Radioactive Evil Will Bite and Burn Your Ass! “Saltwater: Atomic Shark” review!


On the gorgeous and lively beaches of San Diego, an atomic level predator lurks underneath the clear, blue water, splitting the ocean surface with a large glowing red dorsal fin. Lifeguards, Gina and Kaplan, track a series of scorched dead fish washed ashore and determine that a catastrophic environmental event is afflicting the shoreline in the form of an atomic shark, a sunken Russian nuclear submarine byproduct roaming unstable through the ocean, ravenously devouring ablaze any boat or any person that it comes in contact with, and unwittingly ready to deploy a one megaton nuclear explosion if provoked with enough ammunition. Bogged down by incompetent supervisors and purposeful governmental misdirection, Gina and Kaplan turn to radical social media journalists, a perverted drone enthusiast, and a salty boat captain to form a ragtag team of shark hunters to save the West Coast from becoming a fallout wasteland for thousands of years.

Just when you thought it was safe to return to the genre, another made-for-TV cheesy killer shark movie breaches to the small screen surface, but this particular man-eater has bite. “Sharktopus” doesn’t have enough tentacle fortitude. Tornado sharks are just a bunch of wind bags minnows in comparison. And “Dinoshark,” well, that beast is just ancient history. All these other silky, grey predatory kings of the ocean are no match for this man-made mistake of a Godlike creature in the 2016 horror-comedy “Saltwater: Atomic Shark.” You’ll need a bigger boat or a bigger ocean or a bigger sense of humor as this nuclear fish bestows havoc and mayhem upon a usually quiet California coastline with a fiery belly. “Lake Placid vs. Anaconda” director A.B. Stone helms a script by Scott Foy, Jack Snyder (“Fatal Exam”), Griff Furst (“Ghost Shark”) that’s essentially Baywatch chummed with “Sharknado!”

Leading a group of amateur shark hunter is the novice environmental scientist and lifeguard Gina, played by Rachele Brooke Smith who has worked with writer-director Griff Furst previously on the 2016’s horror-mystery “Cold Moon.” Almost immediately, Rachele won the heart of this viewer as the amazonian built actress is tough as she is beautiful and all the while, never out of her lifeguard swimsuit. Her performance against a CGI monster shark is the best amongst her cast mates. She’s opposite Bobby Campo, as an injury sidelined lifeguard with a cavalier life persona. “The Final Destination” actor has the charm and the looks of a spring breaker, ready to drink tequila shots from between the cavernous cleavage of intoxicated co-ed, but Campo’s rides the fine line into as an attentive and cooperative friend to his leading lady costar. Bud Bundy, I mean David Faustino, reprises a similar role from his “Married with Children” days with Fletcher, a drone enthusiast with a penchant for videotaping babes on the beach. Second shark flick being released in the same year along with “Sharknado 4,” Faustino keeps the old comedy schtick well lubed for a slick chuckle or two in his scenes. “Atomic Shark’s” headliner, “The Lawnmower Man” Jeff Fahey, gears up as a stern boat captain hellbent on leaving himself out of trouble. Fahey provides his trademark soft blue eyes under a furrowed brow and a solid performance to earn him his payday as the most recognizable name on the credits. The remaining cast include Isaiah LaBorde (“Cold Moon”), Adam Ambruso, Mariah Bonner, Jake Chiassen (“Trailer Park Shark”), and Jessica Kemejuk, producer of “The Neighbor.”

While “Saltwater: Atomic Shark” can be appreciated for not taking itself too literal or too serious as it organically shouldn’t, the comedy portion teeters on a fine line between stalely outdated or casually tongue-and-cheek. For plot progression during one of the movie’s pivotal discoveries that lead the would-be heroes to the shark, A.B. Stone mocks up a yelp.com review graphic image for one of the story’s locales at a beachside restaurant named Tales from the Grillside that loses one star when characters are caught in the middle of restaurant patrons, and the catch of the day, start simultaneously exploding via radioactive instability. The spontaneous combustion of a snobby Guy Fieri type to kick off the magnificent event after eating the infected fish spells classical campiness in all it’s oddball allure, but when that yelp.com review comes up on screen and downgrades the grill’s three star review scale to two, the moment feels out of place, cheap, and unnecessary post bombastic detonations of fish guts and human entrails, splattering into the crevices every nook and cranny, are more than satisfying. Scenes containing comedic tension highlight some of the film’s best moments not involving the shark itself, especially when Mariah Bonner’s Felice, after losing her conspiracy theorist companion Troy to radiant jaws of the shark, takes all her angst out on Gina. Felice pins down Gina’s head while trying to spark a lighter to ignite a yacht full of dynamite and as the anxiety riddled score inches closer with Felice moving toward to lighting the explosives, the score abruptly cuts with each time Gina blows out the small flame. It’s a simple, yet well thought out moment with poised performances from both actresses to bring that flash of comedy to ahead.

ITN distribution and MVDVisual distribute the Curmudgeon Films’ “Saltwater: Atomic Shark” onto DVD home entertainment. Presented in a widescreen, 1.78:1 aspect ratio, the imagery consists of numerous ariel shots, especially from the implemented drones. The overhead view of the water is immaculate, yet portions of the picture, mostly in wide and long shots, faintly go into pixeling state due to most likely the data transferring speed. It’s not as heinous as imagined as the pixeling is quite miniscule. The English Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track is a well-rounded machine that pickups up the generic, yet sometimes catchy score, conveys a clear dialogue, and produces ambient sounds like the beach, explosions, and drones inside the metrics of surround sound. If you want to see vengeful, eco-friendly lifeguard ride an outboard motor under the ocean surface to deliver bundled sticks of TNT to a giant, radioactive shark, then this shark frenzy flick, “Saltwater: Atomic Shark” is right for you!

Sink your TEETH in this “Saltwater: Atomic Shark” DVD!

#Programming_Evil. “Nightmare_Code” review!

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Brilliant programmer Brett Desmond has been hired at a tech start-up to quickly complete the groundbreaking coding of a previous programmer Foster Cotten who went on a murderous rampage at the start-up’s tenth floor office right before killing himself. Desmond, struggling with the federal government breathing down his and his family’s necks due in part of him leaking sensitive classified material, works night and day and around the clock to crack Cotten’s code for ROPER, a behavior recognition program. A small work group remains with Desmond during the day, but at night, Desmond sleeps at the office, working aggressively to make the deadline and get his life back in order. The further Desmond or anyone else becomes familiar with the code, the code starts to modify their behavior, twisting their thoughts, and succumbing them to it’s will of the dead programmer.
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From time to time again, the film industry on the subject of pioneer technology relays information upon the fears and consequences of intertwining arrogant brilliancy and controversial technology. From the genres of cyber punk to Sci-Fi horror, decades old films such as the virtual reality plotted “The Lawnmower Man” and “Virtuosity” to the more recent “Transcendence,” transferring consciousness into the machine, have been outspoken against the use of behavior modification and recognition programs. The idea behind the notion can said that the person envisioning the possibilities of such software will become obsessed, power hungry, or vengeful if the creation is taken away from them to which all three can be attributed to director Mark Netter’s 2014 film “Nightmare Code.”
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Shot entirely through a surveillance-like setup and notebook web cams, “Nightmare Code,” for most of the duration, is viewed through four screens as like security footage. Netter and cinematographer Robert Fernandez designed this structure not for the sole purpose of a novelty exhibition, but to also confine characters in a small box coded by technology, as explained in an DVD’s bonus featurette, and creating a sense of isolation and distant connections that make the life of a programmer very lonely and depressing which develops in the characters very thoroughly. The story is told through the virtual eyes of ROPER, using it’s self-awareness and advanced modules to voyeuristically watch the small group of programmers and manically motivate their actions by use of altered video projections. ROPER also accesses the past, filling in the gaps that only the infamous story of the genius Foster Cotton can fill, and by accessing the past, the dead programmer’s coding can be understood for it’s malevolent behavior modification.
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“Nightmare Code” is complimented by an underrated cast whom work well together through the smaller ROPER displays in the small screen film industry. Andrew J. West, better known for his role as the Terminus cannibal Gareth on “The Walking Dead,” takes on the protagonist role of Brett Desmond who battles legal and family trouble and West epitomizes isolation by effectively taking a man with a moral conscious in leaking immoral government information and leading him down a path of legal morality, but at the same time, being unfaithful, deceitful, and prone to corruption. He becomes pitted against antagonist Foster Cotton, played by veteran actor and long time supporting actor Googy Gress, notably recognized as a NASA mission controller from Ron Howard’s “Apollo 13.” The two foes never have screen time together as their stories live separate lives, tangled by their connection to ROPER, and so without that nourishment from the other actor, West and Gress use their talents to virtually interact with one another, developing a realistic struggling relationship that isn’t really there. The characters that surround Desmond and Cotton are negatively affected by both main characters and Mei Melançon’s supporting character Nora Huntsman figures into that coded nightmare as she becomes affectionate with Desmond. Even though he’s married, Nora feels the urge to fulfill her needs after separating herself from addictions: gaming, abusive boyfriend, and drugs. Melançon, who had portrayed a minor role as a major character, Psylocke, in the mutant world of “X-Men: The Last Stand,” had another hugely important role as a side dish techie lover, but her role doesn’t seem very present and that might because of the editing technique to create the dooming cyber vision.
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Netter’s resulting editing style inefficiently told the story, I thought. We’re well aware that ROPER can mislead the performance buggy human race, but ROPER, in my mind, wasn’t responsible for some of the delayed or fast forwarded actions of the characters seen through the security footage as it stylishly seemed unimportantly and pointless. Luckily, these particular editing moments are far and few in between and don’t exactly hinder the narrative. What does hinder the narrative are the quick, considerably choppy, edited scenes. Netter creates long, sometimes drawn out, scenes to convey the office solitude, but then transitions to the numerous and quickly implemented scenes that spawn a constant stop and go narrative that loses the ominous factor. The longer scenes tend to generate gloom, dread, and despair. Supporting characters become underdeveloped in the quickly edited in scenes, affecting not only life recovering Nora, but also the rest of Desmond’s team – Louis, Kevin, and Ray – who become the underdeveloped characters and they are worthless to the viewer, essentially. Still, check out the Tonya Kay scenes as you might care about hers.
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The Indie Rights Inc. produced film and MVD distributed release has a clean and sleek 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation. Colors seem balanced and bright. There lies some minor noise, but that only adds to the security cam charm. The Dolby Digital 5.1 audio is clean and balanced in all channels and douses with Ari Balouzian’s synth soundtrack that embarks to terrorize. Balouzian’s score reminds me of Ennio Morricone’s “The Thing” theme, developing a soundtrack character that contributes to the intensity of “Nightmare Code.” Extras includes the film with commentary and a handful of featurettes explaining briefly the characters, the production, and the fear on the technology horizon. Mark Netter, along with the cast and crew, has good source material here and though this sort of tech horror isn’t exactly novel, “Nightmare Code” is fiercely entertaining and forebodingly frightening on a low-budget, startup scale.