Opening in New York, November 27-29, 2013

Standard

The big opening for Thanksgiving weekend is the animated film Frozen (75). Our own Joe Webb gave it a B-. I will only see it if it’s nominated for an Oscar. Stephanie Merry: “The animated comedy-adventure has a sweet and very modern message, plus strong characters. More important, the movie blends the music-minded mentality of yore with the more recent ambition (thank you, Pixar) of truly appealing to all ages.”

Also of note is Spike Lee’s remake of Park Chan-Wook’s tale of revenge, Oldboy (50). I didn’t see what the fuss was about the original, and will only rent this because Elizabeth Olsen is in it. Roger Moore: “Lee, in a sort of humorless send-up of Tarantino, substitutes kinky for mystery, explicit sex and violence for sex and violence with real shock value. When it comes to this remake, you plainly can’t teach an oldboy like Lee new tricks.”

The Oscar bait this weekend is the annual stately biography of a revered figure: Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom (59). A. A. Dowd: “Were Mandela solely interested in that early chapter of its subject’s life, when he was reluctantly turning to violent tactics in the war on apartheid, the film might have achieved a uniquely complicated perspective. Alas, the first passage is just a portion of what turns out to be a typically sprawling, bloated biopic.”

Black Nativity (49) would seem to indicate that isn’t only white people who can make bad schmaltzy holiday movies. Chris Nashawaty: “While Hudson’s and costar Mary J. Blige’s soulful, stirring musical numbers are absolute dynamite, the rest of the film’s story is larded with enough soap opera twists and heavy-handed schmaltz that you’ll feel like you’re being bludgeoned with a hymnal.”

Homefront (38) sounds intriguing, until you learn it was written by Sylvester Stallone, who hasn’t had a good idea since Rocky. Scott Bowles: “Homefront is what “Breaking Bad” may have resembled had Sylvester Stallone written the TV show.”

The most intriguing film of the week for me is The Punk Singer (74), a documentary about Kathleen Hanna, the original Riotgrrl who is battling Lyme disease. Eric Kohn: “Edited in a frenzied mashup of concert fragments and off-stage exchanges, The Punk Singer generally overcomes its rough production values by realizing the energy of Hanna’s achievements in terms of her passion and physical prowess.”

 

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.

One response »

  1. I just wrote a long missive about Black Nativity and its connection to ‘Tyler Perry Cinema’, and how it fits into the larger scheme of African-American movies and television, but then I thought better of it.

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