Posts Tagged ‘review’

Entertained, Appalled and Enthralled by ‘The Cove’

I just went to a screening of The Cove tonight and was absolutely blown away.

Following a group of activists who go to Japan to record the annual dolphin slaughter in Taiji, the story is part documentary, part thriller. The team schemes and plans, disguising cameras as rocks, trespassing in a dangerous areas and using military technology they had to sneak into the country all while having to evade the local police and hostile fishermen.

The Cove is at once disturbing and inspiring, exposing the horrific dolphin slaughter while showing how far passionate people will really go for their cause. And though I went into the film thinking it would be difficult to watch, it keeps you engaged with the Ocean’s Eleven-like plot and informed with the back story, and it doesn’t feel exploitative when the more gruesome scenes come up.

The facts revealed are also shocking. In Taiji, after they herd the dolphins to the cove and let various dolphin trainers have their pick — purchasing animals at about $150,000 apiece — they then slaughter the rest. Though these fishermen claim dolphin hunting is a tradition in Japan, most Japanese people don’t know this is going on and don’t want to eat dolphin, so the meat is often labeled as other types of whale. The most mind-boggling part of the whole story is that dolphin meat has toxic levels of mercury, well beyond international safety standards, yet it’s still being sold.

The film hits both animal lovers and pragmatists, balancing the outrage at the 23,000 dolphins killed each year with facts about Mercury poisoning. Dolphin captivity is also on the agenda. Ric O’Barry, the former Flipper trainer turned dolphin activist and one of the ringleaders of this project, forces you to look critically at dolphin shows and attractions — and where those dolphins are coming from.

The Cove is a powerful film that will make you want to take action and I highly recommend it. It comes out on July 31 in New York and LA. Check here to see if it’s coming to a theater near you.

P.S. Stay until the end to see what happens with the blimp

The COVE OPS Team and some of their rather conspicuous looking spy equipment

The Cove OPS Team and some of their rather conspicuous looking spy equipment

Weekly Reading: Tech, Tech, Tech, Chocolate!

I’m back from Florida and have plenty to share. I’ll be putting up the pictures and posting about the trip soon, but for now I have lots of new stories out on these fair interwebs. Not presented in the order the headline would lead you to believe, let’s start with dessert…

First, there’s my SpoiledinLA Holiday Gift Guide Review of Madame Chocolat, which you already got a little preview of.

Then there are two AllBusiness articles: one on web browsing tricks to help you speed up your surfing, and another on whether a netbook is right for you.

And then there’s a piece I did for Entrepreneur.com about the unwritten rules of social networking. I interviewed Joel Postman of Socialized PR about The Unwritten Rules of Social Networking, from how to interact with clients to the best strategies for growing a strong following. We also discussed whether to hire a community manager and how to balance your personal and professional identities. Thanks, Tomdog, for sharing one of your social networking blunders, and thanks to everyone else who shared their social media horror stories via Twitter and LinkedIn, too.

Review: Forgetting Sarah Marshall

Forgetting Sarah Marshall

Wednesday night I went to a bloggers’ Forgetting Sarah Marshall screening. I loved The 40-Year-Old Virgin, quite liked Knocked Up, and think this is another win for Judd Apatow and crew. The movie got a lot of big laughs, a few cringes and had a pretty shocking amount of male nudity — apparently Jason Segel likes taking off his pants and doesn’t mind showing all his bits to the world.

The story’s premise is simple enough: guy gets dumped by his TV-star girlfriend and goes to Hawaii to try to get her off his mind. As fate would have it, the ex and her new beau are also vacationing at the same resort and all are too proud to leave. This recipe for awkward situations stands up quite well, and watching Jason Segel go from heartbroken slob to something closer to happiness as he makes new Island friends, meets a girl and tries to get over his ex is almost as sweet as it is funny.

Jonah Hill, Jack McBrayer and Paul Rudd all show up in funny supporting roles, but Russell Brand, the British comedian who I’m guessing most Americans, like myself, have never heard of, gives the standout performance. He’s smarmy and gross, yet intriguingly fun and likable. A little Jack Sparrow-esque, his too-cool, free-loving rock star character steals all the scenes he’s in, with plenty of exaggerated eye-rolling, hair flipping and suggestive singing and dancing.

The women don’t fare quite as well. I don’t know if it’s because I have typecast Kristen Bell and Mila Kunis as teens in my mind that they just don’t quite work as the adults they’re playing, or if it’s because though they have pretty big roles, they’re really secondary to the male characters. They don’t get as many laughs, and while they have some sincere moments, they seem more like caricatures of women than the real thing. Of course, all the characters in the comedy areĀ  stereotypical, so maybe I’m just being a bit oversensitive.

The film also takes some funny jabs at the Brits, has a Bubba Gump-like bartender who likes to list things like names of fish, and even includes a short but traumatic pig-slaughtering scene. And its gorgeous Hawaiian scenery, which is replete with sappy newlyweds to torture the main character, made me really excited for my trip there this summer.

I’ll probably be going back to the theater to see this again since Evan hasn’t seen it and I know he’ll love it. It’s definitely a movie to see in a theater full of people, whose laughs only add to the hilarious two-hour experience.

Thanks, Annie Mole, for inviting me along!

The Orphanage: I’m Still a Little Creeped Out

Last weekend, Evan and I saw The Orphanage. I’m not a big fan of scary movies because, well, they scare me a bit too much, and I felt The Orphanage really went a bit above and beyond when it came to creeping me out. Though I think it was in a good way.

The story itself is great — it plays by its own rules, weaves the human and supernatural, and has a plot twist that makes you rethink the whole movie — basically, it has all the elements of a classic and cohesive scary movie. It always leaves you guessing what’s real and what’s imagined and you really feel attached to the main characters. It also has some incredibly eerie imagery.

The boy in the homemade sack mask that looks like it’s melting off his face (not a spoiler, he’s on the poster), is reminiscent of the twin girls in the shining, but scarier — the kind of character you imagine follows you home and could be hiding down any dark hallway or around any corner. At least I feel like he’s stayed with me since I left the theater. Honestly, I just decided against putting an image up here because I just don’t want to look at it. IMDb it if you must.

And I did like that once I got past the initial shocks in the first half of the movie I was able to relax a bit knowing that the scariest bits were most likely over and that it was heading toward a resolution.

So I suppose this is my cautious recommendation — it’s worth watching, but bring someone whose hand you can hold.