Opening in Las Vegas, January 29, 2016

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More January dumps, but the first likely box office hit of the year, starring everyone’s favorite Chinese bear.

That would be Po of Kung Fu Panda 3 (65), which will be the destination of many families this weekend, especially after those on the East Coast were cooped up last weekend because of the snowstorm. I’ve seen both of the Kung Fu Panda movies on DVD–I’ve found the animation to be excellent but the story telling a tad hyper. But then again, I’m also a member of AARP. Lou Lumenick: “The stunning visuals in DreamWorks Animation’s Kung Fu Panda 3 surpass the high standards set by its predecessors, but storywise, the latest adventures of goofy Po the panda break no new ground.”

The Wayans’ are still making parodies, and the new one is Fifty Shades of Black (31), a take-off on Fifty Shades of Grey, which wasn’t as terrible as I thought it would be, but I suppose is ripe for parody. I don’t see these kind of movies (I’ve never been a Scary Movie fan) but I suppose they fit a need. Scott Tobias: “At a minimum, a parody should be funnier than the film it’s sending up, but Fifty Shades of Black, a quick-and-dirty riff on last year’s S&M romance “Fifty Shades of Grey,” falls a laugh or two short of even that low standard.”

After spending years in development hell and then on the shelf for a few more, Jane Got a Gun (46) has finally been released. It’s interesting that since her Oscar (and her baby), Natalie Portman has put out nothing but dreck. I will probably catch up with this on DVD. And I will be humming the Aerosmith song all the way through. The script was on the Blacklist. Chris Nashawaty: “Since the film’s last-minute rewrites, casting switcheroos, and musical chairs behind the camera are irrelevant to the actual quality of the movie, I’ll avoid rehashing them here, save to say that the disarray shows on screen.”

Most reviews are commenting on the old-fashionedness of The Finest Hours (58), when white guys were men and their women loved them. Republicans will probably like it, and maybe some liberals who are into rescue dramas and/or weather porn. Stephen Holden: “The Finest Hours is a moderately gripping whoosh of nostalgia that shamelessly recycles the ’50s cliché of the squeaky-clean all-American hero.”

 

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. “Republicans will probably like it, and maybe some liberals who are into rescue dramas and/or weather porn.”

    Fantastic. Without looking at the byline, I would have thought James wrote this, but it’s refreshing to see two people on this site who can write this well.

  2. I’ve never understood most of Portman’s career choices (even pre-Black Swan) but 2011-present is the resume of someone who truly doesn’t give a crap.

  3. Agree with James; Portman’s career has often felt wasteful, such as wasting 1999-2005 on the Star Wars prequels. Appearing on something like Your Highness as the first film after Black Swan was a bad sign of things to come.

  4. She recently said in an interview that the prequels ruined her career. I’ll have to try to find it.

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