Opening in Las Vegas, July 29, 2016

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It’s been a bad summer for sequels, so we’ll see how Jason Bourne (59) does. Most seem to call it unnecessary. I saw the first three, which had a complete character and story arc, now they’re just piling on. Brian Tallerico: “When it’s over, even viewers more eager to forgive this failed creative reunion will wonder what it is that they just watched, and what purpose it serves other than financial. And why no one figured out a new, engaging way to tell a story that’s already been told.”

Maybe someday they can put together a triple-feature of Very Bad Things, Bad Teacher, and Bad Moms (60). It’s always risky to put “Bad” in your title, as critics can be lazy. It’s from the guys who gave us The Hangover. Jordan Hoffman: “There aren’t too many weird or original moments in Bad Moms…but Lucas and Moore, who wrote the script for The Hangover, know how to clear the stage for talented performers that can spin gold from next to nothing.”

Nerve (58) is a film about an online version of Truth or Dare that seems timely given the Pokemon Go craze, but the dangers are greater than getting hit by a car or falling in an open manhole. Jordan Hoffman: “It’s rare when you can pinpoint the exact moment a movie goes off the rails, but when Nerve downshifts from far-fetched parable into idiotic action, the film at least has the decency to speed itself along to get to the ending.”

I’ll be seeing, later today, Woody Allen’s 47th feature film, Cafe Society (64). After a trio of less-than-stellar offerings, Allen has pleased most with this film, although his days of greatness seem to be far behind him. It should please fans of Hollywood in the ’30s. Todd McCarthy: “Wispy and familiar in its themes and humorous strokes, Café Society benefits from an exceptionally adept cast led by Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart and Steve Carell, as well as from a luminous glow that emphasizes both the old Hollywood nostalgia and the story’s basis in dreams and artifice.”

Finally there’s Captain Fantastic (72), the best-reviewed film of the week, featuring Viggo Mortensen as a dad attempting to raise his kids off the grid. Stephanie Zacharek: “So where’s the line between rigid parental standards and possible abuse? Captain Fantastic crab-walks tentatively toward that question, and even though its conclusion feels rushed, the movie still works as a portrait of an unorthodox family that’s well adjusted in its own odd way.”

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.

7 responses »

  1. Jason Bourne is yet another bad 2016 sequel. Maybe “bad” is going too far, but it is pointless and a big step down in quality from the other films in the series (including the Damon-less Bourne Legacy).

  2. Adjusted for inflation, it’s the lowest-grossing Damon-starring installment. That said, I’m sure it did well enough to justify another.

    I really think Damon/Greengrass need to settle long-running feud with Tony Gilroy and get him to pen a final adventure. End things on a good note.

    I noticed Gilroy has a credit on Damon’s Great Wall of China picture, so maybe things have thawed between them.

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