Opening in the U.S., June 13, 2014

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As I write this, it’s 7:30 in the morning in Las Vegas, but I’m still on East Coast time. As it is every day here, it’s sunny and going up to 100 degrees.

In theaters this week are two multiplex films battling for first place. Both are getting decent reviews. How to Train Your Dragon 2 (77) is the sequel to the animated hit. I doubt I’ll see this in theaters, unless accompanied by children. Joe McGovern: “While the original movie benefited from narrative simplicity and an admirable lack of villains, this one paints the screen with too many characters and frequent diversions from the main story, but nevertheless serves up a bountiful and sugary feast for the 3-D-bespectacled eyes.”

The other sequel is 22 Jump Street (72), bringing back Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum as hapless undercover detectives. Bill Zwecker: “There are certainly a lot of actors who can match Hill and Tatum as comic actors, but it’s the oddball connection between these two that makes for a very entertaining couple of hours at the movies.”

There are also a plethora of art-houses movies, the highest rated being Violette (74), a true story about a woman and her relationship with author Simone de Beauvoir. David Lee Dallas: “By focusing on the tumultuous friendship between Violette LeDuc and Simone de Beauvoir, Martin Provost creates not so much a dichotomy of femininity as a funhouse mirror of it.”

From David Michod comes The Rover (65), a post-apocalyptic tale starring Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson. Joshua Rothkopf: “The Rover is almost worth it for the coiled central performance of Guy Pearce, who outfuries Mel Gibson with his pinpoint shotgun skills and monomaniacal quest.”

The Signal (50) is a sci-fi thriller that seems to be headed for cult status. Geoff Berkshire: “Exceedingly stylish and ultimately quite silly, The Signal is a sci-fi head trip better appreciated for the journey than the destination.”

Finally, my favorite title of the week is All Cheerleaders Must Die (45). Sara Stewart: “Like the reanimated corpse of a teen queen, this would-be cult movie looks the part, but has little going on inside.”

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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