Opening in New York, September 6, 2013

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There are 25 (!) movies opening in New York City this weekend, and I’m not interested in seeing any of them. I may catch up with a few on DVD for curiosity’s sake, but none of them are speaking to me. I’m certainly not going to list them all here, just the ones that catch my eye.

All alone in wide release this week is Riddick (46), the third film starring Vin Diesel as a futuristic tough guy. Manohla Dargis: “The series director and writer (sometimes co-writer), David Twohy, has smartly gone back to genre basics with this installment, which serves as an effective reboot. Gone are the silly costumes and wigs, the overstuffed plot and exotic-sounding villains like the Necromongers, the religious fanatics that Mr. Diesel’s character, the escaped convict more formally known as Richard B. Riddick, once battled. Now, there’s one man alone, stranded on a seemingly desolate distant planet with only his wits, his fists and his voice-over.” I saw and liked Pitch Black, the first in the series, but have no interest in this.

The most prominent film in limited release is the documentary Salinger (39), which I might have wanted to see if it weren’t getting such lousy reviews. A. O. Scott: “Salinger,” directed by Mr. Salerno, is less a work of cinema than the byproduct of its own publicity campaign. It does not so much explore the life and times of J. D. Salinger as run his memory and legacy through a spin cycle of hype. Salinger moved to the woods of New Hampshire partly to escape the intrusions and indignities of American celebrity culture. “Salinger” is that culture’s revenge.”

There are a slew of other indies released this week, so I’ll summarize. Adore (39), starring Robin Wright and Naomi Watts, has a plot straight from porn: two women have affairs with the other’s sons; Touchy Feely (50), a film about a masseuse, starring Rosemarie DeWitt; Populaire (55), a French film that’s described as a throwback to the Doris Day/Rock Hudson romantic comedies of yesteryear; A Teacher (46), another plot pulled directly from porn–a female teacher has sex with one of her students; Winnie Mandela (34) a “sanitized” biopic of the former South African first lady; Il Fortuno (80), about two orphaned teenagers; and my favorite title of the week, Hell Baby (41), brought from the makers of Reno 911!

 

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.

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