Opening in the U.S., August 15, 2014


Another shitty week at the multiplex, but arthouses have something to offer.

On Wednesday came Let’s Be Cops (27), and given the events in Ferguson, Missouri this week, the timing couldn’t be worse. Everything about this film makes me angry, and I hope all involved suffer for their crimes. Jason Clark: “If Let’s Be Cops were content to be simply an unfunny genre exercise, it would be easy to dismiss it and move on. But the sting of astoundingly ill-advised sexism and homophobia is harder to shake.”

The Expendables 3 (35) is tanking this weekend, perhaps not even earning 20 million. This might be due to the leaked screener on the Internet, or it may be that people are tired of watching washed-up action stars in routine action films. What is Kelsey Grammer doing in this movie? Peter Travers: “The Expendables 3, trading on our affection for action stars of the past, has officially worn out its already shaky welcome.”

The Giver (46) is based on a young adult novel I’d never heard of, but even though the source material is 20 years old, it’s yet another film about a dystopian future. Inkoo Kang: “The Giver is an anti-totalitarian allegory so farcically hyperbolic it feels like only a teenager could have come up with it.”

The movie I want to see is The Trip to Italy (76), a sequel to the riotously funny The Trip. This time, Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon visit restaurants in Italy (duh), but I think I’d watch these two just chatting at a bus stop. Nathan Rabin: “The film lets audiences be third parties in Coogan and Brydon’s dinner conversation. For lovers of words, comedy, and conversation, that’s an awfully hard proposition to pass up.”

Also this week: Life After Beth (54), a supernatural comedy with Aubrey Plaza; Frank (76), with Michael Fassbender as a musician who wears a large plastic head; and Septic Man (8), a horror film about a sewage worker. Gary Goldstein: “It’s a grotesque, deadly dull piece of cinematic upchuck, a horror film minus tension or chills.”






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. Re: The Giver, I wonder whether Jeff Bridges has mentally decided to coast after his Oscar & then True Grit double? Since then, the only films he’s made have been RIPD & this, both of which had such bad reps they were virtually written off before they were released.

    And there have been few directors with more erratic careers in the past few decades than Phillip Noyce? His career can be broken down effectively into 33% highly-acclaimed quality (Newsfront, The Quiet American), 33% professional but forgettable mainstream product (Clear & Present Danger) & 33% notoriously bad garbage (Sliver, The Saint).

  2. Bridges had been trying to make The Giver for 20 years, so it’s not coasting, and the movie had some potential, as the book is apparently well-loved. It’s unfortunate timing that though this book came long before The Hunger Games and Divergent, it arrives after them, looking derivative.

  3. I got through about 30 minutes of The Trip and threw in the towel. Two dudes doing accents back and forth over nice dinners isn’t entertaining.

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