Opening in Las Vegas, September 25, 2015

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Interesting grab bag of films this weekend, although I’m not inclined to see any of them theatrically.

The best reviewed wide release this week is Sleeping With Other People (64), starring Jason Sudeikis and Alison Brie. I like her, but he annoys me. He seems so smug in all his roles. It seems very Apatovian, as two sex addicts try to find love. I don’t know for sure, but I have a feeling the sex addict stuff isn’t clinically accurate–in the trailer Sudeikis is going to a meeting to meet people. I’ll bet people who show up at these meetings are the kind of people you don’t want to have sex with. David Edelstein: “Sleeping With Other People is a rare American non-homogenized rom-com, and it’s delightful even when you’re not sure what you’re watching.”

Eli Roth is back with another horror film, The Green Inferno (38) which is not impressing people. It’s also apparently racist. Inkoo Kang: “At best, The Green Inferno is a reliable shock and disgust-delivery system. At worst — and it certainly veers toward the worst — it’s a racially reprehensible work that exploits one of the world’s most powerless peoples. And no number of movie-geek references to “Cannibal Holocaust” is going to change that.”

For the pint-size set is Hotel Transylvania 2 (43) I didn’t see the first, and will not be seeing the second, but I probably would have liked this when I was about eight, as I was into monsters. Roger Moore: “It skews very young, and for that crowd, Hotel Transylvania 2 works well enough. If this is Sandler’s sentence for all the awful, lazy live-action fare he’s fed his fans over the years, he and we can say he got off easy.”

Pawn Sacrifice (66) sounds intriguing–it stars Toby Maguire as chess master and psycho Bobby Fischer, and deals with his match with Boris Spassky in Iceland. Movies about chess sound like a disaster, but there have been good ones, such as Searching for Bobby Fischer and Dangerous Moves. Directed by Edward Zwick, which in some cases means beware. Stephanin Zacharek: “Pawn Sacrifice clicks along with crisp efficiency. Zwick, the director behind movies like Glory and Blood Diamond, is old-school in his attention to craftsmanship, alive to telling details.”

The Intern (52) is the film that will likely be the highest-grossing new film this week. Robert De Niro stars as a widower who takes an internship and works for Anne Hathaway, who has graduated from personal assistant in The Devil Wears Prada to her own big wig. It’s a Nancy Meyers films, which for my money means it’s terrible. Ann Hornaday: “Meyers seems content to make a nice movie about nice people doing their best to be nice to each other despite one or two not-nice things that happen along the way. That’s all very nice, but not particularly the stuff of potent or rousing entertainment.”

Finally, there’s Stonewall (31). Those hoping for a Selma-like treatment of gay rights are sorely disappointed, as the film is getting some of the worst reviews of the year. Roland Emmerich, who should stick to blowing things up, directs. Marc Mohan: “It’s also a real shame that such a fascinating reminder of how far civil rights have come in the last five decades has been reduced to such a turkey of a film.”

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 reception to Stonewall is a little depressing because it’s been Emmerich’s passion project (he even invested his own money into it). Still, the reviews are so terrible that I’m actually kind of eager to see it now.

  2. Say what you like about Nancy Meyers but she was enormously popular during the 2000s (was there another female director to helm such consistently popular films in recent decades) and got some decent critical acclaim as well.

    But a 6 year gap between movies is long by any standards and I wonder whether that gap has proven fatal for that ability to appeal to the public she had.

  3. Forgot to mention that I saw ‘The Intern’ a few weeks ago.

    Not much needs to be said about it in detail; it’s agreeable, trying to refreshingly paint a positive light on the office workplace for once and has a nice subtle closing scene. It also has De Niro give one of his most relaxed performances in years. He and Hathaway work well together and there’s a scene they share in a hotel room that is surprisingly emotionally intense and has terrific acting from Hathaway.

    That all said this has the usual defects of a Meyers film: no real genuine feeling of realism for how people live today (despite her efforts to be ‘modern’), people living in residences with fantastic kitchens that they wouldn’t be able to afford in real life, etc… It also has a romantic subplot with De Niro and Rene Russo (largely absent from films in the 2000s) which doesn’t really work.

    Overall, it’s a pleasant enough film but fairly forgettable which lacks the commercial craftiness that has ensured Meyers have some huge hits in the previous decade.

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