• Susan May

What's on at the movies 18th August 2016?


Busy, busy, busy life at the moment, isn't it? And now we are fitting in watching the Olympics, too. It's been enjoyable, but I've had to turn it off to finish the edits to this new book The Troubles Keeper.

And sorry there is no podcast this week. I rushed out and didn't set the record up properly. Sad face.

If you love free stuff and want to check out my books for absolutely FREE, join my club and you will receive two free books, PLUS, and this is a great plus, this weekend I will be sending out an offer to receive an early readers' eCopy of The Troubles Keeper. To join just go here: Join me up!


THE SHALLOWS ✪✪✪ Opens August 18

Filmed off the coast of Queensland, this film was made for peanuts (in Hollywood terms), seventeen million. So there was no way with the slick marketing behind it and an appealing star in Blake Lively that it wasn't going to make back its money and some. You can read why it is doing so well here: The Wrap.

I had a conversation a year or so ago with a film producer in Sydney. He was looking at one of my short stories for film (no, nothing has come of it, yet). He kept repeating, we need a big idea that is cheap to film, mentioning the success of Open Water made in 2003 for $500,000 and grossing eventually lifetime $55 million. The minute I saw the trailer for this, I knew this was one of those films. It's not going to be great, but it will certainly make a fantastic return on investment.

Is it a good film? No, not really. Is it fun and watchable? Yes, very much so. It's cheap and silly, but you will come away having eaten a bucketload of popcorn you didn't even notice because you were too busy rooting for the Blake Lively character. I could pick a dozen holes in this film, but director Jaume Collet-Serra (Non-Stop, Run All Night) does know how to ramp up the action, and I think people spending their dollars to see this will get what they paid for. If you are a film purist, I think you will not enjoy. It's certainly not the well crafted Jaws and Collet-Serra is no Spielberg. I don't even think it will keep you out of the ocean. Watch the trailer and if you like what you see, then go and enjoy.

Film Blurb

In the taut thriller The Shallows, when Nancy (Blake Lively) is surfing on a secluded beach, she finds herself on the feeding ground of a great white shark. Though she is stranded only 200 yards from shore, survival proves to be the ultimate test of wills, requiring all of Nancy's ingenuity, resourcefulness, and fortitude.

WAR DOGS ✪✪✪½ Opens August 18

This film's trailer leads you to believe it's one of those ribald comedies Jonah Hill usually stars in. However, it couldn't could be further from that preconception. It's a drama about a true story and while there are a couple of laughs, the joke is on the US government who in real life actually bought hundreds of millions of dollars of defence weaponry from two dope-smoking, irresponsible twenty-somethings. So it's more like a Wolf of Wall Street or a Big Short than anything.

The film stars Jonah Hill, Miles Teller, and Bradley Cooper, who also co-produced. Jonah Hill and Miles Teller perform very well. In fact, I'm surprised how good Jonah Hill is in this, playing Efraim Diveroli, the wily, conniving leader of the pair of gun runners. Miles Teller is always a talent. He's so understated, but says so much with just fine facial movements. He plays the poor sap David Packouz, Efraim's naive partner.

There's been quite a few films lately dealing with different aspects of the Afghanistan war and USA participation, but then I guess big events involving millions of people and money are always going to spin off incredible stories. Certainly if you go along expecting to see an interesting drama on something I'm sure none of us have heard you will enjoy.

Film Blurb

"War Dogs" follows two friends in their early 20s (Hill and Teller) living in Miami Beach during the Iraq War who exploit a little-known government initiative that allows small businesses to bid on U.S. Military contracts. Starting small, they begin raking in big money and are living the high life. But the pair gets in over their heads when they land a 300 million dollar deal to arm the Afghan Military--a deal that puts them in business with some very shady people, not the least of which turns out to be the U.S. Government.

KUBO and the TWO STRINGS ✪✪✪ ½ Opens August 18

I didn't make it to this screening. However, I did send along a friend and her two sons aged 13 and 11. They really enjoyed the film. My reviewer friends also said it was a good film. In particular the stop-gap animation was spectacular, I'm told. My friend did tell me that its probably very suitable for kids, but as an adult it was only 'okay' viewing. Here's her quickie review:

The movie was better than we expected. It was spiritual and inspiring. Beautifully described Japanese culture in scene with lots of Origami figures shaped as humans and creatures. James (11 year old) even cried at climax. Good kids movie and my boys can recommend this to any age children. They rated 3.5 out 5.

Film Blurb

Kubo and the Two Strings is an epic action-adventure set in a fantastical Japan from acclaimed animation studio LAIKA. Clever, kindhearted Kubo (voiced by Art Parkinson of "Game of Thrones") ekes out a humble living, telling stories to the people of his seaside town including Hosato (George Takei), Akihiro (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa), and Kameyo (Academy Award nominee Brenda Vaccaro). But his relatively quiet existence is shattered when he accidentally summons a spirit from his past which storms down from the heavens to enforce an age-old vendetta. Now on the run, Kubo joins forces with Monkey (Academy Award winner Charlize Theron) and Beetle (Academy Award winner Matthew McConaughey), and sets out on a thrilling quest to save his family and solve the mystery of his fallen father, the greatest samurai warrior the world has ever known. With the help of his shamisen - a magical musical instrument - Kubo must battle gods and monsters, including the vengeful Moon King (Academy Award nominee Ralph Fiennes) and the evil twin Sisters (Academy Award nominee Rooney Mara), to unlock the secret of his legacy, reunite his family, and fulfill his heroic destiny.

HITCHCOCK TRUFFAUT (not reviewed) Opens August 18

I haven't seen this film, but I'm going to try really hard to catch it. I'm obviously a big Hitchcock fan and I quote him as being an inspiration for my own work. Anything giving us an insight into the mind of a creative genius is going to be riveting. Fans of the craft of films should certainly catch this one.