Directed by: Neil Kinsella
Starring: Vincent Spano, Alexandra Paul, Jay Pickett, Luke Eberl, Robert Pine
Let’s see, how should I put this? Oh, right: Landslide, re-titled Buried Alive when released on dvd in the U.S., is a snooze-inducing crapfest to make you long for the straightforward, unapologetic so-dumb-it’s-funny badness of a film like 2012: Supernova.
Directed by: Val Guest
Starring: Edward Judd, Leo McKern, Janet Munro, Michael Goodliffe
Admit it: Deep inside you’ve always wondered what His Girl Friday would be like if it had been a disaster movie. Well, here’s your chance to find out. The Day the Earth Caught Fire is largely set in a newsroom, and features lots of quick-fire witty banter between our hero and his love interest. Plus it has the cyclones that Hawks’ classic sadly lacked.
Directed by: Mikael Salomon
Starring: Christian Slater, Morgan Freeman, Minnie Driver, Randy Quaid, Ed Asner, Richard Dysart, Betty White
One could argue that Hard Rain shouldn’t be called a disaster movie because, plotwise, the disaster is incidental to the heist thriller. But since there is barely a scene in the entire movie where the pouring rain and the flooding of the town don’t play an integral part, I think it deserves to be included in the genre.
Directed by: Dick Lowry
Starring: Thomas Gibson, Nancy McKeon, Chandra West, Brian Dennehy, Randy Quaid, Dianne Wiest, Ari Cohen, Nancy Anne Sakovich
The two-part miniseries Category 6: Day of Destruction was a big success for CBS at its original airing in 2004; the first part attracted about 19 million viewers, 17 million of whom tuned in for the second part. Sadly, a decent lineup of well-known actors can’t hide that this is a weak hodge-podge of genre clichés, cloying sentimentality and really terrible dialogue. When the show goes on for three hours (four if you add commercials) you have time to notice such things.
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Directed by: Ronald Neame
Starring: Sean Connery, Natalie Wood, Karl Malden, Martin, Landau, Brian Keith, Henry Fonda, Richard Dysart
And speaking of the recently deceased Ronald Neame, let’s take a look at his other disaster movie, made seven years after the eminently entertaining The Poseidon Adventure. Sadly, Meteor is an inferior film in every respect.
Directed by: George Fenady
Starring: Dennis Cole, Susan Sullivan, Leslie Nielsen, Ray Milland, Sheila Larken, James Olson
I’m getting my Irwin Allen chronology all messed up here. I know I should probably review his disaster movies in the order they were made, but I’m just not organized enough. So, I happened to watch Cave In!, which is basically his last disaster flick (acting only as producer here) . It was shot in 1979 (same year as Beyond The Poseidon Adventure), but sat on a shelf for four years before finally airing on television.
Directed by: Rob Cohen
Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Amy Brennerman, Viggo Mortensen, Dan Hedaya, Jay O. Sanders, Karen Young, Vanessa Bell Calloway
I’d be lying if I said I was a fan of director Rob Cohen. There are certainly less talented people out there, but films like xXx, The Fast and the Furious or The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor don’t really do it for me. However, when Rob ventured into classic disaster movie territory in 1996, the result was actually quite entertaining. Clichéd, clumsily written, packed with annoying characters and in parts pretty ridiculous – but entertaining.
Directed by: Robert Wise
Starring: George C Scott, Anne Bancroft, William Atherton, Richard Dysart, Burgess Meredith, Charles Durning
So, how do you make a disaster movie about a disaster that is over and done with in about 30 seconds? At least James Cameron had the advantage that the sinking of the Titanic took a couple of hours, but The Hindenburg went from proud symbol of Nazi Germany to a heap of ashes in a flash. How do you turn that into a two-hour film? Well, bring on the conspiracy theories, and pad the running time with musical interludes. This is a sedate film that looks better than it is.
Directed by: Ernie Barbarash
Starring: Bill Campbell, Marla Sokoloff, Jason Alexander, Stacy Keach, Michael Rooker, Mimi Michaels, Ernie Hudson
Is it a good idea to put comedy actors in leading roles in what is meant to be a suspenseful drama? I guess it depends on how you handle it. Certainly, comedic actors can do great dramatic work, but there’s also the risk/chance that their presence will signal a humorous slant to the story, whether intended or not. I’m afraid that introducing Christopher Lloyd and Jason Alexander as brilliant scientists during the opening minutes of NBC’s two-parter Meteor doesn’t really add to the credibility of the plot.
Directed by: William Petersen
Starring: George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, John C Reilly, Diane Lane, William Fichtner, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, John Hawkes
Director William Petersen seems to be particularly drawn to waterlogged storytelling. No less than three of his most well-known films are set at sea: his classic submarine movie Das Boot, the Poseidon remake from 2006, and of course this one, 2000’s The Perfect Storm. So strap yourself in for some hot and heavy fishing action with captain Clooney at the wheel.
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