Opening in Las Vegas, April 24, 2015


Only one week remains until the summer blockbuster season starts, and we’re clearing out the spring stuff.

Our own Marco reviewed The Age of Adaline (51), a sudsy sci-fi-ish story of a woman who doesn’t age. It seems far too sudsy for me, and from what I’ve seen of her Blake Lively is not capable of holding a movie on her shoulders. James Berardinelli: “Haphazardly plotted, it not only falls prey to absolute predictability but chooses to have nearly every important conversation (except one) occur off-screen. That sort of laziness is unacceptable and results in a strong sense of audience dissatisfaction.”

I’m interested in Ex Machina, (78), which is yet another film about artificial intelligence (this time in the form of Alicia Vikander, va-va-voom), but it’s getting good reviews and seems to be more intelligent that the average film of its type (see Chappie). Kimberley Jones: “A rattling and ruminative piece of speculative fiction, Ex Machina is good enough to wish it were even better.”

When I first saw the trailer for Child 44 (41) I thought it was a remake of Gorky Park. I guess there’s room for another serial killer drama set in Soviet Russia. With the great Tom Hardy, so probably at least worth a rental. Chris Nashawaty: “It happens more often than it should: A cast of sterling actors is assembled for a movie that doesn’t come close to equaling the sum of its parts.”

Russell Crowe’s directorial debut is the historical epic The Water Diviner (51), which stars the actor himself. One wonders at the arrogance of a first-time director casting himself, of course sometimes the star is required to get the money. At any rate, this film, about a father looking for his sons after the battle of Gallipoli, is being knocked for completely ignoring the Turkish genocide of Armenians. Jeff Baker: “Crowe is a commanding lead actor who could have made it into something special if he’d stayed out of his own way. Maybe he should have stayed home. You should.”

Finally, there’s Wim Wender’s The Salt of the Earth, (83) a documentary about a Brazilian photographer. Nominated for an Oscar for Best Documentary Feature. Peter Sobczynski: “The result, though not without flaws, is an invigorating and interesting observation of the man, his work and the entire medium of photography.”


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.

5 responses »

  1. Re: The Water Diviner, that opened in Australia at the end of last year and was easily the most popular Oz film at the box office for 2014. It got good reviews as well (better than it seems to be getting in America) and actually tied (with The Babadook) for the best film award at Australia’s version of the Oscars earlier this year.

  2. I now understand why Ex Machina didn’t sit well with me. It was a horror movie. I don’t like horror movies. It was a parable on whether man or machine is the worse culprit of deceit and manipulation and if man influences machines or machines influence man…in the framework of a horror movie. And like most horror movies, manipulation of the characters must occur to get to a certain point, manipulations that many times don’t ring true for character intentions. But damn, if it didn’t have numerous moments of stunning greatness, and Oscar Isaac is an amazing actor (and fantastic dancer).

  3. Further on The Water Diviner, the film’s Oscar-winning cinematographer Andrew Lesnie (he’d done all of Peter Jackson’s films in the past 15 years) tragically died of a heart attack yesterday aged 59.

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