Review: San Andreas

Dwayne-Johnson-San-Andreas

 

DIR: Brad Peyton • WRI: Carlton Cuse • PRO: Beau Flynn • DOP: Steve Yedlin • ED: Robert D. Yeoman • MUS: Andrew Lockington • DES: Barry Chusid • CAST: Dwayne Johnson, Paul Giamatti, Carla Gugino, Alexandra Daddario, Hugo Johnstone-Burt, Art Parkinson

 

Ray Gaines (Dwayne Johnson) is an ace chopper pilot for the LAFD, and we meet him when he squeezes his bird down the side of a mountain overhang and – of course – has to strap on the harness to save his buddy and the driver of the SUV that hangs by a thread….

 

It’s an impressive start to what’s clearly going to be an action/adventure/thriller and, like many of the best disaster movies, will see Los Angeles and San Francisco come under the hammer – in this case, not one but two massive earthquakes, and then a tsunami for good measure.

The destruction starts at the Hoover Dam in Nevada though, and right there is earthquake expert Lawrence Hayes (Paul Giamatti), whose worst fears are confirmed: there are hotspots aplenty and the San Andreas fault is ready to snap; he races onto live TV and sends out a warning.

 

But snap it does. In LA, Ray’s almost-degree-nisi wife Emma (Carla Gugino) is having lunch at a high-storey hotel when the quake hits. Destruction follows, but luckily Ray is in the air and, with some fancy flying and some athletics from Emma, he manages to save her from the roof.

 

In San Francisco, their daughter Blake (Alexandra Daddario) has just said goodbye to her new friends – stuttering Brit Ben (Hugo Johnstone-Burt) and his cheeky/irritating little bruv Ollie (County Donegal-born actor Art Parkinson) – when Frisco gets flattened, and she’s trapped in car in an underground car park.

 

Smitten Ben and plucky Ollie go to help, and now the story splits: this trio are trying to head for higher ground, while Ray and Emma have decided to fly tout de suite to save their daughter – but there are many, many obstacles to overcome before they’ll even get close….

 

Not known for their scientific accuracy, this disaster movie certainly doesn’t disappoint in that area – though of course what we’re there to see is the (movie) world of these California landmarks falling about our ears (even in 3D).

 

Of course, there are many, many moments when logic, reason and rationality just leave the building (and “dramatic” moments that just get a laugh). We don’t see much blood, lost limbs or crushed people either, and as for “The Rock”, he has a Superman-like ability to fly a plane, a helicopter, to skydive, to dive underwater, to steer a speedboat – all without a scratch. In fact our family and their new British friends get barely a scratch despite enduring unimaginably dangerous circumstances.

 

It’s what we expect though, and while Johnson and Daddario try their best with the halting, awkward, cheesy moments – and nothing’s ever said about Gaines taking the LAFD helicopter and flying it away from all the L.A. citizens he is paid and legally avowed to help save – it can’t be argued that there are plenty of “oh my god” moments here. What did you expect?

 

James Bartlett

 

12A (See IFCO for details)

114 minutes

San Andreas is released 29th May 2015

San Andreas – Official Website

 

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Love, Rosie

love rosie

DIR: Christian Ditter • WRI: Juliette Towhidi, Cecelia Ahern PRO: Simon Brooks, Robert Kulzer  ED: Tony Cranstoun DES: Matthew Davies CAST: Lily Collins, Sam Claflin, Tamsin Egerton, Suki Waterhouse, Jaime Winstone, Christian Cooke, Art Parkinson

According to the trailer for Love, Rosie,  the film adaptation of Cecilia Ahern’s Where Rainbows End,  “sometimes you don’t see that the best thing that’s ever happened to you is right under your nose.” However, that’s surely only the case for the protagonist Rosie. Indeed, in the one and a half hours of “missed” romantic opportunities that the audience is subjected to, there’s really no doubting what the “best thing” is for Rosie. Yes, you guessed it – it’s her best-friend-that-she’s-always-been-friends-with-but-maybe-really-fancied-but-never-thought-about-it-until-it-was-too-late.

However, I’m not going to lie and say I didn’t enjoy this film. It’s no Oscar-winner, but it’s certainly a good-natured tale of romance between two very attractive protagonists – Lily Collins as Rosie and Sam Clafin as her best friend/romantic interest Alex. In fact, associating Cecilia Ahern adaptations with the incomprehensibly terrible P.S I Love You (Richard LaGravenese, 2007), which comprised of Hilary Swank wandering from Wicklow to Whelans in the blink of an eye and Gerard Butler’s heinous attempt at an Irish accent, Love, Rosie is a breath of fresh air. However, the Irish setting remains slightly problematic insofar as the two protagonists have extremely proper English accents, while it is very clear that it was filmed in Ireland.

The opening scenes of the film are perhaps the most enjoyable part. Indeed, I was suitably impressed with the film’s attempts at cringey Girls-esque body humour, in which Rosie ends up in hospital with a condom stuck in her nether regions after a night spent with school stud Greg (Christian Cooke). Despite the promise of an innovative approach to the romantic comedy with such explicit gross-out scenes, it is a pity that Love, Rosie falls into an ever-so-formulaic narrative structure.

Added to the boredom of such a formula is the fact that Rosie ends up pregnant and decides to have the baby because – even though she doesn’t believe in all “that stuff” – her parents are Catholic so of course she’s having a baby. This narrative trajectory seems a little out of character for Rosie who appears to be full of ambition, knows where she’s going in life and who ends up pregnant after a one-night stand with a guy who does a runner when she admits she’s pregnant. Anyway, she has the baby, wheareas the male protagonist is allowed to go off and fulfil his dreams in Boston. Meanwhile, Rosie becomes a cleaner.

The years go by, the protagonists don’t age except for some quick hairstyle changes, Rosie’s daughter grows up into a rather precious brat and Rosie continues to be a cleaner. The baby-daddy returns, there are many tearful moments akin to a Douglas Sirk melodrama and Rosie and Alex just can’t seem to get it together. Will love prevail throughout the years of heartbreak and missed opportunities? Can life ever be good again? I won’t ruin it for you. Everyone loves a good cliff-hanger.

 Heather Browning

15A (See IFCO for details)

102 minutes

Love, Rosie  is released 24th October 2014

Love, Rosie – Official Facebook

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