford:  Emergency Services Building, 151 Kenilworth Boulevard
  • Rahway: Rahway River Park (follow Park Drive, Rahway off St. Georges Avenue to service yard across from swimming pool)

Residents from any Union County municipality may use either of these sites.

Acceptable items for recycling include air conditioners, aluminum scrap, aluminum siding, bicycles, brass, copper, dishwashers, electric fans, fencing (chain/wire), freezers, gutters, irons, lawn furniture, metal cabinets, metal sheds, microwaves, pots and pans, railings, refrigerators, stoves, tire rims, toasters, washers and dryers, window frames (no glass), and wire hangers.

The scrap metal collection sites are drive-through only. Residents must remain in their vehicle at all times. Items for drop-off should be placed in the trunk or cargo area where they are easily reached by staff.

The next scrap metal events will take place on Thursday, May 5 and Saturday, May 21.

For more information, upcoming dates and directions to all Union County recycling programs and locations, visit the Bureau of Recycling and Planning website at or call the Union County Recycling Hotline at 908-654-9889.

To stay up to date with all Union County and local recycling programs in a convenient mobile format, download the free Recycle Coach app.

Quick links to all Union County environmental programs and activities are available at The Green Connection,

For more information and updates on all Union County services during the COVID-19 outbreak, including free vaccination, free testing, emergency food distribution and other support services, visit General information about COVID-19 is available through the New Jersey Department of Health at

#  #

For all Union County programs and services visit, call the Public Info Line, 877-424-1234, email or use the online Contact Form.

Connect with Union County on social media.

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Ohio State offers resources and events amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

Ohio State offers resources and events amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

Tensions between Russia and other nations have been growing for decades, following the collapse of the Soviet Union and expansion of North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Credit: Maxim Guchek/BelTA/TASS/ABACAPRESS.COM via TNS

As the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues, Ohio State has a number of resources to help those impacted, and will host events with information about the war.

Christopher Gelpi, director and chair of peace studies and conflict resolution at the Mershon Center, said learning about the war is an important part of being a good citizen, because everyone has a responsibility to understand how governments, both in the U.S. and overseas, react in times of struggle.

“I see our role in a crisis like this is to bring people together and share the knowledge that our faculty fellows have in a way that is accessible to as wide an audience as possible,” Gelpi said.

An estimated 42,908 people of Ukrainian descent live in Ohio, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey.

Ohio State’s “Education for Citizenship” motto emphasizes the university’s commitment to informing citizens, according to the Office of Diversity and Inclusion website. The Office of International Affairs has a list of resources to inform students about the university’s events covering the crisis in Ukraine.

University spokesperson Chris Booker said in an email the Office of International Affairs offers support resources, including counseling and personal well-being services, immigration assistance for international students and information about cyber security.

“Ohio State developed this list of academic and support resources to assist those impacted by the conflict in Ukraine and foster discussion and education across campus,” Booker said.

The Center for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies has compiled various academic resources, including books, articles, events and films, that help to better understand the crisis in Ukraine, according to the center’s website. The office will also hold a virtual roundtable Wednesday from 11 a.m. to noon, featuring Polish experts sharing their perspective on the war.

WOSU Public Media and the John Glenn College of Public Affairs will hold an event Thursday at noon called “Dialogue Special Edition: The Russia/Ukraine Crisis,” featuring a variety of speakers and discussions on the possible routes to peace in Europe.

The Mershon Center will host a virtual event March 24 from 3:30-5 p.m., featuring a discussion from Timothy Frye, a professor of post-Soviet foreign policy at Columbia University, about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s role in Russian and international politics, according to the Mershon Center website. Another virtual event hosting 11 speakers who will speak on U.S. and NATO relations with Russia will be held April 8 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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Research Week Offers Both Virtual and In-person Events This Year

Research Week, the annual showcase of UC Merced’s important explorations into some of the world’s most pressing challenges, kicks off Monday with the Sierra Nevada Research Institute’s symposium on climate.

SNRI researchers are at the forefront of innovative tools, technology and thinking about resilient and sustainable ecosystems, food systems and futures. Everyone is welcome to join the annual SNRI Research Symposium as members discuss new climate research and approaches for ag, energy, infrastructure and the environment.

Research Week runs Monday through Friday and is hosted by the Office of Research and Economic Development, along with the many institutes and centers at UC Merced.

“We are genuinely excited to highlight the incredible research that goes on at UC Merced and to offer faculty, staff, students, and members of the community the chance to learn about each other’s work and intellectual passions,” said interim Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development Marjorie Zatz. “I hope everyone will take advantage of the many opportunities during Research Week.”

Like most of the events, the SNRI symposium will be virtual. One of the few-in person offerings is the chance to get out and go for a walk on Tuesday and tour the Merced Vernal Pools and Grassland Reserve. People can learn about the ancient soils, the protected species and the shallow pools that form each year.

Research Week offers many opportunities for people to learn about topics such as intellectual property, biosafety and the culture of lab safety, UC Merced’s research facilities and a variety of subjects faculty members specialize in.

New this year: faculty flash talks. Faculty will offer 15-minute sessions to share current projects for students to be aware of research opportunities for the current academic year, summer or the next academic year.

The Health Sciences Research Institute ’s symposium will feature graduate students and faculty speaking on a broad range of topics, including an introduction to HSRI’s new San Joaquin Valley Center for Community Air Assessment and Injustice Reduction (SJV CC-AIR), for a taste of the broad range of work being conducted by HSRI members.

Topics include “Predicting and Promoting COVID-19 Preventive Behaviors,” “The Effects of Electronic Cigarette Additives on Lung Surfactant Membranes,” “Toward a New Paradigm in Molecular Diagnostics of Infectious Diseases” and “Improving Self-Regulation and Social Support for Diabetes During Emerging Adulthood.”

The week will continue with guest speakers from Yosemite National Park, the U.S. Forest Service Pacific Southwest Research Station and the greater National Park Service discussing research partnerships and opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students. They will discuss with students how to navigate the federal job application process and access amazing lab and field research experiences.

During Grad STORY, participants can hear about the journeys graduate student researchers have been on to get to UC Merced and during their time here and get a chance to ask the students questions.

There will also be a Resource Center for Community Engaged Scholarship Community Reception to celebrate research conducted in collaboration with the community. Those who attend will learn about current research projects and how to get involved in future projects to connect research with community goals and hear from faculty and students about their projects from across the Central Valley that directly involve community members.

To see the whole schedule, register for events and get passcodes for the virtual gatherings, visit the Research Week website.