To review: Friday Flashbacks are, in most ways, the creation of my brother-in-arms Tim Sheridan. For the past several years now, the week before a big summer movie release, he watches a film related to it. So I’m stealing a modified version of that idea and writing about a movie or movies that relate to a release coming next week. So, today, for instance, I am talking about movies relating to May 29th’s releases.
Related is a broad category but I will always at least try to explain why I chose it as “related.” It could be direct (the movie coming out is a sequel to the movie I am writing about), or connected by director, writer, star, or theme. I’ll do my best to make it clear, I promise.
Ok, that’s enough adieu. Let’s jump in.
Coming May 29- SAN ANDREAS and ALOHA
If I had to guide you for this week, I’d say this: avoid SAN ANDREAS as the ratio of good natural disaster films to bad ones is horrible and Dwayne Johnson, in what seems to be a role that gives him no chance to tap into his unlimited charisma, would appear to be the genre’s latest victim.
On the other hand, do go see ALOHA. I know Cameron Crowe’s career has dropped a bit from the high water mark of Almost Famous, but his hits to misses favor the hits and he deserves the chance. I’m not…heartened by the trailer, but I remain hopeful.
The Rundown (as prep for SAN ANDREAS)
I wanted to do a movie directed by SAN ANDREAS’ director Brad Peyton, but then I looked at his filmography, so, you know, not going to be doing that.
So instead we go with star Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and I wanted to skip his franchise offerings. Once I did, this slight but still worthy entry presented itself.
As directed by Peter Berg and shot by Tobias A. Schliessler, The Rundown is a surprisingly pretty movie for an action comedy. What really makes it work though is the surprising deft comic chemistry between Johnson as a buttoned up (but no guns ever!) bounty hunter and his quarry Seann William Scott. Christopher Walken, fully in his “is there a paycheck involved?” hyper weird cameo phase shows up as well to add a little spice.
This will not be anyone’s idea of a great comedy but it bounces along at a good clip and is so sure of itself, you won’t hesitate to follow. It’s the kind of middle road fare that won’t really stick with you but is a fine way to while away a couple of hours.
We Bought a Zoo (as prep for ALOHA
Look, I’ll be perfectly clear. This most recent offering from writer-director Cameron Crowe is… bad. It looks weirdly cheap, the pacing is lousy, Scarlett Johansson and Matt Damon have zero chemistry. And so on. The redeeming feature is the dad-children relationship although even that gets treacly at times.
For the typically very good to great Crowe (yes, I would say even Elizabethtown and Vanilla Sky qualify for praise) it was bizarre. Even if you agree with many critics that Elizabethtown was a disappointment, Zoo is such an aggressive drop in quality, it is startling.
Hopefully Aloha will turn things around.