Opening in Las Vegas, February 5, 2016

Standard

It’s Super Bowl Sunday here in the States, so expect lower box office.

That’s already the case with Hail, Caesar! (72), the Coen Brothers’ latest film, in which they go back to skewering the film industry (last done in Barton Fink). The film has received some great notices but not unanimously, and it only did 11 million at the box office this weekend. Joe Dziemianowicz: “Star-studded and stylish, this addition to the brothers’ acclaimed canon is a looker with laughs and, alas, dull stretches. It’s fun and entertaining — no more, no less, no exclamation point.”

I’ve finally seen all the Oscar acting nominations, as 45 Years (94) finally opens here. I saw it yesterday and a review is forthcoming, suffice it to say Charlotte Rampling deserves her nomination and it should have gotten more. Also starring Tom Courtenay, the film is about a long-time married couple that still manage to have secrets. Leah Greenblatt: “Courtenay is a gruff and gratifyingly knotty presence, but in the end it’s Rampling’s movie. In a quiet, beautifully calibrated performance completely stripped of actressy tricks, she’s a revelation.”

Another film long in making that has Natalie Portman’s fingerprints on it, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (46) opened to little interest. It is based on a novel, the title of which basically says it all. Stephen Witty: “There’s noise and movement, an all-out war, and the usual happy ending, but no real blood, no real life. And not much fun.”

A film kind of sneaking in under the radar is 600 Miles (NR), which was Mexico’s submission for the Foreign Language Oscar. Somehow it starts Tim Roth as an ATF agent tracking down a drug smuggler. There is no Metacritic rating but it scores a 90 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. Jessica Kiang: “Boasting a bitter little kick to its ending, 600 Miles otherwise does not reinvent the wheel, but keeps it firmly steady, hands at ten and two.”

Finally, there’s The Choice (28), another adaptation of a Nicholas Sparks’ novel (he’s now producing them himself from his own production company). David Lewis: “The Choice has a twist or two toward the end, and they’re about as cheaply maudlin as the movies get. The only choice is to make sure a barf bag is nearby.”

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.

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