Opening in Las Vegas, December 16, 2016

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Just a few openings this weekend, but among them are perhaps the highest-grossing film of the year and the Best Picture Oscar winner.

We’ll start with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (65), which was critic-proof anyway. Most of the brickbats are for the script, which apparently offers nothing new, but Star Wars geeks are turning out in droves.

The presumptive Oscar winner is La La Land (92), which I saw last night and will review tomorrow. It is grand, albeit escapist entertainment, with some charming lead performances. Since it is about Hollywood, it probably has a leg up on the competition (see Argo, The Artist).

Finally the bomb of the week is Collateral Beauty (23), getting ripped apart by critics, some who can hardly believe its existence. Topic for discussion: can Will Smith’s career be saved?

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.

13 responses »

  1. Suicide Squad, though terrible, made $325 million domestic. If Smith manages to make some better decisions, he could be back on top.

  2. The raves for Star Wars, even from people I know, are surprising to me. It’s maybe (and being very kind) 50% of a good movie. Mr. Hunter nailed it on Film School Rejects.

  3. No doubt that the reshoots compromised Edwards’ vision, but I can’t imagine the characters were interesting in any version of the film.

  4. Bottom line: Will Smith has always had bad taste. He’s gotten lucky many times, but he’s succeeded in spite of himself.

    He turned down The Matrix for Wild Wild West. He turned down Collateral for I, Robot. He turned down Django Unchained for After Earth. Those are just the examples off the top of my head.

  5. Imagine how much better Django would have been with him in it. QT should have just canceled the film when Smith passed.

  6. I remember reading that Smith had some kind of algorithm to determine which movies would be hits and therefore which roles he should take. It was probably the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard a movie star say.

    Jamie Foxx is a much better and more engaging actor than Smith, so to the extent that he gained from Smith’s ridiculous choices, all the better.

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