The Shallows – what it lacks in depth it makes up for in suspense and visuals

On a gorgeous beach in Mexico (with magically good reception for a far-flung “secret” beach so our main character can show the people back home what a great time she’s having), Nancy (Blake Lively), a med school drop-out, intends to surf herself out of an existential crisis/personal tragedy. It’s not a bad idea – the waves are great and the crystal clear waters are to die for, almost too literally.

The Shallows has some good things going for it. Stunning scenery and intelligent cinematography  that uses wide angles and aerial shots to communicate one, how beautiful the beach is and two, how small and insignificant the main character is, and humanity is in general, when compared with the vast expanse of natural elements like the ocean. The scenes with blood in the water (spoiler: this movie includes a shark) gave a great sense of danger and suspense, but the contrast between the crimson and the cyan blue of the waves was just beautiful. That and the jelly fish scene gave the Shallows something much deeper, a sense of the abstract and captured the juxtaposition between the beauty and danger of nature where the screenwriting, direction and performance couldn’t.

Blake Lively does her best to be a serious actress, and does an alright job for the millennial eye candy that she is. It wasn’t half as bad as watching James Franco carve himself up for two hours in 127 hours, and for that I’m extremely grateful for.

What The Shallows doesn’t do so well at – its really pathetic attempt at an emotional backstory. We’re told really quickly that Nancy’s mom died recently of cancer, and had a special relationship with the secret beach that her daughter is destined to remember. It doesn’t really matter; I wasn’t terribly invested in what happened to her, though I did root for her to tend to her medical injuries adequately and swim fast enough to evade her shark nemesis, but not overly so. The reliance on mobile technology was annoying, and while it makes sense to jazz up sci-fi spectacles like Star Trek and Minority Report with shiny screens to dazzle and scream “We’re from the future”, on an exotic holiday it’s remarkably out of place. Nancy’s video conversations/photo gallery that take up half the screen make for some really lazy screenwriting.

The Shallows did, however, make me want to take a beach holiday and to run as far away from the ocean as humanly possible, tapping into my profound fear of the ocean and love of idyllic islands. It was an exciting and harrowing ride to the end. The Shallows may be one of the better shark movies out there, but then again, considering its company in the genre include classics like Sharknado, Shark Attack 3 and Shark-topus, that’s not really a tall order.


The Shallows swims into cinemas on 11 August. Get your tickets on Popcorn!

 

 

5 favourite Movie Moms

Bad Moms opens this week, and it’s got all our favourite girls in it all grown up – Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, Christina Applegate…. In celebration of moms who don’t make the best decisions but we can’t help but love anyway in their flawed, complex lives, here’s a list of the movies that our favourite Mom characters are in.

#1 Looper

 

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source: giphy

No one messes with Emily Blunt. She’s lovely but terrifyingly adept with a shotgun. In Rian Johnson’s Looper, time-travelling killer Joseph Gordon-Levitt/Bruce Willis (incredibly, they play the same character, just past and future versions of himself) is tracking down Emily Blunt’s son, who’s slated to be a terrible man in the future. Mom’s having none of it, naturally, and might just be Mom of the Year given what she has to deal with (a badly behaved child, bad men chasing her etc).

#2 Igby Goes Down

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source: entertainment weekly

Sure, Susan Sarandon is downright dysfunctional, between her pill-popping or slow-burning psychological battering of her boys Kieran Culkin and Ryan Phillipe. But somewhere in her strange and twisty heart, there’s genuine affection, an imperfect love between her and her children. In this cult favourite coming-of-age movie that’s pretty much Catcher in the Rye, writer/director Burr Steers captures uglier, more complicated dimensions to the parent-child relationship deftly.

#3 How To Train Your Dragon 2

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source: the daily dot

Not to give too much away, but look out for the most awesome mom character ever, especially for animated films! Where moms are normally relegated to a supporting role of largely emotional support (or the creators of general tragedy on account of their absence), this dragon-filled Viking adventure has a mom with the coolest job ever, and is tied to what she loves as much as who she loves.

#4 The Graduate

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source: the-pool.com

Probably the most famous film mom ever. Years from now kids will still grow up knowing who Mrs Robinson is – a firecracker of a woman who seduces a young man because she likes getting that young stuff. In Mike Nichols’ seminal work (with arguably the best soundtrack ever), Anne Bancroft brings a boldness and fragility to Mrs Robinson that played perfectly against Dustin Hoffman’s naive earnestness that will continue to resound with audiences for years to come.

#5 Terminator

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source: screenrant

Sarah Connor’s got a lot on her mind – saving her son who will go on to save the world, running away from cyborgs send to kill her from the future, bringing up her brat of a child… she’s a strong, decisive woman of action. She’s such a fixture of popular imagination (as is Arnie’s Terminator) that the franchise has seen numerous actresses play her in films and TV – most recently the Mother of Dragons herself Daenerys Targaryen Emilia Clarke played her in Terminator Genisys.


Bad Moms is playing in cinemas now. Get your tickets on Popcorn!

New Marvel Logo revealed!

Nothing gets me psyched like the opening credits of a Marvel movie – once the logo animation rolls, I’m ready to get blown away whatever the superhero of the hour. At Comic Con this year, they’ve just revealed their new intro logo, which features Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War favourites like Black Panther, Ant Man and the Black Widow. You can tell what characters the upcoming movies are going to focus on, and I do like the new art quite a bit.

What do you think of the new Marvel logo animation? I mean, I love it when they do new twists and updates, but I have to say that I have quite a soft spot for the good old red comic-book intro, down to the page flipping and speech bubbles. I guess we’ll have to wait for the next Marvel movie Doctor Strange to find out if it works as well to pump you up as the good old titles!

 

The Shallows trailer

Let’s face it – the shark horror movie is a genre that doesn’t quite get enough love. Besides Jaws, the shark movie that launched a global shark terror (even if there aren’t sharks in your waters, like in sunny Singapore), and the wonderfully bad Sharknado and its sequels, not that many come to mind. The Shallows looks set to get island revellers off the beach once more, sending them screaming and running as far in-land as possible. It’s Gossip Girl Blake Lively vs Shark, and we really want to see who wins this round.

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The Shallows opens on 11 August. Get your tickets on Popcorn!

The Great Wall trailer

If you can’t get enough of Matt Damon coming off the Jason Bourne fever that’s hit cinemas in the past week, catch him in Zhang Yimou’s The Great Wall in December! It looks to be shaping up to be an epic period masterpiece, with awesome costumes and great fight scenes for sure! I’m not really sure what Matt Damon is doing in China fighting on the Great Wall, but don’t worry, they always come up with some explanation that I’m happy to buy!

 

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Don’t miss Matt Damon as Jason Bourne once again in Jason Bourne. Get your tickets on Popcorn!

Office Christmas Party trailer

It might be a bit early for Christmas, but the trailer for Office Christmas Party makes it look like Christmas 2016’s going to be one to remember! Did you love that crazy blonde chick (Kate McKinnion) in Ghostbusters? Expect more insanity with her and one heck of an office social, joined by Silicon Valley’s T.J. Miller, X-men: Apocalypse’s Olivia Munn, Jason Bateman and Jennifer Anniston.

From the directors of Blades of Glory and a producer from Game of Thrones, here’s a festive, but really un-family-friendly Christmas shindig!

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L-R: Kate McKinnon as Mary Winetoss, Jason Bateman as Josh Parker, T.J. Miller as Clay Vanstone, Olivia Munn as Tracey Hughes in OFFICE CHRISTMAS PARTY by Paramount Pictures, DreamWorks Pictures, and Reliance Entertainment
OFFICE CHRISTMAS PARTY
L-R: T.J. Miller as Clay Vanstone, Jason Bateman as Josh Parker in OFFICE CHRISTMAS PARTY by Paramount Pictures, DreamWorks Pictures, and Reliance Entertainment
OFFICE CHRISTMAS PARTY
L-R: Courtney B. Vance as Walter, T.J. Miller as Clay Vanstone in OFFICE CHRISTMAS PARTY by Paramount Pictures, DreamWorks Pictures, and Reliance Entertainment

Sing Street – Unrepentant, upbeat fun

If you’re going to see just one movie this year, make it Sing Street. It’s a foot-tapping, spirit-lifting original musical that will leave you humming your way out of the cinema when the credits roll about being young, having dreams and rock n roll. Most of all, it will make you miss being irrepressibly hopeful, remember your own growing pains, and recall just how awesome the ’80s were.

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Sing Street has a simple premise that promises (and delivers) nothing but fun. Conor, (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo), the new boy at a public school in Dublin, Ireland, (and therefore, the default outcast and punching bag) sees a cute older girl in the street (Lucy Boynton). He makes up a band to impress her, and gets her digits under the pretext of casting her in their music video. An ingenious ploy, now all he needs to do is find himself a band, and learn to not suck at something he’s never tried before.

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Sing Street buzzes with a kind of magic – the young cast is uncommonly, uniformly good and intensely likeable to boot. From the madly charismatic main character to his motley crew of schoolboys, to his family (Game of Thrones fans can look forward to seeing Littlefinger’s accent finally make some sense at home in Ireland as he plays despairing dad), it’s the most enjoyable and interesting ensemble I’ve seen this year.

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The soundtrack is amazing, with hints of the Cure, Duran Duran, Hall and Oates. It’s a refreshing change from jukebox musical movies like Across the Universe. Really, Sing Street is a tribute to music videos that is so much more than a music video montage – it’s an emotional story with a core that we all can relate with at any age. An anthem to the relentless belief of youth, that if you could just get out of here, then your life would actually begin.


Get your tickets for Sing Street now on Popcorn!