Sharknado

(2013 ) dir: Anthony C. Ferrante; w/ Ian Ziering, Tara Reid, Cassie Scerbo, Jaason Simmons. No skin; a little gore.
Freak weather scoops up sharks (apparently of every species around the planet) and dumps them on California. They mix together the lamest clichés of the Disaster-movie with the lamest clichés of the Critter-flick, the sound recording sucks, and the special effects are weak. They approximate action with really tight edits and shaky camera work. They approximate plot with really tight edits and shaky camera work. The flick’s only saving grace is its sheer enthusiasm. It just gets dumber by the second, but at least it never slows down. There are hurricanes and tornadoes and floods and exploding cars. There are biting sharks and flying sharks and exploding sharks. They fight sharks with shotguns and chainsaws and helicopters and bombs and… more exploding cars. Regrettably, the filmmakers survived it all. There is some fun to be had here (at their expense), but a little brain lubrication would certainly help.

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2012: Doomsday

(2008) writ & dir: Nick Everhart; w/ Cliff de Young, Dale Midkiff, Ami Dolenz, Danae Nason. No skin; no gore (duh).
It turns out that the Mayans knew all about the end of the world because they were Christians — and the second coming is now at Chichen Itza. Um, yeah… they really do appear to be serious about that… anyhow… just in time to ride the coattails of an actual movie, this is what you get when you update the religious scare films of yesteryear. I realized they wouldn’t have enough budget for any credible doomsday, but they certainly should have done better than to give us the same tired old platitudes and a vague segue into the Tribulation. It’s a film of vapid dialog and transparent attempts at tension – the only thing ‘profound’ about this flick is the degree of its failure.

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Avalanche (1978)

(1978) dir: Corey Allen; w/ Rock Hudson, Mia Farrow, Robert Forster. No skin; no gore.

Producer Roger Corman tried to give this a big-budget varnish with some name stars, but the coating is damned thin. This entry in the Disaster Flick sweepstakes seems half-hearted at best. The script, based on all the usual gimmicks, is a feeble little thing barely adequate to string together a few scenes before they dump a truckload of Styrofoam on everyone; the rest of the running time is filled with some disjointed and undramatic rescue scenes. There’s a lot of snow, yeah, but nothing much actually happens in this flick.

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Contagio

(2009) writ, music & dir: Steve Sessions; w/ Isabelle Stephen, Luc Bernier, Tim Tanner. Tidbit o’ skin; a little gore.

Some dull people walk around the woods and pretend to be “real” – suddenly, death gas from space! And government-cover-up guys start shooting! I can forgive the amateur actors (maybe even the accents); I could even forgive the home-movie production values… maybe even the dreadful photography. But this lame rip-off of Crazies is all stretch – there’s maybe ten minutes of movie here; the director makes a feature out of it by filming everything the characters do and having them do it really slow. Seriously – I watched damn near the whole thing at accelerated playback, and it still took way too damn long to do anything.

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Megafault

(2009) ed & dir: David Michael Latt; w/ Brittany Murphy, Eriq Lasalle, Bruce Davison. No skin; no gore; no brains.

A waifish seismologist and a demolitions expert must use secret super-weapons and lots of greasy explosions to stop a super-quake from unzipping the continent. Okay, it sticks to formula and has plenty enough disaster fx to fulfill expectations. Sadly, however, it all rides atop the most moronic and maudlin script I’ve seen in many years. It’s full of sappy sentiment, laughable coincidence, and dialogue so badly crafted an 8-year-old wouldn’t lay claim to it. If the intended audience is preschoolers, maybe it’s okay – but for anyone else, this is bad enough to be downright insulting.

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