I’m a big fan of Dwayne Johnson. What ever he’s in, I’m automatically going to watch no matter what as he packs a star quality that’s been missing in movies for fifteen years. I guess with every action star, it’s an oath they take that they must have their own “Die Hard” in their repertoire, and “Skyscraper” is that inevitable point in Dwayne Johnson’s career as a big screen hero prone to playing men staring down impossible odds. I’m sad to see that “Skyscraper” is about as bland and forgettable a vehicle as it gets, which is a shame since the premise has at least some potential to be quite an exciting twist on a creaky, worn formula turned sub-genre.
Director Samuel B. Ruseell’s short dramedy about trying to fight the rising tide of nature is fantastic. Not just because it plays up its low budget with a purposely low tech aesthetic involving miniature props, and blatant green screen but because of its message.
If it’s at all possible, “Into the Storm” manages to out silly “Twister” by miles. It features a giant hurricane, absolutely valiant attempts to comment on global warming, and a fire tornado! A fire tornado trumps a flying cow any day of the week, sad to say. “Into the Storm” is a silly movie without a single compelling character, but when it stops trying to create drama it’s actually a lot of fun to sit through. From the great special effects, to the absolutely tense carnage inflicted by nature, “Into the Storm” is that kind of movie you could see Paul Newman and Red Buttons co-starring in 1979.
The Kondelik brothers’ “Airplane vs. Volcano” sadly doesn’t feature a sentient volcano battling an airplane that talks like KIT from “Knight Rider.” It’s instead a movie very much in the vein of the classic 1970’s disaster movies, with classic TV stars and all. When all was said and done, it watches like an extended episode of a daytime soap opera, with a premise that feels suspiciously like a retread of “Airplane!” Also, Robin Givens is still very beautiful.
Have we reached so low down the totem pole that we’re now ripping off Eli Roth movies? Is that the definition of desperation or what? “Aftershock” feels like one of those situations with “Poltergeist” where Eli Roth was ghost directing while Nicolas Lopez was credited as director. It’s a half hour of a lame tourist dramedy, followed by an hour of really silly gore and zero direction in its story, all leading in to a finale that shamelessly rips off the final scenes of “The Descent.” Thank goodness “Aftershock” is a merciful ninety minutes.
I’m sure National Geographic would love viewers to believe that “American Blackout” is exactly what would happen during a week long black out in America, but while the film itself is an entertaining horror film, it’s played mostly for shock value. Truly, “American Blackout” is fact based, presenting facts about our current emergency preparedness in America, but the narrative plays it to extremes. In either case, “American Blackout” does offer the notion that we’re screwed if we ever had a national catastrophe. Even in 2003 when the entire North American grid went dark, the US Government didn’t change their system, and won’t invest time in fortifying the power grid for the sake of emergencies.
Tara Reid. Killer Tornadoes. Man eating sharks. Sooner or later, someone was going to combine them to form the sweet piece of junk food cinema known as “Sharknado.” The Asylum almost seems proud of the title, flaunting it in film festivals and even presenting the title in big bold silver letters in the opening credits. With a title like that, you don’t even need to hear what it’s about. You just need to know that Ian Zeiring kicks ass. Who could resist this opportunity?
1996’s “Daylight” is pretty much just a nineties version of “The Poseidon Adventure.” There’s an eccentric old couple, a resistant tough guy constantly battling with our hero, a cynical woman who bonds with the hero, an epic disaster that is impossible to rebound from, a moment where our characters have to swim under water to make it to a safe zone hoping to escape inevitable drowning, in the climax we see authorities opening a hatch for our victims to escape through, and like Hackman’s hero, Stallone even screams at god as he fights to live in the climax.