Review: The Shallows (2016)

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“I’ve got you.”
– Nancy

SYNOPSIS: A mere 200 yards from shore, surfer Nancy is attacked by a great white shark, with her short journey to safety becoming the ultimate contest of wills. – via IMDB

the-shallows-surfing-with-shark

GRADE 7The Shallows, ah yes. The movie that was loved for all sorts of Blake Livel’y ass reasons. I finally got to check it out, an animal villain movie can really be good, especially if it’s a shark. They fascinate me, though I am properly terrified of them.  Seriously guys, majestic but scary as all hell. Ryan brought this to my attention a while ago when he announced it was coming, and again when it was released and he reviewed it. It seems we saw pretty much eye to eye on this one!

Anyway, The Shallows boasts a ridiculously thin plot, which is sort of okay for the type of film it is. We need to know enough about Nancy to root for her, but we don’t need enough for it to be a drama. We want shark action! Speaking of, that shark action was present in abundance, and I loved it. It was so over the top, so insane, so hilarious, you couldn’t help but enjoy it. Don’t expect too much from this movie, and it will be great popcorn entertainment.

That shark was cuckoo, I want to say this right off the bat. Keith billed The Shark as Best Villain in his Annual K&M Random Movie Awards, and this shark was insane. The concept of being trapped in the ocean with this shark who is actively hunting you is terrifying. The movie manages to drive home that scary factor, and there were a few times where I found myself tensing up to see what would happen, no matter that this was a tad unrealistic. That shark was crazy vindictive, and played some major games with her.

Blake Lively wasn’t bad, she took the story where it needed to go, and was pretty well cast. I really liked her little bird companion, too. It was a really limited film, considering it was built on Blake Lively, a scary as heck shark, an injured bird, and a rock in the middle of the ocean. It managed to work well with less, this is true. The movie is littered with silly moments actually, when you look back on it, but it totally works for the movie, too. It’s ridiculous, but you can’t help but be entertained, even with the funky CGI. I don’t think it has much rewatch value though, to be honest. Again, not something to be taken too seriously, but you can have fun and a little tension thrown into the mix.

Rapid Review: The Revenant (2015)

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the revenant poster

“My heart bleeds. But revenge is in the creator’s hands.”
– Hikuc

SYNOPSIS: A frontiersman on a fur trading expedition in the 1820’s fights for survival after being mauled by a bear and left for dead by members of his own hunting team. – via IMDB

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GRADE 8.5So obviously you all know that I was super amped for this. DiCaprio? Sold! Tom Hardy? Sold. But DiCaprio. That was my main seller. Let me tell you, I was not in the least disappointed by this. It was brilliant. It is a long movie, but never really felt that way. The length just serves the purpose of really showing you how hopeless Glass’s situation was. It flips from a tale of survival to one of vengeance, each getting their moment to shine. Then there is the cinematography. Oh. My. Gosh. It told a whole story on its own and it was beyond beautiful to look at. There are lens flares all over the show, but it worked and didn’t annoy me (but then they seldom do, hence I never understand the flak that Abrams gets). Emmanuel Lubezki perfectly showcases the harsh and unforgiving conditions that Glass had to soldier through, but at the same time the breathtaking beauty was highlighted every step of the way. There were certain shots that I wasn’t a huge fan of, but that’s because it made my head spin and ache to try and match it, so there was that. Alejandro González Iñárritu truly realises a gorgeous film. The soundtrack suited the film down to a tee, and it all came together very well. But now on the the really big seller – the performances. They were all wonderful. Seriously, DiCaprio came in and owned Hugh Glass (but who in their right minds would have expected otherwise?). We felt for this guy, he captivated us, he drew us in with the story of his son (which, incidentally, was a major plus for me and then totally not a part of the real Glass’s life). I was backing this man all the way and I wanted to see him succeed. Credit is due to DiCaprio because his character is a man of exceptionally few words, and yet this did not stop him delivering one stellar performance. As for Tom Hardy? It was the first time I had actively despised a character of his (and he has played some dweebs), but this guy? What a douche! Domhnall Gleeson, who is just everywhere nowadays (my celebrity unsavvy fiancé even recognizes him by now), gave a damn fine performance, too, and was well worth a watch. Overall, this movie might not be for everyone due to the length and silences that fill the run time, but I feel that every aspect worked together well to draw you in and tell you a harrowing story of survival and a driving need for revenge with an absolutely stunning backdrop. Worth every second for sure, especially to see DiCaprio and Hardy united.

Review: Alien (1979)

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“Wait a minute. If we let it in, the ship could be infected. You know the quarantine procedure. Twenty-four hours for decontamination.”
– Ellen Ripley

SYNOPSIS: The commercial vessel Nostromo receives a distress call from an unexplored planet. After searching for survivors, the crew heads home only to realize that a deadly bioform has joined them. – via IMDB

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It’s all like: “Was I fucking talking to you?”

GRADE 9Alien is a sci-fi horror classic, and with good reason. This is just one of those films that hit on all the right notes so often. Alien is old, but has aged well, and still manages to crawl under the skin all these years later, and it is terrific. The soundtrack is creepy, and it sure as hell drives in that terrible feeling of isolation and loneliness, something the movie has in spades.

This crew is in the middle of nowhere with absolutely no backup, no way home and mysterious orders from home, as well as some weird planet outside that is so obviously not right. The miniscule crew lands on the planet to check out the distress signal they have received, and from there all hell breaks loose. I cannot believe Ripley never pulled the “I told you so” card. I mean after all was said and done, she was the only one thinking straight, and because of an android and an emotional ship captain and hysterical woman, total terror and drama had to be unleashed. Don’t think for one second my pettiness would be forgotten when everyone devolves into total panic and starts screaming about what the hell is going wrong and what are we doing to do… prime time for I-told-you-sos. True story.

The story keeps you captivated from the off, and you marvel the space exploration, the hyper sleep, the incessant complaining about money and finally, whatever they brought back onto the ship with them. I like the fact that the alien arc itself is not rushed, but gradually presented from egg to facehugger to chestpopper to scary stalker, you get to see this terrifying creature every step of the way, and it truly just gets scarier as it continues. The performances were solid, too, and there wasn’t anything that was too out there that it detracted from the story – the crew reactions were quite believable.

Sigourney Weaver is the perfect Ellen Ripley – that woman is badass and she handles herself so well and is deserving of all the respect she gets. Alien is shot well, and implements the shaky cam effect in all the right places, so it does not get frustrating or annoying, but actually lends to the situation at hand. As you can tell, there is quite a lot to love about Alien, and I am sure there are many of you that will agree with me. Old school horror is just one of those things that oozed charm and originality, something that has been lost over the years. Alien is everything you want in a survival horror – solid performances, isolation, a phenomenal monster, plot twists and a heroine worth supporting.