Opening in New York, February 14, 2014


This week is highlighted (or low-lighted) by a pair of unnecessary remakes.

Opening on Wednesday was a reboot (god how I hate that word–which basically means, “we have no new ideas”) of Robocop (52). The original, now 27 years old (!) was an exciting, still fresh work, so there was no need to revisit. Marc Mohan: “Aggressively loud, terminally mediocre.”

We also have a remake of Endless Love. I will eventually rent this film, if only to stare longingly at Gabrielle Wilde. Michael Phillips: “A movie just begging to go up in the flames of camp. If only somebody had brought a match.”

Most intriguing for me is Winter’s Tale (32), an adaptation of the novel by Mark Helprin. Of course, it’s getting bad reviews–it was directed by hack screenwriter Akiva Goldsman. But I may have to see it. As The Beatles sang, “I just had to look, having read the book.” It’s a fantasy that involves early New York gangs and a flying horse. Genevieve Koski: “It’s a greeting card of film, full of platitudes and pleasant imagery, and destined to be thrown in a drawer and forgotten in short order.”

The other wide release this week is a black remake of David Mamet’s About Last Night (62). Mamet’s title was Sexual Perversity in Chicago, and the first film was de-fanged and largely forgettable. This one might be better. If a remake is in order, remake a bad movie, not a good one. Joe Neumaier: “It’s playful, stable and sexy, thanks to a cast that knows how to find the sweet spots.”

Another rental for me this week is Lucky Bastard (33), a found-footage film about the pornographic web-cam business. Drew Hunt: “In the end, considering the numerous ways the film goes limp, it seems credibility still eludes the found-footage genre.”

Of the other indie releases this week, there’s Adult World (61), which despite its title is not about the porn industry, and stars Emma Roberts, and Girl on a Bicycle (35).


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.

14 responses »

  1. I was lucky enough to see Robocop with an audience 5-6 years ago and it definitely still plays well. And I was the oldest person in attendance.

  2. About Last Night is going to do over 30M Fri-Sun. And Ride Along will do about 11 million in weekend five. Kevin Hart is probably having the best two months any actor could hope for.

  3. Saw Robocop tonight and am agreeance with James. It doesn’t match the original but it exceeded my expectations.

    The biggest positive (and surprise) was that it was a film flowing with interesting ideas on a lot of topics. Unfortunately it didn’t really follow through on most of them but their appearance is more than occurs in most modern films.

    The direction by Padhila was generally impressive as he created a nice sense of style to it and made good usage of the film’s special effects. The action scenes were solid although nothing special.

    Best of the cast was Oldman who could’ve made what was a fairly rote and thankless role into an interesting character (a bit like his efforts in the Batman series). Samuel L. Jackson was good fun in his role as a hysteric media pundit although he continues to be a parody of himself.

    Overall, the film isn’t a classic but it’s solid, interesting entertainment.

    Rating: B

  4. As an aside, I’m mildly surprised at the general dislike this film is getting. Perhaps that’s because it’s yet another remake but this is hardly a replica of the original and has its own take on the saga with ideas of its own.

    For mine, the critical response makes an interesting contrast with the sequel/reboot ‘Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes’. That got almost unanimous critical praise yet I found it on all levels to be a crashing bore.

  5. I was flabbergasted at the critical praise for the dreck that was the apes reboot. The sequel trailer, however, looks a remarkable bit better and far more awesome.

  6. I’ll go even further and say that I prefer the Robocop remake to Rise of the Planet of the Apes, warts and all. I do agree that the Apes sequel looks interesting, though.

  7. Robocop was uneqivocally better than Rise. I want to write my thoughts on it, so if you don’t respond, I’ll just post it. And I might make it a review.

  8. I don’t understand the reference, Slim. Did I like it then? I can’t imagine I did. I may have. I watched it recently again, and perhaps seen in the light of Franco’s This is the End performance, that may have colored my viewing. If I didn’t like it, then I’m glad I was so prescient.
    And please don’t think I’m implying Robocop was a good movie. But it flirted with greatness, if only for short, specific moments, in ways that touched-on and enhanced the Robocop mythos in a fresh way from the way Verhoeven saw it as the “American Jesus”. This Robocop perhaps viewed it through the prism of “American Bill O’Reilly”.

  9. I’m just wondering why we’re rehashing arguments about Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which were fully discussed in the comments of my review way back when, in a discussion of Robocop.

  10. I saw the Lego Movie last weekend. It was good, but a week later: I’m finding it difficult to remember much about it.

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