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Archives for : Bill Murray

Movie Review: “Aloha” is an Unsatisfying Trip to Hawaii

It’s hard to believe that the man who brought us Say Anything and Jerry McGuire could have made such a disappointing flop. Director Cameron Crowe may not be on any winning streak with his previous films, but they still always managed to convey some kind of genuine emotion that left the audience somewhat satisfied. However, in his recent passion project, Crowe misses the mark completely. Aloha never quite finds its direction and is layered with a mess of undeveloped subplots.

In Aloha, Bradley Cooper stars as Brian Gilcrest, a jaded military contractor who was wounded and shamed by an incident in Afghanistan. When he is given a second chance to redeem himself, he must return to Hawaii and face a past love (Rachel McAdams) and a potential new one (Emma Stone).

Gilcrest is assigned to be looked after by air force pilot, Allison Ng (Stone). The two butt heads for about 10 seconds before they realize their immediate attraction towards each other. Their bickering soon turns into a fest of them giving each other googley eyes. All the while, Gilcrest has reconnected with his ex-lover, Tracy Woodside (McAdams), who is now married with two children.  One of whom strikes an uncanny resemblance to him. Hmmm, interesting? Tracy is married to the non-speaking, John “Woody” Woodside (John Krasinski). His lack of communication is used as a running joke throughout the film, but eventually wears thin as it gradually goes from funny to absurd.

With the quick set up of this love triangle, you would think we’d been introduced to the film’s central focus. But you’d be wrong. Sadly, there is no central focus. This story takes you in so many different directions, that by the second half of the movie you just don’t care what it’s about anymore.

Aloha’s crutch might have to do with its crowded all-star cast. Alongside Cooper, Stone, McAdams, and Krasinski; the film does its best to try and make Alec Baldwin, Bill Murray, and Danny McBride relevant to the story. The movie would have probably worked better if we got to see four people discovering themselves through an appropriate amount of development, but instead it is ruined by unnecessary characters involved in a ridiculous and forced subplot: Gilcrest’s expertise is required for a controversial rocket-launching headed by an eccentric billionaire, Carson Welch (Murray) and General Dixon (Baldwin) of the U.S. government.  Who cares?  Exactly!

Honestly, I would have much rather delved into what seemed like a gut-wrenched relationship between Tracy and Woody. Why doesn’t Woody talk? How are they going to fix their problems? It might have led to similar topics we’ve seen before, but there were a lot of layers within the Woodside family that I would have liked to peel.

There is a silver lining to this wreck of a movie.  What starts out sloppy and confusing does eventually conclude well and ties all loose ends. It’s just unfortunate that any resolution to the plot feels underwhelming, as the audience is never allowed to truly anticipate a climax.

Though Aloha features a strong cast and entertaining soundtrack that blends well with the beautifully captured scenery of Hawaii, the film can’t recover from the disorienting first act and the struggle to find its identity.

Rating: 2.5/5

Aloha opens in theaters May 29.

“Aloha” Official Trailer HD

Top 5 Christmas Movie Rentals

With Christmas 2 days away, one of the best ways to get in the holiday spirit is to watch some great Christmas classics.  And like most everyone, I have my favorite Christmas movies I must watch every year as part of the holiday tradition.  For all you who might be wondering what to rent for Christmas Eve/Day, here are my top 5 suggestions!

5. Elf

For the Santa:  If you’re looking for a comedy that includes a great storyline involving Santa and the magic of the Christmas spirit, look no further. Watching Buddy (Will Ferrell) try to adapt in New York with his biological father (James Caan) is entertaining for adults and children.  Elf has so many unforgettable scenes, including an awkwardly hilarious scene with Games of Thrones star, Peter Dinklage.

4. Just Friends

For the Anna Faris: This may not seem like the typical holiday film, but I assure it’s one of the best.  While visiting his hometown during Christmas, Chris Brander (Ryan Renolds) comes face-to-face with his old high school crush, Jamie (Amy Smart), with whom he was best friends.  Since being rejected by Jamie, Chris has become a handsome ladies man and hopes to finally win her over.  But not with out some obstacle…Que Anna Faris as the psycho, conceded pop star who’s obsessed with Chris.  Be prepared for Faris to provide, quotable lines, WTF moments, and numerous laughs.

3. The Family Stone

For the Tears:  The majority of Christmas movies tend to tug at our heart strings, and though films like It’s a Wonderful Life and Miracle on 34th Street might be the more traditional holiday tear- jerkers, I prefer to grab the tissues for the all-star cast in The Family Stone.  It’s not all sad, there’s plenty of comic relief and romance to make you feel all kinds of emotions while watching.  Most importantly we see a true example of a free-spirited family who love each other unconditionally.

2. Scrooged

For the Adaptation: There have been numerous versions of the timeless classic, A Christmas Carol.  From the big screen hits, to some even more dreadful TV movies.  But no matter what remake I have seen, nothing beats the 1988 adaptation, Scrooged.  Bill Murray does a fantastic job as the heartless TV executive who is visited by 3 spirits to help change his ways on Christmas Eve.

1. While You Were Sleeping

For the Family: I call this film the “whole package family Christmas movie.”  Original, smart, funny, romantic, and heartwarming.  After Lucy (Sandra Bullock), a lonely ticket collector, saves Peter’s (Peter Gallagher) life; he falls into a coma.  While at the hospital, Peter’s family accidentally mistakes her as his fiancé.  As they welcome her into the family with open arms, she is unable to resist the kindness and love of a family she has always hoped to be a part of.  But of course not everyone in the family buys her story, leading to comical encounters and a blossoming romance.  It’s the perfect film that showcases what Christmas is really all about- spending time with your family.  And remember, you don’t necessarily have to be born into a family to be apart of one.

Honorable Mentions: How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Christmas Vacation, The Santa Clause