Knowing: Nicolas Cage And His Piece Of Paper Are The Key To Stopping Climate Change

2.5/5      

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Nicolas Cage finds a paper that when deciphered contains dates and revealing clues for global natural disasters.

You might have noticed above that I didn’t write the character’s name but rather I put that Nicolas Cage found the paper, that is because one can’t make an argument for Cage playing a role here he is playing full on Cage in a shoddy b-movie esque science fiction film complete with freak outs and random spurts of violence.

I found a lot of the ideas and concepts to be recycled, having been done better in other science fiction projects. Moreover, unlike other reviewers I didn’t think the ending saved the film but rather condemned it, that is because it is far too broad and open, though to some that can be a good thing I found it to be rather rambling and aimless.

The reason I have given this film mid marks rather than lower is because there is a lot of unintentional comedy here, which whilst clearly not what the filmmakers wanted, does make the film a lot more watchable and enjoyable. When I stopped looking at this film as a serious science fiction film and instead as a silly Nicolas Cage movie I enjoyed it a lot more.

Overall, Cage can be both a blessing and a curse to the projects he is in.

Pros.

It is unintentionally hilarious

It is watchable

Cage

Cons.

Cage

The ending

It feels generic  

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Moonfall: The Height Of Originality

2.5/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

There is an evil alien force inside the moon that is pushing it out of orbit and onto a collision course with the Earth, however, have no fear as there are a group of Americans ready to save the planet.

I think it is nothing short of the best joke of the year so far that the director of this film Roland Emmerich had a go at the MCU for lacking originality, and then made this film. A highly derivative disaster film. What makes this lack of originality even worse is that this doesn’t even seem to be Emmerich ripping off other better films, no, he is ripping off his own films. How lazy can you get.

Moreover, the pacing of the film is awful. It is so littered with sub-plots and pointless characters that you almost forget about the moon stuff half of the time. There are also constant references to ‘our friends the Chinese’ which feel quite clearly forced in to pander to the China market, as no studio in Hollywood has a soul.

However, the film is saved somewhat by being so dumb that you just have to laugh. More often than not the film is unintentionally hilarious, and John Bradley shines as the comedic standout here with a few deliberately funny lines of solid cringe comedy. I also thought the film nailed emotional impacts when it went for them such as in the final sacrifice scene.

Another thing I would give this props for is it’s unhinged third act that takes all the conspiracy theories you are likely to see on your parent’s Facebook, now Meta, page and crams them all together to create something that whilst being a mess works for the sheer strangeness of it.

Overall, it is watchable but not good. Quite a mixed bag.

Pros.

Bradley

The cringe comedy

The ending and wider third act

Cons.

It is dumb

It panders to the Chinese

It has awful pacing   

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The Quake: The Continuing Adventures Of The Most Unlucky Family In The World

3/5

Written by Luke Barnes

I know I said in my The Wave review that I was done with disaster films, however here I am doing it again; I have to get my shlock fix somehow.

Anyway ignoring the ridiculous nature of the plot with the same man being at the centre of two separate natural disasters and surviving both, I would argue this is actually better than the first film.

Firstly, as the recurring protagonist is more of a defeated man here he is easier to warm to, whereas in the previously he came across as unlikeable. Moreover, you buy the bond he has with his kids more so here, and the wider emotional soul of the film feels stronger this time around.

I also thought the spectacle and the effect used looked far better this time around. Yes there was a wide gap in-between the two films so of course the effects will look better as they are newer, but I also thought they were used more effectively: the scene in the collapsed skyscraper is proof of what I am talking about it was incredibly tense.

Overall, this is definitely better than the first film though the two do share a lot of the same issues.

Pros.

The lead is more relatable this time around

The emotions of the film connect more

It is more visually impressive

Cons.

It is more of the same

It is incredibly dumb and falls apart the more you think about it

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The Wave: Nowhere Is Safe From Tsunamis It Seems

2.5/5

Written by Luke Barnes

I think I might give up on the disaster genre, I try, and I try, and I try to get into these films but they all just feel the same to me, this is no different.

The film is deeply predictable and goes through all the regular stages of disaster films, a dad or husband who has had a spat with his family or his wife has to save them and also the world from certain doom due to some natural phenomena; of course he is the only person who can do this. It is tiresome.

I just long for something more original than this. Hell the film even has Danish acting legend Thomas Bo Larsen in it and yet they only give him a few lines and let him hang out in the background of a few scenes, it is a massive waste.

The actual spectacle of the film is good, but it pales in comparison to the natural reckonings brought to screen by films like The Day After Tomorrow. Ultimately in a lot of ways the film just feels very average.

Overall, not as good as you might have heard, very deeply average.

Pros.

The cinematography

A few tense scenes towards the end

The score works well

Cons.

Predictable

Wasting Thomas Bo Larsen

The Spectacle

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San Andreas: Aggressive CPR

San Andreas is a disaster film directed by Brad Peyton. The plot follows a helicopter rescue pilot (Dwyane Johnson), as he must race to save his family from the fallout of a major earthquake.

I missed this in the cinema, and it has been on my watchlist for a long time. Generally, I am disappointed and frankly bored by disaster films, they are always the same thing repeated, but I had heard good things about this one so I decided to finally watch it, and though I would struggle to call it a good film it is far more entertaining than a lot of other genre fare.

I mean lets face it you aren’t watching this for the plot, yes I see you there. You are watching it for the spectacle and for the soothing effect of having your mind numbed for about 2 hours, as people manage to stay perfectly made up whilst dodging falling bits of buildings. The plot is an afterthought.

The narrative was nothing new at all, you and I have both seen this exact same plot play out time and time again over the years. I do genuinely believe the watchability of this film comes down to one simple factor, Dwayne Johnson’s insane levels of charm and charisma. If any other actor was in the lead role then it would not even be worth watching it would be boring, but the Rock manages to keep you engaged throughout; he is the perfect action star.

Overall, watch this if you have anything better to do or don’t want to be challenged in anyway and just want to watch the Rock smash things, (though if you want that watch Rampage instead it is a better film).

Pros.

The spectacle

The Rocks immense charm

Cons.

It is dumb

It is cliched

The ending is deeply unbelievable

2/5

Reviewed by Luke  

Into The Storm: Man Vs. Tornado

Into The Storm is a disaster film directed by Steven Quail. The film recounts the devasting effects of a tornado on a small town in America, thriller seekers, researcher and horny teens all get caught up in its destructive wake.

In many ways the disaster move genre is very like the shark attack sub-genre in horror, you know what you are getting, they all play out pretty much the same barring a few details, and they are all as predictable as hell: in short they are junk food, you know they aren’t enriching in any way yet you still watch them as they’re easy.

My issue with this film compared to others in the genre like The Day After Tomorrow or 2012, is that a tornado is fairly simplistic. There is spectacle to it sure, but it gets old after about half and hour and has nothing new to pull out of the bag. There is only so many times you can watch a car get sucked into a hurricane.

The acting is what would expect nothing spectacular, just a bunch of b and c listers trying their best to be serviceable and for the most part they do a decent enough job. I would say the cast could have done with being smaller, as at times it felt like there were too many people on screen and as such I couldn’t remember who everyone was let alone form emotional attachments to them.

Overall, if you like disaster movies this is passable enough, if you want something above average or god forbid fresh then yeah maybe give this one a miss.

Pros.

It is watchable

The tornado is neat for the first 20 minutes

Cons.

It is nothing special

You have seen all of this film before several times over

The effects don’t look good

It is boring after a point

2/5

Reviewed by Luke  

Greenland: When The Apocalypse Comes You Need The Architects, Screw Doctors

Greenland is a disaster action film directed by Ric Roman Waugh. The plot sees a comet come into Earth’s atmosphere which poses an extinction level threat to mankind. In amongst the people trying to stay alive is family man John Garrity (Gerard Butler), who must go to great lengths to keep this family alive and get them to the new promised land, Greenland.

I remember seeing the trailer for this film in the cinema awhile back, and I thought it looked promising. Now having seen it, I can say I am mixed on it. Yes, it does have a strong premise, with a suitably tense ticking clock narrative that keeps things moving forward nicely.

However, on the other hand, it does not do much with its premise beyond ending up like just another generic action, disaster film. Moreover, some of the dramatic choices here feel needless and really don’t add much to the narrative as a whole. Like why did John’s son need to be kidnapped? What did that thread add?

Butler was okay, this seems like an easy fit role for him, he was everything I would expect him to be. Your enjoyment of his performance will depend on how you feel about Butler and his ‘character’ generally.

Overall, despite initial promise this film ended up being just another generic disaster film.

Pros.

Gerard Butler

The set pieces

The tension

Cons.

It doesn’t do much with its interesting premise

Drama and twists added needlessly

It is generic

2.5/5

Reviewed by Luke

When The Wind Blows: The End Of The World

When The Wind Blows is a British animated disaster film directed by Jimmy Murakami. The plot of the film revolves around an old married couple James and Hilda (John Mills and Peggy Ashcroft), who are trying to survive a nuclear war by building a bomb shelter in their front room. The film is incredibly dark and has themes of death, disease and hopelessness.

I had to watch this film for one of my University classes, so I didn’t really go in with much expectation, but I have to say this is a hauntingly beautiful film in many ways and it far exceeded my expectations.

The art design for this film is unlike anything I have ever seen before. It switches between different styles of animation quite often with each bringing a significantly different feel.  From an artistic viewpoint, colour is used very specifically in this film for a variety of reasons, to show loss and devastation as well as to show hope. This colour symbolism is very on the nose, but it is that way by design, this film knows what it is and knows what its message is, and it wants to be very clear about it. When The Wind Blow is an anti-war film through and through.

This film is from the director of beloved Christmas hit The Snowman, but this is very unlike his previous work. Despite having a low age rating, this film is definitely not suited for kids to watch, it is disturbing and traumatic, but in reality, that is how nuclear war would be. The film ends and if you don’t want spoilers skip ahead, with both of the main characters dying of radiation poisoning, this is incredibly sad, but realistic. This film is almost educational as it shows the effects a nuclear war would have on people as both character get sicker and sicker across the film, it also encourages people to be critical free thinkers and question what they are told: because ultimately a big part of the film is that James believed every word the government said to him and that is what killed him.

Overall, this film won’t be for everyone, it is upsetting and depressing, but it is also important to see because it has a lot to say about war, about society and for that I will say it is a must see!

Pros.

The message.

The music.

The animation.

The ending.

Cons

It is incredibly bleak.

4/5