Posts Tagged ‘Surf’s Up’

From Blue Crush to Lawrence of Arabia: Hot movies to warm yourself by this winter

crushBy Richard Crouse & Mark Breslin Reel Guys – Metro Canada

Synopsis: The Reel Guys are hardy Canadians, but with the sub-zero weather we’ve been having lately even the most robust Canuck deserves a snow day. With that in mind, the Reel Guys have put away their long underwear, ear muffs and dignity and decided to stay home. At the risk of earning ridicule from our friends in Saskatchewan and other places where it regularly gets frigid, here are our ideas for movies to take your mind off the deep freeze. Close the drapes, turn up the heat and enjoy…

Richard: Spring Breakers was shot in St. Petersburg, Florida, so expect lots of beach shots, beautiful sunsets and a young cast — featuring Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson and Rachel Korine—stripped down to clothing that would cause instant frost bite for those us of living in the Great White North these days. The story of the illegal way they try to make money for spring break plays more like a wild music video than traditional film, but there’s no denying the heat that comes off the screen.


MB: Summer camp? I’m with you on the Canadian classic Meatballs, with the great Bill Murray. But there’s another counter-intuitive way to go here, Richard. And that is to watch movies that depict a world so hot, you’ll be wishing for some refreshing snowflakes. Just put on the great Lawrence of Arabia. You’ll want to make a snowman by the second hour. Or Gus Van Sant’s Gerry or Antonioni’s Zabriskie Point, both of which take place in literal and existential deserts. Dune would probably work too, although I’ve never met anyone who could watch it all the way through.

RC: Talk about flipping from one extreme to the other. I’ll stick with a more moderate climate for my last pick. Under the Tuscan Sun is a hot love story starring Diane Lane set in moderate, but enjoyable temperatures.

MB: A lovely movie. But let’s not forget the old standby: The Yule Log, burning brightly on DVD. Not much of a cast, the acting is wooden, but the dialogue crackles!


surfsupmen3Penguins are the new dogs. Not since the heyday of dog movies like Benji and Lassie has one species won over the hearts of so many. March of the Penguins was a left field hit a year or so ago and an R-rated parody of that movie, Farce of the Penguins, soon followed. The little furry birds have recently appeared in Happy Feet, Madagascar, the 3-2-1 Penguins series and even something called Penguins Behind Bars. Everybody loves penguins, but will they love penguins who surf? Disturbia star Shia LaBeouf is counting on it.

LeBeouf provides the voice for Cody Maverick, a young penguin who idolizes legendary surfer Big Z. When he is scouted to compete in the Big Z Memorial Surf Off he soon comes up against stiff competition in the form of Tank Evans, the surfing champion who beat Big Z, and forced him into taking his last, fatal ride on a surfboard.

After Cody takes a nasty spill he is rescued by lifeguard Lani (Zooey Deschanel) who introduces him to Zeke (real life surfer Jeff Bridges doing his best Big Lebowski routine). Turns out Zeke isn’t just a washed-up old surfer, he also has valuable life lessons— “It’s not the destination, it’s the journey,” and “Winning isn’t everything,”—for his young protégé.

On the surface Surf’s Up doesn’t seem to offer much we haven’t seen before. There’s animated penguins, goofy sidekicks and lots of poop jokes, but Surf’s Up is a cut above the rest.

First of all is the style of the film. Instead of the usual animated movie approach, which is often the standard wide shot, close up, television framing, Surf’s Up takes it’s inspiration from documentary films and reality television. Jittery camera work is mixed with the usual documentary clichés—talking head interviews, confessionals and historical footage—to tell the story.

Imagine Dogtown and Z Boys and The Real World with penguins and you get the idea. It’s a simple, but effective trick and it separates Surf’s Up from the rest of the animated pack.

Kids might not get all the jokes—many are clearly aimed at mom and dad—but they will certainly love the surfing sequences, the jokes they understand and the penguins.

If this movie does well—and it deserves to—expect to see penguins in absolutely everything next year. Indiana Jones and the Dancing Penguins anyone?

Much ado about penguins In Focus by Richard Crouse METRO CANADA Published: November 15, 2011

capture3At the start of the animated penguin picture Surf’s Up, Cody Maverick (the voice of Transformer’s star Shia LaBeouf) takes a shot at another cartoon tuxedoed bird movie.

Asked if he has any other skills besides surfing. Cody sarcastically says, “Like what? Singing and dancing?”

Of course, he’s referring to Happy Feet, the Oscar winning movie about an Emperor Penguin who can’t find his soul mate the usual way — through song — so he uses his other talent — tap dancing.

The musical penguins of Happy Feet shim shammed their way to huge box office in 2006, and will paddle and roll their way back into theatres again this weekend in Happy Feet Two.

For a while, it seemed like you couldn’t swing a herring without hitting a penguin at the movies.

March of the Penguins, a real-life look at the migration march of Emperor penguins to their traditional breeding ground, was a left field hit in 2005. The winner for Best Documentary not only out grossed all the nominees for Best Picture that year — it took in $77 million vs. $75 million for Brokeback Mountain — but also became the second highest grossing theatrical documentary after Fahrenheit 9/11.

It was such a huge hit it inspired an R-rated parody, Farce of the Penguins. Featuring the voices of Samuel L. Jackson, Jason Alexander and Christina Applegate, it’s an R-rated spoof that imagines what sex-starved penguins might talk about on the 70 mile walk to their mating grounds.

“I am tired of the club scene,” says one penguin. “So are the baby seals!” replies another.

More family friendly was Madagascar, the story of four Central Park Zoo animals who get stranded on the island of Madagascar. The movie featured a large menagerie of characters, but the zoo’s penguins, Skipper, Kowalski, Rico and Private, proved to be audience favourites.  They have most of the movie’s best lines — on landing in Africa one of the flightless birds says, “Africa? That ain’t gonna fly!” — and were featured in a short film, The Madagascar Penguins in a Christmas Caper, a TV series and video games.

Probably the most famous penguin character in the movies is Oswald Cobblepot a.k.a. The Penguin, as played by Danny DeVito in Batman Returns.

This super villain is human, but dresses like a penguin, eats raw fish and tries to conquer Gotham with an army of specially trained penguins.