Film Review: WONDERS OF THE SEA (UK/France 2017) ***1/2

Wonders of the Sea 3D Poster

This wonderful documentary about the sea is from the family of the famous French diver, filmmaker and explorer Jacques Cousteau.  The voiceover at the film’s start acknowledges Jacques’ contribution to the human race – the invention of camera equipment that allows underwater footage to be seen clearly.  WONDERS OF THE SEA, screened in 3-D is proof.

The narration of the film is largely done by bodybuilder/actor/governor/environmentalist 

Arnold Schwarzenegger who has a special appearance at the start of the film touting the wonders of the doc.  The other narrators are the members of the Cousteau family.

The film can be divided roughly into four equal parts as the camera takes the audience to different parts of the world to observe, examine and study:

  • the coral reefs
  • the California kelps
  • the sandy bottoms
  • the mangroves

It is difficult to say which section is the best or most interesting.  The film begins with he smaller creatures in the coral reefs moving up to larger and larger creatures of the sea.

The first journey takes the audience all the way to the topical Fiji Islands where the coral reefs are featured.  Again, the target of these reefs dying are mentioned.  The reef is alive, and an animal.  The many creatures big and especially small thrive on the reefs, which if dead or dying will adversely affect the eco system.  It is fascinating to watch the small creatures that move around – creatures like the  Christmas Tree world and the different varieties of colourful flat worms that make their way across the reefs.  Clams are also shown from the very small to the enormous  500 pound ones that hardly move and live for a century or more.  The shrimps are equally intriguing especially in the scene where two approach each other, the voiceover teasing the audience to decide it it is a fight or mating that is about to occur.

Like other films on nature, the same goes for survival.  The one survival rule is emphasized: to eat and not to get eaten.

The film then moves from the coral reef to the cooler California kelps.  And from there the sandy bottoms and finally the mangroves of sea water.  Descriptions of each of these are set not provided so that the entertainment of all the wonders can be revealed on film as it was meant to be.

The directors cannot help but play with he 3-D as evident in the bubbles ejected from the oxygen tank blowing right out of the screen at the audience.  Or the fish that suddenly appear out of nowhere from behind or sides of the audience. These are cheap tricks which can be forgiven.

The film’s best scenes are the one that take place in the dead of night under the deepest waters where the divers can only see where their light points.  The creators observed look like alien invaders.  

WONDERS OF THE SEA is a remarkable educational and visible feast for the eyes.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FWtQqyg0TTc

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1997 Movie Review: BATMAN AND ROBIN, 1997 (starring George Clooney)

 

BATMAN AND ROBIN MOVIE POSTER
BATMAN AND ROBIN, 1997
Movie Reviews

Directed by Joel Schumacher
Starring: George Clooney, Chris O’Donnell, Uma Thurman, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Gough, Pat Hingle
Review by Andrew Kosarko

SYNOPSIS:

“Batman” fights Mr. Freeze and Poison Ivy and Bane.

REVIEW:

As you can most likely tell from my synopsis, I’m none too enthused with reviewing this “film”. Please be advised there will be numerous quotations used throughout this review because I openly mock any chance of dignifying the attempts of this scrap heap of a “movie.” It should be noted I’m very upset not only because I love Batman, but because Mr. Freeze and Bane are my favorite villains. And they get pissed on even more than Batman in this “movie”. I tried to watch the “movie”…got literally 30 seconds into it and remembered everything I hated….and turned it off. Here is the result:

The Story:

Mr. Freeze needs diamonds (rocking dat ice yo – get the pun?) to power his massive freezing machine used to hold Gotham ransom for the funds he can use to cure his frozen wife of her disease. Poison Ivy wants to bang Mr. Freeze and take over the world with plants, killing all people. Bane…..uh….breaks stuff. Batman and Robin….well, they run around in rubber bantering about plant/ice puns. Oh, and Alfred is dying of the exact same thing as Mr. Freeze’s wife. Well isn’t that quite a lucky parallel? The script is honestly ¾ of ice puns and homosexual innuendo. The nipples on the suits are the least of this movie’s problems. Everything that happens for pure aesthetic reason. The characters are openly mocked – Batman and Robin as a homosexual couple having their first lovers quarrel, Mr. Freeze as a madman driven by love who wants to joke about his physical deformation, Poison Ivy as the crazed lunatic who wants to enslave the world and Bane…..reduced from a cunning muscle assassin to a Poison Ivy lackey. The plot is trite and boring and really doesn’t take much artistic risks.

Acting: George Clooney had great potential to be a memorable Batman. Instead, for once in his career, he threw his artistic integrity to the wind and decided to play in the sandbox. Arnold….don’t even get me started. Three people really do a good job though – Michael Gough’s Alfred has the best character arc in this film than he does in the first 3. Chris O’Donnell, while still stuck with a shit script, makes a good Robin. But the best, Uma Thurman really takes the Poison Ivy role and makes it fun. It’s actually my favorite part of the entire film – which is shocking because Batman is my all time favorite character, Bane and Mr. Freeze are my two all time favorite villains and most of all – when it comes to comics, Poison Ivy is my least favorite villain. Go figure.

Directing: I don’t blame Joel Schumacher. I honestly don’t. I blame the studio for this debacle. Chris O’Donnell is on record saying that production was rushed on this film and toy concepts were created before the script was written. The whole movie is one big toy commercial. Joel has his faults for sticking to the project, but in the end, it’s very obvious of his capabilities as a film maker and what the final product was. Were some of the faults of the film his decision? Most likely, but the opportunity to explore dark territory was all but destroyed after Burton’s Batman Returns.

Cinematography: One of the biggest things that I hate about this movie, is the lighting. Neon colors are very comic booky, yes, but this is a movie. You don’t need bright red, green and blue colored gels to tell this story well. Oh wait, there is no story, we’re selling toys to kids. My mistake. Oh, and for crying out loud, I don’t care what you are doing, FILMING THE LIGHTS AS PART OF THE SCENE IS THE MOST UNPROFESSIONAL THING YOU CAN DO. And you did it on purpose. Congratulations, you’re a horrible cinematographer.

Production Design: Nipples on Bat-suits….do I really even need to go past this?

Editing: Actually……the editing I can deal with. Maybe a few hundred extra cuts to eliminate the puns and I’d nominate that person for an academy award. We could have a decent movie if we could eliminate 90% of the dialogue.

Score: Ok, my 2nd biggest beef with this movie. I can overlook nipples, puns and bad lighting. But 2nd only to the story, this pisses me off the most. It started back in Batman Forever with the trumpets. Now….it just drives me nuts. I love film scores and this…is a mess of a circus fanfare. I mean, since this is a 2-hour commercial, I’d have been happier with a catchy jingle. The studio even felt like this sucked. They used Elfman’s Batman Theme in all the trailers….a very sneaky move. Honestly, if you could replace the score in this film, eliminate the puns, and take the gels out of your Arri kit, you might have a decent once in a while movie on your hands….but you didn’t.

Special Effects: You’d think for a “movie” trying to sell toys, they’d put some more money into the effects and props. Not so much. There’s a moment where a frozen Robin is lifted out of a pool of….water….but he’s frozen……um….anyway…Robin is about as light as a pool raft. There’s CGI that freaking LAGS on the film. It’s jumpy. I mean…come on, here, even little kids know crap CGI when they see it.

In closing: Batman and Robin isn’t a film. It’s not a movie. It’s a 2 hour mocking of characters in an attempt to make them kid friendly and make an audience buy the toys. That’s it. There’s nothing all that fun in the movie to enjoy, no great characterization, plot twists, action scenes. This is even a shit movie to watch drunk….ok, maybe it’s fun to watch drunk but still. Lots of movies are good to watch under any circumstances. If you want to see a loyal interpretation of the Batman comics, this is it. You read correctly, this accurately portrays the Batman comics of the 50’s/60’s – which were also merchandise crazy. Why was it unsuccessful overall? Because people don’t buy things that look cool. We buy things when we can relate to them and feel a personal connection to them. That’s my personal marketing mind at work, but still. Just because you can draw batman and call it batman, and put a batman mask on and call yourself batman…you are not Batman. Batman is the character originally created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger. This is not their Batman. It’s not THE Batman. This is a bastardization of a character simply being exploited for someone’s personal greed and money hungry desires. F*ck this movie…err…commercial.

BATMAN AND ROBIN, 1997

1987 Movie Review: PREDATOR, 1987

PREDATOR,   MOVIE POSTERPREDATOR, 1987
Movie Reviews

Directed by: John Tiernan

Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers, Elpidia Carrillo, Bill Duke, Jesse Ventura
Review by Jarred Thomas

SYNOPSIS:

Dutch and a small group of commandos and sent by the CIA to a Central American Jungle, to rescue capture airmen from Guerillas. But it’s not the armed terrorists which are the problem. Something hidden in the jungle, something invisible to the naked eye, something not of this earth is the problem. As Dutch and his men had back to transport, they are slowly targeted one by one.

REVIEW:

Y One of the best action movies of the 80’s and quite honestly of all times, Predator introduced us to an iconic monster with a penchant for hunting and killing its opponents for sport. Arnold Schwarzenegger is one of the most popular action stars and at the prime of his career he was in action films where for the most part he dominated his enemies with explosive, guns, cars, and fist fighting, but now Arnold meets his match in the form of an alien being set out to kill him and his elite military friends.

Predator is an excellent action movie with a solid supporting cast dishing on campy one liners and B movie dialogue. But none of that really mattered. Audiences went to see someone get their head blown off, not to listen to philosophical Shakespearian talk. John Tiernan has done some engaging movies in the past and here he truly delivers with Arnold leading the cast.

An elite military force led by Dutch (Schwarzenegger) is being hunted down by some unknown predator who not only kills his prey but removes their skulls as a trophy. The Predator is equipped with vast amount of highly advanced weaponry that puts the military to shame and outmatched. Throughout the majority of the film the Predator remains cloaked in a disguise that allows him to blend into the background.

One by one he takes out the soldiers, one death more brutal than the last finally until finally its Arnold’s turn to take a crack at the superior warrior. What’s interesting about this film is that in only a short amount of time, the director is able to hint at a possible history for the Predator without having to go into specifics.

Anna, a prisoner of Dutch’s elite team, tells about past stories in which the jungle supposedly came to life and started killing then skinning its victims. It’s possible, or at least alluded to, that it was another Predator at a different time. While running from the creature, Dutch notices that the killer is only killing those who are armed, as if for sport.

The action scenes in particular are well handled. Most of it however consists of mowing down the jungle with their machine guns, shooting at an object they can’t see or hear. After the death of one of his comrades, Duke unleashes his rage on the jungle believing that the killer is present. It’s a great scene despite being over the top.

Clearly the director and actors are having with the film, and it shows making the viewing experience even more enjoyable. Predator is one of the best action films alongside Terminator, Terminator 2 and Total Recall, all of which star Arnold. If you’re looking for a good time with no insightful dialogue or in depth study on character relationships, just pure action with a solid cast, then Predator is the one you’re looking for.

 

PREDATOR, 1987.jpg

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Happy Birthday: Arnold Schwarzenegger

arnoldschwarzenegger.jpgArnold Schwarzenegger

Born: July 30, 1947 in Thal, Styria, Austria

Married to:
Maria Shriver (26 April 1986 – present) (filed for divorce) (4 children)

Conan the Barbarian
1982
dir. John Milius
Cast
Schwarzenegger
James Earl Jones
THE TERMINATORThe Terminator
1984
dir. James Cameron
Starring:
Schwarzenegger
Linda Hamilton
PREDATORPredator
1987
dir. John McTiernan
Cast
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Carl Weathers
Total RecallTotal Recall
1990
dir. by Paul Verhoeven
starring
Schwarzenegger
Sharon Stone
Terminator 2
1991
dir. James Cameron
starring
Schwarzenegger
Linda Hamilton
TRUE LIES MOVIE POSTERTrue Lies
1994
dir. James Cameron
Starring
Schwarzenegger
Jamie Lee Curtis
BATMAN AND ROBIN MOVIE POSTERBatman & Robin
1997
dir. Joel Schumacher
Starring
George Clooney
Uma Thurman
Schwarzenegger
Terminator 3Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines
2003
dir. Jonathan Mostow
Starring
Schwarzenegger
MOVIE POSTERESCAPE PLAN
2013
dir. Mikael Hafstrom
Stars:
Sylvester Stallone
Arnold Schwarzenegger
MOVIE POSTERTHE LAST STAND
2013
dir. Jee-woon Kim
Stars:
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Eduardo Noriega
THE EXPENDABLES 3
2014
dir. Patrick Hughes
Stars:
Sylvester Stallone
Jason Statham
MOVIE POSTERSABOTAGE
2014
dir. David Ayer
Stars:
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Sam Worthington