Opening in Las Vegas, August 14, 2015

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I know James said it was going to be tough for him to get up Openings this week, and I’m sitting here with nothing to do, so I’ll take it upon myself to fill in.

It’s a quiet week here. Two big openings in multiplexes. I saw The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (54) and most reviews seem to agree with me that it’s all sizzle and no steak. Brian Truitt: “While Mission: Impossible has found a popular way to reimagine an old show for modern times, Man is immersed in all things retro — from the ginchy fashion to a jazzy score — but for an action adventure, it’s a mostly tedious affair with fleeting moments of cool.”

I am not part of the demographic for Straight Outta Compton (71) since I don’t care for rap or hip-hop, but even I’ve heard of N.W.A. It’s doing strong business, which suggests that a lot of people are nostalgic for old style hip-hop, rather than for another music biopic. Donnell Alexander: “Despite Straight Outta Compton’s energetic acting and Gray’s capture of in-studio Eureka! moments, it never manages to transcend biopic hagiography, with characters whose names appear in the production credits – Dre, Cube and Eazy-E’s widow Tomica Woods-Wright – faring best onscreen.”

Also released in Vegas this week is the documentary Cartel Land (77), about the drug wars on both sides of the border of Mexico and the U.S. Michael O’Sullivan: “Cartel Land reveals a culture that spans the border, full of death and dismaying behavior on both sides, but thriving all the same.”

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. The Man From U.N.C.L.E. seemed a curious choice for a TV to film version. AFAIK it isn’t one of those TV series that people have rewatched endlessly over the decades. And even if it were, the film probably needed to be made 15-20 years ago to utilise any currency for that. No surprise the film appears to have bombed.

  2. RIght on, Marco. Here in the U.S. I am unaware of any syndication of reruns of UNCLE, even on stations that specialize in nostalgia. I would think a sequel is dead in the water.

  3. Just taking this point a bit further, I think a comparison can be made between UNCLE and Straight Outta Compton.

    Even as someone who generally loves the style and ethos of 60s culture (and the music), I think it’s seriously been done to death in terms of films. As good as the Brian Wilson film ‘Love And Mercy’ was, I’m not terribly surprised it hasn’t made much of an impact at the box office For a large section of the audience (especially non-Baby Boomers) it just wouldn’t be that relevant to them.

    And perhaps this is one of the reasons for the success for the ‘Straight Outta Compton’ film, because there have been so few biopics about musicians of any kind who made their name from the mid-1980s onwards (or ones that I can recall anyway).

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