Opening in Las Vegas, April 22nd, 2016

Standard

Getting right to it, we have one of the first megabombs of the year. The Huntsman: Winter’s War  (35), a prequel to the Snow White film a few years ago, got smoked by The Jungle Book, and got horrific reviews. I guess we don’t need to expect any more of these. Kimberly Jones: “The actors are all game, but the job’s beneath them – Hemsworth, a pro, and a real champ at faking enthusiasm for this dud; Theron, still doing camp but this time with no tempering complexity or empathy; Blunt, stuck playing a frost-bitten Mommie Dearest.”

The rest of this film’s openings are limited release. I’m most intrigued by Miles Ahead (64), Don Cheadle’s look at the great jazzman Miles Davis. I’m a bit wary of a film, though, that uses a white reporter as an in to tell a black man’s story. Mike D’Angelo: “So give Don Cheadle credit for innovation, at least: His Miles Davis biopic (which he directed, co-wrote, and stars in), Miles Ahead, tackles the problem head-on… by inventing cinematic things for Davis to do when he’s not playing music, including ludicrous car chases and gunfights.”

I read the book A Hologram for the King (59) but I never pictured someone like Tom Hanks in the role of a washed up salesman in a Middle East kingdom. Justin Chang: “A Hologram for the King arrives at its feel-good conclusion honestly enough, but its cultural engagement feels tentative, even secondhand: The movie conjures no shortage of potent images, but push a bit deeper and your fist closes on empty air.”

The problem I’m having with Elvis & Nixon (59) is that I can’t picture the lead actors in their roles–Michael Shannon as Elvis, and Kevin Spacey as Nixon, even after watching the trailer. To make a movie out a single photograph seems thin. Jesse Hassenger: “As much as the movie sidesteps biographical conventions with its narrow frame and playful tone, it can’t avoid a separate cliché that plagues this sort of material: Elvis & Nixon is basically a diverting TV movie given a theatrical release.”

 

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.

2 responses »

  1. The annoying thing about the Huntsman films and many of those young adult films is how not that they use quality actors in them, but how they use them in an endless series of films. Surely Kate Winslet could be doing more interesting work than that Divergent series? And even though I like the Maze Runner films, Patricia Clarkson is largely wasted in those efforts.

  2. Re: Elvis & Nixon, I’ve read a few reviews saying its inconsequential and should really only be a TV movie. In fact it was made as a TV movie in the late 1990s with Bob Gunton playing Nixon. Curiously enough, one of the Mamas & The Papas (Denny Doherty) played Elvis’ Dad!

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