Starring Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone, Rachel McAdams and Bill Murray
Directed by Cameron Crowe (Jerry McGuire)
Rated PG-13 for some language including suggestive comments

In Cameron Crowe’s latest rom com, Bradley Cooper stars as a defense contractor hired by a billionaire (Murray) to obtain a blessing in his old stomping ground of Hawaii for approval of a large business deal. In the process he falls for a young captain (Stone) assigned to cart him around and revisits an old flame (McAdams) from his previous life on the island.

Throughout the years Crowe has proven to be a master of smart romantic comedies that stick with you long after the credits. He is known for displaying honesty and creating great moments from John Cusack holding a boom box over his head in Say Anything… to Tom Cruise’s iconic line in Jerry Maguire “you complete me.” His writing and directing is quirky while at the same time quite wonderful. Most of the time. Aloha is a complete miss. In fact, if I hadn’t known this was a Crowe film, I wouldn’t have believed it afterward.

The biggest problem with the film is the insane plot which doesn’t make a lick of sense. It’s something about getting a blessing from a Hawaiian king to launch a satellite for some sinister purpose that never gets fleshed out. The whole thing feels like an inside joke told from kids who think they are cool and want you to really want to know, but the joke isn’t funny and the kids are far from cool. They act like we should know the characters and the culture, but we don’t really know them and we don’t really want to either.

Then comes the bad character choices that lack any authenticity. For example, much ado is made about Cooper being the father of McAdams oldest child, and yet the person who has been playing dad for her entire life seems like more of an outsider in the equation than Cooper who has been gone for over a decade and newly introduced. Their decisions make the whole crew look shallow and weak.

The icing on this lousy piece of cake is the multitude of poor performances. I have really liked these actors in the past, and Bill Murray I’ll forgive simply because it’s him, but the acting here is so bad that it makes me question if any of these players are any good at their craft.

So it is with great disappointment that I have to throw this one under the bus. Sadly, San Andreas is not the only disaster movie hitting theaters this weekend. F

New in Home Entertainment – May 5, 2015


New in Home Entertainment

May 5, 2015

Rated PG-13 for disturbing thematic material including violence, a suggestive moment and brief strong language
Available on DVD and Blu-ray
The big controversy at this year’s Oscars was the near exclusion of this powerful drama about Martin Luther King and his legendary civil rights campaign in Selma, Alabama, culminating in an epic March from Selma to Montgomery. While cries of racism went up everywhere concerning the dis, the discussion I’m surprised never came up was that Paramount waited until the last possible minute to show their film to voters. Personally, my nomination ballots for the Critics Choice Awards and the Houston Film Critics Awards were both turned in before I was allowed to see the films. Regardless, the movie is very good, even with some apparent historical inaccuracies. David Oyelowo is perfect in the role of the iconic leader and the project is stuffed with other terrific performances throughout. What I liked most about this biopic is that it covered a mere moment in time, a single story, rather than trying to focus on the entire life of King. It’s a truly great story, well-told with focus and passion. And it is as relevant today as it was fifty years ago. A
Black Sea
Rated R for language throughout, some graphic images and violence
Available on DVD and Blu-ray
In this modern-day claustrophobic undersea drama, Jude Law plays a laid-off Scottish submarine captain who puts together a misfit crew of sailors in order to find a sunken treasure of Nazi gold from right under the Russian Navy’s fleet. I’ve always loved submarine films, and this modern tale gives that same scary, trapped experience your’e used to in these sorts of movies, but with a heist story that adds to the already highly pressurized drama. Law is terrific as the sub captain and his all-male crew is full of talented actors that make you feel like perhaps you’re actually on the journey with them. B+

Miss Julie
Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material involving sexuality, disturbing images, and language
Available on DVD
This new interpretation of the 1889 Swedish Play by August Strindberg places Colin Farrell vs Jessica Chastain in a tug of war where each uses their fiercest weapons, be it wit, social status or sex to dominate the other. The movie starts out extremely dull, but once in the second act it hits some rather intense moments. Unfortunately, after watching the two sides take the lead from each other for two hours, I became rather apathetic as to who will win. It’s like watching a well-matched basketball game between two teams that you don’t care for and that do nothing to earn your allegiance. There’s no doubt that the acting is great and the production is grand, but the characters aren’t worthy of my time. C-