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The Shallows

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:// INTRO

I discovered The Shallows through three different sources, at first I had seen a couple of promising posts on the Blumhouse website. Each post made the movie feel stronger, sort of the excitement I had felt when I first heard about JAWS as a young lad.

Shark movies are a bit tricky, they sound simple to make, but take into consideration the biggest thing: The Shark.

If the project is low budget, then you are probably in for a badly rendered 3D shark. If that is the case, amping up the cheese factor is probably an excellent idea. Just like Sharknado. If that cheese is not of the best quality then you might probably end up with something like Sand Sharks.

My second and third source came about thanks to my buddy Drake. He recommended it thanks to a podcast he listened to religiously. Previously known as Killer POV, now re-launched as Shockwaves, both his glowing review and the high praise from Shockwaves were the final push I needed to check this movie out.

[Curiously enough, Drake got me hooked on both Killer POV and Shockwaves. Not to mention podcasts in general. That though is probably best for a separate post.]

:// PRODUCTION QUALITY

The movie’s premise is extremely simple: a young woman goes on a trip to Mexico [as it should be]. There she is introduced to a secluded beach which has the allure of having the best waves available for a surfing enthusiast.

After enjoying a day at the beach she unexpectedly gets hurt by a great white shark. She takes refuge on a small reef which is just far enough to make swimming to shore extremely risky, especially with her wound attracting the shark to her reef.

The Shallows drips with style, the photography taking center stage and being extremely beautiful. Filming a beach might seem unimpressive, however, the shallows has fantastic aerial shots which give a great sense of scope. It shows you just how isolated the main character is. Not to mention the beautiful color palette which the tropical setting gives us. The underwater shots are mesmerizing to look at.

The movie takes notes from House of Cards, showing technology throughout the movie. Although ‘cards does it better in my opinion by keeping the UI neutral, showing only text within a bubble. The Shallows shows a little more of the mobile environment, it is clean, but it might feel outdated within a few short years.

Originally, I had the idea about doing a short write up about my favorite characters. Although I came to the conclusion that doing so could spoil the kill count.

:// FAVORITE MOMENTS

The shark foreshadowing has to be my favorite part of the movie. There is an enormous sense of dread throughout the movie.

At first, I came in excited: “A shark move, this is gonna be great! Here we go baby!”

As things started escalating, the dread became unbearable. Every second became extremely tense, just like watching the USA play in the World Cup.

[USA! USA!]

D R E A D

 

Once the filmmakers let the shark off the chain the movie becomes one hell of a roller coaster ride. The dread does not let up, it only intensifies with each sequence.

I saw this on Blu-Ray, it is available on VOD, but I highly recommend seeing this on ‘blu. Actually, I recommend watching all movies on ‘blu.

Of course, if this is not an option VOD is absolutely fine, but if ‘blu is available to you please do it.

You’ll love the photography in this movie.

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Suicide Squad

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For some time now, a lot of comic book fans have been excited to see what DC Comics would do to battle Marvel’s Supremacy in theaters.

You don’t have to be a fan of either to enjoy a good Marvel vs DC online story.

Having followed both for a few years now, I could see somewhat of a pattern among each house. Marvel had the foresight to create a connected cinematic universe starting with the release of Iron Man. Curiously enough there are a lot of folks out there that do not realize that Marvel does not hold the movie rights to X-MEN, The Fantastic Four and Spiderman. Although the Spiderman deal was finally worked out which lead to reshoots in order to have him featured in Captain America: Civil War.

As clever as Marvel’s approach has been DC does not have the luxury to build up their cinematic universe with features which will eventually lead to a team up. They have to strike while the iron is hot, they have to strike fast and hard.

In order to do this, they have bypassed Christopher Nowlan’s Dark Knight Trilogy [a smart move if you ask me]. Plus they breathed some new life into Superman after the bomb that was Superman Returns and the family friendly Smallville TV show.

Enter Zack Snyder, you can look at his filmography and agree on one thing: he is an excellent visual director. My highlights from his reel would have to be the Dawn of the Dead remake, Watchmen and 300.

[Shamefully I have yet to watch Sucker Punch]

Bringing Suicide Squad into the DC cinematic universe reminds me of Marvel’s announcement of Guardians of the Galaxy. Both are interesting teams with a lot of potential, deciding to bring in the ‘Squad also immediately leads into the opportunity to bring in Harley Quinn, thus bringing in The Joker and Batman.

The issue here is that some of them are actually honored by having a character bio intro. The first trailer brought in much excitement, unfortunately like so many movies within the last couple of years you get the [majority] of the movie spoiled for you.

I was extremely surprised to see Will Smith actually take a comic book character role. Don’t get me wrong he’s a great actor, but passing on The Matrix in order to do Wild Wild West is still a nasty stain on his resume. That plus the fact that he has done a Bad Boys sequel but decided not to do Independence Day Resurgence is also a big question mark.

There was a lot of speculation if any characters would die in the movie, this is answered immediately by watching the first trailer and paying attention to which characters get their flashy intro and backstory during the main feature.

The story did have some interesting moments due to some members of the ‘Squad. I’ll just come out and say it: Amanda Waller is the biggest, baddest character I have seen yet in a comic book feature. A stone cold killer.

Harley was excellently cast, the one main thing which seemed to linger throughout the movie were the sudden cuts in editing. Now jump cuts work really well in movies, especially Horror and Action. In ‘Squad the cuts seemed as if they were done in order to “fix” a weak scene.

The movie suffered from trying to do too much in so little time. It’s a fantastic Popcorn Movie, but it’s hard not to notice that there was likely studio interference.

Comparing it to ‘Guardians which dripped James Gunn’s style [hell he made Slither] ‘Squad seemed as if Warner Brothers was too scared to let David Ayer’s freak flag fly. I mean the man wrote Training Day. TRAINING DAY. Plus he’s from Illinois

 

Training Day baby, Training Day

 

Overall the movie had extremely high production value created by the VFX wizards at Buddha Jones, Mammal, Sony Imageworks and MPC.

The style guide featured a nice mixture of graffiti culture and what I assume a rave would look like after taking some LSD.

I don’t like ruining stories but there is an element which resonates Resident Evil 6.

I heard this movie described to me as a trash can fire, I can now disagree, all comic book movies are entertaining. If you’re looking for a good time which will highly entertain you then grab a seat.

I am excited to see the direction in which DC is heading with their properties. For better or worse, we are lucky to be getting nerd culture in popular entertainment.

It’s funny how popular culture had determined decades ago that comic books and video games were not “cool”.

It’s ironic seeing people with a Decepticon and Autobot sticker on their vehicles, especially when they can only name Optimus Prime and Megatron.

^ Back to Top

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TMNT 2 [2016]

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I love the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the cartoons, comics, video games and toys captured my heart and imagination when I was a young lad.

Now as a [somewhat] responsible adult I was excited to hear that the TMNT were getting re-imagined for audiences back in 2014. I didn’t care who was making it, I didn’t care who was in the movie. All I cared about what that my 4 favorite brothers were back.

I knew what I was getting myself into, CG like there was no tomorrow, stylized violence [pretty damn violent if you ask me, one foot clan soldier gets tossed onto the side of a moving subway car. Another poor bastard gets a freight container thrown on him. You know his ass is dead.] And so many blue flares on screen it would make J.J. Abrams and the Star Trek crew jealous.

The 2014 effort had an excellent animated intro created by Prologue, it seemed to take inspiration from the original comic strip by Eastman and Laird. Obviously, the ending hinted at a sequel, fast forward to 2016 and we got TMNT 2 [I refuse to call this movie by its original title]. The one thing I don’t understand is why do sequels get a cringe-worthy subtitle on them [Resurrection, Resurgence, Evolution, etc]? What happened to good old fashion numbers? It seems studios forgot to count, just like they forgot to make scores for movies.

Have you noticed how many movie trailer’s “score” feature the “Inception horn” sound over and over?

The movie picked up where the last movie left off, introducing Casey Jones whom sadly only has one scene as [hockey mask] Casey Jones. The super ninja Shredder gets conned by a gross looking Krang into going on a wild goose chase for him [seriously if I would have been 8 years old again when I saw him I would have been extremely fucked up. Toxic Avenger fucked up.]. Tyler Perry is a breath of fresh air, not to mention Bebop and Rocksteady gracing the screen with their presence. The Technodrome makes an appearance as it rips into downtown New York from Dimension X. Shredder has his second, probably third scene in the movie only to have Krang toss him into a cryogenic dungeon like he was nothing.

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Bebop and I seem to share the “Dad Bod”. 

 

The turtles then surf onto the flying pieces of the Technodrome to fight Krang, he is defeated in about five minutes and vows to return.

Sound fun? Unfortunately, these are the only live action turtles we’re getting. At least the Nikelodeon TV show rocks. Definitely, check that out.

I miss the animated intro created for the 2014 version and the theme song from Gym Class Heroes for the 2007 CG effort.

More Tyler Perry for part 3 please.

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Deadpool

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For over a decade, Comic Book movies have been dominating the Hollywood landscape. It has brought these beloved characters into the forefront of entertainment, but the most important thing these movies have done is remind people of one thing.

The one thing all Comic Book fans have known ever since they first picked up that 30ish page of badass digest: Comic Books Fucking Rock.

Some characters have been portrayed almost perfectly, some, unfortunately have not. One character that was brutally raped by poor vision [to put it nicely] was Deadpool.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine anyone? [It’s so bad, I won’t even link to it.]

HULK vs Wolverine did a phenomenal job with their interpretation of the Merc with a Mouth.

Then one miraculous thing happened, the Internet Gods shined their grace upon us all and gave us the “leaked” Deadpool test footage [and Porn, and Cats, etc].

One of the best Animation Houses on this green earth, BLUR and the sexiest man to ever walk the earth teamed up to show the world how it was done.

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Maximum Effort

 

Two months and 58 million dollars later, we finally got to a Comic Book movie for adults greenlit.

Fighting crime isn’t pretty, #thestruggleisreal.

Thank you, Tim!

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Extraterrestrial

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I love a good Alien flick, who doesn’t right? I’d dare say it’s almost un-American not to.

Although The Vicious Brothers have only made 3 flicks I do like the majority of their ideas and methods. Their movies are usually met with mixed/bad reviews [PS who cares about reviews right? They suck. If you like it try it].

I think if they keep at it they will lock down their formula and start pumping out hit after hit. Now I don’t mean Transformers or Pirates of the Caribbean 3 hits. I mean Fight Club, Inception, Girl with the Dragon Tattoo [Europe edition] hits.

These Canadian brothers will be bonafide God-Damn-Sexual-Tyrannosaurus-Rex’s. [plural]

Extraterrestrial starts with the premise of a group of friends going to a Cabin for a weekend to relax. Bold stuff. There is a human glue to the group in the form of their friendship. Some people have bigger problems which no one else knows about. At the beginning of the flick you think you have everyone figured out but they do surprise you as the story plays out.

Although this does seem like a bro-mance letter to The Vicious Brothers there is one major missed opportunity throughout the entire film.

You can see the Aliens full frontal throughout the entire picture.

I think if they would have gone the Jaws route and only showed you The Grays until the very end of the movie they would have caused a tremendous impression on the viewer.

Basically if they would have let the viewer’s imagination get the best of them the reveal would have given a fantastic impression and really scared the living crap out of everyone. Thanks to being able to see the Aliens [practically] since the very beginning they don’t seem to feel as scary as they could/should have been.

For example think of Alien movies such as: the original Alien [of course], Fire in the Sky and The Fourth Kind. these movies built up the creatures by allowing the audience to let their imagination get the best of them. Then, towards the very end you get punched in the nuts and have the living daylights scared out of you.

Don’t get me wrong, Waterproof did an amazing job with the VFX. But alas, because of the early reveal the impression of the Grays seems less menacing.

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Haha. No Grays here. Watch the Movie.

 

Plus, this is one of those movies where the Trailer gives too much away. They could have really taken people for a wild ride if they would have followed the Jaws formula.

Keep an eye on these guys though. I can’t wait to see what they come up with next.

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The Town that Dreaded Sundown .2014

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It’s pretty hard these days to make a good and fresh Horror Film.

One of my favorite Horror Sub genres is the Slasher flick.

Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees stand out as my top two favorites, I could possibly argue that those two are also the reigning kings of the Slasher Genre.

Remakes have given Horror fans their fixes when it comes to seeing these Behemoths on screen.

Although, as classic as they are it would be nice to find more “mythical unicorns” such as them.

The Town That Dreaded Sundown did a great job at bringing [back] another interesting slasher to the mix. Using the 1976 original as a starting point it was interesting how they moved the story forward. The mood and setting of Texarcana was fantastic, it included many wide shots using emptiness to create a foreboding atmosphere. The mood was very similar to Zodiac, another movie that I really enjoyed [Fincher baby!]. They even managed to incorporate clips of the original ‘Sundown during key scenes. Something which The House of the Dead did miserably [Boll baby!].

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Keeping it classic, the Phantom looks off in the same direction.

 

The pacing is very similar to You’re Next, something which might not be pleasing to everybody looking for a [new] slasher fix.

Whoever did the voice of the Phantom should start a metal band no doubt. He was channeling his inner Corey Taylor.

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