Opening in Las Vegas, May 8, 2015

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After last week’s big opening for The Avengers, things look to calm down this week as there is no must-see film.

Likely the highest-grossing new film will be Hot Pursuit (30), yet another in the genre of female buddy movies. This time it’s Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara, as a policewoman and the wife of a drug kingpin. Witherspoon is a producer, and after doing such honors for more thoughtful films such as Gone Girl and Wild, she’s taken one step back with this apparently humorless comedy. A. O. Scott: “While a movie that fails to catch fire is disappointing, there is something even more dispiriting about a movie that doesn’t even bother to try, that tosses its stars a soggy book of matches and expects them to generate a spark.”

Kristen Wiig, who as a comedy star of television, could have gone the route of making routine films like Hot Pursuit, has admirably sought to make more interesting films. Her latest is Welcome to Me (67), a film about an emotionally disturbed woman who wins the lottery and finances her own talk show. Mike D’Angelo: “The bold, arresting movie doesn’t really work, but is nonetheless almost impossible to stop watching.”

The D Train (55) stars Jack Black as a guy organizing his high school reunion. He’s off to Hollywood to try to get his class’ most famous member, an actor, to come. The trailer suggests there’s some sort of homosexual angle to it, but maybe I’m reading into something into it that’s not there. If so, it seems a strange twist to a movie nowadays. Rene Rodriguez: “The clownish humor is imbued with a great, genuine pain. Unfortunately, the twist proves too much for the filmmakers to handle. The second half of The D Train collapses into a series of plot curlicues and narrative dead-ends. The picture loses its nerve and opts for a pat, wan resolution.”

Also this week, Noble (63), a biopic about Irish activist Christine Noble, who helped needy Vietnamese children.

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. I need someone to see THE D TRAIN so I can talk about a very specific aspect of it. Thank you.

  2. I surmised the surprise from one bit in one of the commercials, then looked up the spoiler. Not sure I’m up for seeing that.

  3. Re: Hot Pursuit, it’s impressive how Witherspoon has managed to kill any goodwill/credibility post-Wild even faster than she did after her Oscar for Walk The Line.

  4. I’ve never seen Brokeback Mountain, but a spoiler explanation saying it’s far more explicit than anything in Brokeback Mountain, and it’s Jack Black (even if it is James Marsden on the other end), is something I would want to know beforehand. I’m not sure I’d want to go into it not knowing and have to see that.
    But remember when Jim Carrey did the same kind of thing in a movie, too, though? What movie was that? That wasn’t considered a huge ‘plot twist’. I think once this movie doesn’t sell, they’ll start selling it on the ‘plot twist’, and it won’t be so much of a ‘twist’.
    I loved Chris Rock’s comedy that came out recently, and though I have a lot of problems with how that scene and character were handled and mocked, they never once sold the movie on that ‘twist’ with the Rosario Dawson character. (That was the one hiccup in a really good movie).

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