Opening in Las Vegas, April 3, 2015

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This weekend will be dominated by Furious 7 (66). I’m pretty sure I saw the first one, but I’m not sure about any of the others. Did I see the Tokyo one? It’s all a blur. I know this series has its champions but I just can’t be bothered. Saw an “extended” trailer today at the movies and they ghoulishly play up the fact that this is the last one with Paul Walker. Jen Chaney: “Yes, the whole movie feels overstuffed and overlong, and the non-action scenes are often dragged down by stilted dialogue. But Furious 7 buzzes with a frenetic energy so contagious, there’s no sense in resisting it.”

In what is perhaps the most opposite to Furious 7 you could get comes Effie Gray, (57) a costume drama written by and starring Emma Thompson. I actually read about this story in a book about the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. Effie Gray was married to John Ruskin, the art critic, but the marriage had not been consummated, and, when the marriage was to be annulled, doctors “checked” to make sure she was still a virgin. Ah, the old days. MIke D’Angelo: “Thompson makes Ruskin such a cardboard villain, playing on stereotypes of the cold, stuffy intellectual, that she turns Gray’s story into a tastefully dreary domestic-prison saga.”

As James noted last week, Wild Tales (77) opened in Connecticut, and it’s hear in Vegas now, and I hope to catch it before it goes. It was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars this year, a comedy from Argentina that Rob endorses. Oliver Lyttleton: “It’s crisply and cleanly shot throughout, and the filmmaker shows a rare feel for how to not only make comedy land, but also to make it actually feel cinematic too.”

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. I’ve never seen (or have any interest in) the Fast Furious films, but I’m curious as to the positive critical reception this film is getting. It’s almost unheard of for a film series that lasts this long is getting such a generally critically positive consensus. Perhaps what has been said by some that critics decide to give these films a pass because of their popularity has a grain of truth in it.

  2. When the fifth film in a series is as absurdly bad as Fast Five, and they continue making them to seven, they’re naturally going to say ‘This was fun’…if only in the hopes they end on a high note and don’t make any more.

  3. Fast Five was easily the best of the series. I had zero interest in the franchise prior to F5 and now I’d consider myself a fan.

    Furious 7, while fun in spots, is a mess. Getting to something Marco said earlier: I believe a lot of critics feel like they missed out by not getting onboard the Furious bandwagon earlier, so they’re going a little overboard in their praise for this installment.

    I fully expect backlash to kick in when Furious 8 opens in 2017.

    And if I had to rank them:
    Fast Five
    Furious 6
    The Fast and the Furious
    Fast and Furious
    Furious 7
    2 Fast 2 Furious
    Tokyo Drift (although I have not actually seen the entire film)

  4. I love FAST 5 and FURIOUS 6, but aside from a couple fist fights I’m no fan of part 7. I do agree with you James that critics seem to be going out of their way to praise this installment seemingly in fear of appearing out of touch. But it’s not a good movie — dumber than usual, and worse, the big action scenes are neutered by dullness and CGI.

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