Movie review: The Shallows

Movie reviews

Hello!

I’m more than a month late to review this film, but you can blame foreign release schedules for that. Without further ado, let’s talk about The Shallows – that small Blake Lively thriller .

IMDb summary: A mere 200 yards from shore, surfer Nancy is attacked by a great white shark, with her short journey to safety becoming the ultimate contest of wills.

I have seen this movie being described as a sum of a few already made films. Some said it was 127 hours in water with sharks, others that it was Shark Week: the movie. Personally, The Shallows reminded me a bit of Soul Surfer (the family drama, the surfer being attacked), Jaws (similar filming techniques from the shark’s perspective so as not to show the shark) and Piranha (the horror elements in the few scenes).  The main thing that attracted me to this film was the fact that I really want to learn how to surf. I already spend a lot of time in the water since I am a competitive swimmer (or used to be one), so transitioning from swimming to surfing would not be that big of a stretch.

Writing

Anthony Jaswinski wrote The Shallows’s script and did a good job. I really liked the way he presented the main character’s backstory – the viewer found out all he/she needed to know in 3 dialogue scenes: the one with the driver, the phone conversation and during the small talk with the other surfers. I also liked her backstory by itself – she was a medicine student so her knowledge of that field helped her survive – she was resourceful and quick-witted. The writing for the big finale was a bit weak though – for such a realistic movie, I had a hard time believing that the shark would meet that kind of an end.

Directing

Jaume Collet-Serra, a mainly thriller director, did not disappoint with another project in his preferred genre. To begin with, the filming locations really helped him – the beach and the ocean were magnificent. Also, the beauty of nature was effectively contrasted with the terror of the situation that the main character was in. The photos that would pop-up on-screen were also a great tool for backstory, so as to make those 3 scenes of dialogue more visual. The effects, mainly the shark CGI or a model, also worked – he did seem real. The glowing jellyfish were also gorgeous. Those seagulls that were keeping Blake Lively company really reminded me of the seagulls that live in Aberdeen, Scotland (my second hometown) because they weren’t afraid of people and seagulls in Aberdeen can literally attack anyone that is passing them by.

The handheld camera was also good (and that’s coming from a person who hates shaky cam) – the mobile frame and the close-ups depicted the fact that our character was alone on a sea really well. This feeling of fear and loneliness together with the sense of suspense made watching the movie an engaging but not a comfortable experience. The hardest scenes to watch where the actual shark attack sequence and the ‘surgery’ scene. The Shallows also had a couple of jump scares that were effective. If we would have gotten more jump scares I would accuse the film of going the easy cliche route, however, since the picture had just the right amount of jump-scares, I was okay with them. The technique that I thought was a bit overused was the slow motion – it overdramatized an already dramatic and scary situation and pushed it towards a cliche, over-the-top cartoon level. The surfing montage at the beginning was cool but the music choice was a bit cheesy – Trouble by Neon Jungle, really? The other song that I remember from the film was Sia’s Bird Set Free. It was a good song for the credits. Sia’s music have been featured in at least 4 films this summer, she is really making her mark in Hollywood. The Shallows instrumental score was great too – it helped a lot to build an anxiety-inducing atmosphere.

Acting

Blake Lively starred as the lead, named Nancy, and did an amazing job. She basically carried this whole movie. She was believable as a sporty surfer and was amazing in all the suspenseful scenes. I especially liked that close-up reaction shot where she supposedly saw the shark attacking that drunk guy. Lively just starred in the new Woody Allen film Cafe Society. She was also really good in last year’s Age of Adaline (that picture have been doing great on streaming). Lively has definitely shed her Gossip Girl persona and is probably doing the best out of all her former castmates. A few unknown Spanish actors, as well as a few familiar faces from TV, played a couple of small supporting roles but, honestly, none of them had enough of screen time for me to talk about them.

In short, The Shallows was an unexpectedly entertaining film, one of the hidden gems of this summer. Blake Lively shined and finally proved herself to be a great actress. The writing and directing were also good for the most part.

Rate: 4/5

Trailer: The Shallows trailer

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Swimming: Sudeikiai Open Water Marathon 2016

Sports

Hello!

This is the last short sport/swimming update post this summer. Today, I took part in the Sudeikiai Swimming Marathon and lost all my energy. Let me elaborate.

The Sudeikiai Swimming Marathon is the hardest one out of the 4 open water swims I do each summer. The weather is usually not the nicest as the marathon takes place at the end of summer. This particular lake, in which the swimming is actually done, also tends to have huge, almost sea or ocean-like waves. 

This year, the weather and the water’s temperature were both quite horrible. The waves were also way too big for a lake. It was hard to swim the first 500m (I did 2,5km distance, I could have also chosen the 5km distance) because I didn’t have a chance to properly warm up. The next 1000m were fine – not easy but not too hard or too energy consuming either. The last kilometre of the distance was the most horrible one – it was a long and losing battle against the waves. Nevertheless, I was quite proud of myself for finishing the distance in these awful conditions and I got even happier when I found out my time – it was way better than I expected or predicted.

I skipped this particular marathon last year because I had other priorities. However, I did participate in the event in 2014 and did a post on it – you can find it here.

Bellow, I will include some photos from the location of the event as well as a picture of the swimming caps that all participants got. All athletes also received free lunch, a bottle of water, and the competition’s certificate.

Swimming: 35th Annual Swimming Marathon ‘Platelee-2016’ 

Sports

Hello!

Welcome to another short sports update post in-between the summer movie reviews!

On Saturday, I participated in the 35th Annual ‘Platelee’ Swimming Marathon. To me, personally, this was the 7th marathon of this kind. I’ve already told you about my experiences, swimming in this open water competition, in  2014 and 2015.

Plateliai lake and town have a very special place in my heart and I usually both long and dread coming back there for a variety of reasons that I won’t be getting into. Thankfully, this year, the longing part of me won and I actually had a great time. I had a chance to spend a day with my friends, which I don’t see for 9 months. I was able to make new memories, which I will cherish for many years. I had an opportunity to try out my swimming skills in freezing cold water. I, once again, overcame my physical limitations and finished the distance faster than last year and was 3rd in my age group.

The sponsors for the event were quite generous since it was the 35th anniversary of the Swimming Marathon. All the participants received commemorative glass statues, T-Shirts, stickers, and  certificates. Winners were awarded medals and cups.

I still have one swimming marathon left this year and I have already done two:  1st|2nd. Sorry for over-dramatizing the post – I’m trying out new writing styles. Bye!

Photos from the event:

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Photos of the goodies:

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Productive 24 hours

Sports

Hello!

This is another short update post which belongs to the sports category.

I wanted to quickly tell you that I participated in another charity run – this time, it was a night run organized by a newly established motivational club. The event was advertised solely on facebook and 300 people actually answered the invite and came to run. All the profits went to a charity that helps people with mental illnesses.

I enjoyed running the 5k  distance, especially because a few of my friends came to watch or to run with me. The route was located near the river so it was quite a scenic run.

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The next day, I participated in my 8th (out of 15) Lampedziai Swimming Marathon. Overall, this was probably my 26th open water competition.

The weather was not great – the sky was covered in dark clouds but, thankfully, it only started to rain after all the swimmer finished the 2km, 4km or 300m race. The water was quite warm, though.

I was quite pleased with my time – it was not great but definitely better than I expected since I no longer train as much as I used to. The next swimming marathon will be in 2 weeks.

I really enjoy the fact that my hometown of Kaunas, Lithuania is becoming more and more active when it comes to sports events. Although I only spend 3-4 months a year staying there, I still considered it to be my home, so the ideas that my city is modernizing and that its citizens do actually care about their health and fitness really please me.

My previous posts about the Lampedziai Swimming Marathon are here and here. I’ve also done a post about a different Night Run that I ran last summer.

Have a great weekend!

 

Swiss Swimming Marathon 2016

Sports

Hi!

This is just a quick update post for those who actually read my writings about sports events (thank you, BTW)! I started my 8th open water swimming season by participating in the 7th annual Swiss Swimming Marathon.

The marathon was started in 2010 and I haven’t missed a single one of them. Usually, the water in the lake that the athletes swim in is pretty cold but this year it was perfect. Definitely above 23 degrees Celsius. The weather was also amazing: hot (35 degrees Celsius) and sunny.

Swiss marathon’s distance varies year by year (depends on the water temperature). This time, we competed in and completed the full 2,2 km distance. It is not the official length of the open water marathons but it’s enough for the majority if not all that of the participants.

Since I haven’t trained at all, I was happy to just finish the distance and didn’t care much about my result. Nevertheless, I still came in 3rd in my age group (photo of the medal bellow). All the swimmers also received official T-Shirts, so now I have 7 almost identical tops. I wish they would change up the design.

Athletes, who didn’t want to swim the 2k distance, could participate in the triathlon competition (shooting, 2km running, and 200m of swimming). Disabled swimmers could try out their skills in the 300m swim.

Overall, I had a great time swimmer the marathon as well as catching up with one of my friends by the lake. You can find more photos from the event here. If you want to check out my previous posts about this marathon, you can read about my experiences swimming the Swiss Marathon in 2014 and 2015.

Have a great week!

Swimathom + Sport Relief Mile 

Sports

Hello!

Welcome to another post about a sports event! I haven’t done one in a while because I haven’t participated in any events since December. However, this past weekend I swam and ran in the Sport Relief Games!

Sport Relief is an organization which is trying to make our a world a better place through sport. Every 2 years, Sport Relief holds various running, swimming and cycling events all over UK and half of the money raised go to people in need in Africa, while the other half is spent in helping people in the UK itself. You can get more info about the actual events as well as the specific issues that Sport Relief helps to fight in here.

I started my Friday with a healthy 1km swim with my university’s girls’ swimming team! All 5 of us did a kilometer each and we finished the 5km in a bit over an hour! This event – Swimathon – was not about speed or racing but about spending time with friends/acquaintances/strangers and raising money for a great cause.

I started my Friday with a healthy 1km swim with my university’s girls’ swimming team! All 5 of us did a kilometer each and we finished the 5km in a bit over an hour! This event was not about speed or racing but about spending time with friends/acquaintances/strangers and raising money for a great cause.

All of the participants represented a particular team. My university’s girls’ swimming team was put into the Green team. If you look up the hashtag #TeamGreenSwim, you can see people from all over the UK, swimming while wearing the green cap (pictured below). Since the cap is a tiny bit too small for me to wear in an everyday practice, I will probably frame it and put it on my wall.

In addition, all of the swimmers got a commemorative medal to add to their collections. Nevertheless, all of these material possessions are nothing compared to the awesome feeling one gets when one does something good for others! And that’s what Swimathon was all about!

I am sorry that I don’t have any photos from the actual event. The Aquatics Centre that I did this swimming challenge in has very strict rules about privacy and a strong no-photos policy.

On Sunday, I’ve also attended the running marathon for the same cause. People could choose to either run or walk 1, 3 or 6 miles. Since I haven’t been jogging much and was sick at the beginning of the week, I chose the middle distance. It was also quite weird for me to count the distance in miles since I usually use kilometers.

The Sport Relief Mile Running Marathon was held on the Aberdeen’s Sport’s Village’s brand new outdoor running track. I have never run in an actual stadium before. Kaunas Half-Marathon would start and finish in the stadium but we would only run a few hundred meters in there.

Running in the stadium, on an actual running track, also meant that we were running in circles, which is also not a thing that I usually do – I am lucky to be able to jog in a nearby park or even by the sea whenever I want.

However, running laps (I did 12) also has its perks: you always know how many laps  you have left and there is always people in the stands, cheering you up the whole way through.


  

The Sport Relief Mile in Aberdeen had only 100 to 150 participants, the majority of them were families. I was surprised that this event didn’t have a bigger turnout.

I enjoyed running my 3 miles, I was going at a steady pace and finished my fastest run this year! The weather was also perfect for running – warm but not too sunny, cloudy but not rainy. I only wish that the wind would have been weaker, however, this is Aberdeen – it is always windy in here, so I’m kinda used to it.

All of the participants of the run received a commemorative medal and a runner’s number. The organisers also supplied the participants with bottles of water and bananas to snack on after the run.


Overall, I had a really great time, participating both in the swimming and running challenges for Sport Relief. It was nice to do one challenge in a team, and another one alone. If you have never done anything like this before but would like to start participating in public sports events, I highly suggest that you try your hand at charity runs/swims/else. The main goal of these physical challenges is to have a great time while raising money and awareness for a good cause, rather than competing, so it’s a perfect place to start!

If you would like to donate to Sport Relief, you can still sponsor me here. Thank You!


  

Swimming Marathon: Platelee 2015

Sports

Hello!

This past weekend, I and a bunch of my friends went camping by the Plateliai lake (wiki). That lake and the whole Plateliai town (wiki) is a very special place for all the members of the swimming community, which I and most of my friends are a part of. 34 years ago, the first open water swimming marathon in my country was organized in that particular lake. There is only one person, who is still alive, and who has swum in all of the marathons to date.

The first time, I and my family went to Plateliai was in 2004. Back then, I was only 7 years old and couldn’t swim, but my dad was a veteran swimmer, so he participated in the marathon. Since then, my family has been going to that event every year, and I participated in my first Platelee marathon in 2010.

Plateliai swimming marathon is also very huge party for teenager/young adult swimmers. It is a whole weekend of partying with your closest friends, doing craziest things without any consequences.

The weather this year was quite terrible, air temperature reached only around 20 degrees Celsius (68 F), while the water temperature was even lower – 15 or 16 degrees Celsius(59 to 61 F) . My whole body froze while competing in a 1.8 km distance. My friends swam the longer 3.5 km distance and was freezing even more by the time she finished. The wind was also really strong, so there were massive waves in the lake. Around 140 swimmers didn’t allow the cold weather and water to stop them from swimming and participated in the event.

All of the swimmers  received a commemorative T-Shirt (like always), a sticker with the marathon logo and a medal, intricately carved from wood. (Photos below).

Although, I am not a social person and kinda hate partying, I’m really glad that I attended the Platelee marathon and stayed for all the crazy after-party and pre-party stuff. Now, I just need to sleep for a few days to get myself back in shape. Also, I need to wash a lot of clothes and dry out my sleeping bag – during the night from Saturday from Sunday the rain was pouring non-stop, so we were practically sleeping in a pool of water. However,  a really cute cat woke me up in the morning by touching my nose with her paw. Gladly, she didn’t have her nails out. One of my friends told me that the cat sneaked into the tent through the crack and, since all of us were sleeping, that friend didn’t want to risk waking others up by shoo-ing the cat or yelling. So, we just had a pet stay over for a night.

Even if you are not a swimmer and just a regular tourist, Plateliai town and lake is still an amazing place to visit. I have always enjoyed sitting on a footbridge and reading a book or just watching the boats and yachts pass by. The lake is also full of unexplored islands which you can reach by hiring a boat or taking a ride on a water bicycle. In addition, there is a plethora of cozy little hotels to spend the night in, if you are not a type of person who likes camping.

Anyway, I hope you had a great weekend like I did. These past 4 days have been a highlight of my summer. You can find last years coverage of this swimming marathon here. More photos from the marathon are on Facebook.

Bye!

Swimming Marathon: Lampedžiai 2015

Sports

Hello!

Today, Lithuania (my country) commemorated one of its many national celebrations – the Coronation of the only King of LithuaniaMindaugas.

I celebrated this historical event by participating in a swimming marathon as I had done for the past 5 years (at least). The swimming marathon took place in a man-made lake of Lampedziai, which is located in my home town of Kaunas.

The weather was great for swimming but really bad for doing anything else. We got a heat wave this past weekend and the temperature reached around 32 degrees Celsius (around 90 F). While it’s a normal temperature for some countries, its extremely high for Lithuania. However, these past 5-7 years we have been getting more extreme weather because of the climate change.

The temperature of the water was really high too – at least 22 to 24 degrees Celsius (72-75 F). It was pleasant to swim in but you couldn’t really relax in the water or freshen up after sunbathing because it was just too warm. The distance that all the athletes swam was 2 km.

I wasn’t really preparing much for this specific marathon, I had like a week of training. Regardless of that, I still had a good time and felt really comfortable while swimming. I wasn’t trying to go as fast as I could have because I just wanted to swim for my own pleasure. Does that makes sense? I hope it does.

Anyway, if you want to get more information about this particular open water competition, I will try to add a few links bellow, which could be helpful. You can also find a post about last year’s Lampedziai Marathon here. Have a great week!

My commemorative T-Shirt. I really dig the color of this one.

  

Swimming Marathon: Switerzland 2015

Sports

Hello my dear readers!!

Last week, I’ve participated in my first swimming marathon this summer. That was The Swiss Swimming Marathon 2015 (in Lithuanian language – Šveicarijos plaukimo maratonas 2015). I have already explained why this marathon and the village that it is held in has the same name as a European country. You can find that blog post here.

Anyway, since I haven’t been training at all, I chose the shortest 1 km distance and even managed to win it in a women’s group. It was one of the hardest swims of my career. The weather also seemed way too cold. The organizers said that the water temperature was 20 degrees Celsius (68 F), but it felt like 17 C (62 F) at best. The air temperature was 22 C (71 F).

I wasn’t even planning on attending this marathon but then the nostalgia kicked in. This was the 6th Swiss Swimming Marathon and I have participated in all of them since the beginning. Moreover, this is probably my last year of swimming with my team because I am graduating this year and moving to Scotland . So, I figured that this is probably my last chance to swim in that particular open-water competition, so what the hell, let’s do it.

Bellow I will include some links to a few Facebook photo albums where you can see more moments from the event. I will also include a photo of my commemorative T-Shirt, a medal and a diploma. Have a great week!

Photos on Facebook here.

Multi-sports: Lampetronas 2014

Sports

Hello!

Remember when a few post ago, I said that that was the last time this summer when I was writing about a sports event? Well, I unintentionally lied because yesterday I participated in multi-sport event by accident.

This multi-sport event I am talking about is 2nd annual Lampetronas 2014 event. Visit the website of the event

Lampetronas is held near Lampedziai Lake in Kaunas and in the forest that surrounds the lake. The competition consists of 5 contests: 1.2km of swimming, 17km of skating, 8km of rowing a kayak, 19km of cycling and 9 km of running. It’s like a spin-off of triathlon .This competition is definitely not for the weak and it is also sort of challenge for yourself. You can participate individually or, if you are not strong enough, you can participate with a team.

I was supposed to volunteer at the event but one of the teams was missing a swimmer and one of my friends bragged that I am a swimmer and they begged me to help them and I agreed because I had a swimsuit in my bag. So, I was responsible for the first event – swimming. After the start, I was swimming in the 3rd place but by the end a man bypassed me because I couldn’t find a finish line in the lake. I was really happy with my result and I definitely gave all of my energy to it.

After that, I had some time to relax and when went back to my voluntary work. I and my friend were standing in the middle of nowhere, in the cycling/running track, watching if all the athletes were abiding the rules. We were standing there for 3 hours and at least one hour of these 3 hours was spent in the rain.

When we finally got back to the camp, we watched an award ceremony and I was pleasantly surprised that my team got 5th place. We were all really happy but really tired as well.

I would like to participate in this competition next year. But maybe with a bit more preparation.

I am afraid to say if this is my last sport blog post or not because I am kinda planning to cycle in another bicycle marathon on August 31st but I still don’t t know if I am up for 40 km of cycling. I guess you will find out in a couple weeks’ time. If you want to learn more about my activities follow me on twitter @LunaTheia