Opening in Las Vegas, January 9, 2015

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Pretty good week here for new films, though I will skip Taken 3. How much suffering can one family go through?

To start off with, then, there is Taken 3 (29), where Liam Neeson’s particular skills are used against the police when he’s framed for murder. Judging by the reviews, one hopes this is it for the franchise, unless (drumroll) there’s a reboot! Maggie Lee: “A mind-numbing, crash-bang misfire that abandons chic European capitals for the character’s own backyard.”

Now, on to good films. Selma (89) is definite Oscar material, despite quibbling about the actions of President LBJ. Scott Tobias: “DuVernay stages well-known public events like the “Bloody Sunday” march with scrupulousness, scope, and a gut-wrenching visceral power. But Selma’s true success is as a chamber piece, not a thundering historical epic.”

Inherent Vice (81) should be heralded both as the latest P.T. Anderson film, and the first movie filmed from a Thomas Pynchon novel. It stars Joaquin Phoenix as a private eye on the beaches of California. Rodrigo Perez: “Big, wonderfully oddball, sometimes confounding and beautiful, Inherent Vice supplies good dosages of stoner giggles. But its doobage is potent and reflects some heavy ideas you’ll need to unpack and meditate on for a long while.”

Opening at one theater here in Vegas is a movie you may have heard of: The Interview (52). Josh Bell: “This dopey comedy, which is more of a lowbrow bromance than a political satire, doesn’t benefit from all its controversy.”

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. Selma’s ok. It’s inspiring. it’s timely. There’s a good performance from Oyelowo. But I just couldn’t shake the feeling that I was watching an above-average HBO movie*.

    Still, scoring a Best Picture Nomination means more people will see the film and there’s no doubt in my mind that many Americans could benefit from a viewing.

    *It didn’t help that the cast is peppered with Bad Movie Signs from start to finish. You’ve got Oprah Winfrey, Giovanni Ribisi, Tim Roth, Dylan Baker…then “Bad Movie Sign Patient Zero” Cuba Gooding Jr. shows up in the third act. Yikes.

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