Loose Ends 

Three year-end box office bonanzas are critical duds

We're in the homestretch now.

Only a few weeks remain before we put a bow on another year at the movies, but before we compile our "best of" list, we still have some housecleaning to do--an update on the most controversial film of the year and some passing thoughts on a few heavyweight projects that we didn't want to slip by without weighing in on.

Boise Warms Up to Blue

Following a minor "brew"-haha, because Idaho lawmen don't want alcohol near the premises if an NC-17 movie is being shown, Blue is the Warmest Color will finally find an on-screen home in Boise, when it opens for a special engagement, Friday, Dec. 13, at the Edwards Boise Downtown Stadium 9.

Soon after Boise Weekly reported (BW, Screen, "Banned in Boise?" Oct. 9, 2013) that one of the year's best films wouldn't be opening at The Flicks, Boise's favorite art house showcase for award-winning (and often controversial) films, due to the fact that The Flicks' liquor license was tied directly to Idaho's archaic code on indecency and obscenity, our story was trumpeted by The Guardian, The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. "Banned in Idaho," screamed The Guardian's headline.

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Meanwhile, insiders at IFC/Sundance Films were in regular contact with Boise Weekly, telling us that they were trying to convince another venue to show a film that was apparently too hot to handle. And indeed, the film's distributors confirmed that Blue is the Warmest Color will show in downtown Boise--albeit only for those 17 and older.

Still Hungry

Having been sorely disappointed by the first installment of The Hunger Games. I was certain that the second installment had to be an improvement.

I couldn't have been more wrong--this dull-as-a-butter knife enterprise just keeps getting worse. With such worthy themes as violence, independence and economic repression, I kept thinking: "Remind me again: Why exactly are these people fighting?" The screenplays are silly, the acting is embarrassing and the special effects are some of the worst examples of excess in recent memory.

Oscar-Baiting

I bristled at two recent blockbusters--The Butler and Captain Phillips--as tiresome and heavy-handed attempts for Oscar glory.

I take a backseat to no one in my admiration for Tom Hanks. In fact, I think his work in Charlie Wilson's War and The Terminal were sorely underestimated. But Captain Phillips left me stone cold. The good news is that I've seen Hanks' next major release, Saving Mr. Banks (scheduled to be released in a couple of weeks), and he's back in fine form.

And The Butler? Please. While I found it to be mildly entertaining, it was another manipulative piece of Hollywood revisionism, and the worst piece of claptrap since The Help.

BW Readers Are Ahead of the Curve

The Independent Spirit Awards, which hand out their hardware in an avant-garde ceremony the day before the Oscars, have already unveiled their nominees for 2014. And Boise Weekly readers should take note of some familiar titles, not the least of which is 12 Years a Slave, which we've been crowing about since September. The brilliant Steve McQueen-directed movie picked up Independent Spirit noms for Best Feature, Director, Actor, Supporting Actor and Supporting Actress. Other prime nominees include a number of BW-championed titles: All is Lost, Before Midnight, Blue Jasmine, Dallas Buyers Club, Enough Said and Frances Ha.

Stick with us; we try really hard not to steer you wrong.

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