Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Film Review: "Deepsea Challenge 3D" (2014).


"Deep. Dangerous. Determined." This is Deepsea Challenge 3D. This documentary film directed by John Bruno, Ray Quint and Andrew Wight and written by Wight and John Garvin. As a boy, filmmaker James Cameron dreamed of a journey to the deepest part of the ocean. This film is the dramatic fulfillment of that dream. It chronicles Cameron’s solo dive to the depths of the Mariana Trench—nearly seven miles beneath the ocean’s surface—piloting a submersible he designed himself. The risks were astounding. The footage is breathtaking. The film is a celebration of science, courage, and extraordinary human aspiration.

On 26 March, 2012, filmmaker and Deepsea explorer James Cameron piloted the craft to accomplish this goal in the second manned dive reaching the Challenger Deep. Built in Sydney, Australia by the research and design company Acheron Project Pty Ltd, Deepsea Challenger includes scientific sampling equipment and high-definition 3-D cameras; it reached the ocean's deepest point after two hours and thirty-six minutes of descent from the surface. The Deepsea Challenger (DCV 1) is a 7.3-metre (twenty-four ft) deep-diving submersible designed to reach the bottom of Challenger Deep, the deepest-known point on Earth.

Yes, the work they're doing is mind-boggling and important, but sometimes the images alone are more than capable of speaking for themselves. Once you get used to the "awesome" and "wow"-heavy dialogue, Cameron's excursion into the deep ocean trenches delivers some fascinating 3D footage. The experience is so immediate and immersive that you actually feel as if you are swimming with the krill. There are impressive rock formations and many other fine things to see, along with an interesting science lesson. Much of the allure of the film comes from Cameron's easygoing, rather unscientific approach to the project. It is useful to be reminded every once in a while that there's a whole universe of things we don't know, and that their discovery is exciting. Most of us will never have the good fortune to see these sights in their natural habitats, but the marvelous 3D imagery reveals them gloriously. The film captures not only the majesty of the brinier depths - but also the fascination therein that keeps luring Cameron back to the ocean. Cameron's showmanship and his on-screen appearances make his documentaries far livelier than your usual scientific expedition documentary, and this one is no exception. Last time we checked, 'Cool' wasn't in the official scientist-jargon handbook, go see this to be entertained rather than to be educated. The ninety-one-minute spellbinder will make your jaw drop with awe. And, like the best documentaries, it will also make you think. One sign of a successful 3D outing is how it makes you believe you are there in every frame, and this one does. The final shot, in particular, is awesome, and confirms that the sooner Cameron gets back to making proper movies, instead of Boys' Own diversions, the better. In the end, you have to give Cameron points for putting his financial muscle behind scientific expeditions rather than, say, lavish parties.

Simon says Deepsea Challenge 3D receives:


Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Film Review: "Guardians of the Galaxy" (2014).



"So here we are: a thief, two thugs, an assassin and a maniac. But we're not going to stand by as evil wipes out the galaxy." This line, from the trailer, is basically what Marvel’s surprisingly unique film, Guardians of the Galaxy, is all about. Based on the Marvel Comics superhero team of the same name, created by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, and produced by Marvel Studios. It is the tenth installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The film is directed by James Gunn, who wrote the screenplay with Nicole Perlman. In the film, Light years from Earth and 26 years after being abducted, Peter Quill finds himself the prime target of a manhunt after discovering an orb wanted by Ronan the Accuser and forms an uneasy alliance with a group of extraterrestrial misfits who are on the run as well.

Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige first mentioned Guardians of the Galaxy as a potential film at the 2010 San Diego Comic-Con International. Feige announced that the film was in active development at the 2012 San Diego Comic-Con International during the Marvel Studios panel, with an intended release date of August 1, 2014. He stated that the film's titular team would consist of the characters Star-Lord, Drax the Destroyer, Gamora, Groot, and Rocket Raccoon. Nicole Perlman, who was enrolled in Marvel's screenwriting program in 2009, was offered several of their lesser known properties to base a screenplay on. Out of those, Perlman chose Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning's Guardians of the Galaxy, due to her interest in space and science fiction. In early 2012, James Gunn was brought in to contribute to the script. Gunn eventually rewrote the script entirely because "it didn’t work" for him; he would use the film The Dirty Dozen as a reference to convey his ideas of the film to Marvel.

The film features an ensemble cast including Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Djimon Hounsou, John C. Reilly, Glenn Close, and Benicio del Toro. The performances in this film were all superbly performed. Chris Pratt gives a winning performance as Star-Lord. Saldana gave her best performance in a Science-Fiction film yet! Bautista gave a terrific first performance as Drax. Diesel and Copper gave the best performance of the entire film as Cooper stole the show as Rocket and Diesel was the heart and soul of the film. Pace gave a menacing performance as Ronan. As well as Gillan as Nebula. Reilly gave the films comical touch.

It is an out-of-body experience. Guardians of the Galaxy is the movie that's going to entertain a lot of contemporary folk who have a soft spot for the virtually ritualized manners of Marvel comic-book adventure and it is Marvel’s most elaborate, most expensive, most beautiful movie ever made! Gunn has succeeded in his attempt to create the biggest possible adventure fantasy based on Marvel’s most unknown property and films from his childhood. A legendary expansive and ambitious effort to the sci-fi genre, Gunn opens our eyes to the possibilities of that kind of blockbuster film-making and things may never be the same. In conclusion, it is a grandiose and unique epic with a simple and whimsical heart.

Simon says Guardians of the Galaxy receives:



Also, see my review for Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

Film Review: "And So It Goes" (2014).


"There Are A Million Reasons Not To Like Oren Little. Just Ask Everyone" in And So It Goes. This romantic comedy drama film directed by Rob Reiner, and written by Mark Andrus. Oren is deliberately mean to the people around him. However, he is forced to change his attitude and take help from his neighbour Leah when he is asked to look after his nine-year-old granddaughter.

By early June 2013, Michael Douglas, Diane Keaton, Sterling Jerins, and Annie Parisse were cast in a romantic comedy drama with Reiner as director, and written by Andrus. Sissy Spacek was offered the female lead role, but turned it down. Reiner cast himself as Artie because he needed an actor who would work for scale pay on short notice. At the same time, principal photography commenced, and took place throughout California and Connecticut. In late December, it was announced that Marc Shaiman was hired to score the film.

The film stars Douglas, Keaton, Jerins, Parisse, and Reiner. As Reiner should know better and Douglas should know better and Keaton should know better, what you have here is a film which has to make you ask: how come they did? When actors as great as Douglas and Keaton can't make dialogue sound natural, you know the script is a stinkeroo. Even the stellar pairing of Douglas and Keaton yields few sparks.

Not even the earnest performances of the two leads can rescue And So It Goes from its schmaltzy script. Whilst this remains reasonably captivating for its first hour, it kinda runs out of steam after that. It is contrived and forced, almost begging the audience to pull out the hankie. Additionally, it is sentimental, simplistic, and almost shamefully manipulative, I found it absolutely anything but charming. The film plays like Much Ado About Nothing, reimagined as an uninspired sitcom. Considering Reiner's output lately, it's tempting to call the film a triumph, if only on the grounds that it's not awful. The problem is that it isn't any good either. The film doesn't a by-the-numbers Reiner comedy movie about an odd couple of opposites just about say it all? Once more, Reiner defines himself as the schlock artist who knows, as do his stars, that coots with familiar faces can walk through this garden of schmaltz with their eyes closed. This film has the same level of false, mediocre level of entertainment as Something's Gotta Give (2003). If you liked that one, then you might like this. But I despise both. The film is far from a good movie, but it is a great opportunity to watch a pair of great actors at the top of their game. It pales in comparison to the talents of its stars. A lazy and condescending package from top to bottom. Despite its scripted shortcomings, the film is poignantly filled with heart, guaranteed to tug at your heartstrings and tear ducts as we each face our own mortality, hopefully with the same love and compassion as Leah and Sarah, like Oren.

Simon says And So It Goes receives: