Opening in the U.S., April 11, 2014

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The film I’m most looking forward to this week is Only Lovers Left Alive (78), a vampire film, but by Jim Jarmusch. I’ve kind of lost track of Jarmusch’s work, but back in the ’90s I saw all of his films. Lou Lumenick: “Legendary hipster filmmaker Jim Jarmusch’s wryly funny exercise in genre bending hits so many grace notes it ends up being his most satisfying film in years.”

The multiplexes will be saturated with Draft Day (52), which was the 2012 top entry in the Blacklist, the annual survey of unproduced screenplays. The Blacklist has mentioned many fine films, including Oscar-winners, but what of the top of the list? Any good films there? No, most are still unproduced. The only one that may be any good is Recount, which ended up being a well-received HBO film which I haven’t seen. Anyway, Draft Day is about American football, and though it may seem out of place in April, it isn’t, since football is now a year-round American obsession, and now everyone is consumed with the player draft. Perfect timing in a sports movie, for once. Matt Singer: “The biggest problem with Draft Day is that even as it shows Sonny sticking to his guns, its absurd, saccharine third act suggests Reitman didn’t stick to his, and allowed his latest celebration of free-spirited mavericks to get co-opted by the very kind of system they were created to criticize.”

Also in multiplexes this week is the horror film, Oculus (64), about a haunted mirror, getting suprisingly strong reviews. Adam Nayman: “How do you get revenge on an inanimate object? That’s the quandary facing the characters in Oculus, a deeply silly and mildly effective horror movie.”

Nicolas Cage, who has become an industry joke due to his bankruptcy and laughably bad film roles, tries a resurrection with Joe (72), as a guy who tries to help out an abused kid. Chris Nashawaty: “Both Cage and Sheridan (who shined opposite Matthew McConaughey in Mud) give true and at times tender performances. It’s a shame the film lacks the same subtlety and force.”

Also this week: Rio 2 (50), a sequel to the popular animated film; The Railway Man (56), a David Lean-type war film starring Colin Firth; and Cuban Fury (51), a film set in the world of salsa dancing, starring Rashida Jones.

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.

11 responses »

  1. We were talking recently about how Arnold Schwarzenegger’s days as a leading man are long gone, and it seems the same goes for Kevin Costner.

    Less than 5 months into 2014, and he’s already starred (or had prominent roles in) 3 films and none of them have performed well. It’s been his most concerted effort to regain his leading man status that he hasn’t had since the late 1990s but like Arnie, the public seem to have moved on.

  2. I think Costner really needs to be focusing his efforts on television. If he can keep his ego in check, I’m sure someone like HBO could put him into something interesting.

    He’s pitching a multi-installment western epic to studios that he wants to write and direct. I think the chances of him finding a home for it are bleak, but there’s no reason that it couldn’t find a home on one of the cable networks.

  3. I think the mistake Costner made this year was ‘3 days to kill’ which seemed like he was rather desperately trying to become an older age action star like Liam Neeson; that it was directed by the lowly-regarded McG probably should’ve been a warning sign.

    ‘Draft Day’ I think at least seems to be playing more to his strengths of more character-based with a sports flavour.

  4. Costner has already had success in TV with the Hatfield-McCoy miniseries, so perhaps that is the place for him to be right now. Kevin Spacey did the same thing with House of Cards (not that Spacey was ever a box office draw like Costner)

  5. Even though Costner’s film career has seen better days, I would imagine there would be quite the bidding war for his services on television.

    I think any of the major cable networks and Netflix would allow him a lot of freedom in creating his own vehicle, whereas broadcast nets would pay him an obscene amount of money to take a for-hire lead role on a drama. Either way, he’ll likely end up an a far wealthier man.

    Greg Kinnear, who is a couple of levels below Costner in terms of starpower, had every network lapping at his feet a year or so back. Fox ended up giving him a massive deal and a direct-to-series commitment (no pilot required). Costner should easily be able to command the same.

  6. I always thought they could Clean. Up. by doing a television remake of The Bodyguard with Beyonce and Kevin Costner (with the added idea he’s a grizzled veteran who made a mistake as a Secret Service agent and that’s why he’s guarding Beyonce. It would clean up, I’m telling you.

  7. My sister-in-law shamed me into seeing Rio 2 with my nieces and nephews. They liked it, but I was constantly checking my watch. I’m surprised Fox News hasn’t blasted it yet, as it is extremely pro-environment (the villain calls the humans that want to save the birds “tree huggers”)

  8. Um, maybe because Fox made it?
    Which of course points out how transparent and vile their ideology is, in that it isn’t an ideology, it’s simply what they’re told to say, and they’re being told to keep quiet on this one. Kinda ‘Don’t let anyone else win’ analogy, perhaps? They’re not interested in pushing their ideology (or perhaps don’t have one, though they claim to), it’s simply a stance to control what people are thinking and they’re not too low to point out anything they need to so those ‘damn liberals’ don’t win, even though one of their movies has ‘damn liberal’ viewpoints?

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