Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Quick takes about new underwater movies now on the BIG screen .... or soon will be

Cutline: An outtake of Bebe Pham from the 2007 Nautical Angels Underwater Calendar Photo by Mick Gleissner
Cutline: Bebe Pham, the free diver, comes out of the water to attack the unseen bad guys,


• Underwater model and sometime actress Vietnam’s Bebe Pham and Singaporean actress Jaymee Ong have wrapped up shooting Deep Gold earlier this month in Manila. In this action-thriller Pham plays a record-setting freediver who hunts for her missing boyfriend, a sunken plane and millions of dollars in gold underwater off the coast of the Phillipine islands. Pham is best known for modelling skimpy bathing suits underwater for Fashion TV’s “Nautical Angels Underwater Calendar”.

• Newly minted Canadian and now Toronto resident, horror movie maker George Romero is reported to be working on a new zombie movie which will include underwater undead! Romero, the maker of classic zombie movies including Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, and Land of the Dead, has begun filming in Toronto on an as yet unnamed zombie movie. Apparently set on an island, the local residents in the Blood ‘n’ Bubble film must fight off their dead relatives, who at times come out of the water to grab and eat the living.

• This fall the ABC network in Australia will be airing a four-part series about Aussie Navy Divers. Beginning October 28 this observational action-packed series is a warts and all account of what it takes to become a clearance diver. The series is aptly named, Navy Divers.

• There are very few Bollywood movies made that include underwater scenes, however, that will soon change. ‘Jaganmohini’, a classic Indian movie is about to be remade. The film is set in the 1700s and tells the story of a female pearl diver. It will star Namitha Kapoor (the former Miss Surat) who will spend much of the movie free diving for pearls.

• ‘OCEANS 3D: Voyage of a Turtle’ is set to become the first feature-length documentary ever filmed and released in Digital 3D. The 85-minute long feature will be completed this fall for an anticipated North American release next summer. The film tells the story of Aris a sea turtle that embarks on a journey across the oceans in search of the origin of a mysterious voice he hears. “We spent over 1,200 hours in the water to capture 200 hours of what we believe is exceptional footage, ” said Director of Photography Gavin McKinney. The underwater film is produced by 3D Entertainment and McKinney Underwater Productions, and is supported by the United Nations Environment Programme.

• Earlier this year Diver Magazine featured an interview with actress and conservationist Daryl Hanna. Hanna talked about her role in the "Dolphins and Whales 3D: Tribes of the Ocean" IMAX film. According to the company that made the documentary, the film is doing very well. 3D Entertainment released box-office data late last month that shows as of the end of August, the film has been seen by one million viewers worldwide since its US launch on February 15th. So far the film, presented by Jean-Michel Cousteau and narrated by Daryl Hannah, has grossed $8.3 million in ticket revenues.


Monday, October 13, 2008

Mysteries of the Great Lakes

Cut line: Science North’s David Lickley and Jim Marshbank flank a poster for their new made-in-Canada Imax movie Mysteries of the Great Lakes. Canadian actor, Gordon Pinsent, narrates the documentary. Photograph by Dave Tollington.
Cut line: In a scene from the Imax movie a diver swims across the deck of Tobermory, Ontario shipwreck. Press Photo


For the Canadian makers of the Mysteries of the Great Lakes, Imax film, the sturgeon is one of Lakes’ biggest mysteries of them all. For divers attending this made-in-North Bay, large format movie, it is all about wondering how the underwater cinematography is so good!

Now playing in Science Centres and Museums across North America, Mysteries of the Great Lakes take audiences on a journey from the tip of Lake Superior to the edge of Lake Ontario to witness the lakes’ breathtaking beauty – both above and below the water. The movie perhaps should have been more accurately named “A Big Fish Story” because much of the movie looks at the enigmatic sturgeon and how civilization is threatening this strange long living beast.

Science North (Sudbury’s Science Centre and producer of the movie) estimates that there are only 20,000 sturgeons living in the Great Lakes as compared to millions before European contact. After 150 million years on the planet (predates the dinosaur), the species had been brought to the brink of extinction through over-fishing for fish oil and caviar.
The movie features an IMAX first – up close underwater segments of the shy giant sturgeon. It also shows audiences albeit briefly, an eerie, under water footage of the Edmund Fitzgerald (accompanied by the song of the same name by Gordon Lightfoot - as prominently displayed in all the promotional material). The film also goes underwater to look at shipwrecks near the Bruce Peninsula in Lake Huron.

Film director and biologist David Lickley told Diver Magazine photographer David Tollington “though the production took seven -years to complete, most of that time was spent research and fund raising and not filming. Still, one full year of solid shooting was involved, as well as the efforts of the 300 names listed in our credits.”

Jim Marshbank the Executive Producer of the movie attended the premier of the movie at the Ontario Science Centre in Toronto. He told Diver that the film company is in the process of placing the documentary with 70 theatres world wide, including the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC.


Monday, September 1, 2008

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Diving into the reject bin: Eye of the Dolphin dive at the box office

IF a dive movie falls into the reject bin, does anyone see it?

Quantum Entertainment. Colour. US/Bahamas
Director Michael Sellers 100 minutes
Starring: Carly Schroeder, Adrian Dunbar, George Harris, Jane Lynch,
Christine Adams and Katharine Ross

Eye of the Dolphin, despite winning five major movie honours at family film festivals around the world in 2007, had only the briefest of runs at theatres in the United States before sinking down onto the 7-day shelf at local videos stores.
Expelled from high school in Los Angeles, 15-year old Alyssa (Carly Schroeder) is forced to live with her father, a crusty dolphin research scientist living in the Bahamas. He never knew he had a daughter (her mother, his ex-wife, had died in a boating accident without ever telling the girl that her father was alive) and has no parenting skills at all.
After their clich├ęd personalities clash Alyssa feels like a prisoner on the isolated island -- but when she forms an unexpected friendship with an orphaned wild dolphin, she finds that she and her special friend have the power to bring hope to the impoverished people of her new home.
The run-down, financially strapped dolphin research centre is in danger of being shut down and the animals being turned over to a group that want to build a cheesy dolphin tourist attraction. The town has just come through a hurricane and the local citizens are eager to see new money and jobs come to their community.
It all gets rather patronizing when the 15-year old white girl, is able to convince the black villagers and the town council to let her father and her create an eco-tourism dolphin experience!
Filmed at the venerable UNEXSCO dive operation – one of the longest running shops in Caribbean – much of the movie is spent underwater with a pod of captive UNEXSCO dolphins.
You can lead a director to water, but you can’t make him dive! This is a movie that has no scuba diving in it. There is a bit of free-diving shown as Alyssa swims and gets towed by a dolphin, however, because (in real life) the dolphins are kept in a shallow blacked channel, the filming had to be done with in the confines of their pen. As a result there are no colourful coral reef scenes and the visibility is murky at best.
The film cost over $15 million to make, but, after a year in release had brought in less than a million in revenues. Director Michael Sellers said that the film was made on a shoestring.
“Our first challenge was in figuring out how to make the film
envisioned with very limited resources in a foreign country, on an island, with no production infrastructure,” said Sellers.
“Fortunately “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” was already in pre-production on Grand Bahama Island, so many vendors were at least somewhat familiar with what was required to ship (literally) equipment to us.
It was hugely ambitious to try and go out to the Bahamas and get everything we had to get there in fifteen days of filming, but
that was all we could afford so we had to stretch every penny.! There were so many unpredictable variables – water, weather,
animals, and a minor in the lead role.”
Even though the movie was a box office flop, the producers already have plans for a sequel.

1 bubble

Friday, April 11, 2008

Diving in the Toonie Bin for Blood and Bubble Movies .... Again


I have been searching the delete bins at the $1.00 stores in Toronto, Canada, for old Blood and Bubble movies. Bad movies, like everything else, suffer from the laws of diminishing returns. I have cleaned out the local $1 stores and it is unlikely that they will be restocking any month soon. So, I have moved up in the world, and this morning checked out a Toronto Toonie Store. They are just like the Dollar Stores, except their junk is higher quality and sells for twice as much ... a twonie (A toonie in Canada is a $2 coin).
I did find a recent DVD scan of a Black and White drive-in B movie from 1956 called The Phantom From 10,000 Leagues. I saw it years ago in the Eganville Theatre on one of their infamous 5-horror-movies-for-the-price-of-one that they used to hold a couple of times every summer. It was bad back then, and, now on DVD it is even worse. But, for divers, there are a couple of underwater howlers that can't be missed.
I worked up a listing for my book, and here is an extended version of that entry.


1956 Milner Brothers Productions. B&W 81 minutes
Director: Dan Milner. Starring: Kent Taylor, Cathy Downs, Michael Whalen and Rodney Bell.

Diving in the dark fresh waters of the Province of Ontario, one often wishes for a light source more powerful than Halogen lights. In THE PHANTOM FROM 10,000 LEAGUES, scientists working in the Pacific Ocean use a light that could cut through even the murky dirty waters of Lake Erie -- introducing the Underwater Atomic Light. This nuclear powered device whacks out so many foot-candles of light that it mutates creatures living on the bottom of the sea.
The atomic torch is the brightest light in this dim effort (made even worse by a very dark scan for the DVD). Divers will love/hat what few underwater scenes are shown in the film -- they are so bad you just can't miss them! What makes this picture special, in a mediocre sort of way, is that it was one half of the world’s first prepackaged double bill.
The THE PHANTOM FROM 10,000 LEAGUES was paired with the Day the World Ended and sold to theatres on a two-for-one basis. Although difficult to market in the beginning, this marketing concept, aimed squarely at the drive-in crowd soon gained acceptance. Double Bills became a stable for the next 20 years thanks to this flick.
The THE PHANTOM FROM 10,000 LEAGUES is still being shown on late late late-night TV. Blood ‘N’ Bubble fans should know just by looking at the title that this is a movie that doesn’t understand anything about the business of going underwater. 10,000 leagues is about 30,000 miles, however Planet Earth is only 8,000 miles in diameter. That means that the mutated alligator thingee that harasses divers and eats swimmers would have to be 22,000 miles out into space to be truly 10,000 Leagues down!
The action takes place along a lonely stretch of the Pacific Ocean, presumably somewhere in southern California. A scientist has a seaside lab where he is conducting a number of secret experiments that involve the Atomic Light, and a weird creature that now prowls the waters near a fissure that has mysteriously punched through the ocean floor. The beast sinks an ocean going freighter, drags a few swimmers to their death and somehow attracts the attention of Federal US secret agents. There is a mad professor, his fetching daughter, international spies and a mother who wants revenge against after her son is killed by the Beast.
Made before many movie goers knew anything about diving, the film makers took many liberties with the business of going underwater. The general public didn't notice the on-screen gaffs, but, divers were left rolling in the aisles and honking their horns in derision at the local Drive-In.
So, what was so funny about the dive scenes? Well, for starters the movie is suppose to be set in the chilly kelp beds of the Pacific Ocean. A variety of people, many of them victims for beast, make on-screen dives in the movie. Every diver shown wears nothing but a swim suit, tank, double house regulator, flippers and weight belt. Men and women alike enter the water without benefit of a wet suit or gloves and are able to stay underwater for long periods of time without ever getting cold. The only protection that everyone of them wore underwater was a variety of bathing caps ... probably more to hide the fact that stunt doubles were being used to handle the subsurface scenes than to offer any warmth to the actors.
Other scuba gaffes? Well, there are times when the Pacific Ocean can be flat, but ... in THE PHANTOM FROM 10,000 LEAGUES both the on-water and underwaer scenes are obviously shot inland in a lake. Divers routinely take a tiny rowboat out to sea and magically find the monster's layer without benefit of compass, radar or even a floating marker. The boat is too small to carry an anchor so the divers simply bail out of their boat (the same row boat is used in all dive scenes even though it is once burned by nuclear gook from the Beast and scuttled by the Beast in another) without dropping anchor. Leaving a 10ft rowboat untended and floating supposedly on the open seas, the divers are able to swim long distances underwater, be chased by a monster and still find their rowboat exactly where they left it.
The underwater scenes with the Beast appear to have been filmed inside a tank. The camera work is actually quite good. Unfortunately the water inside the set is so clear we can clearily see how cheesy the Beast actually is (It's costume looks like a reject from the Mummer's Parade). The Phatom would have looked better shot from afar ... say 10,000 Leagues down.

Rating - 1/4 Bubble

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Idle Gossip From the Shipwreck Festival

Blood 'N' Bubble Gossip overheard at the 14th annual Niagara Divers' Association Shipwreck Festival.

For the past 14 springs the Niagara Divers' Association (NDA) has held a one-day symposium in a Welland High School, for shipwreck aficionados. The day-long programme is usually heavily skewed to film and slide presentations about the discovery and research of diveable wrecks in the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River.
Run by NDA volunteers, the event has a very Canadian air to it. Sure there are sometimes glitches in the on-screen presentations (this year the live video feed from the stage had a distinctive green tinge to it), but, everyone is so very friendly and the free lunch they put on is a reminder of the sinful days of my high school before cholesteral and calories was ever talked about (unlimited egg salad sandwiches, roast beef on a bun and Pepsi). The presenters tend to be from the Great Lakes Region - regular people shooting with handheld cameras and self-funding their explorations ... not like the slick circuit talkers who present overly-produced "canned" programmes at the big US dive conventions.
The diving audience loved the first-hand account of finding a tug in Lake Michigan, and, looking at pictures of the wreck of St Lawrence paddle wheeler that can be dove right from shore (500 yards from my Dad's home in Prescott).
This year, in a abrupt (but very interesting) change the NDA brought in a few speakers who didn't talk about shipwrecks. Dave Mekker, a long-standing member of the NDA dive club gave a 20-minute chalk talk describing how two people died while diving in the Niagara River last year (it appears they inadvertently entered an intake tunnel leading 300 ft down into a hydro generation station).
This was the first-time I had covered a conference for Diver Magazine and actually heard people on-stage, talking frankly about the death of recreational divers. It is a brave step forward to talk about something that the industry usually refuses to address in public because it is bad for business.
Anyway, back to the business of movies.
The other "non-wrecker" at the conference was Jill Heinerth, a Canadian underwater photographer, technical dive instructor and cave explorer. Now living in Florida near Ginnie Springs, she has been involved in a number of notable National Geographic Magazine funded expeditions including a deep Mexican cave trip and the exploration of a huge Antarctic iceberg which included cave diving inside the floating berg.
While talking about ther dive pedigree Heinreth mentioned working on the Blood and Bubble Movie favourite "The Cave" (which got my attention).
" I was hired to teach the actors how to dive" she told the audience of 450. "But I was not able to get them up-to-speed in time for them to do their own diving. As a result I became a stunt dive double ... a lot of those shots of men diving inside the cave are actually me! Those Hollywood dive types just did at-the-surface shots for the cameras."
Other idle gossip from Heinerth. " I recently welcomed another famous Canadian (Niagara Falls area native) James Cameron to Ginnie Springs. He wanted to look at the caves - he is considering filming a 3-D cave movie."
Pictured above is Jill Heinerth (left) talking to Etobicoke Underwater Club executive Marrianne Collins.

Friday, March 28, 2008

White Sharks of South Africa - short film upsizes sharks

Swimming with Sharks. It lasts only about 4 minutes but a Great White Shark film shot with an underwater super 16 mm film camera has already attracted hundreds of thousands of eyes to www.ocean.com.
White Sharks of South Africa was made by Greg Huglin, and shows snorkeller Andre Hartman swimming freely with a super sized shark. Not only is Hartman outside a shark cage, he is also shown being towed through the water by the Great White as he hangs onto his fin. The short ends with the shark attempting to bite the camera’s housing.
The film was made 6 miles (10km) off the shore of Gansbaa, South Africa.

Open Water 2, Adrift in the reject bin at Blockbuster

The new Open Water sequel is adrift! Last month Vancouver based Lions Gate Films released Open Water 2 Adrift straight to DVD in North America. Although the movie has been branded as a sequel to the 2003 surprise indi-hit Open Water, it is actually a German-made film – Adrift - that had some success when it was released last summer in Europe.
Open Water 2 Adrift is supposedly based on a real event. The 95-minute movies tells the story of six long-time friends and a little baby who get together for a Mexican cruise aboard a luxury yacht. The baby ends up alone in the boat when the adults jump into the sea for a swim forgetting to lower a ladder. Adrift, unable to climb back into the boat the swimmers end up in a fight for their lives against each other and hypothermia.
Open Water, told a similar story of two divers who were left to dive after their boat accidentally abandoned them at a Caribbean dive site. While much of Open Water was filmed underwater, Open Water 2 was shot right at water level with a wide angle 16 mm camera and housing placed between two pontoons.
The film was directed by Hans Horn and stars Susan May Pratt, Richard Speight Jr, James Niklaus Lange and Ali Hillis.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Daryl Hannah - from mermaid to reef champion to schlook shark move star

I recently interviewed Daryl Hanna for a feature that Diver Magazine will be publishing about a new Imax 3D movie (Whales and Dolphins). She talked at length about her passion to protect the marine environment. She also talked about her 1984 movie Spash. I also write a paragraph or two about her newest movie, Shark Swarm, which is a remake of Jaws with eco-twist.
Knowing that the editor of Diver has a passion for rewriting stories in his own voice, I have posted the story in its original voice and included a brief synposis of the Whales and Dolphin movie.

DOLPHINS AND WHALES 3D - Tribes of the Ocean, will immerse viewers in the daily lives of small and giant cetaceans as they interact socially, play, communicate through their highly complex system of sound, feed, breed, migrate and fight for their survival. The film delivers a powerful message in favor of both ocean conservation and the protection of its tribes. It marks the first time humpback whales, belugas, orcas, bottlenose dolphins and manatees have been filmed in 3D for the world's biggest screens. Unlike other IMAX (R) -type films, DOLPHINS AND WHALES 3D was shot entirely in the wild and consists solely of underwater footage. The documentary, voiced by Daryl Hannah is now showing in Imax theatres across North America and Europe.

Film star and eco-warrior Daryl Hannah Splashes into Theatres with 3D underwater movie about whales

By Stephen Weir

For just the second time in her long film career, Daryl Hannah is about to Splash onto the big screen. Dolphins and Whales 3D: Tribes of the Ocean, is a new big budget underwater film that is now being shown in Imax theatres across North America. And, while Hannah won’t be seen in this 3-D glasses-friendly documentary about cetaceans, her voice will be heard.
The Hollywood star who first came to the public’s attention as the mermaid who hydrated herself in Tom Hank’s bath tub in the 1984 blockbuster hit, Splash, narrates the new film. The two projects share a zest for the underwater world, however the similarities end there. Splash was pure fun while Dolphin and Whales is all science.
The Hannah-narrated 3D movie has been made in collaboration with Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ocean Futures Society, the United Nations Environment Programme, the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals, PADI’s Project Aware, and Reef Check. (The Reef Check Foundation is an international non-profit organization dedicated to conservation of two ecosystems: tropical coral reefs and California rocky reefs)
“ I guess it has been a longer evolution than you might think (from Splash to Dolphins and Whales),” the Colorado based actress and environmental activist, told Diver Magazine. “ I fell in love with the ocean at a young age. My parents taught me to dive when I was 12 and I continue to dive whenever I can. But my involvement with Reef Check began only recently when I saw Dr. Sylvia Earle on CNN talking about reef conservation and protecting California’s kelp bed. I was so impressed I interviewed her out on my boat and posted the video on my own website”
“ It wasn’t long after, that I signed Reef Check’s Declaration of Reef Rights,” she continued. The Declaration is both a petition and pledge to recognize the high value of coral reefs and to encourage all people and governments to support coral reef conservation.
It was through her commitment to Reef Check that she met the Mantello Brothers -- Jean-Jacques and Francois Mantello produce the new movie. “They immediately asked me to be the voice of the film. I was ecstatic I was thrilled to do it. I understand the crisis facing our sea – all of our seas. I am doing as much work as I can to help promote the movie”
“ The movie will be opening in 30 cities across North America, and I will go to as many of those openings as possible,” said the 48-year old actress. “ We have to get the word out. As the Mantello Brothers have learned, there are now only about 300 Northern Right Whales left. We have to make people aware of the perils facing these amazing creatures.”
“ I live to dive. I have a personal goal of diving the so-called 7-Wonders of the underwater world. I love Palau but I haven’t been to the Galapagos yet,” said Hannah. “ I have my own special place where I have swam with dolphins (the location of which she wouldn’t tell Diver for fear of jeopardizing the dolphins’ safety). One time I was there, and there were leaves floating on the water. We played with a leaf for hours!”
She plans to go back one day and film the dolphins for her website Dhlovelife. The site appears almost childlike but carries a powerful ecology message. The “V-log” focuses on healthy living, renewable energy, sustainable farming and saving the marine environment.
“Unfortunately, there isn’t enough being done to protect the ocean, it doesn’t factor as large as it should in the climate crisis debate,” explaining why she uses her website to voice her concerns about how society is hurting the environment. ‘All these things are interconnected -- it is all one big system. I have participated in many different actions to fight – from opposing over-fishing to the protection of kelp beds.”
“Less than 1% of human beings have had the incredible opportunity to visit the underwater world,” said Daryl Hannah. “With this beautiful family adventure projected onto IMAX 3D screens, viewers can virtually touch some of the most incredible mammals in the world,” she said. “It is amazing how much we share with these beautiful creatures - play, family, education, community, struggles. Unfortunately, because we often are so unaware of these underwater tribes and our negative impact upon them through slaughterings and uncontrolled human activities, they are facing the greatest challenge of all: to survive the destruction of their habitat and depletion of food resources."
The actress lives the life she preaches about. Her home is off the power grid – it is solar powered and is totally sustainable. She drives a car that is fueled by recycled fast food grease and once competed in a car race driving a pink Range Rover Hybrid using cooking oil as fuel.
The American actress has made over 60 movies over the past three decades. Her best known films – Splash, Blade Runner, Steel Magnolias and Kill Bill – are not known for having a strong eco message. In fact, at the start of her career, her biggest statement was made when McCall’s Magazine named her to the list of "10 Best Female Bodies In America".
“People don’t realize how much I had to dive in Splash,” said Hannah in reminiscing about her first underwater film. “ You’d see me on screen free diving (as a mermaid) but off-camera there were safety divers ready to hand me a regulator. We did all the underwater filming in the Bahamas – Nassau and Chub Key – and in a studio tank.”
Hannah’s next film – a made-for-TV movie, will combine the science message she delivers in Dolphins and Whales 3D: Tribes of the Ocean, with the whimsical Splash. According to the Internet Movie Database, Shark Swarm is now in post-production. The film is “about how a fisherman and his family fight to take down a greedy real estate developer who has released toxins into the ocean, turning the area's sharks into bloodthirsty hunters”. Hannah plays the wife of the fisherman and fights to protect not just her family but the marine eco-system of California ‘s Half-Moon Bay.

Daryl Hannah / Dolphins and Whales 3DSidebars

Sidebar 1

Interesting websites:

Reef Check’s website. www.reefcheck.org/petition/petition.php
Daryl Hannah’s website. www.dhlovelife.com/v2/show/archive/?wk=19).
Jean Michel’s website. www.oceanfutures.org

Side Bar 2

German movie goers will not hear Daryl Hannah when they see
Dolphins and Whales 3D: Tribes of the Ocean. Actress Martina Gedeck recorded the German narration for the film. It had its European premiere last month in Berlin and is now being shown in Imax theatres across Germany.

Side Bar 3

Daryl Hannah and Martina Gedeck are the voices of Dolphin and Whales 3D: Tribes of the Ocean. Jean-Michel Cousteau is the presenter of the film and a high priced Beverly Hills PR firm has been hired to roll the movie out around the world. Not your usual launch plan for a movie that is probably more at home at a Science Centre theatre than the local multi-plex. However the Mantallo Brothers and their 3-D Entertainment company have found success by going big!
Dolphins and Whales is the third ocean-themed film they have made. The first two have proven to be very successful. OCEAN WONDERLAND and SHARKS 3D, have grossed a cumulative $56 million at the box office worldwide and continue to show (and bring in money).

Monday, March 3, 2008

Follow-on to Daryl Hannah story - 3D movie makes money in Germany

DOLPHINS AND WHALES 3D Makes Film History in Germany With Most Successful 3D Documentary Opening at IMAX(R) Theatres and Digital Cinemas

IMAX theatrical rollout continues in the US with upcoming launches at the Tennessee Aquarium's IMAX 3D Theatre, Tempe's IMAX 3D Theatre at Arizona Mills and the IMAX 3D Theatre at Providence Place Cinemas 16

SANTA MONICA, Calif. and BERLIN, April 2, 2008 /PRNewswire/ -- Filmmakers Jean-Jacques and Francois Mantello (the Mantello Brothers) and film presenter Jean-Michel Cousteau are pleased to announce that their new IMAX 3D Theatre film DOLPHINS AND WHALES 3D has grossed USD 607,000 at the box office in Germany in its first two and a half weeks of exhibition, making it the most successful release ever for a 3D documentary film in the country. 47,000 German spectators have seen the film since its March 13th opening on just 17 screens.

Pictured above is Jean-Michel Cousteau and German narrator Martina Gedeck with their polarized IMAX 3D glasses at the film's European premiere at the CineStar IMAX 3D Kino in Berlin on March 10.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Movies we want to see: Bollywood Jaws. Aatank. Indian shark movie


A regular poster in the rec-scuba news group sent me an email about the 1996 Indian movie, Aatank. The movie is described as "one of the most unusual Bollywood remakes" -- an Indian version, complete with musical numbers, of the 1975 blockbuster hit, Jaws.
The movie was directed by Prem Lalwani and stars Nafisa Ali, Dharmendra, Vinod Mehra and Girish Karnaci as Jesu.
I haven't been able to find a copy of the movie, be it in English or Hindi. Blog readers with information on the movie are asked to contact me at stephen@stephenweir.com

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Dumpster Diving - Looking at the Dollar Store for Blood "n" Bubble movies

I have seen almost every mainstream Blood 'N' Bubble movie that has ever been made in English. So desperate am I to find movies that have underwater scenes I have taken to Dumpster Diving. That is what I call shopping at the Dollar Store, Walmart and the reject bin at Blockbuster.
This weekend past I rented one movie (Shooter) and bought two DVDs at the Dollar Store. As is the case most weekends, it was that old cliche I came up with a few years ago: "You can lead a director to water but you can't make him dive."
Shooter came out in theatres late last year and quickly migrated onto the shelves of North American video stores. Mark Wahlberg stars as Bob Lee Swagger, a poor man's Jason Bourne. He is framed for the attempted assasination of the US president (and the murder of an African bishop) and spends most of the movie on the lam from the FBI and evil private security forces. Shot twice and pursued by 20 or so Washington DC cop cars, Wahlberg drive backwards, at full throttle off a pier and into the Potomac River (actually a river in British Columbia stood in for the Potomac). Director Antoine Fuqua takes the action right down to water level where we see a suited diver getting ready to bail from his Zodiac and look for a dead Wahlberg in the wreckage of his submerged car. Before the viewer gets to go underwater, the camera cuts away to a land scene. Sigh. That was the only hint of diving in this 124 minute long action "thriller".
Back to the Dumpster movies. I bought, for a dollar, a DVD with 3 full-length features: Born to Win, Gold and Death Sentence. Gold was the movie I wanted to review. It starred Roger Moore (of James Bond fame), had a picture of the star looking very 007ish and the description of the film made it sound like it was similiar, but better, than the movie Goldfinger. Moore plays the new manager of a South African gold mine who is tricked by the owners in to drilling into an underground lake. They want to flood the mine and force the price of gold to sky-rocket while blaming the mishap on him. Moore has to entered the flooding mine and block the channel of surging water. I thought there would be diving involved, but, instead Moore simply holds his breath a lot and grimaces. I watched it at 4 times the normal speed, but even in fast forward the movie is dreadful. Call it a Blood and Bubble lover's Fool's Gold.
The last DVD I purchased for a dollar was Volcano Island, an educational animated movie/game for youngsters which involves a lot of diving. Volcano Island is so old my computer couldn't play it. I use System 10.3 (macintosh) and it was built for System 8. I won't know if it even qualifies as a movie until I drag an old mac out of the basement (I have the makings of a museum, 6 macs down there dating back to a Classic) and see if I can make it work. Don't be like Roger Moore and hold your breath waiting for my report.