Opening in Las Vegas, October 14, 2016


Not much of interest this week, other than an indie by a British director about American aimlessness. That’s American Honey (78), directed by Andrea Arnold (the director of the excellent Fish Tank, also about a teenage girl). Getting rave reviews for the star, Sasha Lane, but loses points for starring Shia LaBeouf and being 2 hours and 43 minutes long. Ty Burr: “Ironically, the film itself is as gentle and unexploitative as they come. Yes, it deserves the rating, and yes, it depicts teenagers doing things the grown-ups would rather not admit they actually do, but it does so with a poetic curiosity and a sense of what it’s like to be young, poor, and rootless — both future-less and free.”

The box-office winner this week is The Accountant (51), a generic-looking thriller that seesm to perfectly use Ben Affleck’s dead-eyed stare. Nick Shager: “Seemingly primed to deliver daffy thrills, The Accountant instead goes about its noble-killer business with all the excitement of an IRS audit.”

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Kevin Hart film, and I have seen enough of his stand-up to know I don’t like him, but the kids do. Therefore, we have Kevin Hart: What Now? (61), filmed in front of an audience of 50,000. Yes, 50,000! Tirdad Derakhshani: “Part of the problem lies with the venue. When it comes to standup, bigger is not better. One-man shows work better in smaller spaces. In his bid to proclaim his giant stature as an entertainer, Hart loses himself.”

This week’s bomb is Max Steel (23), which probably didn’t earn back the catering costs this weekend. Something about a kid who discovers he has powers–gee, that’s original. Frank Scheck: “As the stuntmen duke it out and we see close-ups of the two actors making silly faces, it’s hard not imagine a Mystery Science Theater 3000 feature in the making.”

Desierto (51) seems interesting–a Spanish-language look at the border mess, with Gael Garcia Bernal, but getting lukewarm reviews. Todd McCarthy: “If the story is meant to represent a microcosm of the immigration problem, it’s woefully reductive. If it’s meant to be first and foremost an action thriller, it does have a few nice moves to offer.”

Finally there’s Shin Godzilla (68) a Japanese reboot (and why not, they invented the character) that’s getting good notices and should thrill any monster-movie fans. The trailer is awesome. Joe Leydon: “The Original Gangsta Lizard gets a largely satisfying reboot in Shin Godzilla, a surprisingly clever monster mash best described as the “Batman Begins” of Zilla Thrillers.”

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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