my week at the movies: ‘Hot Tub Time Machine,’ ‘The Greatest,’ ‘After.Life,’ ‘The Joneses’
There are lots of eras to be nostalgic for, but the 80s ain’t one of them. Bad hairdos, no Internet, the VHS the height of home entertainment, and everybody scared celibate because of AIDS — this is not a time to recall with great affection. Unless you’re a GenXer who peaked in high school, which would be sad. So can Hot Tub Time Machine (opens in the U.S. and Canada on March 26; no U.K. release date has been announced) be anything other than just plain wrong? I doubt it.
Carey Mulligan’s first new movie since her Oscar nomination actually isn’t new at all. The Greatest (opens in New York and Los Angeles on April 2; no Canadian or U.K. release dates have been announced) and An Education were both at Sundance in 2009, so it long predates even any expectation of the splash she would make with critics and the Academy. Here, she plays a young woman who has an unexpected impact on the family of her dead boyfriend… though it’s a bit more complicated than that.
Christina Ricci is dead. No, wait: she isn’t, quite. She’s stuck in the middle with funeral director Liam Neeson. It’s After.Life (opens in the U.S. and Canada on April 9; no U.K. release date has been announced), like Six Feet Under but without the laughs, I guess.
Every have a friendly, pleasant stranger in a bar or a supermarket mention some new vodka or frozen dinner you hadn’t heard of, but which comes so heartily recommended by your new pal that you just have to try it? That person may have been a marketing plant whose job it was to talk up that product: that’s a real trick that desperate corporations employ to get the word out on whatever they’re pushing. David Duchovny and Demi Moore ramp that up as The Joneses (opens in the U.S. and Canada on April 16; no U.K. release date has been announced), in which they play a pretend couple who move into upscale suburbia and start endorsing all sorts of junk to their new neighbors. Sure, it’s satire… for now.
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