Film & TV

Cineast Movie Previews: ‘Aloha,’ ‘San Andreas’

Aloha
Aloha stars Bradley Cooper as Brian Gilcrest, a character who is described in advance materials for the film as a “celebrated military contractor.” If it’s possible for a film to manage to jump the shark in its online synopsis, Aloha may well have done so with that phrase. In the film, Gilcrest is brought back to Hawaii, where he apparently first achieved his military contractor celebrity status, to bring his prodigious skills to bear on a new blockbuster military aircraft project—or something like that. The film delivers unlikely scenario after unlikely scenario in rapid succession—like waves breaking off of Waikiki Beach—and the viewer has to choose either to try to ride above the rising surf of implausibility or drown in the undertow of doubt. Buffeted by such assaults on our credulity as Amagansett’s own Alec Baldwin playing a member of top Air Force brass and by the rumpled figure of Bill Murray as Carson Welch, supposedly in charge of the big project, how are we to react to the love triangle that’s supposed to be the central focus of the plot? Apparently, we’re supposed to take it seriously—tears are supposed to be shed. Basically, Gilcrest carries a torch for Tracy Woodside (Rachel McAdams), his former lover and soul-mate from his previous Hawaiian stint, and yet he is also drawn to Allison Ng (Emma Stone), who is very much his junior and very much his opposite. But it’s hard to imagine anyone getting too worked up about how this tear-jerking element of the film resolves itself, and the strongest emotion most right-thinking viewers will experience will be the hope that nobody’s career will be irreparably harmed by this fiasco. Directed by Cameron Crowe.

San Andreas
A recording of a slow, melancholy rendition of “California Dreamin'” appears on the trailer for San Andreas, accompanying images of unfortunate residents of California dying of thirst. They are wearing makeup and look OK, but you can still see how thirsty they are. Dwayne Johnson stars as Ray, a muscle-bound hero who, despite his super-human strength and courage, is unable to bring adequate supplies of drinking water to drought-stricken California and instead watches helplessly as the state’s hapless residents inexorably perish in a brutal, parched desert landscape. As if that weren’t bad enough, all of a sudden the San Andreas fault catastrophically gives way—it’s “The Big One”—and the poor, thirsty remaining Californians are now forced to deal with some very serious infrastructure situations. Who could have known, back when the Mamas and Papas recorded “California Dreamin'” as a catchy little promotion for California living, that their California dream would eventually become such a nightmare? Makes you think.

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