Opening in New York, December 6, 2013

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Opening on Wednesday was Out of the Furnace (64), another of those overcooked crime dramas set in the rust belt (see The Place Beyond the Pines). Good cast and decent reviews, but tanking at the box office and removing itself from Oscar consideration. Jamie Berardinelli: “Out of the Furnace features some nice performances and is deliciously atmospheric but it never achieves its goal of being a compelling meditation about how the economic erosion of a community influences the lives of those trapped within it.”

The exciting opening this weekend is the latest from the Coen Brothers, always a reason for celebration, and Inside Llewyn Davis (94) appears to be one of their best. As a plus for me, it’s set in the world of the folk revival in Greenwich Village in 1961, a time period that fascinates me. Glenn Kenny: “The most satisfyingly diabolical cinematic structure that the Coens have ever contrived, and that’s just one reason that I suspect it may be their best movie yet.”

The rest of the openings this week are small films that will never see the light of day in Middle America. I’m most intrigued by White Reindeer (68), a kind of anti-holiday movie. Mike D’Angelo: “If nothing else, this is the least festive Christmas movie since “Bad Santa,” dissecting the absurd belief that the holiday season can somehow magically cure all ills.”

Also this week: Night Train to Lisbon (29), with Jeremy Irons and Lena Olin; S#x Acts (67), an Israeli film about a promiscuous teen; The Last Days on Mars (47), a sci-fi film; Twice Born (32), a film about the Bosnian conflict, with Penelope Cruz; and Commitment (25), from South Korea.

 

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.

2 responses »

  1. White Reindeer is quite good. It’s a black comedy about a woman grieving during Christmas season, and examines the absurd notion that is almost a responsibility to be festive during the month of December. It also doesn’t have answers or epiphanies. Even Bad Santa had a sentimental ending, but not White Reindeer. Also, the star, Anna Margaret Hollyman, is an actress to watch.

  2. Out of the Furnace’s screenplay is laughably bad. It’s like a collection of blue collar drama cliches (deer hunting! prison! heated conversations about working at the mill! the mill is closing! post traumatic stress from Iraq! someone is supposed to throw a big fight and can’t bring themselves to do it! Meth!)

    Bale and Harrelson are able to rise about the material. Affleck is ok, but stumbles a bit trying to compensate. Forrest Whittaker turns in one of the worst performances of the year, I truly don’t know what to make of him sometimes.

    Also Zoe Saldana is just gorgeous in this.

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