ALOHA – Rated PG-13

ALOHA Movie Poster

Written and Directed by cinematic master Cameron Crowe – who brought us JERRY MAGUIRE, ALMOST FAMOUS and VANILLA SKY – and who now takes us deep into the mixed-up life of Air Force Contractor Brian Gilcrest (Bradley Cooper), who is presently working on the civilian side of things, with the notorious Billionaire and CEO of Global 1 Enterprises ~ Mr. Carson Welch (played by Bill Murray) with his new film – ALOHA.

When Gilcrest arrives in Hawaii to take care of a few unfinished matters, he is blindsided by the presence of his old flame Tracy Woodside (Rachel McAdams). And then to complicate things even further, he finds himself completely overwhelmed by his new “babysitter” during this particular mission, the vivacious and intriguing Capt. Allison Ng (Emma Stone).

It seems, as luck would have it, both Tracy and Allison are fascinated by the mysterious Gilcrest, and what his presence in their lives may lead to. But Tracy’s husband, John “Woody” Woodside (John Krasinski), has about had enough of Gilcrest disrupting his family, and their lives, and he wants him heading back to the mainland PRONTO!

Sadly, no matter how hard she tries to avoid it, it seems that Capt. Ng is falling for Gilcrest, which is against regulations! That is until she stumbles across a video by Tracy’s son Mitchell (Jaeden Leiberher), which might just shed some light on Gilcrest, and the real reason why he is on his mission in Hawaii…

I give ALOHA 2 out of 5 Stars: As much as it pains me to give this rating to a film filled with a cast of some of MY FAVS – I MUST!!! Not sure where Crowe was trying to go with this film ~ is it suppose to be a love story with an ancient Hawaiian dogmata storyline too? Or a new twist to the arms race? – Who knows – maybe it’s suppose to be all of this. All I know is it couldn’t get it’s stride, no matter how hard it tried, in any direction. And for all my girlfriends out there wondering…Yes, I was mesmerized by Cooper’s blue eyes and impeccable smile like always, but even that infatuation was short lived. The multiple storylines filled with insignificant dialogue continued to fall flat again, and again, and again, even for Cooper’s role. And I was taken back too, by the lack of chemistry between Cooper and Stone ~ I wasn’t feeling that relationship AT ALL, so I was thankful that McAdams and Cooper had at least a little flirtation taking place on screen, which did mange to save a scene or two. Even Murray playing a weasel – which he has played many times over the years, and usually nails – couldn’t save this film. And I think the biggest atrocity of it all for me, was the mere “dumbing down” affect that Crowe wrote for most of the AIR FORCE commanders in this film, as I have many a friend who I admire and respect in this particular division of the armed forces – so stop it already! I feel bad for Crowe and his latest creative endeavor, as this film doesn’t come close to some of his previous masterful filmmaking, even with all the star power he brought to the table – TOO BAD ;(

Kathy Kaiser

SAN ANDREAS – RATED PG-13 ~ MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

As we meet the almost divorced Rescue Pilot and all round good-guy, Chief Ray Gaines (Dwayne Johnson), his life has been turned upside down, in more ways than one.

Struggling with the death of one of his daughters, and the new relationship between his soon-to-be ex wife Emma (Carla Gugino) and her live-in boyfriend Daniel (Ioan Gruffudd) ~ the job and his personal life are almost too much to handle.

When his other daughter Blake (Alexandra Daddario) tries to keep things afloat for everyone, she agrees to travel with Daniel to check out his new high-rise creation in the heart of San Francisco.

Hundreds of miles away ~ Seismologist Dr. Lawrence Hayes (Paul Giamatti) has uncovered a way to predict earthquakes before they happen, but not soon enough for his colleague Dr. Kim Park (Will Yun Lee) or the Hoover Dam!

When the world’s largest recorded quake brakes along the San Andreas fault ~ rocking San Francisco to it’s knees ~ Blake and her two new-found comrades, Ben (Hugo Johnston-Burt) and his little brother Ollie (Art Parkinson), try to follow all the survival techniques Ray has taught Blake over the years…as they all pray that he will reach them before it’s too late…

I give SAN ANDREAS 3.5 out of 5 Stars: Talk about INTENSE– San Andreas is a no-holds-barred, roller coaster ride from start to finish! Just when you think you are going to be able to come down from all the chaos…NO WAY…as Director Brad Peyton throws just a little more in your direction! If you enjoyed the thrill of Avengers 2 and Mad Max ~ Fury Road within the last few weeks, then you are going to love this Full Throttle of Pandemonium even more!! Johnson is perfectly cast as the as the Pilot/Dad/Real-Life SUPERHERO Ray Gaines, and apparently his leading lady Gugino picked up a few tips from her SPY KIDS movie days too, as she can go toe-to-toe with even the ROCK himself. Giamatti is also superb in his role as Seismologist Hayes – trying desperately to save most of the West from total annihilation – if everyone will just listen!!! Does the storyline have a few flaws? – YES. Does the CGI get a little over the top? ~ YES! Is Johnson portrayed as the Biggest REAL-LIFE HERO EVER ~ Well, but of course! But then again, aren’t most action packed films made this way anymore? ~ Besides, it doesn’t mean that these flaws make it any less entertaining…as SAN ANDREAS was definitely entertaining from it’s first frame to it’s last!

Kathy Kaiser

PITCH PERFECT 2 ~ Rated PG13

pitch-perfect-2-cast-poster

THERE BACK …for more Acapella excitement as Beca (Anna Kendrick), Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson), Chloe (Brittany Snow), Cynthia Rose (Ester Dean), Lilly (Hana Mae Lee), and Stacie (Alexis Knapp) enter a singing competition that places them in front of none other that the President and First Lady of the United States.

When Fat Amy accidently has a wardrobe malfunction of EPIC PROPORTIONS, the Board of Acapella makes them relinquish their title and bans them from any additional competitions in the U.S.

How can the Bellas save their name? By entering an international competition that the US has NEVER won throughout its entire existence. NO problem..Yah right!

As the Bellas struggle to get their form back, a new Bella named Emily (Hailee Steinfeld) comes onto the scene, and she is a LEGACY member, as her mother Katherine (Katey Segal), was herself a Bella many moons ago.

While Beca struggles with the her new job, and the fact that she sees so much more for her future than being a BELLA FOR LIFE, she is torn between finding out exactly what her future holds, and making sure she leads her fellow songbirds to destroying those mean and nasty GERMANS once and for all. But, will the girls be able to gain back that ONE TRUE HARMONY which can make all their dreams come true???

I give PITCH PERFECT 2 – 4 out of 5 stars: As sequels go, this one is just as comedic and entertaining as the first, which was totally refreshing. Writer Kay Canon leaves no politically incorrect stone unturned with her hilarious dialogue and jaw dropping Acapella encounters with both the guys and gals of Barden University. Actress Elizabeth Banks sits in the Director’s chair this time around too, and she does a superb job of making the most of the talent of these singing DIVA’S – NICE JOB BANKS!!! From the first frame of this singing tour de force to the last, you will thoroughly enjoy watching the Bellas make the most of what life has in store for them~ around each and every turn ~ as you sit and ponder with hope….will there be a third installment before the Bellas are done for good??

And just one more piece of advice to those parents out there wondering if this film is appropriate for all those youngsters under 13 that are dying to see it – my advice to you is this – Know that there is quite a bit of ADULT HUMOR throughout that may or may not go over their heads, and if you are comfortable with explaining what a vagina is at the very beginning of the film, then it’s really your call…but just remember, I warned you. 😉

Kathy Kaiser