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June 12th, 2015

Movie Review - San Andreas

(Yay! Back to seeing movies again! Woot!)

San Andreas

Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Carla Gugino, Alexandra Daddario, Ioan Gruffudd, Archie Panjabi, Paul Giamatti, Hugo Johnstone-Burt, Art Parkinson, Will Yun Lee, and more.

Directed by: Brad Peyton Screenplay by: Carlton Cuse Story by: Andre Fabrizio and Jeremy Passmore Cinematography by: Steve Yedlin Music by: Andrew Lockington

Premise: Though Ray is a hero to many as a veteran rescue chopper pilot, it still hasn't prevented him from slowly losing all he loves most. But when a series of small earthquakes in Nevada end up heralding a much more violent upheavals coming to hit California, Ray unexpectedly gets a second chance to make things right again. (Rated PG-13)


1) Acting - Total Thumbs Up: Dwayne Johnson has always been able to pull the heart strings or say any number of cliches or silly things with a straight face. Both are great skills to have in disaster movies, so he was a good pick. Carla Gugino as Emma was also a great choice. Alexandra Daddario, Hugo Johnstone-Burt, and Art Parkinson were adorable and worked quite well together. Paul Giamatti and Ioan Gruffudd always do great work and their performances during this film are no exception.

2) Special Effects - Total Thumbs Up: Special effects are one of the main ingredients for a great disaster movie. "San Andreas" had them in spades. Several of the earthquakes scenes were just amazing! Watching the waves of force ripple through the land will give you chills. The giant crack after one of the earthquakes was jaw dropping. A great bit to bring home just how vast the reach of this thing was.

What really sold the film, however, were the special effects that were up close and personal. A multitude of gags happen right beside you, making them immediate, devastating, and shocking. The way they were handled made the moments more poignant than usual, which only added to the realistic feel of the disaster and the immersion of the audience into the story.

There are a multitude of iconic moments. And they run the whole gambit - falling buildings, out of control fires, tsunamis, death by cruiseship, death by buildings, possibly even death by a kitchen sink. The special effects people also had some great fun with helicopters and planes!

3) Plot/Story - Thumbs Up: Disaster films tend to be formulaic by nature. "San Andreas" is no exception. But I will say it came across a little more creative and believable than some. The people they gave to cheer for were likable, and also ratcheted up the anticipation as they gave us others to get excited about in just how they'd get their 'just desserts'.

A few spots might ring a little false, but they were in the minority. Best thing to do, is to strap in and go along for the ride. :)

4) Stunts - Total Thumbs Up: Though some of the stunts involved CGI, many did not. Between all the shaking and the rolling, the stunt people were kept quite busy. Great job guys!

5) Locations/Cinematography - Total Thumbs Up: Some lovely sweeps of LA and San Francisco tantalize the audience before disaster strikes. An easy way to make the destruction have more impact. The disasters were filmed from all angles - from the air, from the ground, from the water - immersing the audience completely in the story being told.

Conclusion: If you're a fan of disaster films, this one is definitely worth putting on the list to watch. The visuals are great! All the right components are there, and the personal drama, and even a budding romance, worked well within the film.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Full Price to See Again)

Gloria Oliver
Unveiling the Fantastic



(2015) Fantasy

The King is Dead! Long Live the Undead King!

"What are you implying?"

The magister glided forward and scrunched down beside him.

"That in order to bathe, you must first actually get into the bath."


(2014) Urban Fantasy

It took everything from her, except revenge!

The muscles in my right arm jerked from tension as I tried to make it move and it resisted. A shrill scream inside my head insisted I didn't want to do this. That if I did, there'd be no way to take it back. "I...I'm afraid."


(2011) Young Adult – Fantasy

Which is worse…the monster without or within?


Home—family—the two things he would never have, the two things forever denied him…because of her.

Anger welled inside him, the heat of it suffusing him to the core, gurgling with seething emotions the total opposite of the coolness splashing down from the fountain nearby. Before he realized what he was doing, Jarrin stepped inside the gazebo.

(2007) Young Adult – Fantasy
“Harry Potter meets Dragon Riders of Pern”


“Do you need any help?” she asked. “Just tell me what you want me to do. If you prefer, I’m sure I can round up at least a few people to come over and give you a hand.”

Kel slowly shook his head. “It’s all right. Thanks anyway.” His voice lowered to where she almost couldn’t hear it. “This is all part of my punishment.’

She frowned, not understanding what he meant. “Punishment?”

Kel cocked his head in Clarence’s direction. In a flash, she understood. None of this was an accident. Clarence had landed there deliberately, hoping to make Kel pay for all he went through in the past month. She shook her head, not wanting to believe this, but what the dragon said next took any doubts right out of her head.

(2008) Young Adult – Fantasy
“To save the world she must DIE! Or must she?”


Panic and fear filled with utter helplessness made her dizzy. She knew what would be done with her, she knew what they planned. But there was nothing she could do to stop any of it.

Sharp gasps echoed in her ears as she felt the room’s cold air caress the Eye.

“You were right. She is the one.”

(2002) Adult/YA – Japanese Fantasy Adventure
“The Last Samurai meets Pirates of the Caribbean”


Laying the blade on the floor before him, Toshi parted his kimono until his stomach lay exposed. He tucked his sleeves beneath his legs to hold him upright if he should falter. Ignoring Asano, he took up the blade. His shoulder flared with pain and he tried not to flinch, as he grabbed the blade with both hands. He turned the wakizashi until its sharp point was aimed at his belly, the residence of his soul.

(2004) Adult/YA – Fantasy Mystery
“He tried to forget his past, but his past wouldn’t forget him”


Torren took a step back a sudden shudder racking through him. It was as if he’d never left, as if the boy he’d been would be coming back-though the one who’d loved this room and all these things was long, long dead. That boy died when he’d watched his father’s blood pour forth from his mouth, the end of a sword protruding from his abdomen. That boy died when he survived while everyone else lay dead.

Info, sample chapters, and free reads at www.gloriaoliver.com

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