September 3 - 9, 2004 • Vol. 24 - No. 36

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Open Water
—When Your Ship Comes in, BE ON IT!  

by The Blonde and The Maven
Film Columnists

Open Water is a frightening thriller based on a true story. Your typical young couple, Susan and Daniel, played by Blanchard Ryan (My Sister’s Wedding) and Daniel Travis (“Sex and the City” guest star), set off on a well-deserved adventure vacation. Both suffer from workaholic lifestyles and, as a result, their relationship is a little strained at the time. Instead of a vacation, the couple gets a nightmare and way more than they bargained for.

The movie begins with this couple quite unhappy with their hotel accommodations, which later becomes the least of their worries. Susan and Daniel join a group of fellow scuba divers on a morning dive. Due to a wrong head count, they are accidentally abandoned in the middle of the ocean. For the rest of the movie, you are entirely involved with the characters’ fight and struggle for life. This entails around 48 hours of all the horrors you would encounter being in the middle of the ocean with no protection, food, or gear of any kind other than your tanks. This story proves just how important a little head count can be. Won’t tell you any more folks! Get your own feet wet. P.S., Don’t ever miss the boat!

The Blonde: Open Water was like Jaws 1, 2, and 3 without the da-da, da-da, da-da, da-da, meets Shark Attack, meets the “Mad About You” TV couple. This zero frills, low-budget, documentary style movie did have its moments. Emphasis is on the word “moments.” I found myself tense, anxious, nervous and bored all at the same time. Kind of like a first date, (or a last)! It does make you think, though, about how fragile and precious life is; how unforgiving life can be to human error. They tried to shoot this film in a way that would be realistic, believable, and make the viewer feel a part of the movie. As for me, I felt seasick just watching it. But, doing dishes makes me seasick.

The Maven: To begin with, when was the last time you did dishes? Loading the dishwasher doesn’t count! Just when I thought it was safe to go in the water, Chris Kentis decides to show me that it’s not. Kentis wrote, directed, and edited his film. He also shared cinematography duties with his wife, Laura Lau. They shot Open Water on digital video, which makes you feel as if you are seeing the drama for real. There is a knowing edge to the thrill of anticipation you feel as the stranded couple realize that they have been forgotten.

The Blonde:  What I want to know is why people feel the need to go scuba diving in the first place? Maybe it’s just me, but isn’t it safer in the boat?! You’re just asking for trouble. It’s dangerous, scary, wet, very wet, and too long a time to be healthy for your hair, nails, and skin saturating in salt water anyway. Hello! That’s why Jacques Cousteau did it and made the big bucks. Why didn’t they just go on a luxurious cruise for their vacation? Aren’t bingo, buffets, gambling, and Island shopping adventure enough? Hey Maven, did you see the teeth on the sharks? The last time I saw teeth that scary was just before I put braces on my daughter. I hope she isn’t reading this… (Just kidding, Honey!)

The Maven: Wait a minute! Didn’t you see The Poseidon Adventure, Deep-Rising, or hello Blonde, Titanic? And that’s just to name a few…

The Blonde: Whatever!

The Maven: Thanks to Steven Spielberg, we know what a shark can do. We know that most sharks swim past a human in the water. We know that sharks go into a total frenzy around blood. We also know that’s not always the case! By the way, why was that naked scene necessary to the story line of this film?

The Blonde: For the enjoyment of the men in the theater. It, also, was a pleasure for the woman in the audience, because they were actually real boobs for a change, in Hollywood!

The Maven: How many people do you think will go to see this movie now that we mentioned this scene that was totally unnecessary to begin with?
The Blonde: Well you’re the one who blabbed! I have to say bravo to the girl for her bravery. Boobs or no boobs, she didn’t complain once until three hours in the ocean. I would have started complaining on the boat when they handed me such a plain scuba diving outfit! Can’t they make those more stylish? Then seven hours in the water, I realized she was just stupid. I mean, she was saying things to her mate after seven hours of hell like, “Oh sweetie, honey, babykins, darling.” I can assure you, that my adjectives all would have been only four letters!

The Maven: I would applaud more if the guy was naked… Moving right along, the sharks in this film were real and most of our initial anxiety is waiting for that inevitable attack. For most of the film, we see open sky, endless ocean, and the sound of the lapping waves. It was actually the most frightening to realize that when the protections of civilization fall away, we are simply quite vulnerable.

The Blonde: Well, I personally would have been too scared to even make this movie in the middle of the ocean. I thought the actress was brave to even take this part. Let me tell you, if I am going to be eaten, it won’t be by a shark! I don't know maybe by a lion or a tiger, or even a bear, but not by a shark!
The Maven: Hey, as Bobby Darin would sing, “When the shark bites…”

The Blonde:  The moral to this story is, if you are going scuba-diving (even though the Blonde tells you not to), you’ll want to make sure that you obnoxiously meet and greet your ship’s captain so he’ll remember you. A bottle of booze works fine here, too.

The Maven:  I actually enjoyed this film and do recommend it for our readers. I rate it a B+.
The Blonde:  Maven, a B+? Are you kidding me? I recommend it only for older teens, young adults and sadistic divers. I don’t think most of our readers would enjoy this film. If you’re going on a cruise anytime soon, you’ll want to miss this film! I rate Open Water a C- - . If you must go see it, I recommend passing on the popcorn and eating some Gold Fish crackers and Swedish Fish candy instead! Hey Maven, let’s go out for some sushi!

The Maven: Absolutely, but only if I can get shark fin soup!
Suspect Zero
—But Zero Does Not Mean Nothing!


In a dark and violent suspense thriller directed by E. Elias Methige, FBI agent Thomas Mackelway, played by Aaron Eckhart (The Core, Erin Brockovich), violates the civil rights of a serial-killer during an unorthodox arrest. Starkey (the serial killer) goes free and Mackelway is demoted to a remote branch of the agency in Albuquerque. He is plagued by his own secrets and demons which are now being manifested in the form of unexplainable and severe headaches.
On the first day of his new job, Mackelway investigates the murder of a traveling salesman, Harold Speck. This winds up to be the first of three seemingly random killings. He is consumed with this assignment. He obsessively tries to find the link between the victims that will hopefully lead him to their killer. We find that this is more than just a case to Thomas. It becomes a very personal investigation that gets increasingly gruesome. The movie takes us through a labyrinth of intended spooky-crime clues. His old partner, Fran, played by Carrie-Anne Moss (The Matrix, The Red Planet), is brought into the case, which makes it even more personal. All the clues start pointing in the direction of the enigmatic Benjamin O’Ryan, played by the breathtaking genius Ben Kingsley (House of Sand and Fog, Sexy Beast). It is obvious that O’Ryan has some sort of connection to the murders and Mackelway. But, you won’t get what it is out of us…This story does have a clever surprise twist storyline as well as ending.

The Blonde: Suspect Zero was like The Zodiac Killers meets John Edwards meets Ted Bundy, meets Son of Sam, meets Silence of the Lambs, meets a Serial-Revenge Terminator … I must begin by saying I was apprehensive about seeing this movie, as I heard so many bad reviews. I completely disagree with all of them. I found this to be a very creative and unique film. Now, I have one question: Why do they always describe the bad guy in movies and in real life as, “He was a quiet man, kept to himself mostly, he’s not from around here, and a loner”? Why can’t the bad guy be the fun, popular, kind, sharing, full of life, friendly, talkative guy?  Just a Blonde observation!

The Maven: Because guys like that aren’t psychotic.

The Blonde: Bull, I’ve dated lots of ‘em!

The Maven: Okay, I stand corrected. I meant to say, psychotic, serial killers. Is that better? I always enjoy physiological thrillers and Suspect Zero didn’t fail to entertain me. It did make me uncomfortable at times, as serial killing is not on the top of my list ofthings I like to think about. More than just being a good thriller, this film gave Ben Kingsley a chance to show us his single-minded devotion to his craft. When he is on the screen, he’s absolutely mesmerizing.

The Blonde:  Probably off the screen as well. This film takes Kingsley a long way from Ghandi and Schindler’s List…Which proves just how versatile he is. No matter what role he plays, he’s a joy to watch. Now, about the actress Carrie-Anne Moss… I don’t think it would have hurt her or the movie to put on a little blush and lip-gloss. Way too plain for a pretty girl to look on screen. For goodness sakes, even real life cops wear make-up.

The Maven: Not only that, but the character is hardly explored at all.

The Blonde: Absolutely! Her character was so vague and un-defined that she wasn’t even necessary to the story. She and Eckhart didn'’ have any on-screen chemistry. The producers could have saved on the budget here by eliminating her altogether. Nothing against the actress just the character…

The Maven: The writers Zak Penn and Billy Ray missed out on making this an exceptional movie by not defining Eckhart’s character. We were never told what makes him such a loose cannon.

The Blonde: I agree. There were some holes. I found it also a bit slow at times and too slow in revealing the plot. I guess the writer was trying to keep it a mystery as long as he could. Too long for me, however. I just wound up eating way too much popcorn for my own good. I know I will be cursing him tomorrow on the treadmill.

The Maven: I agree. There were slow moments, but I don’t think that held up the continuity too much. I found it interesting for a movie like this, that there wasn’t much gore at all. Perhaps that would have notched up the thrills.
The Blonde: In addition, I think that a love scene would have spiced it up as well. Maven, didn’t that couple sitting next to us drive you crazy? Her, with the screaming out at scenes that weren’t even scary and him, talking the whole time trying to figure out the ending?!

The Maven: Weren’t they your parents?

The Blonde: Yes!  But weren’t they driving you crazy?

The Maven:  Not as much as listening to them order dinner in a restaurant.

The Blonde: You should see them both fighting when he makes a mess in the kitchen or when he is getting them lost driving in the car at night. Of course, he won’t admit it and ask for directions…or when she...

The Maven:  Okay, Okay, I don’t think I want to.... I rate this movie a B+. It shouldn’t creep you out too much.

The Blonde: I surprisingly enjoyed Suspect Zero. It was a fun Friday night out, movie.

The Maven: We went on Saturday night!

The Blonde: What’s the difference? Friday, Saturday, they both end in day! It was a great night out… I rate it a B- … Pass on the candy at this film because you might eat too much of it. Just overeat on the popcorn like I did! See you on the   treadmill…

The Maven and the Blonde: P.S.: Just a little tip. Muvico now sells sugar-free Nestles Crunch candy for you diabetics or sugar watchers. Yeah!


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