Disaster flicks have always been a staple of the movies, whether it be fires, tornados, volcanos, tidal waves, asteroids, alien invasions and even end of the world scenarios, there have been numerous blockbusters involving armageddon. As far as earthquakes go, the biggest so far was released in 1972, was simply called Earthquake, starred Charlton Heston and it took out Los Angeles.
In San Andreas, it is San Francisco’s turn and this time it is Dwayne Johnson’s turn to be in the middle of it. After the famous fault line causes a 9.0 earthquake, search and rescue helicopter pilot Johnson must use all of his skills to rescue his estranged wife (Carla Gugino) and daughter from the catastrophe. While the plot is thin, the movie looks like it has all the action and special effects to make it another disaster that is a hit.
From Jerry Maguire to Almost Famous to We Bought a Zoo, writer-director Cameron Crowe is known for his intelligent ‘dramedies.’ His latest is called Aloha and he takes advantage of the beautiful Hawaiian backdrop as well as an impressive ensemble cast to craft his latest opus.
Bradley Cooper plays Brian Gilcrest, a military contractor returning to the islands for the launch of a military satellite. Gilcrest’s return to the islands is bittersweet as it reunites him with a former flame (Rachel McAdams) who he still has feelings for. To complicate things further, he is assigned a spunky young Air Force pilot (Emma Stone) to be his military liaison and he begins having feelings for her. Bringing much of the comic relief to the film is the supporting cast which includes Bill Murray, John Krasinski, Danny McBride, Jay Baruchel and Alec Baldwin.
With shorter deadlines last week because of the holiday, I did not get a chance to write about a surprise opening at the Paramount Theatre last weekend. Far from the Madding Crowd is based upon Thomas Hardy’s classic novel which has been adapted in movies a number of times, most notably in 1967 starring Julie Christie, Terence Stamp and Alan Bates. The latest version stars Carey Mulligan (The Great Gatsby, Inside Llewyn Davis) as woman in Victorian England who is an independent and headstrong farm owner and has attracted the attention of three different suitors.
Far from the Madding Crowd is getting strong critical attention (it is “Certified Fresh” on Rotten Tomatoes), particularly for Mulligan and the rest of the cast.
Horror fans will want to check out a little Canadian movie playing at the Paramount Theatre on Wednesday, June 3. It is called Berkshire County and it tells the story of a bullied and self-loathing teen who reluctantly agrees to babysit at an isolated country mansion on Halloween night. When a small boy in a pig mask appears at the door trick-or-treating, her night transforms into a horrifying and violent cat-and-mouse games. It is the first feature from director Audrey Cummings and it has been garnering numerous awards at horror film festivals.