Would you settle for Nevada on TV with a plot nod to Vegas? Then add 2007’s Smokin’ Aces up your DVR sleeve. At least it’s about a Vegas character even if he’s not in town. This dark, comic action entry posits that a Vegas magician played by Jeremy Piven — and named Buddy “Aces” Israel (yup, we’re serious about that) – has become a mob informant, with a $1 mill bounty on his noggin while hiding out in a Lake Tahoe hotel. Among those trying to either protect the prey or collect the bounty for his rubout are characters played by Ben Affleck, Jason Bateman, Common, Andy Garcia, Taraji B. Henson, Ray Liotta, Chris Pine and Mathew Fox — plus singer Alicia Keys in her acting debut.
In the spotlight this week, Burt in Vegas double-dip in Heat and and The Cannonball Run. Which Burt Reynolds-in-Vegas do you prefer? Understated and moody or unbridled and goofy? It’s a pick-’em in this STARZ run of the late Mustachioed One’s pop-ups in town.
In the spotlight The Las Vegas Bowl featuring Boise State vs. Washington, live Dec. 21 at 4:30 p.m. on ABC. The Big Game at Sam Boyd Stadium. Wipe away the sniffles and get ready for the excitement as the final Las Vegas Bowl at Sam Boyd Stadium kicks off. Be there — at least electronically, if not in actuality — or be very, very, very square.
In the spotlight this week: Beavis and Butt-head Do America and Boss Baby. Given how so many Vegas visitors are highly animated, figuratively speaking, let’s make it literal in this week’s spotlight, shining on two flicks that portray us in cartoon terms.
In the spotlight this week, Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, featuring Mike Myers’ orthodontically-challenged spy who is all over our town in an absurdist 1997 comic stew that takes us a local tour of spots including the Stardust, the Riviera, the Imperial Palace.
OMG! Post-apocalyptic ruins of Las Vegas! We suffer a rather dire fate in this 2007 installment of the horror franchise Resident Evil: Extinction, in which Milla Jovovich and company cross the Mojave Desert while fleeing a zombie apocalypse. What survives? The Luxor stands. So does New York-New York, though the Statue of Liberty takes a substantial hit, as does the Eiffel Tower at Paris Las Vegas, while the Tropicana is still standing, shakily.
In the spotlight this week is Breakdown, a seriously intense 1997 thriller in which Kurt Russell searches for his wife who was abducted in our spooky Western desert environs by even spookier trucker baddie J.T. Walsh and his villainous cronies. Look for scenes filmed across the Nevada desert landscape, including at Nelson’s Landing. And cheer on Russell in a strong performance as a man whose desperation memorably ratchets up with every scene.
In the spotlight this week, Malcolm in the Middle: Vegas. We think we loved him. But what were we so afraid of? We were afraid we weren’t sure of a love there was no cure for. And we were never cured of David Cassidy here in Vegas, where he stalked our stages, most notably in EFX at MGM Grand and At the Copa with Sheena Easton at the Rio. We lost this singular, if troubled, talent in 2017 at only 67 years old. But in this replay episode of Malcolm in the Middle — the opener of season five from 2003 — you can enjoy the Partridge Dude’s impish sense of humor as he does an over-the-top sendup of his image playing Vegas crooner Boone Vincent. It’s a hoot.
In the spotlight this week, Very Bad Things: Though we’d never claim the title of this pitch-black comedy as a marketing slogan, it’s an apt description of what develops in this vicious 1998 thriller that is more or less The Hangover in hell. A cast including Jon Favreau, Cameron Diaz, Christian Slater, Jeremy Piven, Daniel Stern and Jeanne Tripplehorn topline this tale — about a third of which was filmed here — in which a group of party-hearty pals invade Vegas for a bachelor party. However, when a prostitute is killed, bodies begin piling up and buddies turn on each other as a coverup escalates. But hey — we do get to enjoy scenes including the merriment on Fremont Street and the vistas of Red Rock Canyon.
In the spotlight this week, Mecum Auto Auctions, Muscle Cars & More: Las Vegas Live. Auto aficionados, start you collective — and collector — engines as Mecum Auctions return to the Las Vegas Convention Center for its third annual confab here, Oct. 10-12, 2019. Rev up your eyeballs to ogle approximately 1,000 in all manner of collector cars (including an unrestored 1971 Dodge Hemi Challenger R/T, a 1972 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 and a 1970 Pontiac Trans Am) and 400-plus “road art” items (vintage signs, coolers, gas pumps, clocks, large-scale neon signs and more) on the auction block.
In the spotlight: Bugsy, Now You See Me and Fright Night. Bugsy — First, the minuses: You won’t see much of honest-to-goodness Las Vegas in director Barry Levinson’s 1991 gangster epic that purports to chronicle Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel’s rise in our town and his “creation” of the Flamingo hotel-casino.
Hit the waaay-waaay-waaaay-back machine to pre-Rat Pack Vegas in this 1956 comedy as The Bowery Boys, those adorable lunkheads from Gotham, drop into town for their 41st entry (wow, talk about franchise longevity). In this one, Sach (Huntz Hall), through the ridiculous plot twist of an electric shock, acquires the ability to “see” numbers before they come up on the roulette wheel— so of course, they head to Vegas to win some scratch for their cash-strapped landlady.
Take a time-travel excursion back to the affectionately-remembered Desert Inn hotel-casino in 1985’s just-as-affectionately-remembered road comedy, Lost in America. And root-root-root for the totally awesome home team Aces, live from the Thomas & Mack Center, where we expect them to de-Mystify those Mystics in this semifinal round contest!
In the 2013 Strip-magicians-at-war comedy The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, marquee prestidigitators played by Steve Carrell and Steve Buscemi (and partially based on Siegfried & Roy) take on an aggressive, hipster challenger practicing a danger-brand of street magic, played by Jim Carrey (partly based on Criss Angel). MGM magic maven David Copperfield served as a film advisor and shared a few confidential secrets with the filmmakers —for which they had to sign secrecy contracts.
All listings are subject to change, and are Pacific time. Also check for listed programs on streaming and on-demand services: Rush Hour 2 (Sept. 6 …
Not only did this 1996 comedy-drama about single, unemployed L.A. actors catapult Vince Vaughn to stardom, it also catapulted the cast to Vegas for scenes shot at the Stardust on the Strip, and downtown at the Fremont Hotel.
With the possible exception of employees of a certain department store chain that was famously dissed, 1988’s Rain Man remains a universally popular comedy-drama road flick. Exceptional performances by Tom Cruise as a callow wheeler-dealer, and Dustin Hoffman as his autistic savant brother light up this gem that kick’s off this week’s Vegas on TV.
This week’s lineup kicks off with “The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas,” with Ann-Margret in a playful tribute to her “Viva Las Vegas” co-star Elvis Presley, and includes episodes of the Property Brothers’ new “Hometown Vegas.”
Vegas in a computer-animated 3D comedy about kids? Sure, why not? We frown on letting actual children in casinos, but this is the movies, and in this one, they wind up in a bachelorette party limo and sip some Long Island Iced Tea. Oh, and there’s an Elvis impersonator — naturally. But hey, the kids are pretty much grown-ups in diapers anyway
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Rush Hour 2 (Aug. 1 @ 8: 45 a.m. and Aug. 4 @ 6:25 a.m. on HBO2): Cop cutups Jackie Chan and …
All hail the return of the Wolfpack in this 2013 trilogy-ender in which the gang (Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Justin Bartha) try to get off-his-meds Zack Galifianakis back on track with a road trip to You-Know-Where. Bring on the mayhem, dudes.