Opening in New York, November 22, 2013

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Dominating the box office this week is The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (75), second of a tetralogy. I was meh about the first one, and despite my massive crush on Jennifer Lawrence I’m in no rush to see this. Manohla Dargis: “Catching Fire isn’t a great work of art but it’s a competent, at times exciting movie and it does something that better, more artistically notable movies often fail to do: It speaks to its moment in time.”

The other wide release this week is the regrettable The Delivery Man (43), starring Vince Vaughn as a frequent sperm donor who finds out he’s fathered hundreds of kids. I can’t think of much else less appealing than a movie that forces us to picture Vaughn masturbating into a cup. Jeannette Catsoulis: “As artificial as the inseminations it celebrates, Delivery Man is a soggy comedy more focused on stimulating your tear ducts than your funny bone.”

This week’s Oscar bait is Philomena (75), with lead-cinch Oscar nominee Judi Dench as an elderly woman looking for the son she gave up for adoption. Looks schmaltzy, but with Steve Coogan as co-star and one of the writers, I hold out hope. Philip Kemp: “Odd-couple chemistry from Dench and Coogan, a smart script and honed direction make this real-life story highly compelling. Blending comedy and tragedy, it secretes a potent sting.”

Speaking of Coogan, his frequent collaborator Michael Winterbottom, who always seems to be making interesting films, is back with Everyday (55), a film about a family disrupted by the father going to prison. Stephen Holden: “Moment by moment, it all adds up. The scenes of the family huddling and hugging, greeting and parting, and reaffirming primal bonds are quietly moving.”

Also this week: Bettie Page Reveals All (61), another film about the ’50s fetish model, this time a documentary; JFK: A President Betrayed (tbd), a doc narrated by Morgan Freeman about how Kennedy tried to stay out of Vietnam; and The Christmas Candle (37), an otherwise forgettable wholesome Christmas film, notable for being the first film from former (let’s hope so) politician Rick Santorum’s studio, EchoLight.

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. Vince Vaughn is desperately in need of a reinvention. His time as a comic leading man is just about up based on dwindling box office returns.

    It would be great to see him gravitate towards some indie fare, or take a supporting role in a quality studio film – but he’ll probably just do a Wedding Crashers sequel or something.

  2. Vince Vaughn is desperately in need of being very thankful his career has been this strong this long. I don’t mean that as a dig. I like a lot of his movies very much. Was just watching a bit of Swingers yesterday. He’s a great run, far better than many have. Spielberg put him in Lost World and he had a great career from there.

  3. His last two films (Delivery Man and The Internship) literally look like they were in a FOX vault since 2004. They’re just so dated looking.

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