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The Shallows (2016)
3/10
I was with you until the shark turned into a stalker
16 January 2017
Warning: Spoilers
This movie started out well. A very attractive woman surfing on a beautiful, secluded beach. There was some great cinematography and shots of the area. Blake Lively even seems to be a decent actress.

Then the shark stuff starts, and from the very beginning, we have to forget about everything we know about sharks and play pretend. First of all, she really ticks off the shark somehow by disturbing its "feeding grounds." She approaches a dead whale that the shark was feeding on and seems to have offended the shark somehow. So the shark ignores the thousands of pounds of floating, dead meat in the water for the rest of the movie, and pursues the 100 pound surfer girl exclusively.

The surfer seeks refuge on the carcass of the whale, then the shark drags a dead whale many times its size further out into the ocean, and seems hell bent on knocking her off. In her escape from the floating whale to a small rock outcropping, she's bitten by the shark, and has some serious wounds from both the bite and coral. The shark is circling her, she's bleeding heavily, and there's no one around who can help.

At this point, I'm still willing to forgive the whole shark ignoring the dead whale to pursue a person who isn't even in the water any more. It still felt suspenseful. I wanted her to find a way out and survive. The movie still had my interest and I still cared what happened to her.

Then things got real, real stupid. The shark continued to circle, and killed a drunk on the beach who was trying to reach her. Then it killed two other surfers that she'd met the day before. It tried jumping up on the coral to reach her, and pretty much completely stopped acting like a shark. She managed to escape to a buoy as the tide came in, and the shark proceeded to rip the giant, steel buoy to pieces. She shoots the shark with a flare gun then lights whale oil in the water on fire with it, also lighting the shark on fire. I had already written off the movie at this point, but kept watching as I was already close to the end.

She then ties herself to the anchor that was holding the buoy in place, and as the shark breaks the chains away she is pulled hundreds of feet under water in the matter of a couple of seconds, and the shark chases her at full speed with reckless abandon to kill her. It ends up impaling itself on the jagged spikes which were apparently part of the anchor.

And yea, that was it. A stranded, wounded surfer with nothing kills an over 20 foot long shark by making it chase her into spikes. Dumb.

You know what would have been good? A wounded surfer on a small rock outcropping tries to keep her sanity and get help to survive a shark attack. Leave out the dead whale because that kind of made the rest of the movie not make sense. Don't make a wounded, half dead surfer kill a 20+ foot shark, that's not the victory that the movie needed. It would have been sufficient to have her survive. You don't have to schlock it up with the typical Hollywood type ending.

Sharks are scary enough, you don't have to make it cartoonish shark with a vendetta against a surfer. Every time the shark did something stupid that a shark would never do, it became less suspenseful. I don't know why they went down that road, but they turned a movie that started out pretty suspenseful into a SciFi Channel made for TV special with a dumb ending.
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Windtalkers (2002)
3/10
The most realistic war movie ever made
28 October 2006
I learned a lot about World War II from this film. First of all, during this war it was a custom of both the Japanese and Americans to scream every time you shoot or get shot (even with about 30 bullets in your chest you can still scream apparently). Secondly, Japanese soldiers do not like cover. They like to stay out in the open, and will not fire their rifles unless they're within 15 feet of American soldiers. Thirdly, one man with a Thompson sub-machine gun can take out an entire regiment of Japanese soldiers in an afternoon.

This film was completely first rate, start to finish. From the soldiers who flail about wildly as entire belts of machine gun ammo are pumped into them (before they drop to the ground mind you), to the 12 soldiers that Nicholas Cage shoots with a handgun while laying on his back wounded in the space of about 15 seconds, this film just screamed realism and authenticity. Highly recommended to history buffs and people who can appreciate some of the best acting ever put on film.
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