On Aloha and The Rest Of The Weekend's New Releases.
Director: Cameron Crowe.
Writer: Cameron Crowe.
Cast: Bradley Cooper, Rachel McAdams, Emma Stone, John Krasinski.
Playing At: Wide.
Cameron Crowe's had it rough these last 10 years. After winning an Oscar for Almost Famous and scoring a hit with Vanilla Sky, he went personal with Elizabethtown, only to get ravaged by critics. That film, these days, has practically become shorthand for big failure — which is interesting, considering it was a movie about big failure. It clearly knocked Crowe's career off its track, too, then saw him retreating for years before he resurfaced in 2011 with two rock docs (one on Elton John and Leon Russell's collaboration, the other on Pearl Jam) and an adaptation of We Bought a Zoo. Still. there's always that hope that writer-director of Say Anything and Jerry Maguire will bring the magic back to a romantic comedy eventually. And I'm a sucker for that hope. So, while Aloha is getting the cold shoulder from its studio and being treated to middling reviews, I'm still optimistic about it. Aside from Vanilla Sky, none of Crowe's films are really all that ambitious — and that’s OK. He's more interested in real characters trying to fix up their messes, and that tends to lead to messy movies. But, my god, this cast! There's enough charm here to ride out the rest of the summer. In addition to that romantically intertwined lead quartet, there's also Bill Murray, Danny McBride and Alec Baldwin, who will bring the laughs if nothing else. Aloha may not be a return to firm for Crowe, but it's good to know he's still out there swinging.
Director: Brad Peyton.
Writer: Carlton Cuse.
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Carla Gugino, Alexandra Daddario, Paul Giamatti.
Playing At: Wide.
Over on Grantland, Alex Pappademas put it very well, saying that there's almost something innately enjoyable with watching Los Angeles get destroyed onscreen over and over again. The problem, though, is that we might have seen it one too many times. Didn't we just have one of these? I don't know, I've lost track. But, the point is, Dwayne Johnson (The Rock) is going to have to do some heavy lifting to make this feel like anything more than a redundant bit of destruction. If anyone's up to the task, though, it's him. Right? Maybe, but even The Rock has limits, as anyone who caught last year's Hercules can attest to. And, per our own Angela Jones, this one can't be saved.
In the Name of My Daughter.
Director: Andre Techine.
Writers: Cedric Anger, Jean-Charles Le Roux, Andre Techine.
Cast: Guillaume Canet, Catherine Deneuve, Adele Haenel, Judith Chemla.
Playing At: Angelika Dallas, Angelika Plano.
Based on a true story, In the Name of My Daughter is fraught with passion — just as you'd expect from a French thriller. Adele Haenel plays Agnes here, the daughter of wealthy casino owner Renee. After a bad night in which the casino loses $5 million, the family attracts the attention of the mafia. Tensions rise and Agnes then disappears. But was it the mob, her lover (Canet) or her mom who's behind her disappearance?
Director: Cedric Jimenez.
Writers: Audrey Diwan, Cedric Jimenez.
Cast: Jean Dujardin, Gilles Lellouche, Celine Sallette, Melanie Doutey.
Playing At: Alamo Drafthouse, Texas Theatre.
Speaking of French thrillers: Few look as exciting as this one, which is essentially The French Connection but from the perspective of the Marseilles police. Jean Dujardin (star of The Artist and possibly the coolest man currently living) plays the lead detective trying to bring down the powerful heroin smugglers who made the drug so popular in the U.S. in the ’70s. Expect an equal measure of style and brutality — and at least one epic car chase.
The Man with No Name Trilogy.
Director: Sergio Leone.
Writer: Sergio Leone.
Cast: Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach, Lee Van Cleef, Klaus Klinski.
Playing At: Alamo Drafthouse.
Showings: Sunday, May 31.
It’s not Father’s Day yet (that's June 20 for those keeping track at home), but this would make a great early gift for your pops, provided your dad likes awesome movies and spaghetti Westerns in particular. If he doesn't? Maybe talk to him about remedying that. Anyway. Tickets are only $25, and that gets you all three movies in this series (A Fistful of Dollars; For a Few Dollars More; and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly). plus a food voucher. It’ll be a long afternoon, but you'll be glad you spent it in the Wild West with Ennio Morricone's iconic score stuck in your head.