Disaster Movies

ja bayona

The Impossible is a tough movie for many reasons. With a real-life tragedy of this magnitude, if the smallest moment comes off as what we usually label as “entertainment,” the movie can become offensive with any hint of Roland Emmerich-ness. Director J.A. Bayona seems well-aware of this fact, as he was sure the right choices were made from the start. Bayona didn’t want to make a “disaster” picture, but rather a faithful, emotional experience set through the eyes of a Western family during the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. Not only is bringing those feelings to screen a major storytelling challenge, but it’s also a technical one. Here’s what Bayona had to say about being his own audience, why he may be romantic for film, and the many challenges of The Impossible. 

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Aftershock

Normally when pretty young people are getting tortured and mutilated in a horror movie it’s because they’ve run afoul of some sort of creature, spirit, or at least a mass-murdering psycho who’s developed a unique gimmick. The things doing all of the killing are just fantastical enough, just far enough apart from reality, that you can disengage your moral compass and have a good time watching the slaughter. Director Nicolás López’s new film, Aftershock, takes a different approach. It takes an earthquake, the sort of natural calamity that would usually be the jumping off point for a disaster movie, and uses it as its big scary monster. In the process, he’s made a movie in a sub genre that feels unique and fresh next to recent horror offerings: a disaster horror. The basic story of this one seems to be that Eli Roth is some dopey American bro looking for a good time down in Chile. His problems start when his ogling of scantily clad ladies at the local nightclub gets cut short by an Earthquake. Suddenly lighting rigs are collapsing on dancers, shards of glass are cutting up people at the bar, and the whole place is turned into a gory splatter fest. That isn’t the end of the horror that López and Roth have in store for us, though.

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Enormous

Director André Øvredal’s Norwegian found footage horror movie, Trollhunter, was a lot more fun that most found footage horror movies, because it didn’t spend any time trying to convince you that what you were watching was real, it instead put all of its efforts toward making a dumb, fun troll movie with the best looking trolls that their modest budget could afford. So, on that level, it was a huge success, because Trollhunter is a big, dumb movie that’s a lot of fun to watch and all of the big, dumb trolls in it look pretty great. Which makes Øvredal a prime candidate to helm a live action adaptation of Tim Daniel and Mehdi Cheggour’s comic book “Enormous.” Originally published by Image Comics, “Enormous” is set in a world where humanity is being overrun by gigantic beasts who are wrecking our cities and eating our children. It’s kind of like Godzilla if Godzilla brought friends. According to THR, producer Adrian Askarieh is looking to take a Cloverfield-like approach to adapting the material, wherein the people being stepped on will get more of the focus than the monsters doing the stepping. That’s not the whole story when it comes to what he has planned, however.

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One of the most reliable ways we’ve devised of making sure a movie will be affecting, engaging, and able to jerk tears out of its audience members is to base its story off of a real life tragedy. And, in the 2004 Indonesian tsunami, direct Juan Antonio Bayona (The Orphanage) has picked himself a doozy of a tragedy to set his latest film, The Impossible, during. The tsunami, which was generated by a massive earthquake off the coast of Sumatra on December 26 of that year, caused massive damage in 11 countries, killing 150,000 people and leaving millions more homeless in the blink of an eye. The Impossible takes a look at how one family (made up of Ewan McGregor, Naomi Watts, and three young boys) gets unexpectedly swept up into the destruction, find themselves separated, and have to try desperately to find their way back to one another.

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Unless you happen to be from Chile, you might not have ever heard of director Nicolas Lopez. But chances are you soon will. After creating the top grossing Chilean films in both 2010 and 2011 with Que Pena Tu Vida and Que Pena Tu Boda, the director is next moving on to helm Aftershock, the newest film from Eli Roth. This one is a disaster movie that Roth and Lopez wrote together, and that Roth will be starring in. Apparently the idea for the film came to Lopez after his country was hit with a pretty bad earthquake back in 2010, but it’s got some of Roth’s horror sensibility in there as well. The story is largely about dangerous patients that escape an insane asylum after the quake. If horror fans have any sort of issue with getting some Lopez mixed in with their Roth, then maybe this awesome quote from the director will assuage your fears: “I was a fan of Cabin Fever and Hostel, and I love that we’re mixing our sensibility. People will be shocked when they see this movie. It’s nothing that you could expect. I want this to be my Robocop.” Anybody who doesn’t think their career is complete until they’ve made their Robocop is okay with me. Roth thinks he’s pretty okay too. When talking about his collaborator he said, “He has the incredible combination of commercial sensibility with an artistic eye, and what he has done here in Chile with their film industry […]

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Every Sunday in February, Film School Rejects presents a nominee for Best Picture that was made before you were born and tells you why you should like it. This week, Old Ass Movies presents the story of a burning love in the poorly fire-coded Barbary Coast of San Francisco. A beautiful opera singer is given a break and finds herself in the bosom of showgirl life, under the thumb of nightclub owner, and falling in love.

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Nic Cage running all serious-like.

Our AWOL spy ‘Patient Zero’ comes out of hiding to deliver a quick look at what Knowing is all about. Now with more explosions!

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Top 10 Places You Should Never Visit, According to Hollywood

If Hollywood ran a travel agency, they’d really suck at it. We are reminded of the places that Hollywood has warned us about in the past. You won’t see this stuff on a AAA brochure.

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