Monthly Archives: June 2016

The Shallows

Movie:  The Shallows

Rating:  3 1/2 Stars (Out of 5)

Review:     Nancy Adams (Blake Lively) from Galveston, Texas, is a depressed young woman.  Her mother just passed away after a battle with cancer, and Nancy is having trouble coping.  She’s dropped out of med school, and traveled to a very remote part of Mexico to find a hidden beach that her mother once told her about.  Finding this beach is something of a quest, and perhaps a way to feel close to her mother again.  With the help of  local native Carlos (Oscar Jaenada) who gives her a lift through the dense jungle in his jeep, Nancy gets dropped off at her destination.

The beach is indeed a vision of paradise, with a pristine beach of golden sand and blue water with waves perfect for surfing.  Taking a few moments to slather on sunscreen protection and squeeze into the polyurethane top over her micro bikini, Nancy paddles out from the beach to catch some waves.  She meets two young men already in the water, and they share some good natured banter.   As the day gets late, her companions leave, and Nancy stays to catch the last wave of the day.  Only she discovers she is not entirely alone after all, as she spies the fin of a very large Great White Shark who begins to take an unhealthy interest in her.  And Nancy is 200 yards from shore and safety….

As suspense films go, this is a pretty good one.  Blake Lively is a competent actress, and looks amazing in her bikini.  The movie becomes a duel for survival, pitting Nancy’s intellect and will to live versus a relentless killing machine of nature.  As it turns out, the shark had a pretty good reason to be pissed off.  The film is worth seeing for audiences who like their suspense with a few scares thrown in.

Dialogue Nuggets (scarce dialogue in this film):  Nancy – “This beach, what’s it called?”  Carlos – “If I tell you, I’d have to kill you.”

Nancy to Sister – “You would not believe the perfect tube I just caught.”

Nancy (alone) – “Where are you taking me?”

Nancy (alone) – “Are you still out there?”

Nancy (alone) – “I’m about 200 yards from the beach.  I never found out what it was called.”

Huh?  What the ….:  After Carlos drives through a tropical jungle where there are no roads, and finally drops Nancy off at this beach in the middle of nowhere, she tells Carlos she’ll call an Uber to get back to the hotel.   Seriously?  Now that is what I call some major optimism….

Kudos For The Little People:  As great as Blake Lively looks in her bikini, she is no surfer.  Give it up for her double, Kelly Richardson, who did the stunt work.  Kelly is a graduate of U.C. Berkeley, and was on their triathlon team.  Kelly is certified as a rescue diver, and has performed in a circus as an aerialist and acrobat.  You go, Girl!

Oscar Worthy:  If there is a category for best performance by an animal in film, I nominate Sully the Seagull.  This bird really chews up the scenery….

Nitnoid Fact:  Some of the blood in the film is real.  Blake really did get her nose smacked hard enough to bleed in an action shot.  The kid is a real trooper!

Nitnoid Fact #2:  The beach ain’t in Mexico.  It is at Lord Howe Island in Queensland, Australia.



Me Before You

Movie:  Me Before You

Rating:  3 1/2 Stars (Out of 5)

Review:   Louisa Clark (Emilia Clarke) is a twenty-something woman trying to make ends meet in a small English town.  She’s a happy go lucky person who’s worked for 6 years in a small café, but gets laid off as the economy tanks.  She desperately needs a job, as she helps support her parents and siblings since her father is also out of work.  Ready to take on any job that pays a few quid, the employment office suggests a new job opening at the local castle as a care giver for Will Traynor (Sam Claflin).

Sam is also a twenty-something, a young man who was raised in the lap of luxury.  Sam was a bit of a jet setter, adored by beautiful women, making his name in the business world, in love with his life.  At least until a tragic accident turned him into a quadriplegic, as well as a depressed and sullen young man.  Hired by Sam’s parents, Stephen and Camilla Traynor (Charles Dance and Janet McTeer), it is now Louisa’s job to show up every day at the castle and be perky, helpful, and most of all try to breach the walls created by Sam to keep the world out.

This is a serious story, completely character driven, with a cast of very fine actors.  It is especially interesting to see Emilia Clarke in such a different role than her Game of Thrones persona Daenerys Targaryen, the Queen of Dragons.  Emilia is a joy to watch with an incredibly expressive face.  This film is as much about Louisa’s metamorphosis into a strong, confident and resilient woman as it is about her evolving relationship with a man she comes to have feelings for.  Ultimately it will depend on how much you care about the characters as to how you feel about the movie (hankies are optional).  Jenna Coleman of Dr Who fame has a supporting role as Emilia’s sister Katrina; wished her role had been bigger.  Definitely worth a look see if you enjoy relationship stories.

Dialogue Nuggets:  Employment Office Guy – “There’s nothing here about needing skills.  Perfect for you.”

Will to Louisa – “My mother said you were chatty.  Could we strike a deal that when you are around me, you are very unchatty?”

Louisa – “He always looks at me like I’m stupid.”  Katrina – “To be fair, you are pretty stupid.”  Louisa – “But he doesn’t know that yet!”

Will to Louisa – “Why don’t you go rage in my grandmother’s wardrobe, or whatever it is that you do when you’re not making tea.”

Louisa to Will – “I think what you mean to say, is, thank you Miss Clark for attempting to entertain me.”

Will to Louisa – “You should be out there showing your leprechaun shoes to dodgy men.”

Will – “If you’re going to wear a dress like that, Clark, you have to learn to wear it with confidence.”

Louisa – “Did you pretend you were a warrior prince?”  Will – “I even nicked a sword from an exhibit; it weighed a ton.”

Will – “This is not my life; not even close.  I loved my life.”

Huh?  What the….:  Emilia goes for a walk on a snowy day with an umbrella (or bumbershoot, as they say in England).  Who the heck uses an umbrella when it snows?




Love And Friendship

Movie:  Love & Friendship

Rating:  3 1/2 Stars (Out of 5)

Review:    Lady Susan Vernon (Kate Beckinsale) is in a bit of a bind.  With her husband deceased, a daughter in school with payment of bills being demanded, and more than a few scandalous rumors floating around decent society about her dalliances, she decides to impose upon her sister by moving into Churchill Estate.  After all, family are the ones who have to take you in.  Lady Susan has barely begun the dance of a new dalliance with the well to do and handsome Reginald DeCourcey (Xavier Samuel), when her daughter Frederica (Morfydd Clark) bursts onto the scene.

As it turns out, not only is Frederica a school dropout, she is being relentlessly pursued and wooed by the filthy rich and simple minded Sir James Martin (Tom Bennett).    Now Lady Susan not only has to find a way to keep herself in the comfortable life style she is accustomed to, she has to fit her daughter’s interests into the plots and schemes she is hatching.  Helping Lady Susan in the social web of intrigues is BFF Alicia Johnson (Chloe Sevigny), who is married to a much older but wealthy husband.  There are other relatives and suitors weaving their way into this 19th century romantic potboiler, including the renowned womanizer Lord Manwaring (Lochlann O’Mearain).

Surprisingly, this is the first film version of Jane Austen’s novella, “Lady Susan”.  The early English dialogue is wonderful, though viewers will have to pay close attention as it is often coming at you in rapid fire sequence.  Kate Beckinsale is perfect as the scheming beauty who somehow manages to call the shots among all the other players.  It is light hearted fluff, strictly fun, the 19th century version of a soap opera.  It is worth seeing just for Kate Beckinsale’s gorgeous dresses and amazing collection of hats.

Dialogue Nuggets:  Alicia to Lady Susan – “He threatened me with the most severe punishment imaginable, to send me back to Connecticut.”

Lady Susan to Gentleman greeter – “How dare you address me!  Be gone, sir, or I shall have you whipped!”

A distraught Frederica – “But marriage is for one’s whole life!”  Lady Susan – “Not in my experience.”

Lady Susan to Alicia – “What a mistake you made with Mister Johnson.  Too old to be governable, too young to die.”

Sister referring to Lady Susan –  “That woman is a fiend!  She has an unnatural understanding of men.”

Sir James Martin – “How jolly, little green balls!  What are they called?”  Fellow Diner – “Peas.”