Opening in Las Vegas, April 29, 2016

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This is the last weekend before the summer season begins, so it’s light on interest, but there are a few things that I would to like to see.

I’ll start with Green Room (79), an indie directed by Jeremy Saulnier, who made the excellent if bloody Blue Ruin. It’s about a rock band who witnesses a murder by neo-Nazis, led by Patrick Stewart of all people. Lawrence Toppman: “The whole movie has a matter-of-factness that extends not just to the final photographic montage but the last line of dialogue. We can’t ask for more from this genre, and we often get much less.”

I like almost everything about Hemingway, so there is Papa: Hemingway in Cuba (37), which shows us the bearded writer in the ’50s in Havana. Giovanni Ribisi stars as a young writer who befriends him. Probably a rental. Stephanie Merry: “On paper, this is an extraordinary story. But the careless production values blunt its impact. The score is obtrusive and generic; the sound editing makes a shootout sound reminiscent of an old Western; continuity errors abound.”

The major multiplex opening this week is Keanu (63), the first feature by the comedy team of Key and Peel. I have seen bits of pieces of their show, and like everything I’ve seen, but the general criticism is Keanu is a sketch extended to feature-film length. Michael Phillips: “The movie is hit-and-miss in an unusually clear-cut way. It’s funny for 45-50 minutes. Then it’s strained and abrasive and entirely too devoted to action-movie tropes for 45-50 minutes, minus end credits. I can recommend the first half.”

The movie to avoid this week is yet another of Garry Marshall’s holiday-based films, this time Mother’s Day (17). With Julia Roberts and Jennifer Aniston. Joe Morgenstern: “You can survive this comedy, which was directed by Garry Marshall and written by too many people to shame by naming, but only if you’re immune to febrile calculation complicated by chronic ineptitude.”

Also this week is an animated film based on a video game, Ratchet and Clank (31) and to show how far Vince Vaughn’s career has fallen, Term Life (tbd), which is hardly getting a release. Directed by Peter Billingsley, Ralphie from A Christmas Story.

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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