Opening in Las Vegas, February 20, 2015

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Great Godfrey Daniels! What did humanity do to deserve the pathetic opening week that is now?

The DUFF (55), which is neither a biography of Hillary Duff or the former MTV VJ, seems like something I might watch at 3 AM on HBO when I can’t sleep. I’m certainly not getting in my car and driving someplace and paying cash for it. An actress named Mae Whitman is getting high marks for it, though. Sheri Linden: “More a middle-of-the-road rom-com than a teen-spirit sendup, the pic weaves its lighthearted mix of silly and serious with increasingly heavy-handed spiels on self-esteem.”

Unnecessary pic of the week: Hot Tub Time Machine 2 (30). I loathed the first one, so will only see the second if tortured. Billy Goodykoontz: “Hot Tub Time Machine 2 is a movie that didn’t need to be made, and certainly doesn’t need to be seen — not when you can rent the original and still feel good about yourself afterward.”

McFarland, USA (60) is getting fair reviews, but I was totally turned off by the trailer, which has Kevin Costner once again trying to patch things up between the races, this time as a coach of a poor Latino cross-country team. Justin Chang: “A rare studio entertainment featuring a largely Latino ensemble, yet necessarily fronted by a big-name draw like Costner, McFarland, USA feels at once mildly progressive and unavoidably retrograde.”

The movie I hope to see is Mr. Turner (94), Mike Leigh’s take on British painter (and apparently unpleasant person) J.M.W. Turner, played by Timothy Spall. I’ve seen almost all of Leigh’s films for the past 25 years, and while I haven’t loved them all I’ve never been bored by one. Liam Lacey: “Performances are still the heart of Leigh’s work, and at the heart of this film is an extraordinary performance by Leigh’s frequent collaborator, the British actor Timothy Spall.”

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.

6 responses »

  1. I would actually pay to watch a movie about Hillary Duff-if it included uncensored behind the scenes for War, Inc.
    I would pay to watch a documentary on the former MTV VJ, too for that matter.

  2. The Duff didn’t look that bad to me, although it’s a little weird having Mae Whitman (who will be 27 this year) play a high schooler.

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