Sharknado 2: The Second One (Review)

 

“Both Sharknado and its sequel make the mistake of trying to allow their main idea to carry the film when, after a few minutes, most, if not all, of the antics with the core idea have been carried out.”

 

 

by Steve Pulaski

If only really great films or unsung independent films got half the social media buzz that Sharknado and its sequel got, then I’d be optimistic that the masses would be seeing films they didn’t know they liked and watching films they had previously written off before. But that fantasy is about as plausible as a real-life Sharknado occurring, so I suppose I’ll simply have to deal with what looks to be an annual event of not being able to scroll through my Twitter news feed without hearing obnoxious buzzing about the latest installment of the now “horror-comedy” franchise Sharknado.

I put the phrase “horror-comedy” in quotations because I finally figured out my core issue with the two Sharknado films that I had a really difficult time articulating in my review of the first film. The films aren’t scary enough to be classifiable as horror films and not funny or sly enough to be fittingly categorized as comedy films, and because of that, exist in the realm of “dumb culture,” where things are made to be as stupid and as brainless as they can be on purpose. Sharknado has endured a legion of fans and supporters on the internet, praising the stupidity of both films and the pop-culture ridiculousness they bring. The producers even held a contest for the sequel, with fans creating the subtitle for the film. The fact that this film is called Sharknado 2: The Second One should really tell you how highly the producers and minds behind this film think of their fans as well as the fans themselves.

Sharknado 2: The Second One
Directed by
Anthony C. Ferrante
Cast
Ian Ziering, Tara Reid, Vivica A. Fox
Release Date
30 July 2014
Steve’s Grade: D

Sharknado 2 is nothing more than a skit-shows of cameos and puns, punctuated by mediocre, rapid-fire special effects that zip by too quickly to be appreciated or even distinguished. The film’s reacquaints us with Fin Shepard (Ian Zierling) and his ex-wife April Wexler (Tara Reid), the couple who survived the gruesome Sharknado in Los Angeles, who are on a Boeing 747 flight to New York when a deadly Sharknado hits mid-flight, causing the pilots to be killed and Fin to heroically land the plane. Despite Fin’s warning to New York that a violent storm of biblical proportions is headed towards the state, few believe him, until the clouds turn dark-gray and a storm rolls in. Gusty winds, multiple tornadoes, increased lightning strikes, strong cold fronts and brutal warm fronts collide, and soon enough, the sharks start to fly, leaving Fin and his gang to protect another city going through similar circumstances that they miraculously survived, all while his wife is in the hospital after getting her hand bit off by a shark during the plane’s landing.


The most entertaining characters of the film aren’t Fin or April, who exist more as heroic devices that spout off cliches and motivational encouragement to one another and the large city of New York City, but Matt Lauer and Al Roker, who we often check in with for the weather updates. Watching Lauer and Roker’s banter and their efforts to sum up this colossal storm makes for the most entertainment I got out of both Sharknado films. On top of that, in all efforts to try and make the inevitable boredom not set in so fiercely, director Anthony C. Ferrante and writer Thunder Levin (pun may or may not be intended, I’m not sure) toss in dozens of cameos from many different actors, celebrities, and musicians, which is what gives the film less credibility as a motion-picture and more billing as a primetime skit-show with a fraction of the laughs.

I grew tired of the first Sharknado in the first half-hour for the same reason I grew tired of The Human Centipede (First Sequence), which is because once you get past the film’s core idea and its selling point (tornadoes made up of sharks, people being sewed together in a grisly manner, or what-have-you), you need to have something else to fall back on. Both Sharknado and its sequel make the mistake of trying to allow their main idea to carry the film when, after a few minutes, most, if not all, of the antics with the core idea have been carried out. Not to mention, the disaster scenes involving sharks flying in every direction are already burdened by the mediocre special effects film studio Asylum overloads their films with, and the effects speed along in such a quick, vague manner that it’s hard to even distinguish the action and accurately describe what is happening.

On top of that, the characters we’re given are nothing but archetypal heroes, the dialog we’re given is cringe-worthy and beyond the likes of silly, and the cameos only provide for a few seconds of fun before we realize we’re essentially watching the same film as before, just edited in a different manner. Alas, the devoted fans of Sharknado will likely be satisfied by this, and say it adheres to the campy, B-movies of decades past and prides itself off of being “so bad, it’s good” for another generation. Yet the flaw in the logic there is that most campy, B-movies of decades past embraced their low-budget and still tried to do everything they could with what they had. Sharknado knows it has desperately little, so tries to make itself so dumb and so idiotic it can barely function, which is like the equivalent of a little kid trying to drum up as much attention as possible in public; you wouldn’t award the kid with the attention, why would you award the film?

True Blood: Season 7, Episode 6 (Recap)

Karma (Spoiler Warning)

In the second good episode of this final ever season of True Blood, we learn Sarah Newlin has one huge surprise in store for all the Hep-V infected vampires, like Eric and Bill. It’s a bit of a game-changer, to say the least, but will her healing, antidote-carrying blood still be usable if she ends up killed by Eric and his new Yakuza allies? I thought it was strange that the Yakuza were cool with letting Eric take his revenge so long as they could keep the body, but that could be the reason why. Even dead, Sarah’s blood could be used to recreate the Hep-V antidote, thus saving many vampire lives, and let’s not forget how True Blood could be once again the number one refreshment for vampires, making the Japanese businessmen wealthy again.

True Blood
Created by
Alan Ball
Cast
Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer, Sam Trammell, Ryan Kwanten, Chris Bauer, Kristin Bauer van Straten, Nelsan Ellis, Deborah Ann Woll, Carrie Preston
Episode Release Date
27 July 2014
Ed’s Grade: B+

Before we found out about Sarah’s cure, Jessica overheard Bill talking on the phone about his Hep-V positive condition. Pretending not to have heard him on the phone, Jessica tells Bill about the breakup with James, however, she doesn’t tell him just why they broke up, and how after catching Lafayette and James doing the nasty, she and Jason also got it on. Bill heads off to see a specialist lawyer who deals with vampires dying of Hep-V, by helping them get their affairs in order. Bill wants his will amended to allow his progeny to receive everything after he dies. The office is so busy Bill has to wait for 7 hours, and meantime his condition has begun to rapidly worsen. After getting told by the uncaring and unlikable lawyer he has no rights as an undead person, and how she’ll only help Bill if he pays her $10 million, he promptly kills her by stabbing her in the neck with a letter-opener. I swear, I could hear lots of cheering coming from many of the apartments next to mine!

Bill’s condition is worsening by the second yet we don’t know why his Hep-V is accelerating like that and advancing faster than anyone else. The theory I’ve come up with is that it’s because of who it was that gave it to him in the first place. When Bill, Sookie and the others fought with the infected vamps who had kidnapped the Bon Temps townies, Sookie had to feed Bill. While Bill was at the lawyers, Jessica tells Sookie about Bill being sick. Jason takes Sookie to the doctors to be tested, and now she knows she’s to blame for Bill dying. Now, because Sookie has special faery blood, I’m thinking it could make the Hep-V more virulent, thus causing Bill’s illness to run its course extra fast. I guess we’ll find out soon enough.


Because James can’t go home to Jessica, he asks Lafayette if he can crash at his pad for the night. After agreeing, he warns Lettie Mae not to pester James for some of his V, but before Lettie Mae gets a chance to start ranting like crazy, James offers her his blood because he thinks it’s good to have a spiritual experience from time to time. Lafayette insists on joining her so he can prove to her, once and for all, she’s just imagining she’s seeing Tara. He gets a shock when he joins Lettie Mae in the vision, and both can see her on a cross gibbering nonsense. Reverend Daniels arrives and snaps Lettie Mae out of the vision, then makes her chose between him or her visions. Lafayette is now backing up her story but in the end Lettie Mae choses Tara, leaving Daniels to walk away. Isn’t this the same reverend Daniels who recently told Willa he would always stand by Lettie Mae?

Eric and Pam are now helping the Yakuza look for Sarah Newlin, and when they arrive at Sarah’s previously infected sister’s home and find her mysteriously cured, a stunned Eric demands to know how this could be. It looks as though by simply drinking Sarah’s blood it instantly cures, but they still need to find her in time–which I’m sure they will–before they drop dead of the virus. But Eric and Bill look like they only have a matter of days left.

Andy catches Adilyn and Wade in bed together, and after a fight the pair run off. Because Jason and Jessica were overheard by Violet the previous night, without letting on she knows about his indiscretion, Violet decides to try to be extra nice to Jason and win back his affections. After Jason is called away to help Jess on an unrelated matter, Violet thinks it’s all over and leaves Jason a Dear John letter. Violet finds Adilyn and Wade making out in a treehouse, then persuades the gullible lovers she has the perfect place for them to stay, away from Andy’s wroth. It looked to me like Violet specifically set out to find Adilyn, and there are only two reasons I can think why she’d do something like that. The first reason, but the least likely, is because of Adilyn’s faery blood. The other reason, and the one I think more likely, is because Jessica is extremely protective of Adilyn after murdering all her sisters for their blood. Clearly, this will indirectly cause things to sour between Jason and Jessica, especially if Jess starts wallowing in self-pity again. After all, she has promised to protect her.

All in all, last week’s episode and now this one, are looking like the way the show used to be, back when it was still brilliant. Now I’m starting to wish there was a season 8 to look forward to!

by Ed Blackadder

An Interview with Actor Eric Goins (AMC’s Halt and Catch Fire)

 

Actor Eric Goins plays Larry in the new popular drama Halt and Catch Fire from AMC. The show features the talents of Lee Pace, Scoot McNairy and Mackenzie Davis to name only a few. Eric Goins took time out of his busy schedule to talk to Influx Magazine about his character.

 

by Patrick Coffey

Do any of you remember that old, made-for-TV movie made back in the 90′s from TNT called Pirates of Silicon Valley? Well, if not, you missed out, cause it’s freaking awesome.  But have no fear – there’s a new TV series on AMC called Halt and Catch Fire, and the story goes along the same lines.

Halt and Catch Fire takes place in Dallas in the early 1980′s, at the height of the computer silicon revolution. The characters are similar to real-life computer pioneers of the period, like Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. The issues the show characters face are not unlike the ones originally faced by said historical figures.

I think one of the best things about Halt and Catch Fire is the way the writing and production team thematically approach the 80′s. It’s not just cliched piano ties and mingling some yuppies in with some big hair new wavers, in order to exploit the show’s time setting. Instead, it uses the familiarity of what the 80′s were, as a backdrop for storytelling, which is, I think, what good storytelling about a specific time period should be.

I had a chance to chat with Halt and Catch Fire‘s Eric Goins, the actor who plays Larry, and we discussed the show and what the future may hold, which was very Back to the Future of me, if you really think about it.

Patrick CoffeyPlaying in an 80′s television period piece like this must bring back some memories. What’s your fondest memories about that time period?

Eric GoinsThe 80′s were such an interesting time in history. An era in which people weren’t quite as cool as we thought we were. Who can forget parachute pants, penny loafers (with the penny), and the history defining mullet haircut?  I’m fond of all those memories and happy to report that I sported the ‘business in the front/party in the back’ haircut through much of the 80′s. What really stands out for me about the 80′s is the budding excitement about a new wave of technology surfacing around us. Progress was happening in areas of our life that would eventually change the way we live forever. And I love how AMC has captured this pioneer spirit with Halt & Catch Fire. The show really explores an entire culture of society functioning with one foot in the past and one stepping towards the future.

PCThe 80′s were pretty goofy and light-hearted, the best I can remember (with exception of the whole fearing nuclear war). What did you do with this character set in the 80′s that you would have done differently if you were doing the same character written for the present era?

EGThe most obvious differences for Larry are his wardrobe and his hairstyle. I had a lot of fun working with the wardrobe and hair department on this show. Apparently, clothes weren’t the same size in the 80′s as they are now because it seems like all my XL shirts on the show are a good bit tighter than the modern-day fit. Or, maybe it’s just the few extra pounds I put on for the show? Employees in the 80′s also tended to stay at their place of employment for much longer than today’s standard of job changes seemingly happening every year or so.

Many people spent 40 or more years doing the same thing every day of their professional career and retired after years of loyal service. This idea allowed me to play Larry with a certain comfortability at work and a loyalty to Gordon and the tasks at hand. But that comfortability can easily become complacency; a lack of personal ambition almost; as Larry has moments when he irritates Gordon while listening to headphones and playing with a television watch or while providing the drum roll for the big BIOS boot up. The 80′s were full of good productive work combined with good ole’ fashioned fun. On set, there was actually a little jingle about the three engineers, Larry, Stan, and Ed. As we walked to set, the wardrobe department would sing “It’s the three best friends…that anyone could have”. I wish I could write the musical notes to the jingle. It’s a better story that way. It all comes with the territory when you’re a Cardiff Company Man and that’s Larry!

PCWhat’s it like to be on a show on AMC? I mean Breaking Bad, Walking Dead… is there much pressure?

EGAs a matter of fact, there is a certain level of comfort that comes with working on an AMC show. Being surrounded by such a talented and experienced group of working professionals gives everyone a lot of confidence, that we have everything in our favor to start out with. And my job is to walk in Larry’s shoes all day and, as Larry, I have to stay focused on his needs and his pressures so the fact that we are doing a television show fades into the back of my mind. As long as I show up and present my best portrayal of Larry in every scene, I have done my part in this very big machine and the rest is out of our control.

PCYou’ve been in most of the episodes in this series; is it safe to assume your character is here to stay? And while on the subject, has it been picked up for a second season?

EGMuch like Larry at Cardiff Electric, that information is above my pay grade. I’m optimistic that we will see a second season, and I hope that Larry continues to play a role in the story. He is a Cardiff Company Man, after all.

PCI read in your IMDb bio that you’re a student of Hapkido. Can you kick people’s asses?  Actually more important than that, I read that you spent years in the corporate world before becoming an actor; how useful is that experience when playing a character like this?

EGI kick my own ass a lot but that’s a story for another time. Working in the corporate world did give me a great deal of real world experience in understanding corporate culture and nuances. I feel I take a great deal of insight into the role of Larry because the politics and the hierarchy that plagued the 80′s are still alive and kicking in today’s corporate America. It’s just that now everyone can make their moves against each other faster and even anonymously sometimes thanks to today’s technologies. I can relate to every character of the show because, at one point or another, I worked with someone just like them during my corporate world experience.

PCLast question: Your acting career has allowed you to work with some of my favorite musicians growing up; Ice Cube and Rob Zombie. Were you a fan of these guys musically and did it make you audition a little more fiercely for these roles?

EGI approach every audition with the same fierce intensity and preparation. You have to if you hope to work in this industry. That being said, I’m a huge fan of just about everything Ice Cube has done. Rob Zombie was really cool to work especially since it was a horror film. I’ve had the opportunity to work around some incredibly dynamic people and almost everyone I’ve met has been incredibly generous as professionals. I’m thankful for every day that I get to do what I do!

AMC has definitely got a history of success with unique dramas, handling themes that people could never have imagined to be successful in the past. With dramas that feature meth-dealing chemistry teachers, to the walking dead, will a period drama based off of real figures in history be their next hit? Well, only time will tell, unless of course you can get your hands on a DeLorean with a flux capacitor and a way to generate 1.21 gigawatts. Great Scott!

Buyer & Celler (Theatre)

BUYER & CELLAR ROASTS CELEBRITY ADORATION IN ICONIC BABS-STYLE

In the tradition of Truman Capote’s fictionalized non-fiction of In Cold Blood, playwright Jonathan Tolins used Barbra Streisand’s overtly-obsessive 2010 coffee-table tome My Passion For Design as a springboard to both roast our modern society’s obsession with celebrity worship and to comment on the movie star’s strange design and collecting obsessions.  The resulting one-person performance titled Buyer & Cellar at LA’s Mark Taper Forum is a laugh-riot of a good time.

Given the celebrity icon’s litigious history, the play opens with a seven-minute disclaimer on the fictionalized nature of the unfolding work.  What is undisputed truth is this:  according to Streisand’s book, the star/author/principal photographer (cum all-in-one-enterprise) was inspired by the DuPont family’s Winterthur Museum.  Winterthur is the American decorative arts museum in Delaware initially created by Henry Francis DuPont to house his massive American and European fine and decorative arts collection.  In homage and emulation, Streisand has built an avenue of quaint storefronts in the basement of her Malibu estate, creating a mini-Winterthur in her cellar.  This self-indulgent underground emporium — complete with doll shop, vintage clothing boutique, soda fountain, frozen yogurt shop, etc. — was built to house the star’s vast collection of material stuff.  “Remember, this is the part that’s real,” Urie reminds the audience as he slips into character, Alex More, a struggling and recently-fired gay Los Angeles actor desperately seeking meaningful employment.  “Crazy, right?” he asks.


Right!  And crazier than this fact is the even-crazier notion that Streisand continues to fabricate a self-indulgent shopping experience for herself by employing our narrator Alex to man the shops, in a “Charmin-Mr-Whipple-way,” as she shops –  and bargains for — the very same objects she already owns!  In one exchange, Streisand refuses to pay retail for a unique French automaton toy.  Alex, in a surge of mastery and control over his star-employer, holds firm to his made-up asking price for the toy.  Within days, Streisand returns to the basement doll shop with the hilarious statement “I’ve found a coupon!”

Alex’s emotions span the wide horizon of feelings from an initial awe and fascination with the star herself, to one of playful mischief and coy flirtation, ultimately transitioning to wide-eyed adoration and culminating into “dare-we-call-it-friendship” feelings.  Alas, all is illusion.  Nonetheless, our narrator has been transformed by the Streisand experience, sending back a rug from Pottery Barn that is 2 ½ inches shorter than represented.

The deliciously wicked material is well suited for Michael Urie, who delivers an astonishing non-stop and uninterrupted 100 minute performance.   Playing no less than five characters —Alex; Sharon, Streisand’s house-commander-in-charge;  Barry, Alex’s screenwriter boyfriend;  James Brolin, Streisand’s current hubby; as well as the icon herself – Urie’s outstanding skill in storytelling is augmented by his limber physicality.  He commands the entire spare stage and delivers the material in a convincing, just-between-us kind of way.  Stellar direction by Stephen Brackett.  Thoroughly delicious!  Don’t miss it.

Buyer & Cellar plays Tuesday-Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2:30 and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 1 and 6 p.m. through August 17, 2014 at the Mark Taper Forum, 135 N. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles.  Running time: 1 hour, 40 minutes with no intermission.  Ticket Price: $25-$85 (Ticket prices subject to change.)  Contact: (213) 628-2772 or www.centertheatregroup.org

Armin’s Grade:  A

by Armin Callo, Theatre Critic

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The Latest from Rob Rector

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Cross Bearer (Review)

  "Cross Bearer wallows in its seamier aspects and turns up the volume when it comes time for a hammer claw to Continue→

Christ
Kidnapped for Christ (Review)

  "The result still rises above the filmmaking missteps because its story and subjects are so Continue→

Recent articles from Bethany Rose

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The Bunnyman Massacre (Review)

“Writer/director Carl Lindbergh actually creates a new villain to entertain Continue→

Reason Dirs
An Interview with Directors Andrew Schrader & Jordan Harris

I recently interviewed filmmakers Andrew Schrader and Jordan Harris about their newest film, The Age of Reason (read my Continue→

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Martin’s 100 Most Overrated Films, Part 1
Martin’s 100 Most Overrated Films, Part 1

Great reviews, interviews, articles and more!

Check out this week’s feature from Influx Magazine!

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In the Spotlight:

In the Spotlight:
An Interview with Yvonne Strahovski
An Interview with Yvonne Strahovski

Great interviews.

Great articles.

Great reviews.

We’ve got it all on INFLUX Magazine.

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Brian's Brain: Stark v. Kennedy

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Hot on Influx Magazine:
An Interview with Actor William Sadler
An Interview with Actor William Sadler

From established A-listers to up-and-comers, from the names you know, to the names you will know, read INFLUX the latest Influx Interviews.

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Influx Magazine Presents:

Influx Magazine Presents:
King Lear (Theatre)
King Lear (Theatre)

Check out this featured article from Influx Magazine.

We bring you great articles, exclusive interviews and the latest reviews.

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Influx Exclusive Interview:

Influx Exclusive Interview:
An Interview with Actor Crispin Glover
An Interview with Actor Crispin Glover

INFLUX Interviews offer unique insight into the world of actors, directors, producers, musicians and many others in the various worlds of entertainment.

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INFLUX Interviews

Eric G
An Interview with Actor Eric Goins (AMC’s Halt and Catch Fire)

  Actor Eric Goins plays Larry in the new popular drama Halt and Catch Fire from AMC. The show features the talents More→

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An Interview with Uwe Boll (II)

  "I think most filmmakers are like actors - basically whores who sit there and wait till they can get paid to just More→

AEckhart
An Interview with Aaron Eckhart

He was the antagonist to Batman in The Dark Knight! He's portrayed the President of the United States in Olympus has Fallen! More→

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An Interview with Actor Alan Bagh (Star of ‘Birdemic: Shock and Terror’)

  An interview with Alan Bagh, star of cult B-movie Birdemic: Shock and Terror. Birdemic is currently the number 2 More→

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An Interview with Yvonne Strahovski

She's immediately recognizable from her role on Dexter as Hannah and is a major player in the 24: Live Another Day More→

Coogan
An Interview with Actor Keith Coogan

I recently had the pleasure to sit and talk with lifelong actor Keith Coogan.  Notably recognizable for two of his most More→

Recent Articles

Buyer
Buyer & Celler (Theatre)

BUYER & CELLAR ROASTS CELEBRITY ADORATION IN ICONIC BABS-STYLE In the tradition of Truman Capote’s fictionalized non-fiction of In Cold Blood, Continue→

Cuckoo
Top 10 Best Picture Winners (List)

  The constant debate over what film won Best Picture, what film did not or which film got snubbed of a nomination will never end. The reality Continue→

Everybody Loves a List!

Cuckoo
Top 10 Best Picture Winners (List)

  The constant debate over what film won Best Picture, what film did not or which film got snubbed of a nomination More→

10 Supporting actors
10 Movies with Supporting Actor Oscar Nominees (List)

On many lists they concentrate on only the winners. Here, attention is drawn to the performances that helped escalate a More→

Changed Cinema
10 Films That Helped Define Cinema (List)

  "For a film to make this list, it had to be a film that broke barriers or discussed a taboo subject. After these More→

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