Opening in New York, July 12


We’re getting nearer and nearer to the time of year when Oscar-bait films are released, and we may have the first one with Fruitvale Station (82), which may get the indie slot that has been occupied by Precious and Beasts of the Southern Wild. The story of a black man shot by police, which has a special resonance given a certain verdict announced tonight, it may get a lot of mentions during awards season. A. O. Scott: “Even as it unfolds with a terrible sense of inevitability, “Fruitvale Station” is rarely predictable. The climactic encounter with BART police officers erupts in a mood of vertiginous uncertainty, defusing facile or inflammatory judgments and bending the audience’s reflexive emotional horror and moral outrage toward a necessary and difficult ethical inquiry. How could this have happened? How did we — meaning any one of us who might see faces like our own depicted on that screen — allow it?”

Multiplex offerings vary from Grown-Ups 2 (20), which proves H.L. Mencken’s point that you won’t go broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public, and Pacific Rim (65), a big monster/robot movie from Guillermo Del Toro. I didn’t see Grown-Ups, which I would consider a form of torture, and I imagine this is no improvement. Andy Webster: “This is pap, plain and simple: scattered raunch-lite devoid of emotional resonance. At best, it sells itself on the spectacle of a TV show’s cast reunion — and even then it disappoints.”

As for Pacific Rim, I heard an interview with Del Toro where he articulately talks about his love of Japanese monster movies. I wonder, though, if that comes across in the film, which some are calling pretty dumb. What happened to the Del Toro who made The Devil’s Backbone and Pan’s Labyrinth? Scott: “If you walk in expecting subtlety, or even novelty, you may find yourself more tormented than entertained. But “Pacific Rim” is also a reminder — either just in time or much too late — that this kind of movie can and should be fun.”

Other films this week include Crystal Fairy (66), a drug-infused road movie about two American in the Chilean desert, Viola (90), about bohemians in Buenos Aires, The Hunt (78), starring Mads Mikkelson as a teacher suspected of being a pedophile, and a movie that sounds absolutely dreadful, The Hot Flashes (36), starring Brooke Shields and Daryl Hannah in a tale of middle-aged women forming a basketball team.



About Jackrabbit Slim

Location: Vegas, Baby! I’m much older than the other whippersnappers here, a baby boomer. I tend to be more snobbish about film, disdaining a lot of the multiplex fare for “cinema.” My favorite films: Woody Allen’s oeuvre (up until about 1990), The Godfather, The Graduate, A Hard Day’s Night, Pulp Fiction. Politics: Well, George McGovern was my political hero. I’m also a prickly atheist. Occupation: Poised to be an English teacher in Las Vegas. For many years I was an editor at Penthouse Magazine. My role on this blog seems to be writing lots of reviews and being the resident Oscar maven.

6 responses »

  1. You’ve started a new thing with Openings, right? Right? Where you throw in one obvious ridiculous movie that you made up? Right? It’s ‘The Hot Flashes’! Right….? That can’t be real.

  2. Hey Joe, let me know when you see FRUITVALE STATION. Curious about your reaction as someone else who lived in the Bay area when the incident happened.

  3. “Speaking of budgets: how did Grown Up 2 cost 80m?”

    I expect half of that went to pay Rob Schneider *not* to reprise his role from the first one.

  4. Rob, it probably won’t be for a while. I’m not sure I have an interest in the fictionalized backstory. They released it at the right powder-keg time though!

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