*One wonders what’s the appeal of seeing massive death and destruction over and over again in disaster movies, but when you hear the excitement of the moviegoers, you understand why. Sometimes critics forget films are made for the public and not pundits. Before going any further, it would be remiss not to say “San Andreas,” with all its faults—no pun intended—is a non-stop thrill ride.
The captivating special effects of collapsing buildings, hellholes, fires, tsunamis, and flying debris hit home in an era of known catastrophes. The recent Nepal earthquake is the latest cataclysmic tragedy etched in our minds.
In this action thriller, a seismic swarm along a previously undetected fault near Nevada’s Hoover Dam crosses the border to trigger California’s notorious San Andreas Fault, which erupts in a massive jolt that rocks Los Angeles to its core. But it doesn’t stop there. The shockwave travels up the fault line, setting off a ripple effect of chaos and wreckage all the way to San Francisco.
After the San Andreas Fault gives, triggering a magnitude 9-plus earthquake in California Ray Gaines (Dwayne Johnson), an LAFD Search and Rescue helicopter pilot and his estranged wife (Carla Gugino) make their way together from Los Angeles to San Francisco to search for their daughter, Blake (Alexandra Daddario).
With relentless bombarding of visual feats—most of them questionable—and the trite dialogue, they in no way put a damper on the expected outcome. “San Andreas” is the ultimate popcorn movie. Paul Giamatti, Ioan Gruffudd, and Archie Panjabi also star.
“Aloha,” a rom-com, with some witty exchanges between cast members and brass, should also be on your movie list this weekend. Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone and Rachel McAdams involved in an emotional triangle are just part of the interesting plot. Early on, moviegoers are in for a surprise when they see Native Hawaiian leader (Dennis “Bumpy” Kanahele) sporting a t-shirt that reads “Hawaiian by Birth” in the front and “American by Force” in the back.
Kanahele’s blessing is needed before wealthy businessman Carson Welch (Bill Murray), with the agreement of the U.S. Army, can launch a dubious space project. Romance, intrigue and some great party music add to the fun, along with Alec Baldwin and John Krasinski.
Syndicated Entertainment journalist Marie Moore reports on film and TV from her New York City base. Contact her at [email protected]