Opening in Las Vegas, April 17, 2015


Interesting group of films this week, but I doubt I’ll see any of them.

The likely box-office winner (behind Furious 7, though) is Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 (14), which is set right here in Vegas. It’s been five years since the first one–is that too long? I didn’t see the first one, and it would only be on pain of torture that I would see this one. I just don’t get Kevin James’ appeal. Justin Chang: “Nothing aired by WikiLeaks could possibly be more destructive to Sony’s reputation than the release of Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2, the sort of movie that goes beyond mere mediocrity to offer possible evidence of a civilization in decline.”

Merchants of Doubt (70) sounds like an important doc about how the country is being ruined by paid spokesman, who will say anything for a buck. It’s the kind of thing that would make me very, very angry. Roger Moore: “Merchants of Doubt has its moments when the professional deniars hem and haw about who pays them to do what they do. But mostly, they’re glib, smug, self-confessed and self-righteous tools of Big Coal, Big Chemical or Big Oil.”

Another doc, on a slightly different kind of primate, is Monkey Kingdom (70) If I had kids, I’d take them to this, where they might learn something, than some horrible animated piece of crap. Sara Stewart: “On the whole, though, you couldn’t do much better than Monkey Kingdom to get kids invested in learning about, and protecting, the natural world.”

Unfriended (60) is this week’s horror film designed for teenagers but rated R. My sixth-graders love watching the trailer, but they’ll have to sneak into the movie. Have to wonder at the marketing for that. Anyway, it’s how Facebook can kill you. Joshua Rothkopf: “Even though Unfriended begins to cheat, springing loud noises and gory cutaways that can’t be explained, there’s a rigor to its dopey, blood-simple conception that you might smile at.”

The most intriguing film of the weekend is True Story (50), about a newspaper reporter who finds that a killer is using his identity. It’s Jonah Hill and James Franco, not kidding around. I might have paid to see this but the reviews are weak. Michael Phillips: “True Story is a case of a well-crafted film, made by a first-time feature director with an impressive theatrical pedigree, that nonetheless struggles to locate the reasons for telling its story.”


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.

One response »

  1. Saw ‘Unfriended’ – was interested in seeing it as it concentrates on how younger people use social media, something that modern films have seemed to be unwilling to deal with in recent years.

    As a convincing example of how people use social media in the 2010s it was great. But as a film…

    First half is pretty decent as it sets up its premise well, there is some tension developed and the social media perspective is handled pretty well. But the second half is a chore to get through as its repetitive ‘And Then There Were None’ structure becomes tedious fast, is unconvincing in its behaviour and the “rules” of the entity haunting them all seem pretty arbitrary; an entity that can control technology and electricity but not Chatroulette?!?

    Interesting to a point, but a failure overall.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.