Opening in New York, July 26, 2013

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A quiet week with a few big-time releases.

Of course I’m most excited about Woody Allen’s latest, Blue Jasmine (76), getting some of the best reviews of his career. The New Republic calls it his best film ever, while Manohla Dargis more moderately labels it his best since Match Point. A drama that almost every review compares to A Streetcar Named Desire, it stars Cate Blanchett, who seems a cinch for an Oscar nomination. Dargis: “A moral fable about greed and comeuppance, crimes and misdemeanors, “Blue Jasmine” begins with a socialite brought low and evolves into a tragedy that becomes far greater than her own.”

The big multiplex offering this week is Hugh Jackman in The Wolverine (60), the fifth time he has played the character. It’s hard to imagine there is anything new to say about him, but the exotic locale (Japan) may provide some interest. A. O. Scott: “Inspired by a series published by Marvel in the 1980s, it has more old-style comic-book atmosphere than “Man of Steel” or “Iron Man 3.” Instead of expounding a tedious origin story or staging an epic battle for apocalyptic stakes, “The Wolverine” focuses on a specific and self-contained adventure in a richly imagined place.”

Also opening this week is The To Do List (63), with Aubrey Plaza as a high school graduate determined to lose her virginity before going to college. Neil Genzlinger: “But here is all you really need to know: This movie is smarter and better acted and just plain funnier than most of its predecessors in the my-first-time genre, no matter which sex is losing what.”

In addition, there is a new crime movie by Johnny To, Drug War (86), Frankenstein’s Army (46), about zombie robots during World War II, Breaking the Girls (32), an update of Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train, and The Time Being (27), which Jeannette Catsoulis calls “An exhaustingly pretentious heave of artistic self-involvement.”

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.

9 responses »

  1. I did, I actually liked it. It’s closer in spirit to a 1990s action movie than it is the recent wave of comic book movies, because it’s much less reliant on giant CGI setpieces and actually picks its spots for its action scenes. Gets a lot of mileage out of its Japanese setting.

    Not a great movie or anything but by this summer’s standards it stands pretty tall.

  2. Unsurprisingly (as it’s the second highest grosser in the franchise internationally) but James Mangold and Hugh Jackman will be returning for a third Wolverine solo adventure. I liked The Wolverine well enough and imagine it will play even better on the small screen.

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