MOST CHILDREN ONLY WANT it to rain in the middle of the night, while they are sleeping. For some hopefully, thunder and lightning will not wake them up; though they would not mind if there were puddles to jump in during the morning hours. I remember hoping every time it was snowing outside the schools would close for the day, so I could play in the snow with my friends all day. Back then the weather was only thought about when it would alter the planned day of events. A rainy day meant I could not go to the beach or the local amusement park. Depending on how much snow fell would determine if we would go out to the suburbs to visit relatives. Weather back then was simply a part of life; dramatic events were at a minimum. Thunderstorms I recall lasted a couple of hours with very little damage to property. THOUGH IT WAS STARTED in the late 1940s, I think it was not until the 1960s or 70s when cloud seeding was mentioned in the mainstream. The idea of humans changing weather patterns fascinated me. Then again I always enjoyed the character Storm, who could manipulate the weather, in the X-Men series. Now I do not know about you but I have noticed the weather has taken on a more sinister veneer these days. Storms and weather events have become more violent, from intense tornados to major flooding. To my way of thinking, something had to happen that affected the weather patterns. If I remember correctly didn’t the host country China seed clouds before the Olympics started, so it would rain before the opening ceremony? One has to wonder if there were any ramifications from doing such a thing. Something has changed in my opinion that is causing the weather to turn on us. Long stretches of drought, major flooding, multiple tornadoes and hurricanes; whether one believes or not the theories that are being used to explain the weather, wouldn’t it make sense to at least explore the possibilities to see what is taking place around us? This action, science fiction thriller might be a prelude to what could happen to us. AFTER A PERIOD OF peaceful coexistence with the weather, a network of satellites that were controlling the climate begins to malfunction. The cause needed to be found before the earth would become the victim to a massive, destructive world storm. Starring Gerald Butler (A Family Man, Playing for Keeps) as Jake Lawson, Jim Sturgess (Across the Universe, The Best Offer) as Max Lawson, Abbie Cornish (Bright Star, Limitless) as Sarah Wilson, Alexandra Marie Lora (Rush, Control) as Ute Fassbinder and Daniel Wu (New Police Story, One Nite in Mongkok) as Cheng Long; the script quickly sunk this film. There was nothing new in this story that has not played in numerous disaster movies from before. Even the special effects were only okay; something about them did not make them pop out like I have seen done in other pictures. I am afraid outside of a couple of scenes I was bored a good portion of the time. Scenes that lent themselves to intense drama were lacking it and one pretty much could figure out what was going on in the story. Though I saw this film on a sunny day, it put a cloudy damper over me.
1 ¾ stars
Not only can I appreciate a person’s determination, I understand it. In fact, I live and breathe it. When I was 7 years old I spent 1 1/2 years pleading with my parents to get me a piano. At every available opportunity I would remind (some would say nag) my parents that we needed a piano. Since two of my mother’s sisters had pianos, I cannot count how many time I sat at their pianos teaching myself how to play. Finally my parents rented a piano for me. I did not disappoint them since I took lessons for 8 years. With a similar determination, I understood the main drive displayed through this movie that was based on a true story. Jonny Weston (Under the Bed, Sugar) portrayed Jay Moriarity, a boy who simply wanted to be in the ocean and ride its waves. Before he even understood the ocean’s power, his fate was cemented when his neighbor Frosty Hesson, played by Gerald Butler (The Phantom of the Opera, Coriolanus) came into his life. Because of Frosty, Jay’s passion for surfing accelerated as he discovered mythical Mavericks (massive waves) not only existed in the world, but were found near his hometown of Santa Cruz. He wanted nothing more than to conquer these gigantic waves, but would he be able to do it on his own? With his mother Kristy, played by Elisabeth Shue (Hope Springs, House at the End of the Street), dealing with the breakup of her marriage and Frosty’s reluctance to take on the responsibility, Jay would have to go to monumental lengths to achieve his goal. As I said, I understood Jay and wished this movie went deeper into his psyche. My disappointment came from the bland dialog and predictability of the scenes. It seemed as if the writers just threw in things like an antagonist or love interest because it would make for a good story. It did not; instead, it came across like an afternoon special on television. In its favor the photography was amazing in some scenes. I only wished the studio worked on this movie with the same determination as Jay had in his life.
2 1/4 stars
The words spoken came from the 1600’s, but the story was timeless. For Ralph Fiennes (Harry Potter franchise, The Reader) not only did he portray Caius Martius Coriolanus in this dramatic film; he was also the director. For a first effort Ralph did a beautiful job directing; having a good eye for lining up each scene for maximum visual effect and pacing. Set in modern Rome, Coriolanus was a war hero who protected the city from the forces led by Tullus Aufidus, played by Gerald Butler (P.S. I Love You, The Bounty Hunter). With battle scars from the bloody fighting, the world of politics became Coriolanus’ next battleground. There was enough backstabbing, forged alliances and manipulation that one could easily make comparisons to present governmental systems. As the political tide turned against Coriolanus, he joined forces with his archenemy to overthrow the country. Vanessa Redgrave (Anonymous, Atonement) who played Coriolanus’ mother Volumnia was outstanding as the matriarch of the family. I had a hard time listening to Shakespeare’s words being spoken in a modern setting. My brother found it easier to turn the subtitles on the DVD. There were bloody violent scenes in this dynamic version of a classic story.
3 stars — DVD