Movie Reviews: The Shallows and Everest

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“The Shallows”

MV5BMjA1MTA4MzU4Ml5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNjUxNjczODE@._V1_UX182_CR0,0,182,268_AL_“What was once in the deep is now in the shallows.”

Nancy Adams (Blake Lively, “The Age of Adaline,” “Green Lantern,” “The Town“) bailed from medical school after her mom died of cancer.  She’s now in the secluded beach in Mexico for some surf, sun and alone time.  Her late mom used to spend time there.

Nancy is not alone, however.  A shark literally stalks and hunts her down day and night, while she’s lying on a rock outcrop (which gets flooded during high tide), wounded from the shark’s initial bite and stung by fire corals.  Her training comes in handy when she has to perform an emergency treatment on herself.  The shark continues to pursue Nancy as she swims for her life from a whale carcass to the rock and to a metal buoy.  The shore, merely 200 yards away, is out of reach.

Like any other solo survival story, Lively has to carry the movie by herself.  The gorgeous aerial and underwater shots help, as well as the appropriate makeup for sunburn, cuts and bruises. But in this minimalist tale, you’ll have to be convinced of her panic, pain, terror, desperation and grit while injured, bloodied, cold, hungry and dehydrated.  Lively does it swimmingly.

Realizing that no one is going to rescue her, Nancy charts her course for survival to outwit the scary shark and the result is gloriously bonkers.

Shark attack.  Girl power.  “The Shallows” is a thrilling survival ride.



MV5BMjMzMjIxOTIxMl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNTk4NDI0NjE@._V1_SX214_AL_Everest.  A name that invokes majesty of nature and human accomplishment for those who have conquered it.

But human beings are not meant to survive at the cruising altitude of a 747.  Some have made it. Some others, not so lucky.  “Everest” is based on a true story, a 1996 expedition where eight climbers died, caught in a deadly blizzard on the descend down the 29,020-feet mountain.  Unpredictable harsh weather and human errors make a fatal combination.

It’s a big ensemble, so except for a few characters, you don’t really get to know them and invest in them, which makes the movie far less impactful.  It’s often hard to tell who’s who underneath the bulked-up mountain gears.

Best seen in IMAX 3-D, the movie takes full advantage of the format, showcasing the wondrous rock-and-ice covered landscape and extreme elements.  Whipping winds and fierce snow flurries battering frail bodies.   Sudden glacier movement putting lives at risk.  You’ll feel the freeze in the air and deterioration of the human condition.   Unfortunate reality aside, it is a spectacle absolutely meant to be seen on the big screen.

Copyright (c) 2016.  Nathalia Aryani.

Nathalia Aryani is a film columnist and has a movie blog, The MovieMaven( Twitter: @the_moviemaven. She can be reached at

Nathalia Aryani

Nathalia Aryani is a Rotten Tomatoes-approved film critic ( She has a movie blog, The MovieMaven ( Twitter: @the_moviemaven. She can be reached at

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