Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: San Andreas Looks Great, But Its Script Is Shaky

Plus, Aloha is an odd misfire, and Game of Thrones' latest installment is a stirring return to form.

by | May 28, 2015 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got a rescue pilot in the midst of an earthquake (San Andreas, starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Carla Gugino) and a former Air Force pilot in the midst of a love triangle (Aloha, starring Bradley Cooper and Emma Stone). What do the critics have to say?

San Andreas


Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson continues to be one of our most dependable action stars, but critics say his affable presence — and some eye-popping special effects — only partially compensate for San Andreas‘ cardboard characters and risible dialogue. Ray Gaines (Johnson) is a Los Angeles Fire Department helicopter pilot who teams with his estranged wife Emma (Carla Gugino) to rescue their daughter after a massive earthquake ravages the Golden State. The pundits say San Andreas is an uneasy (and often preposterous) mix of family drama and disaster spectacle, but it works reasonably well as large-scale popcorn entertainment. (Check out this week’s Total Recall for a list of critically-panned disaster movies, and click through our 24 Frames gallery of wrestlers who became movie stars.)



Aloha has the kind of pedigree that should inspire confidence: it stars Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone, Rachel McAdams, Bill Murray, amd Alec Baldwin, and it’s directed by Oscar winner Cameron Crowe, the guy behind Say Anything… and Almost Famous. Unfortunately, critics say it’s a startling misfire, a romantic comedy that’s short on romance, laughs, coherence, and tonal consistency. Cooper stars as a pilot who travels to Hawaii to work for a private space firm, where he falls for fellow pilot Allison (Stone) and reconnects with his ex Tracy (McAdams). The pundits say Aloha is an over-earnest, over-plotted jumble of disparate characters and ideas with little of the lightness and smarts of Crowe’s past triumphs.

What’s On TV:

The Gift” (90 percent) is a jam-packed installment that delivers long-awaited plot turns in a satisfying manner, even though it continues a disturbing theme from the previous episode.

With just the right amount of shocks and laughs, “Certain Agony of the Battlefield” (90 percent) is one of the strongest episodes of season three..

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • Tu Dors Nicole, a dramedy about a post grad whose lazy summer is interrupted by the arrival of her brother and his bandmates, is at 100 percent.
  • Heaven Knows What, starring Arielle Holmes in a drama loosely based upon her real-life experience as a homeless junkie in New York City, is at 94 percent.
  • I Believe in Unicorns, a drama about a teenage girl with an active imagination who gets in over her head when she falls in love with an older boy, is at 91 percent.
  • Results, starring Guy Pearce and Cobie Smulders in a comedy about a recently-divorced guy who falls under the influence of a gym owner and his sometimes-girlfriend, is at 76 percent.
  • Gemma Bovery, starring Gemma Arterton in a dramedy about a woman whose life mirrors that of the main character in Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovery, is at 62 percent.
  • Walking on Sunshine, a musical comedy about two sisters in love with the same guy, is at 30 percent.
  • Barely Lethal, starring Hailee Steinfeld and Samuel L. Jackson in an action comedy about a teenage special ops agent who tries to fit in at a new school, is at 11 percent.
  • Survivor, starring Milla Jovovich and Pierce Brosnan in a thriller about a Foreign Service officer who goes on the run after being framed for a terrorist attack, is at zero percent.
  • Unfreedom, a drama about two separate but thematically related kidnappings in New York and New Delhi, is at zero percent.

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