Opening in New York, September 27, 2013

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A quiet week, with nothing new dazzling me.

Of most interest, I guess, is Don Jon (65), actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s directing debut. He also wrote the film, about a pornography addict (incidentally, I missed a film last week, Thanks For Sharing (54), also about sex addicts). I like Gordon-Levitt as a performer, but this seems like a rental. Manohla Dargis: “While addiction may make Jon sound like a bummer, as played with great swagger and subterranean wit by the movie’s writer and director, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, this improbable charmer conveys convincingly triumphant braggadocio. That’s true even if all Jon cares about, as he repeatedly claims in a voice-over that sounds like a loop, are ‘“my body, my pad, my ride, my family, my church, my boys, my girls, my porn.”

Tyler Perry did not make Baggage Claim (34), but he certainly is responsible for its existence–before Perry there was no market for the black moviegoer other than martial arts or gangster films. Unfortunately, none of these movies has broken out as entertaining for the rest of us. Nicolas Rapold: “(David) Talbert’s film, which is his second feature and is adapted from his own novel, doesn’t quite make the grade either. Predictability and clichés get in the way of comedy here, especially with a lead character who rarely comes across as more than blandly sweet.”

Also this week are the animated sequel Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 (58); Metallica Through the Never (61), a concert film by the heavy metal legends; Winter Nomads (77), a documentary about French shepherds, and the best/worst title of the week, The Secret Lives of Dorks (29). Neil Genzlinger: “There’s no way to prepare yourself for how awful “The Secret Lives of Dorks” is.”

 

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.

4 responses »

  1. “Always tell hot girls they’re smart and smart girls they’re hot.”
    I don’t know, that’s kinda great. And so is Mike Ditka saying “And don’t get distracted by their footballs…if you know what I mean.”

    I never heard of The Secret Lives of Dorks before, but now I want to see it.

  2. The first Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs was a winner. However, it was so self-contained that finding a plot for the sequel seemed like it would be an uphill battle (and apparently an unsuccessful one).

  3. Before Perry there was no market for the black moviegoer other than martial arts or gangster films

    I don’t agree with that at all. Waiting to Exhale paved the way for a string of (mostly forgettable) African-American female-centric dramas and romantic comedies throughout the 90’s and 00’s.

  4. Watched ‘Don Jon’ this week, thought it was so-so.

    Biggest problem I had with the film was how Gordon-Levitt & Johansson’s characters hook up. After she responds badly to him trying to pick her up in a nightclub, she’s all too happy to date him because he contacted/stalked her through Facebook?!?! Overall her character didn’t really add up.

    The film is pretty slickly made (and doesn’t overstay it’s welcome) and has some interesting observations about porn, relationships and even how people use religion to absolve themselves of guilt; and Gordon-Levitt makes his character more likable than it should be. But all in all it’s a fairly minor, throwaway film.

    Gordon-Levitt may be a director to follow with interest in the future if he decides to pursue that.

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