Tag Archives: John Heard

Sharknado (2013) Review

Time: 86 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence, offensive language and content that may disturb
Cast:
Ian Ziering as Fin ‘Finley’ Shepard
Tara Reid as April Wexler
John Heard as George
Cassie Scerbo as Nova Clarke
Director: Anthony C. Ferrante

Nature’s deadliest killer takes to the skies in the ultimate gill-ty pleasure as a group of friends try to save the Santa Monica coast from shark-infested tornadoes.

Sharknado made a bit of an impact when it came out. Monster movies (and poorly made ones at that) from the Asylum aren’t uncommon, but this one really got a hit, even gaining 3 sequels. Now I know that these movies are entertaining for many people, but Sharknado (at least the first one) really did absolutely nothing for me. I went in knowing that pretty much the whole movie would be terrible but yet it somehow wasn’t the so bad it’s good movie that everyone had been making it out to be.

For a movie about a tornado full of sharks, it somehow manages to be really boring and not entertaining for much of the film. Sharknado at times seems like it wants you to take it somewhat seriously. It might be a weird thing to say but there was so much pointless character development (and its not even like they’re parodying disaster movie characters or anything like that), it really drags at points. Much of the movie is just following these characters around and then the Sharknado comes around to cause problems… and it just doesn’t leave any kind of impact. Obviously you don’t care for the characters or the story but you also aren’t entertained by the silliness of the movie. Yes, there are some implausible things, like towards the end the solution to the Sharknado was dropping bombs inside it. Also, people shoot sharks and chainsaw them like they’re nothing, really a bunch of outrageous and silly things. But if anything, I wanted more of these moments because on the whole, even the crazy aspects just don’t stick with me. It’s really the third act where the film finally realises what type of movie it should’ve been trying to be in the first place and goes absolutely crazy, bombing and chainsawing sharks and the like. Honestly if you really want to watch this movie, you’ll get the best experience by just watching the last half hour, it’s the only redeeming section of the movie, and is genuinely entertaining.

The acting isn’t good at all, as to be expected. None of the cast featuring Ian Ziering, Tara Reid, John Heard, Cassie Scerbo and others did anything well. Oddly enough it seems like some of the actors are actually trying to be serious, but even then they seemed to fail. It doesn’t seem like they entirely know what kind of movie they are in.

Sharknado is terribly directed throughout, from start to finish the effects are absolutely awful, and its not just the sharks that look incredibly fake, the movie opens with the cheapest looking ship. Now all of this is predictable, no matter how silly it got, I was never astounded or surprised by it. You get used to it after the first 10 minutes.

Sharknado doesn’t work as an entertainingly cheesy bad movie, and is way more boring and underwhelming than it had to be. The thing that surprised me the most is that the movie, is that it felt like some people working on this movie wanted it to be semi-serious. I’m not in on the joke but it seems like many people were, because it somehow manages to get 3 sequels. I guess if you really want to check it out you can, but really only the third act I liked. I might get around to trying out at least one of the sequels, apparently its much more comedic, and might be more what I was expecting from this movie.

The Tale (2018) Review

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The Tale

Time: 114 minutes
Cast:
Laura Dern as Jennifer Fox
Isabelle Nélisse as Jenny Fox, age 13
Jessica Sarah Flaum as Jenny Fox, age 15
Ellen Burstyn as Nadine “Nettie” Fox
John Heard as William P. Allens
Jason Ritter as Bill Allens
Frances Conroy as Jane Gramercy
Elizabeth Debicki as Mrs. G
Common as Martin
Director: Jennifer Fox

Jennifer (Laura Dern) has it all, with a loving boyfriend (Common) and a great career as a journalist and professor. But when her mother (Ellen Burstyn) discovers a story – “The Tale” – that Jennifer wrote when she was 13, detailing a special relationship Jennifer had with two adult coaches (Jason Ritter and Elizabeth Debicki), Jennifer returns to the Carolina horse farm where the events transpired to try to reconcile her version of events with the truth.

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I had been meaning to watch The Tale for some time. I knew that Laura Dern and Elizabeth Debicki were in it and that it was about the director’s own sexual abuse as a child and I heard some good things about it. The Tale isn’t by any means an easy film to watch but I do think that it is worth taking a look at.

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Handling a subject matter like abuse is definitely touchy and not an easy task for any film to have. I’m actually surprised that it was actually HBO who distributed this movie, it’s probably their most controversial movie and looking at the results, the risk definitely paid off well. This is a great examination of trauma and abuse, and something that definitely helped is that director Jennifer Fox is telling her own story, and that really added a lot. It’s a bit unconventional with the way it tells its story, mainly the flashbacks, with the time period jumping all around the place. In a way it works as it’s Fox looking back at her life, but at times it’s a little too jarring and hard to follow. I will say though that the way they ended the movie and story was great.

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One of the highlights of the movie are the performances. Laura Dern is such an talented and underrated actress and I’m glad that she finally got a lead role in a movie. Here she basically plays Jennifer Fox and this is definitely among her best performances, a powerhouse yet real performance, especially towards the end of the movie. Isabelle Nélisse also plays the younger Jennifer and she’s quite prominent throughout flashbacks and she’s quite convincing in her role. The rest of the cast is great as well. Jason Ritter and Elizbeth Debicki play the two adult coaches that the young Fox had some sort of relationship with and both were really great, especially Debicki. The older versions of the two played by John Heard and Frances Conroy were also great. Ellen Burstyn and Common were also very good as Dern’s mother and boyfriend respectively.

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Jennifer Fox’s direction was quite good and she knows how to handle her story, even if there were some aspects that didn’t work perfectly. Fox prior to filming The Tale was a documentary filmmaker and at times you can feel it, and I mean it in a good way. There are bits where people in the flashbacks where Elizabeth Debicki, Jason Ritter and even Isabelle Nélisse (who played the younger version of Fox) are being interviewed by the younger and older versions of Fox, with the camera facing the interviewee and all that. As it is about Fox looking back at these people, it made sense and worked for what she was going for. Despite some editing decisions that made the movie a little bit jumpy at times and feeling occasionally like a tv show (given that it’s an HBO movie it’s not that surprising), Fox’s debut at a non-documentary film was quite good.

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The Tale is for sure difficult to watch, but an important look at abuse and trauma, and all around was a really good movie. The highlights were the great performances, particularly from Laura Dern and Elizabeth Debicki, and it was directed very well. While the subject matter is heavy, I’d say that it’s a film well worth watching.

After Hours (1985) Review

Time: 97 minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1]
Cast:
Griffin Dunne as Paul Hackett
Rosanna Arquette as Marcy Franklin
Verna Bloom as June
Tommy Chong as Pepe
Linda Fiorentino as Kiki Bridges
Teri Garr as Julie
John Heard as Bartender Tom Schorr
Cheech Marin as Neil
Catherine O’Hara as Gail
Director: Martin Scorsese

A New York office worker (Griffin Dunne) has “a very strange night” when he ventures for a late night date with a woman he just meets (Rosanna Arquette), which turns into a waking nightmare when one mishap after another strands him in a hostile neighbourhood in his quest to return home before morning.

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I remembered After Hours as being a bit of a weird movie in Martin Scorsese’s filmography, albeit entertaining. I wasn’t certain about it when I first saw it year, but I was sure to remember to revisit it at some point in time, to see how I’d feel about it in the future. Upon rewatching it I found it to be largely the same as when I last saw it. Now I don’t exactly love it and I guess I can say that it’s one of my least favourites of his films (though by no means amongst his worst) but there’s a lot of things in here to like.

After Hours is like the personification of an endless and escalating nightmare that never ends, in a good way. It’s quite a weird movie, which only gets weirder and weirder as it progresses, the term is overused but it borders on being Lynchian. So I’d recommend not knowing too much going in or watching the trailer or anything like that. Despite the description it’s not a dreadful experience, in fact with the exception of The Wolf of Wall Street, this is the closest thing to a straight up comedy that Martin Scorsese has made. There was quite a lot of dark humour in the movie, and I thought most of it was good. It’s fairly plotless and pretty much just following one character for all the time, and as that it succeeded for the most part. It’s very fast paced and is just under an hour and 40 minutes long, still by the end you feel like you just experienced a whole night. This movie doesn’t necessarily do a lot wrong, but I didn’t personally get anything out of the movie or see what it was trying to say thematically. I just saw it as an entertaining and darkly comedic thriller, though I have an idea that Scorsese was also trying to say something, I just can’t figure out what it is. That’s probably the main thing that’s stopping me from loving After Hours, or at least at the same level as most of Martin Scorsese’s other movies.

Griffin Dunne is the lead character and the movie surrounds him the entire time, and he more than holds his own. He pretty much personifies the everyman caught in one crazy incident after the other, and you can really see him losing it as the night goes on and never seeming to get any break. The supporting cast was good as well, with many of them playing some weird and memorable characters, with the cast including Rosanna Arquette, Verna Bloom, Thomas Chong, John Heard, Catherine O’Hara and more.

Martin Scorsese’s direction is great as usual. Even though he generally makes great looking movies, I was taken aback at how stunning this movie looked. The New York City’s Soho is very well captured, and Scorsese effectively conveys a dreamlike and surreal atmosphere excellently. The synth score by Howard Shore also accompanies the movie rather well and it’s a constant presence throughout the movie.

After Hours isn’t among Martin Scorsese’s best movies, but there’s a lot of things here to like. It’s weird, dream-like and entertaining, very well directed and it has a bunch of memorable characters along with Griffin Dunne’s central lead performance anchoring the movie. It’s a unique movie that’s worth a watch.