Opening in the U.S., April 25, 2014

Standard

It’s garbage time in the multiplexes this week, with three easily avoidable films.

The highest acclaimed, believe it or not, is The Quiet Ones (44), that looks like standard horror fare. Charles Grant: “The 1970s setting offers a retro feel that should strike appealing chords for fans of old-school horror, but there’s little here that’s exactly new or fresh.”

Brick Mansions (40), starring the late Paul Walker, is about a “dystopian Detroit,” which doesn’t mean it’s in the future. Liam Lacey: “Brick Mansions is a non-starter: It chokes on its déjà vu, the hyperactive Mixmaster editing is exhausting and the characters’ banter is so leaden it might violate federal emission standards.”

The Other Woman (38) is one of those female-revenge movies, like The First Wives Club, only this time younger and hotter. If it’s notable for anything, it’s that it features popular swimsuit model Kate Upton, who must have been cast to persuade men to accompany their wives/girlfriends to what would normally be torture. Tim Robley: “Nick Cassavetes (John Q, The Notebook) has never delivered a picture that entirely knows what its tone is, and a manic uncertainty duly sucks the fun away.”

Fortunately there’s a host of offerings on the art-house circuit. The highest ranked is Locke (79), starring Tom Hardy, and if the trailer is to be believed, it’s set entirely in his car while he’s on the phone. Robbie Collin: “If you are asking an audience to listen to one man talking for an hour and a half, you had better make sure he is worth listening to, and minute-by-minute, Hardy has you spellbound.”

Blue Ruin (78) is a backwoods revenge drama. Roger Moore: “Blue Ruin joins “Shotgun Stories” and “Joe” as vivid reminders that however homogenized American culture seems, there are still pockets that are distinct, with people who live by their own rules and their own bloody code.”

Young and Beautiful (62), from Francois Ozon, is yet another film about a woman who takes up prostitution. It’s not only the oldest profession, it’s the oldest subject of films. Peter Bradshaw: “François Ozon’s new film is a luxurious fantasy of a young girl’s flowering: a very French and very male fantasy, like the pilot episode of the world’s classiest soap opera… But this is well-crafted and well-acted.”

Last Passenger (64) is kind of like Speed in the London subway. Chris Klimek: “Like so many late-night journeys, Last Passenger starts out full of promise, but only stops at places we’ve already been.”

Also this week: Bright Days Ahead, a French romance (54); For No Good Reason (51), a doc about artist and Hunter S. Thompson collaborator Ralph Steadman; Walking With the Enemy (44), a World War II drama starring Ben Kingsley; and the best title of the week, Buttwhistle (tbd). Let’s all take a moment and imagine what that’s about.

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. Nice.
    The Take, man, The Take. He was beyond ridiculously amazing in that movie, and I hear he’s every bit as good as that in Locke.

  2. Saw ‘The Other Woman’ and based on the trailer had low expectations of it and it exceeded those… a bit.

    Probably the best thing I can say for the film is that it tries really hard to work, probably too hard. Especially in the slapstick bits with Diaz & Mann which are more exhausting than amusing.

    Overall, despite some good bits the film doesn’t quite reach the mark as it’s too jarring in what it wants to be; one minute it’s a serious look at divorce, the next minute it’s a female companionship light comedy, the next it’s got toilet humour that belongs in a raunchy teen comedy. And because of it’s haphazard nature, not only is it a fairly long film it feels like a long film.

    Finally, Leslie Mann’s performance has come in for some criticism but I thought it was one of the strengths of the film; she helped make her character convincing which was essential to making the film float as much as it did.

    Rating: C+

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