Aloha Bradley Cooper

Some Movies to See This Weekend, May 29, 2015

Friday, May 29, 2015 Rob Samuelson

This weekend will be unlikely to provide us with newly minted classics. This is okay. Each of the two new major releases stands at least an outside chance at becoming a favorite. And if not, beauty in two forms, massive CGI destruction and the blissed out cliffs and volcanoes of Hawaii, should be enough for a couple hours at the movies.

Director: Cameron Crowe
Writer: Cameron Crowe
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Rachel McAdams, Emma Stone

Bradley Cooper stars as a workaholic military man returning to Hawaii, and a former girlfriend (McAdams), to work at a base. While there, he meets a young up-and-comer played by Emma Stone and the sparks fly. A love triangle ensues, and we'll see where everyone ends up.

That does not sound like the best setup for a breezy summer entertainment, but it could be worse. The things that make me think this can work are the top notch cast – here's hoping Cooper does not make it a trend of being the only good thing about a terrible movie, a la American Sniper – and writer-director Cameron Crowe. Crowe is the filmmaker behind a movie that is probably in my personal top 10, Almost Famous, but unfortunately that was his last good movie, 15 years ago. That's a long time. I'm hopeful this could work, though. If not, I'll just rewatch Almost Famous for the umpteenth time.

San Andreas
Director: Brad Peyton
Writers: Carlton Cuse, Andre Fabrizio, Jeremy Passmore
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Carla Gugino, Alexandra Daddario

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is often considered a throwback to the days of Schwarzenegger and Stallone, and in some ways that's true, but I'd wager he's a far stronger performer. For all his musclebound adventures, he's a guy with a ton of charisma and, more importantly, an ability to imbue his characters with real pathos. That should come in handy as he stars in this mega earthquake movie as a helicopter rescue pilot.

The creative team probably doesn't inspire much faith in a lot of people, but screenwriter Carlton Cuse, one of Lost's co-showrunners, knows his way around character and concepts with huge scales. Director Brad Peyton has worked with Johnson in the past on Journey 2 The Mysterious Island, which, while not a huge darling of either critics or audiences, at least implies they can work together in a harmonious way. That can produce surprising results, like the effective way they drop out the sound in the trailer to focus only on the alarmed breathing of Johnson and Gugino.

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