Tom Basham


In This Just OUT on May 30, 2015 at 1:35 pm

Aloha-POSTER“Aloha” means hello and goodbye, and that it’s time to see the new Cameron Crowe (“We Bought a Zoo”) movie. I love this guy, but his movies lately are like a box of chocolates – you never know what you are going to get.

Brian Gilcrest (Bradley Cooper from “American Sniper“) is heading back to Hawaii. He was a big man before he left 12 years ago and then flamed out in the Air Force. He now works for a private firm that is putting a rocket into space. Gilcrest has plenty of old friends in Hawaii, including his ex-girlfriend Tracy (Rachel McAdams from “About Time”), who is married with two kids now.

The Air Force assigns Captain Allison Ng (Emma Stone from “Magic in the Moonlight”) to be his liaison and make sure he doesn’t get into trouble. She is such a cute captain, and you can see the triangle forming. In fact, you can see all kinds of plot lines forming as Crowe works a little too hard to set up the angles and the angst of every character.

The Gilcrest character is a familiar Crowe prototype. A former golden boy with battle scars in search of redemption. Cooper fills these shoes well as he battles the loyalty between his women and his obligations to his company and his country. While Emma Stone plays the Renee Zellweger (“Jerry McGuire”) part well, she’s more misty-eyed than militarized.

The plot of the movie comes off like a James Bond spoof and provides more of a distraction than interesting action. This is all pumped up by some great character actor cameos, but this is not Crowe’s strength. That he thinks he needs these kinds of over the top elements in his movies, like the shoe thing in “Elizabethtown,” makes me worry about his confidence or willingness to bend to studio influence. His earlier movies were just about people, or a guy who wanted to spend the summer with a girl. These small movies were about big things, and the fate of the world was not at stake.

I liked this movie, and I cared about the leads and their story at the core of this film. I just wish he had more faith in that story and spent less time on quirky character types and colossal catastrophes. I still like seeing an adult drama without superheroes that gives me a warm feeling in the end. For that I will give this movie 3 1/2 stars out of 5. There’s always a chance the next time there will be something more to Crowe about.

Tom Basham is an indie filmmaker. Here is a link to his movie review site:

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