Friday, December 28, 2012

Jaws (1975) Bluray

Synopsis: When a gigantic great white shark begins to menace the small island community of Amity, a police chief, a marine scientist, and a grizzled fisherman set out to stop it.

What can I possibly say that hasn't already said? And how many countless reviews start out with that sentence? It's true, this is arguably one of the greatest movies ever made. (Depending on your genre preference of course) If you go to the YouTube comments for that trailer above, someone mentions that out of all the genres of movies there are out there, Jaws absolutely owns the Giant Man Eating Shark genre. I have to agree. The majority of the movies, if not all of them, have their heart set in Jaws. Even the really really bad ones take cues from the master. (The Jaws shot for example) It's just impossible not to. We've all basically grown up with this killer shark movie and it's so hard not to have it on your mind when watching other killer shark movies. (or making them)

If you haven't seen this movie you are sorely missing out. The tension is great, the scares come at you from every angle: Jump Scares, Psychological "scared of the water" scares, Sexy Teen Midnight Romps gone awry scares, little helpless kid in the middle of the water scares, and being absolutely helpless and dying the worst way fears. (Thanks Quint.) This movie has it all and there really is no other way to put it. It is the master of its craft and anything else is but a shadow.

The one thing I found funny while rewatching this movie is that Quint's boat is called "Orca". And in Jaws the shark destroys the Orca but in the movie Orca: The Killer Whale, an Orca destroys a great white shark! Ha!

Now on to the Bluray!

Universal is celebrating 100 years of movies by releasing 100 of their classics on Bluray. For Christmas this year I was begging for the Jaws Bluray. Much to my surprise, my persistent whining paid off and I got it!

You thought Jaws was great on it's own, the Bluray experience elevates it to a level not ever felt before.

The Video

I'm no technical expert so I don't know all about codecs and all that jazz (but you can certainly read all about that here), all I know is what my eyes tell me. And my eyes are very happy. The picture is as clean as it ever has been. This is what I like to see out of my Bluray restorations. A clean, crisp picture. No lines, no dirt, no little black film specks flipping about the screen, just a really great HD presentation. I watched the Restoration extra feature on the movie and when they transferred the original 35mm to digital they scanned it through a machine that pours water on the film and that water makes the majority of that stuff disappear. Interesting little fact for you.

The color in this movie is so vibrant. I watched this on a 50" Plasma and those ugly orange 70's bathing suits just POPPED off the screen. The yellows, reds, blues were all very appealing. The ocean looked fantastic. The sun glare off the water was so gorgeous.

What I was most fond of was the twilight scenes. The beginning skinny dipping scene can only be described as incredible. (Visually speaking of course. Ok, that death is awesome too) The fact that you can see everything is amazing but it's all so clear and the tones are dead on. The contrast isn't set so far off that it looks like it was filmed during the day and just darkened later. It's amazing.

The Audio

This new Bluray is mixed in 7.1 audio. It was pulled from the original mono track, so they pulled from 1 track of audio and turned it into 7. And it sounds amazing. I only have 5 channels of audio but I can't imagine how mind blowing 2 more could be. This is a movie about tension and sitting in the middle of a musical tornado is awesome. This movie puts a lot of tension in its musical score and this new mix just adds even more to that. And the last half of the movie with the splashing and crashing of water will blow you away.

So in short, the Bluray is worth it. Even though you've seen the movie a hundred times, it feels like you're watching it again for the first. The comparisons are so drastic that you won't be sorry you bought this.

They don't call this the trendsetter for nothing.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Shark Night 3D (2011)

Synopsis: A weekend at a lake house in the Louisiana Gulf turns into a nightmare for seven vacationers as they are subjected to shark attacks.

Oh yeah, Shark Night! on 2D DVD from a 3D Theatrical Run! This is going to be amazingly bad. And it’s got the guy from Avatar and Grandma’s Boy. I can’t possibly go wrong! *flips cover over* PG-13!?


So this movie is one colossal failure after another. Whoever wrote this movie desperately needs to get the SyFy channel. All of the mistakes could have easily been solved with anything other then what happened here. Do they honestly think we’ve never seen a movie with teens vs a shark stranded in the middle of nowhere? Hey, I’m all about the sexy teens but when you take away the TWO THINGS (HARDCORE NUDITY AND COPIOUS AMOUNT OF BLOODY GORE) that makes movies like this worth watching, then you are left with nothing but failure.

And did the guy that got fired for doing the effects for Shark Attack 2 get hired for this? I don’t know but it sure looks like someone that does bad practical effects suddenly started doing CGI effects. What is going on here?

There was only one reason I wanted to watch this movie. (aside from sharks) Joel David Moore. I like him. I don’t know why, he hasn’t really been worth anything in the last couple years but I still like him. I’m sure he hit gravy train with Avatar and just decided that it doesn’t matter anymore. And I don’t blame him. Anyway, he’s here. That’s about it. His line delivery is awful, his lines in general are recycled teenage garbage that really isn’t relevant to anyone. (Which goes for the rest of the cast as well.)

And the twist (SPOILER ALERT) is that hillbillies are putting cameras on sharks and using them to create shark snuff films to sell on the internet.

Wha, wha, wwwhaaat? That's your ending?

But this does have a couple (and we’re talking 10 seconds tops) of greatness going for it. And it’s the shark related deaths. One with the shark leaping out of the water and eating the guy on the jetski and the other with…I don’t remember....but I remember there was a second one.

Avoid this movie at all costs. I was warned, I took the Jaws approach and heeded no warnings. Now I’m missing an arm. Thanks Shark Night.


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Shark Attack in the Mediterranean (2004)

Synopsis: Devastated by the violent death of his wife, helicopter pilot Sven Hansen helplessly watches as his personal life and business unravel. He finds renewed hope on the exotic island of Mallorca until the day his peaceful life is rocked by the appearance of a gigantic 35-foot shark. When Hansen learns that this is the same monster that killed his wife, he teams up with attractive marine biologist Julia Bennett. Together they battle the beast in a dramatic fight for survival. Filled with nonstop, hair-raising surprises, SHARK ATTACK IN THE MEDITERRANEAN takes deep ocean terror to new depths!


I'm starting to see a pattern here: The longer the synopsis for a movie, the higher your chances that you're about to watch a bad movie. Shark Attack in the Mediterranean is a shining example.

So you pick this to watch...thinking that maybe it has something to do with the amazingly terrible Shark Attack trilogy. It doesn't, we aren't that stupid. But you're kind of hoping for something along those lines. In a lot of respects, you do get just that.

I was immediately surprised that this movie was overdubbed in English. (apparently this is a German movie called Shark Alarm) And it's really poorly done English dubs. We're talking Riki-Oh levels of bad overdub. Like there's maybe one man and one woman overdubbing the entire movie for all the characters and they really don't bother to try and be separate characters. It honestly made me laugh a lot of the time and made this movie shoot up the "so bad it's good" ladder. Like this for example:

Ladies and Gentlemen, the greatest minute in shark movie history. Use it wisely.

Something that is SHOCKINGLY good is the directing. Maybe it doesn't all flow together the greatest but the director really has a knack for working in the small things to make the bigger thing that much better. Like a dude is about to be gloriously eaten and the camera zooms in on his eye and we get to see the shark launch out of the water at him from the glare on his eye. Stuff like that really made this movie interesting to watch.

Then there's scenes showing a rich fat man going on and on about his expensive grill to a pool full of bikini clad hot chicks while at the same time there is a car chase that results in the lead character launching off a cliff, jumping out of the jeep a la Fast 5, and then landing right in the pool.

THEEEEN there's the matter of the shark itself. So here we have another Megalodon, a supposedly extinct super shark. In the synopsis you read that they discover this shark is the shark that killed the lead character's wife. They find this out because he has a tooth from that attack and he finds a newer BIGGER tooth this time around that matches it exactly. Seriously, this tooth is about as big as your face. And the shark, even though the synopsis says it's 35 feet, looks more like 60. (YES!) And it's all CGI baby! Bad CGI? Compared to what I've reviewed lately, no not at all. It's not theatre bound quality of CGI but for a movie that no doubt went straight to DVD, it's excellent. (I would go so far as to say it's better than Deep Blue Sea) And it's refreshing at this point to watch something that isn't chock full of stock footage, especially stock footage of a regular shark when it's supposed to be a mega shark.

There's just so many aspects of badness to love in this movie. If you're looking for something good here, walk away right now. Not worth your time. But if you're looking for something that will just keep throwing eye rolling scene after eye rolling scene at you while at the same time getting crazy with the camera work...Shark Attack in the Mediterranean is for you.


Sunday, October 14, 2012

Raging Sharks (2005)

Synopsis: Doctor Mike Olsen returns from his oceanic observation station, where his wife Linda feels in charge, when it's reported in desperate trouble after a sudden shark attack wrecked the oxygen supply. The accompanying ship and even the coast guard are also attacked, and soon other sites in and around the Bermuda Triangle, where a few years earlier an alien space ship crashed, which now seeps a mysterious organic crystal. The US Navy sends a submarine, which also carries bureaucrat Ben Stiles, who berates safety and other violations aboard. More dangers lurk inside as getting out proves physically daunting.

A better, non-embeddable trailer can be found here.

Here's something you don't see everyday. A movie with a poster that looks like a really terrible boring documentary that is IN FACT a movie about mutated alien sharks! Maybe not so physically mutated but the alien crystal that crashed to the ocean that the sharks are gobbling up is DEFINITELY making them irritated. It's like they all have massive ear infections and since they have no hands in order to scratch their ears they take their frustrations out on Corin Nemic.

If there's anything a direct to SyFy channel/straight to video creature feature can do to make itself countless times better, it's casting Corin Nemic. This guy was made for TV acting. I love him. He takes every character he plays and cranks it up to 11. You need him to be crazy, he'll be psychotic. You need him to panic about the death of a coworker...he'll go down right ballistic. (This part of the movie is easily the single greatest part of this movie. Worthy of 3 rewinds from yours truly.)

The effects are shockingly good in this movie. Well, the alien effects are good. I'm going to assume they found the alien suits in a Universal Studios trash bin and rehashed them for this movie. They are excellent, terrifying looking monsters. You see them in the first 5-10 minutes and then it's all about an underwater station going bonkers for an hour, then the aliens return to get their crystals back. (Which is pretty much stolen from the movie Night of the Creeps but I'm totally ok with that.) The shark effects are...meh. Bad CGI here and there mixed in with lots of stock footage. Pretty standard fare for a movie of this caliber and is at this point in cinema today to be expected.

The deaths are a lot of fun. Sure they're in an underwater laboratory but the writers of this movie found a lot of ways to get the actors outside to be eaten.

Raging Sharks was a surprise to me. I own it on a 4 pack with 3 other pretty bad movies and I was ready for this to be just painful. Wrong. I really enjoyed it. And I'm all about space and aliens and if any movie can find a way to mix that into a shark movie, it has approval from me. The pacing is good, the acting is fun, the absurdity of it all will keep you glued to the screen. (WHAT OTHER COMPLETELY INEPT AND IMPOSSIBLE EVENT WILL HAPPEN NEXT!?!? WHO KNOWS...must keep watching)


Sharks in Venice (2008)

Synopsis: The seemingly tranquil waterways of Venice are terrorized by the perfect killing machine. In search of his father who has mysteriously disappeared diving in the city, David stumbles across the cryptic trail leading to the long lost fortune of the Medici. As the unwitting pawn in a Mafia plot to recover the treasure, David's girlfriend is kidnapped at gunpoint, plunging him into a desperate race against time. If he has any hope of saving her he must enter the deadly waters. Can David out-gun the Mafia assassins and survive the voracious sharks laying in wait beneath the surface, or will he succumb to the same fate as his father?

There are so many movies like this. I swear some executive somewhere has a huge pile of generic crappy action thrillers that he is unwilling to part with. He grabs one at random, tells a writer to add sharks and BAMMO, we get Sharks in Venice.

About 90% of this movie is spent watching the characters interact and watching people diving in the water. (And watching Stephen Baldwin's manboobs) The sharks really only act as transitions between scenes. I'll give them credit, they are pretty entertaining transitions but that is all they are. The focus of this movie is hardly on the sharks at all but on the treasure. In fact, everyone from the lowly citizen, to the main characters to the local authorities do their best to not acknowledge the existence of sharks whatsoever. But they are there and it makes this movie watchable. Just expect a lot (A LOT) of stock footage. It's pretty good stock footage but it's still stock footage. Only a couple instances of bad CGI were used and I guess for that aspect alone I am grateful. Too many horribly rendered CGI sharks are popping up these days.

So Stephen Baldwin is the star.  ....  ....   ....

I was shocked to see this was in 5.1 surround sound. I suppose I shouldn't be but when something with a better budget like Bait 3D comes out in stereo I just have to wonder what the hell is going on with studios.

I'm torn on whether to recommend this or not. It's not worth anyone's time but it's really good to watch for like doing laundry or sitting around on a Sunday morning reading the paper. I'd say it's worth that. If you're into bad movies this movie isn't even worth the watch. Not a lot to riff on, just a lot to put up with. BUT, the final scene is pretty awesome. It ends in a warehouse with the Mafia and the SWAT duking it out. There is a steady stream of bullets and SWAT members repelling from the roof. That alone is worth the watch.

I was hoping to see more focus on SHARKS IN VENICE but it's just another generic action thriller with an out of shape "nobody cares about the Baldwins anymore" actor vs mafia dudes where there just so happens to be sharks in a place where sharks should not be.


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

2 Headed Shark Attack (2012)

Synopsis: Survivors escape to a deserted atoll after a Semester at Sea ship is sunk by a mutated two-headed shark. But when the atoll starts flooding, no one is safe from the double jaws of the monster as it eats fresh women and men.


The most highly anticipated murdering shark movie of the year has arrived! We all knew this is the movie we never knew we wanted. We knew that the possibility was always there for a movie of this caliber, all it took was for one man to pull the trigger. Well, ladies and gentlemen, it happened. Fucking 2 HEADED SHARK ATTACK HAPPENED!

You watch this movie for one reason only…to see how many creative ways a 2 Headed Shark can tear apart sexy teens. (God. Bless. America.) This movie does that successfully. So right off the bat, we’re getting what we pay for. And there’s some epic 3-Way nudity halfway through this movie so…I’ve already sold this film to you. Why are you still here?

Ah yes, the story. There is something of a story here. (Enough to get a group of teenagers out to sea anyway.) A group of sexys is out on a boat in the middle of the ocean on a field trip. Included in the group is none other than Carmen Electra and Brooke Hogan. Two things about these ladies. I found out Brooke was younger than me which is kinda surprising because she looks older than I. But it also makes sense since she is the daughter of Hulk Hogan and she’s gonna have a little more mass to her than normal. Then there’s Carmen Electra…who still has a smoking hot bod but unfortunately her age is starting to catch up with her. Or the massive amount of chemicals and plastic inserted into her face is starting to break down. Either way, that saddens me.

Anyway, a 2 Headed Shark shows up and messes up the boat. Fortunately, there is an island in the distance. Actually, it’s an atoll. According to Wikipedia, “an atoll is a coral island (or islands) that encircles a lagoon partially or completely.” Alright, that’s pretty cool. Original, I like that. So they offload some weight on the Atoll so they can make some repairs on the boat. And Carmen Electra can do a little sunbathing. The teens tool around the island, discovering some fishing huts, some teens have a sexy 3 way, and almost all of them are eaten in awesome ways by the 2 Headed Shark. Towards the end of the movie, the atoll breaks apart and falls into the sea…leaving the teens helpless against the 2 Headed Shark as their only means of survival slip away inch by inch.

One thing I rarely touch upon in my reviews is the writing. One reason I don’t is because rarely does a finished film ever mirror an original screenplay. Things get changed, everyone has their hands on the project, people want it this way, that way, their way, highway. Whatever. But I’d like to discuss the writing in this movie because this movie was penned by none other than fellow blogspotter: H. Perry Horton. HPH writes the Committed blog. A blog committed solely to the works of The Asylum. The Asylum, you know, is best known for its Mockbuster classics like Transmorphers and their latest American Warships. They’re also known for their Mega line of movies like Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus and Mega Piranha.

WHAT I LIKED. THE STORY. It’s basic, it’s fun, it’s what I want out of a movie like this. There is a formula to these kinds of things and when I sit down to watch something like this, I like the familiarity. Movies like these are ones that are watched in groups or by people like me looking for something fun on a Sunday. I don’t want someone to stretch my mind, I just want to see a 2 Headed Shark…that’s original enough for me. THE ATOLL. The Atoll is BRILLIANT. It works on so many levels and I can’t believe that it hasn’t been used more often. The reason it works is because not only is this an island they get to escape to but it adds to the overall chaos of their situation. The atoll begins to breakdown and sink into the sea…which means they have less land to be on…which means the 2 Headed Shark can eat the crap out of everyone. THE END. Actually, what he does with the shark. (SPOILER) The dudes rig up a bomb to blow it up but it actually ends up blowing up only one head HAHAHA so they have to find another way to kill it! YES! That’s awesome.

Also, good call on the 3-Way. That was just the best.

What I didn’t like. THE DIALOGUE. I’d say 70% of the dialogue wasn’t too bad. The other 30% wasn’t the best. A lot of it was dated and overused lines that sound like stuff that I’d say to my friends. I’m sure a lot of this can be blamed on the timeline for writing this movie. He probably had 2 weeks to write it and then another week to rewrite it so with a short schedule like that it’s hard to bring the overall story together AND keep the dialogue fresh. CHARACTERS. Movies don’t have to have every cliché character in them. The smart guy. The dumb girl. The arm kissing jock. Anyway, there was a lot of characters that were just taken from the cover of Not Another Teen Movie and plugged in here and there. I knew they were all destined to be eaten gloriously so I really didn’t care about that dude kissing his arms constantly. I can’t relate to him. I’m a fat loser sitting in my basement watching an awesomely bad movie. How many arm kissing jocks are watching this movie? What we need is hot nerds. A LOT of them. Naked. Blowing things up. And reading comics. Naked. And referencing Star Trek. And making out. Heh heh heh. Excuse me while I go write the sequel.

You can read a really cool conversation between the screenwriter (HPH) and the guy who originally outlined the story on the Committed blog here. Worth the read.

So to conclude, this movie is awesome. If you in any way enjoy the Asylum brand of made for SyFy movie, then 2 Headed Shark Attack is for you. The effects aren’t that great but when you’ve seen as many Asylum movies as I have, you don’t expect a lot from there. (COME ON, that shark had 2 heads before, why does it only have ONE NOW?) It’s definitely worth the watch, where else will you get to see a 2 Headed Shark eat people?


Monday, October 8, 2012

Bait 3D (2012)

Synopsis: A freak tsunami traps shoppers at a coastal Australian supermarket inside the building - along with a 12 foot Great White Shark.

I bet you thought sharks were only a threat in the ocean. Pffft...fool. Not only have sharks been known to walk on land but they have been spotted at supermarkets taking meat without paying for it!

Bait 3D is that movie. The opening scene shows the viciousness of these creatures then there's about 30 minutes of so called "story" and then the tsunami hits. So right after the opening awesomeness, just go ahead and do the dishes, take the dog outside, get a load of laundry going, and then come sit back down. Nothing of any importance happens until the tsunami hits. After that 2 sharks are washed ashore and are themselves trapped in a supermarket FILLED with delicious people.

The rest of the movie is spent watching everyone get devoured in fairly creative ways (one featuring a hilarious dog sacrifice) and also trying to figure out how to kill the sharks. I don't really need to go into too much detail, the rest is pretty standard fun for situations such as these.

I wish this would have hit a theatre near me. The 3D would have been a lot of fun, watching it in 2D makes it even more fun. I've always thought movies made for 3D were pretty stupid because they will always be terrible immediately after they leave the theatre. The cheese factors quadruples once the 3D is no longer a factor.

The special effects are pretty good. I wouldn't say they are astounding but not too bad. The CGI is fair at times and terrible at others. I'd assume that's the 3D's fault but it could just be a budget issue. The pacing is good after the tsunami hits and there are hoards of expendable stereotypes just ripe for the picking.

This movie takes a while to get moving but when it does it's a pretty fun ride. If you're a shark connoisseur and looking for a change of scenery, Bait 3D is your destination!