Dwayne Johnson, aka The Rock, roars into his new premiere

27 May 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘San Andreas’ Review: The Rock’s Earthquake Spectacular Is My Wife’s Favorite Movie Of The Year.

The wrestling star, who is now a successful action hero, plays a rescue helicopter pilot in earthquake disaster San Andreas and arrived at the Los Angeles premiere with a chopper flying overhead. Thumbnail: I can (and will) nitpick storytelling choices and character development, but those merely wanting “Look out, earthquake!” will get their money’s worth.Mother Nature always gets the last word, but don’t tell that to the filmmakers of San Andreas, who envision California bravely persevering after a series of earthquakes of unprecedented severity erupts along the titular fault line.Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson cruised into the Hollywood premiere for San Andreas Tuesday night on a hot set of wheels — a Los Angeles Fire Department rig with a LAFD helicopter swooping overhead. “I spent time with the LAFD prior to the role.“Aloha”: Romantic comedy about a military contractor who reconnects with a long-ago love while unexpectedly falling for the hard-charging Air Force watchdog assigned to him.

LOS ANGELES — In “San Andreas,” Dwayne Johnson stars as a heroic chopper rescue pilot who struggles to save his family amid earthquakes, fires and a tsunami. The disaster pic promises nothing more than the complete CGI destruction of California as foregrounded by Dwayne Johnson’s jackfruit-sized biceps, and it delivers exactly that. San Andreas, where a gigantic earthquake hits California, carefully spaces out its big moments: the Hoover Dam goes early, followed by the Hollywood sign, but after the scene shifts to San Francisco director Brad Peyton makes us wait, teasingly, for the moment when the Golden Gate Bridge twists like a ribbon and slides into the sea.

West-coasters are known for their frequently nonchalant attitude toward disasters, but Warner Bros.’ third big-budget release of May is far too upbeat in the face of catastrophe to spur any tectonic shift in perspective. Now after the movie has come out, we wanted to arrive in style and pay homage and honor the first responders and the LAFD.” So it only makes sense to stay in character, even if he wore a much nicer suit Tuesday night.

Dwayne, 43, recently resumed his role of Hobbs in the seventh instalment of the Fast And Furious franchise and his American football drama Ballers is about to debut on HBO. After providing some blissfully stupid B-movie thrills for its first hour, the film suffers from spectacle overkill (you know what’s cooler than an apocalyptic earthquake? Whether the “Big One” will play out anything like the movie imagines may be debatable, but San Andreas will clearly inject some fresh PG-13 action into theaters, and while it may not exactly tip the Richter scale, it could still resonate with crowds gearing up for summer vacation. But Nepal’s devastating earthquakes have brought “San Andreas” into sharp relief with the perennial showbiz question — as it did with Johnson’s “Furious 7” and the sudden death of Paul Walker: Will real life affect this movie? “It’s not like aliens or robots, and the movie doesn’t make light of these things. It is, by default, one of the bigger-budgeted outright original studio releases this summer, and thus it will come with a little extra baggage in light of Tomorrowland‘s somewhat disappointing debut.

Two apocalyptic earthquakes … and a tsunami) and a fatal lack of invention in its second, more concerned with toppling buildings one by one than ever drumming up a lick of suspense about the fates of those inside them. I respected that, I’m sensitive to people who have been through tragedies. “The movie isn’t necessarily about earthquakes — it’s about a family trying to put itself back together,” as Johnson tries to rescue his estranged wife (Carla Gugino) and daughter (Alexandra Daddario). Speaking on the red carpet, he said: “I think the key is to take everything in stride and put out content or movies or TV shows like Ballers that people are going to enjoy, and you just want it to be quality. “It doesn’t have to be a home run, grand slam or break records – it would be nice if it does – as long as it is good quality. It is the kind of film (a big-budget disaster movie with an A-list movie star) that would have been near the top of the summer box office a decade or so ago. But where Arnie always seemed uneasy combining these roles, to the Rock it comes naturally: he’s the ultimate idealised dad, a human shield protecting America from harm.

Johnson, who in the course of “San Andreas” flies a chopper, pilots a plane, hot-wires a car and captains a speedboat through towering waves and a soaked San Francisco, agreed. “If there’s one factor, it’s the idea of family and strength coming together through tragedies. A fair amount of intelligence has gone into San Andreas – but not into the extremely corny dialogue, which seems designed to make the audience groan. Ray’s plans for spending a final weekend with Blake before she begins university in the San Francisco area are dashed when a major earthquake hits Nevada and his squad mobilizes to respond, so Daniel offers to fly Blake up north on his private jet.

He has a charisma and presence that is extraordinary.” “I think its because as human beings we don’t fully understand them, so watching a film like this gives us insight into if something like that would happen to you, but I think any level of preparation will never reduce your fear or anxiety.” The LAFD isn’t aware, however, that the Nevada quake is part of a “swarm” of temblors headed toward LA, as predicted by Lawrence Hayes (Paul Giamatti), a seismology professor at CalTech. As well-liked and well-known as he is, Dwayne Johnson only actually found box office muscle once he started inserting himself into previously established franchises. Before Hayes can get word out to the public, however, the first big one hits downtown, where Emma is lunching in a highrise restaurant as the building begins crumbling around her.

Ray (Johnson) is a hulking, heroic helicopter pilot who segued from flying missions in Afghanistan to performing search-and-rescue operations in Los Angeles. Ray’s ex-wife Emma (Carla Gugino) is the focal point of the most hectic set-piece, where the camera follows her efforts to flee a crumbling skyscraper for several minutes without a cut. And one good thing about this movie is that through entertainment, we can bring awareness to earthquakes. “As someone who grew up in Canada, earthquakes were a fantasy to me.

Kylie Minogue’s appearance at the start of this sequence is a reminder that much of the film was shot in Australia – but she disappears so abruptly it can only be assumed her subplot was scrapped at the last moment. Ray and Emma have a college-aged daughter named Blake (Alexandra Daddario), who thumbs a ride up to the Bay Area on Daniel’s private jet, where she meets cute with fumbling, flustering British twentysomething Ben (Hugo Johnstone-Burt) and his obnoxious, wisecracking younger brother, Ollie (Art Parkinson).

Paul Giamatti, meanwhile, is perfectly cast as the anti-Rock, a jittery seismologist who seems on the verge of tearing his remaining hair out as he warns of what’s to come. He’s just arrived back in Pasadena to put his theories into practice when the entire San Andreas fault lights up with warning signs, indicating the Big One is imminent. Giamatti and Johnson never share a scene, but their characters’ aims are wholly compatible: the blue-collar war veteran and the egghead, working side by side to save the day.

Although the geological principals that underlie the plot are fairly solid, the film predictably exaggerates them to an unlikely degree, as earthquakes split California apart with a zipper-like effect. Aside from his low-budget “social issues” thriller Snitch ($42m on a $12m budget), Johnson didn’t get much of a chance to test his “all by myself” pull until Hercules. Indeed, Giamatti’s character is the film’s real hero, since his expert pronouncements succeed in drastically reducing the quake’s death toll – freeing us to enjoy the spectacle of catastrophe without too many qualms. As the assembled characters dodge debris and do lots of screaming — the quake demolishes L.A. and San Francisco simultaneously — Peyton shows us both the computer-scaled chaos (well rendered, if indistinguishable from the similar destruction present in every disaster pic and comicbook film of the past half-decade) as well as some glimpses at more immediate epicenters.

During its US television premiere on Tuesday, screenwriter Arash Amel live-tweeted the entire experience to set the record straight and was nothing short of scathing. While you could spend each week waiting for the latest Game of Thrones bloodbath, buzz is growing around offerings from the likes of Netflix, Stan, HBO and BBC. Paramount sold an exciting and somewhat cheerful action-adventure movie as a grim-and-dark-and-gritty retelling of the classic tale, with most of the marketing time given over to Hercules punching monsters, all of which came from a pre-credits montage.

The movie – which starred Nicole Kidman as Princess Grace Kelly of Monaco as she struggled with leaving her Hollywood career – bombed at the Cannes Film Festival last year and missed the Oscar season entirely. It’s probably the best “not screened for critics” movie since Psycho, and its $243 million worldwide gross was more-or-less okay thanks to its mere $100m budget. With the earthquake having passed, it’s here that the film ought to stir up some novel perils to test and develop its characters, and the aftermath of an earthquake should provide plenty of dangers — gas leaks, explosions, fires, riots, slightly worse traffic, etc. Instead, the film simply doubles down on its initial gambit, as Giamatti’s scientist discovers that the biggest, most devastating quake in American history is merely a precursor for a bigger, more most-devastating quake that could turn California into Arizona Bay at any moment.

Otherwise, he gives the type of heroic alpha-male performance we’ve come to reliably expect, along with the occasional twinkle of characteristic humor. Thanks to this lack of tension — when two major world cities lie in ruins, it’s hard to get too worked up over the danger of the rubble re-collapsing — the film drifts off in its last hour. Likening the film to a “sinking ship”, he said the film had been plagued by people storming off set, disappearing production staff and entire sets going missing. Gugino and Daddario are no slouches either, barreling full-bore through physically intense scenes that are no less demanding for all their liberally deployed special effects. I can’t speak to the critical consensus as I am writing this before the embargo breaks, but I can say that audiences who turn up on opening weekend will get what they paid for.

Meanwhile, Blake and Ben develop a nervous sort of romance as they trudge through the streets, with Blake losing a new article of clothing at every aftershock. So if San Andreas eventually emerges as a feel-good disaster movie, it probably just reflects our aspirations for maintaining order in the inevitable chaos of a catastrophic quake. Bay Area natives will surely chuckle at some of the geographic oddities here, as the trio consult a map to find their way from Chinatown to Coit Tower, a landmark that ought to be easily visible simply by looking up. Daddario maintains a bright screen presence, and she manages to keep her half of the narrative afloat well enough, yet Johnson is the main attraction.

Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Carla Gugino, Alexandra Daddario, Paul Giamatti, Ioan Gruffudd, Archie Panjabi, Hugo Johnstone-Burt, Art Parkinson, Kylie Minogue, Will Yun Lee Best utilized when he’s allowed to arch his famous right eyebrow at the tumult unfolding around him, Johnson affects a more solemn, Stallonian presence here, and he’s as solid an action hero as ever. All of my children, including the one born this past Saturday, have been raised or will be raised on a steady diet of Seconds From Disaster and Air Emergency marathons. A Warner Bros. release of a New Line Cinema presentation in association with Village Roadshow Pictures, Ratpac-Dune Entertainment of an FPS production. Featuring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson as two detectives working on a bizarre murder case, the series has the same gritty, gnarly and dark plotline as Breaking Bad.

For those who just came to see the show, with the show in this case being the jaw-dropping carnage and much of California being laid to waste by earthquakes and the like, San Andreas absolutely delivers in spades. If you’ve been experiencing withdrawals from your favourite neurotic characters since 30 Rock ended in 2013, don’t fear, because Tina Fey is back with Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Camera (color), Steve Yedlin; editor, Bob Ducsay; music, Andrew Lockington; production designer, Barry Chusid; costume designer, Wendy Chuck; art directors, Jacinta Leong, Matt Putland, Tom Nursey; set decorator, Lisa Thompson; sound (Dolby Digital), Guntis Sics; supervising sound editor, Per Hallberg; re-recording mixers, Tim LeBlanc, Gregg Landaker; visual effects supervisor, Colin Strause; visual effects, Scanline, Hydraulix, Method, Cinesite, Atomic Fiction, Image Engine, Soho, MPC; special effects supervisor, Brian Cox; assistant director, Simon Warnock; casting, Deborah Aquila, Tricia Wood. The crime drama perfectly captures America’s social divide and follows the unravelling of the main characters following the murder of a young American veteran involved in drugs and organised crime. That’s pretty much the ballgame, with our POV shifting between The Rock, Giamatti, and Daddario and her newfound friends as they separately do what they can as the world splits open.

The set piece is incredibly suspenseful since we don’t know if said curtain raiser will establish his bonafide’s or give him a crushing defeat for which he must be redeemed. He is (understandably, I suppose) focused exclusively on finding his daughter and it’s a little odd that we don’t see this professional hero doing more to help those affected by the quake. I don’t necessarily expect a moment of silence for every life lost nor do I expect the carnage to have some deeper meaning, but when you find yourself yearning for the grim realism of Wolfgang Petersen’s Poseidon, well, that’s a sign that you’ve erred a bit too much into the realm of “no harm, no foul” mass carnage. Even (slight spoiler) the death of a somewhat villainous character is undercut by the fact that countless other innocents are slaughtered at the same moment. I won’t give away the best gags or the most impressive bits of destruction, but rest assured that those coming to watch California get its ass kicked by Mother Nature will walk away quite satisfied.

Dwayne Johnson once again proves that he is a real movie star while Daddario enlivens a somewhat stock character, and Giamatti delivers solid exposition. As of now San Andreas is my wife’s favorite film of 2015, and I don’t see anything usurping it unless Spectre delivers on the Daniel Craig-meets-Roger Moore hybrid it’s been hinting at.

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