Opening in Las Vegas, May 27, 2016

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Two big blockbusters and two well-reviewed indies are on the slate this weekend in Sin City.

The first blockbuster is X-Men: Apocalypse (52), the ninth X-Men feature, with Bryan Singer at the helm. I’ve liked the earlier incarnation of X-Men films more than the first few, but this just seems like a retread and will probably be a rental for me. Barry Hertz: “It’s a goofy, confusing mess of a sequel, a cautionary tale of what happens when a filmmaker lives too long inside his own franchise to realize that no one takes it nearly as seriously as he does.”

The other is Alice Through the Looking Glass (34), a sequel to Tim Burton’s first Alice film, but this time directed by James Bobin. I hated the first one, and this one sounds worse. From the plot description, it has nothing to do with Lewis Carroll (Through the Looking Glass is laid out as a chess game) and just appropriates the characters. Justin Chang: “At every turn the filmmakers have simplified, banalized and sentimentalized Alice and her psychological landscape in ways that reek of ignorance at best and cynicism at worst.”

This weekend I plan on seeing two indies that have finally shown up here. First up is A Bigger Splash (74), with Ralph Fiennes and Tilda Swinton, two of the best actors in the business. Christy Lemire: “Simultaneously lush and lurid, sumptuous and startling, A Bigger Splash never goes where you expect, even as its undercurrent of danger is unmistakable from the start.”

Finally, Whit Stillman does Jane Austen, which makes perfect sense. I’ve seen all of Stillman’s films, which are comedies of manners of the kind Austen perfected. He’s adapted a novella she wrote called Lady Susan, which he calls Love & Friendship (86). A. O. Scott: “At times, most often when Mr. Bennett is onscreen, Love & Friendship is howlingly funny, and as a whole it feels less like a romance than like a caper, an unabashedly contrived and effortlessly inventive heist movie with a pretty good payoff.”

 

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.

9 responses »

  1. re: X-Men – Bryan Singer has already said he’s stepping away from the series and won’t direct the next film. He hopes to produce, which is a good compromise for everyone.

    No clue who should take over, but since they’ve got a Deadpool sequel, The New Mutants (from The Fault in Our Stars director Josh Boone) and Gambit (w/ Channing Tatum and Doug Liman) in the pipeline so they can take their time figuring out what to do with the core franchise.

  2. Ignorance is unforgivable.
    Cynicism is practically mandatory if you’re even a slightly higher-than-average-functioning human being.

  3. I’ve had some issues as well with my last couple of posts. It goes from the ‘Publish’ to ‘Schedule’ option unless you adjust the date it will be posted on. Maybe it only allows certain amount of posts on a particular day now? Will have to investigate.

  4. What’s happening with me is that when i open a new post and then, in the text box, press “control V” nothing happens–it kind of freezes the site, and I can’t do anything. I can type a new post, though, but I’m not going to retype something from my own blog.

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