San Andreas

My resistance to summer blockbusters crumbled like a collapsing skyscraper in the face of this big, loud, exuberantly destructive movie, in which a series of unprecedentedly large earthquakes erupt along the title fault line. There’s nothing novel about the plot—as usual, thousands of people must die so that a white, middle-class nuclear family on the verge of divorce can come together in the crisis and be healed (luckily for the daughter, who’s trapped in a chaotic San Francisco, dad is a fireman with his own rescue helicopter). If you can tolerate the idiotic story, though, you’re in for an endless succession of hair-raising natural disasters in which the fear of falling or being crushed becomes a constant and, no matter how bad things get, something worse always follows. Dwayne Johnson and Carla Gugino are the action spouses, and Paul Giamatti holds down the expository subplot, about a Caltech professor who sees the whole thing coming. Brad Peyton directed.