What REALLY goes on in a job interview? Find out in the new revision of "Sweaty Palms: The Neglected Art of Being Interviewed" (Warner Books) by Tony Medley, updated for the world of the Internet . Over 500,000 copies in print and the only book on the job interview written by an experienced interviewer, one who has conducted thousands of interviews. This is the truth, not the ivory tower speculations of those who write but have no actual experience. "One of the top five books every job seeker should read," says Hotjobs.com.

Eight Below (9/10)

by Tony Medley

After seeing this movie, I realized that Terrence Malick (The New World, The Thin Red Line) is working in the wrong genre. He should be making animal movies, where long shots of creatures thinking work well. Since animals, in this instance dogs, can’t speak, the only way to convey an idea is to show them thinking. Disney and director Frank Marshall know how to do this. Somehow they can make a real live animal appear as if it is thinking and reasoning like a human being, and can somehow get us to believe that its facial expressions are indicative of what it’s thinking.

Jerry Shepard (Paul Walker) is a survival guide in Antarctica. His task is to guide Davis McClaren (Bruce Greenwood) to a mountain so Davis can look for a rock from the planet Mercury. A big storm is coming in, so they have to go by dog train. The storm hits, bad things happen, and everyone has to abandon the dogs, much to Jerry’s chagrin. Jerry spends the rest of the movie trying to get back to Antarctica to save them, while we watch as the locale shifts between Jerry trying to arrange to get back and the dogs’ adventures in the wilds trying to survive.

This is the story of how eight domesticated dogs, chained up when Jerry and his team depart, survive a winter in Antarctica with no one to care for them and feed them. The real star of the film, however, is never seen, head animal trainer Mike Alexander. The dogs trained for many months. Their initial training was about conveying emotion. “Frank wanted as many small, expressive movements that we could come up with, so we taught them a lot of different head movements along with snarls and grins, “ says Alexander. “We also spent a lot of time working with the dogs playing Max and Maya to get them to interact intimately with each other, kissing each other and nuzzling each other all the time.”

The interaction of the dogs throughout their time trying to survive alone is remarkable. “They are very social beings, these dogs,” says Alexander. “But the interesting thing is that they worked out their own social hierarchy in a way that basically matched the characters in the film. It just worked out to match the script, which I thought was incredible.”

“Eight Below” is inspired by a 1983 Japanese film, “Nankyoku Monogatari,” which was the highest-grossing Japanese film of its time, holding box-office records for more than a decade.  “Nankyoku Monogatari,” in turn, was based on a real life incident that occurred in 1957. Screenwriter David DiGilio, a young writer in Disney’s New Writers program got the assignment and set the story to 1993, the last year that sled dog teams were allowed to work in Antarctica. Despite their long-standing status as essential members of numerous important expeditions, they were banned to protect the continent’s seals from exposure to distemper.

Each of the dogs has its own personality. Max, for example, starts at the bottom as a novice, but we see him develop into an adult, accepting responsibility so that, in the end, he is the most reliable of them all.

Marshall does such an effective job of creating the cold environment (shot in Canada and Greenland) that I was cold throughout almost the entire movie. If you go see this, dress warmly because the cold is palpable.

As entertaining as the film is, it is too long, running almost two hours. I liked it, but I would have liked it more if it had been about 20 minutes shorter.

February 19, 2006