Opening in U.S., May 16, 2014


The huge opening this week, befitting his size, is the umpteenth version of Godzilla (62). This took some brass balls, considering the flop that was the last version in 1998. But this one is getting decent reviews, and hearkens back to the atomic-age anxiety that started it in the first place. Michael O’Sullivan: “Fortunately, the monsters are actually kind of a kick. And isn’t that why you go to see a movie like this anyway?”

As counter-programming, there’s Million Dollar Arm (56), a feel-good sports movie starring Jon Hamm as an agent trying to recruit the first Asian-Indian baseball players. I’ve seen the preview about a zillion times, starting what must have been six months ago, and it seems worse each time. It is a true story, though, I remembered when it happened. Ty Burr: “An unusual story and sharp talents have been put through the Disney family-film machinery and come out flattened into formula. It’s an average movie, and that isn’t bad — just average.”

In limited release we have The Immigrant (73), by James Gray, with Marion Cotillard and Joaquin Phoenix. Dana Stevens: “I wanted to fall under this movie’s spell as if watching one of those early 20th-century immigrant melodramas — instead, it felt like visiting a meticulously appointed but too-tidy historical museum.”

Half of a Yellow Sun (51), about the Biafran War, stars Chiwetel Ejiofor. It was actually banned in Nigeria. Joe Neumaier: “Those who only know Chiwetel Ejiofor from his quietly powerful work in the Best Picture-winning “12 Years a Slave” should see him here — to experience his range.”

Also this week: A Night In Old Mexico (46), yet another film with Robert Duvall as an irascible old coot; Ai Weiwei: The Fake Case (76), a doc about the Chinese artist held under house arrest; and Don Peyote (12), a stoner comedy. Gary Golstein: “All the controlled substances in the world couldn’t improve a viewing of the execrable Don Peyote, a tedious, incoherent look at a paranoid stoner’s emotional and spiritual unraveling.”


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.

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