Documentary: The Cove

Not one for the faint hearted, The Cove is a documentary that must be seen to be believed as director Louie Psihoyos uncovers the truth surrounding a subject that has somehow been kept under wraps.

Ex-dolphin trainer turned activist Ric O'Barry is our guide into the world of dolphin mutilation. In the sixties, O'Barry worked on the iconic television show Flipper training the dolphins to perform the various stunts needed for the program.

Developing a strong bond with the animals and coming to appreciate their intelligence, it was here where he discovered that a dolphins smiling face is natures biggest con. After the death of one of his beloved animals, O'Barry vowed never again to allow them to be kept in captivity.

In the small coastal town of Taiji, trainers from around the world come to hand pick wild dolphins to take back to their various amusement parks. Using fear to herd the animals into a secluded cove, those not chosen are brutally killed for their meat rather than being released back into the ocean. As dolphin meat contains dangerously high levels of mercury which can result in birth defects, there seems to be no advantage to human consumption.

Security around this gruesome trade is tight and it soon becomes clear that O'Barry and Psihoyos won't out this secret in any conventional way. By going back to the drawing board they devise an Oceans 11 style heist to plant camouflage high-definition cameras in the infamous cove to capture damning footage and put an end to this unnecessary and brutal business.

It's clear that O'Barry's years in show business have paid off - in a scene that could almost be taken from a Hollywood heist movie, Taiji's top detectives question him about why a group of American's with suspicious looking luggage have accompanied him to their town. O'Barry utilizes his best acting abilities to humorous effect, dodging questions to continue the operation.

The documentary paints a clear picture of who the villain of this story is. In a vicious cycle that supports a bloodthirsty regime, in a round about way, it all comes down to money.

There's a bittersweet satisfaction in seeing the defenders of the cove come face to face with justice. In particular, one confrontational Japanese guard nicknamed after the only two English words he knows, Private Space.

While it may not be the most uplifting subject matter, The Cove is a tense, brave and provocative documentary that deserves to be seen if only to enlighten yourselves to this hidden horror. Like the documentary itself says; if you know the truth you'd want to put a stop to it and witnessing the footage these filmmakers uncovered is more than enough to convince anyone.

(500) Days Of Summer - Reviewed

With (500) Days of Summer director Marc Webb perfectly captures the intricacies of relationships and love, but make no mistake this is no love story. By going down this anti-rom-com route, there's a good chance some viewers may be put off, perhaps due to being spoon fed a few too many mainstream 'happily ever afters' . That being said, fans of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind or Annie Hall will find a lot of enjoyment in this bittersweet indie film.

Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a strong believer in true love and believes that Summer (Zooey Deschanel) is 'the one'. Sadly, the new found girl of his dreams is sceptical about the concept of love. Nevertheless, after meeting at Tom's workplace, a greeting card company, they soon become romantically involved.

Scenes of their 500-day relationship are shown in a non linear format. Juxtaposing moments of utter bliss with soul-destroying anguish, it's during these highs and lows that we see each of their perceptions of the L word change and evolve.

Zooey Deschanel perfectly embodies the complex girl who got away - unsure of what she wants and afraid of commitment. She's the spanner in Tom's plans for a perfect relationship but also the cog that makes it all work.

Gordon-Levitt meanwhile proves that he can play a rom-com lead just as easily as playing an art-house hero, even if it isn't quite your average rom-com frontman role. Funny and likable throughout, it's through Tom that the films uplifting message is transferred.

With a kick-ass soundtrack to boot, (500) Days of Summer is an impressive first feature from Webb. Romance, comedy and drama, mixed with some crazy sequences thrown in to catch you off guard just when you think you've got it clocked. It's the feel good film which reflects modern relationships, reminding us all that love, fate and chance may come and go like Summer, but they do still exist.

(500) Days of Summer is available on DVD now.

I Love you Phillip Morris

Emotions fly high in the latest comedic offering from Jim Carrey. Based on real life events, I Love You Phillip Morris follows the unusual story of Steven Russell, a family man who after surviving a car crash has an epiphany and realises he's gay.

After undergoing his sexual revelation, Steven decides to live life on the edge. Scamming money at every opportunity, he becomes a con-man but soon finds himself behind bars.

Whilst in prison he meets the vulnerable Phillip Morris and falls in love, from then on he vows never to be away from his new found soul mate. When Phillip is released from jail early, Steven stops at nothing to be reunited with him, making several daring escape attempts.

Combining comedy with a heartfelt punch of emotion, I Love You Phillip Morris looks to be this year's tear jerker in disguise. Don't be fooled by Carrey's usual slapstick routine, his relationship with Ewan McGregor's Phillip Morris is the heart of this black comedy.

Written and directed by the duo behind 2003's Bad Santa; Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, the film promises to have more substance to it than most comedies.

Premiering at this years Sundance Film Festival, early reviews have all been positive for this comedy/drama/romance, or dram-rom-com? (that will never catch on).

I Love You Phillip Morris is released on March 17th 2010

Nice working with you, Dr Venkman

Right, I don’t usually do this, but I feel I should take some time out from my busy schedule . . . well my schedule, and write an open letter to Bill Murray.

First of all I want to make it clear that I write this as a film lover and a fan who’s been pushed too far. I love movies, and where most people cringe at the sight of a second instalment, I find it hard to hide my enthusiasm. Why would we not want to see the return of some beloved characters? Isn’t that what all fans want?

That’s why when I heard the latest confirmed rumour surrounding Ghostbusters 3, I was left feeling sort of jaded.

We knew Murray would be involved with the three-quel, but it wasn’t exactly clear to what extent. After Sigourney Weaver let slip that Venkman may appear as a ghost, most fans, myself included, sort of laughed it off - a simple joke to humour the hundreds of journalists who always ask her about her involvement in the franchise. Nothing more, nothing less, right?

However, on Monday 8th February 2010, the penny dropped and it was announced that Pete Venkman had died, or is going to die at least. Speaking to The Daily Mail no less, Murray put an end to the rumours surrounding his involvement, “I said to them, 'I'll do it if you kill me off in the first reel” stated the star, adding “So now they are going to have me as a ghost in the film."

Wait, what?

It seems like such a shame for fans and for the franchise itself to kill off such a classic character. So Venkman dies - the plucky, wise cracking, lovable face of the group dosen't walk off into the sunset or get the girl, he bites the dust and becomes an ectoplasmic afterthought? Really?
It’s taken a lot of time and effort to get this sequel fast-tracked and for it to go in this direction seems like such a waste.

All the original cast had signed on, Rick Moranis even said he’d come out of retirement for it, and fans had just about come to terms with the inevitable fact that younger-busters will be introduced. Murray was always the hold out, but fans endured holding on to the thought that one day they’ll see the foursome busting some ghosts one last time.

All that has been dashed away. So with nothing left to lose, I’ll stop biting my tongue and just say how a Ghostbusters 3 should go down. I’ll even provide a working title, ready for it?.

'Old Ghostbusters’ – simple as that. It’s a no brainer.

Imagine the humor that would come with the guys out of shape and out of touch, strapping on the equipment, grappling ghouls, saving the world one last time and covering New York in slime in the process.
The focus should be on the characters; after all they’re the reason fans will come back. Where have they been for the last 21 years? What’s new? The possibilities and potential story lines are endless – but alas, that’s not happening.

The silver lining? Our best bet? Venkeman gets killed off within the first 10 minutes (sigh. . .) but remains in the film in ghost form helping the guys out and hopefully not becoming an extended cameo ala Zombieland.

I realize that this ‘open letter’ quickly became a rant, but I feel it’s a point that needed to be raised, if only to vent my own frustration.

We’ve got a Ghostbusters 3, but at what cost?

That's just my opinion, thoughts?