There was an old television game show that would have an “ordinary looking” contestant come out and the panel of celebrities had to guess what was the person’s job or hobby, I believe. This is a show I would have watched because I am attracted (not in a good way) to this type of scenario where people judge other people based solely on their looks. I never understood that line of thought because I never understood what a person’s looks had to do with anything except for sanitary or health reasons. This is why I enjoy watching a current reality singing show where the judges do not see the singer; they only get to hear them sing and base their decisions on the vocalists’ voices. This is one of the few reality type shows I would watch because it has eliminated that old cliche: don’t judge a book by its cover. As I just wrote that I am reminded about a friend who had a career that always surprised anyone when they found out what this person did for a living; they were a scientist at a large pharmaceutical company. Of course most people were shocked because the stereotypical image of a scientist was not part of my friend’s image. I used to get a chuckle out of this when I would see a perplexed look come over someone’s face as they tried to mesh their image of what a scientist “should” look like compared to my friend. The reason I am talking about all of this is because I enjoyed how the characters were perceived in this dramatic action film. BASED on a true story Bernie Webber, played by Chris Pine (Star Trek franchise, Z for Zachariah), believed in following rules; so when his commanding chief Daniel Cluff, played by Eric Bana (Munich, Closed Circuit), ordered him to take a crew out into a nor’easter storm to aid a ship in distress, Bernie followed his orders. Most of his fellow coast guard members did not think he would ever make it. What made this film stand out was the visual effects. Those of you with a fear of water may not be able to sit through this picture. Besides the special effects I have to say the story really grabbed me; it is an amazing true story. Out of the cast I thought Casey Affleck (Interstellar, Out of the Furnace) as Ray Sybert and Holliday Grainger (Cinderella, Jane Eyre) as Miriam stood out. Unfortunately the script was dull and I thought the direction was not strong enough for such a story. There were a couple of scenes that did not even ring true to me; they actually distracted from the story line as if they were just thrown in for dramatic effect. Too bad because what these members did in the coast guard was extraordinary; which goes to show you, you cannot judge a movie by its trailers.
2 1/4 stars
Making something look easy is a real art form. It can be quite hard to pull off. In my yoga classes I strive to make the poses available to all fitness levels. When teaching cycle class the members do not know, while I am giving out movie reviews and news tidbits, I am watching their body alignment, posture, signs of fatigue, anything that may be detrimental to their health. My goal is not to let anyone feel intimidated in my class; I do everything I ask the class to do and never leave someone behind. While watching this DVD my impression of the coast guard was blown out of the water, so to speak. I never gave much thought to the United States Coast Guard. My only exposure was seeing them on television rescuing pets or drunk people out on the water. I have to tell you how surprised I was with this film. The story took place at one of the USCG’s training centers for their rescue swimmer’s team. Kevin Costner (Waterworld, Dances with Wolves) played Ben Randall, an elite rescue swimmer who was offered a teaching job after a rescue mission turned deadly. Ashton Kutcher (No Strings Attached, The Butterfly Effect) played hot shot high school swimming champ Jake Fischer, who joined the coast guard to escape a mysterious past. The chemistry between the two actors was better than I expected; they were believable, sympathetic characters. The physical requirements the trainees had to achieve were daunting; I had no idea how rigorous and dangerous it was for them. Sela Ward (The Fugitive, Sisters-TV) played Ben’s wife Helen; I would have preferred more scenes with her than the filler love interest inserted into the story. This dramatic action film had similar elements to the movie An Officer and a Gentleman, which I did not mind in the least. After sitting anxiously through the exciting action scenes I wished the writers would have spent more time on the ending; it seemed rushed and predictable. My impression of coast guard personnel has been totally altered by this hardy movie. I will never underestimate how they make things look easy.
2 2/3 stars — DVD