1. San Andreas (Warner Brothers, 3,777 Theaters, 114 Minutes, Rated PG-13 for intense disaster action and mayhem throughout, and brief strong language, Rotten Tomatoes: 50% Fresh [98 Reviews]): Once upon a time, disaster movies were all the rage. If you went to the movies in the 1970s, odds are the theater was showing an film about an airplane in danger of crashing (the Airport series), a cruise ship capsizing (The Poseidon Adventure series), a building on fire (The Towering Inferno) or even, yes, an earthquake (Earthquake).
These films ruled the cultural landscape for almost a decade. Earthquake inspired an amusement park attraction at Universal Studios. The Airplane! films were a parody of the genre. The films starred the biggest stars of the day and made a bunch of money at the box office.
So, if there was ever a genre that could benefit from a reboot in the CGI era, it’s the disaster film. There have been a few attempts to restart the concept over the years (1997’s Volcano and Dante’s Peak, 1998’s Deep Impact and Armageddon , 2004’s The Day After Tomorrow, 2009’s 2012), but maybe this time the concept will come back to stay.
2. Aloha (Sony/Columbia, 2,815 Theaters, 105 Minutes, Rated PG-13 for some language including suggestive comments, Rotten Tomatoes: 14% Fresh [70 Reviews]): There is a sad quality about the career of Cameron Crowe. He had an unparallelled run from 1989 to 2000 as a writer director, with every film he made during that period was a classic of sorts–Say Anything, Singles, Jerry Maguire and Almost Famous.
He became the closet thing we might have had to a modern day Woody Allen. Big name stars lined up to work with him, and he seemed to have the Midas touch for his actors during awards season.
Then came Vanilla Sky. And Elizabethtown. And We Bought A Zoo. It was slump that would have gotten a baseball player sent to the minors. What we once thought was a can’t miss writer/director was missing all the time.
And look at this film. It seems inconceivable that any film starring this cast could ever rate less than 20% on the Tomatometer. But, here we are. Oh, Cameron Crowe, where have you gone.