Watch CBS News

Jan Wahl Movie Review: 'Last Vegas,' '12 Years a Slave' & 'Diana'

Chiwetel Ejiofor
Chiwetel Ejiofor (credit: Fox Searchlight)

(KCBS) — KCBS Entertainment Editor Jan Wahl reviews a trio of movies including stories of a slave-era epic ("12 Years a Slave"), a geriatric bachelor party in Sin City ("Last Vegas"), and the life of a beloved princess ("Diana").

KCBS Entertainment Reporter Jan Wahl:

Jan Wahl Movie Review: Last Vegas, 12 Years a Slave & Diana


There's already Oscar buzz around this powerful but disturbing movie. Based on the true story about one man's struggle for survival and freedom, we are taken to the cruel and unimaginably violent world of slavery. The time is pre-Civil War; a free black man from upstate New York is abducted and sold into bondage.

12 YEARS A SLAVE - Official Trailer (HD) by SearchlightPictures on YouTube

Chiwetel Ejiofor plays the central character of Solomon Northup, a dignified, educated man struggling to stay alive to tell his story. Based on Northup's book, the film has a good cast, especially a hateful Michael Fassbender. The violence is very graphic.

Three hats.


When you're ready for an escape with four funny guys, visit Last Vegas. Robert DeNiro, Kevin Kline, Morgan Freeman and Michael Douglas are four childhood friends getting together for a bachelor party as Douglas gets ready to marry what Freeman calls an infant—okay—a very young woman. There is smart satire as well as silly sequences—just right when you need something light.

Last Vegas - Official Trailer [HD] by CBS Films on YouTube

Comedies are hard to find these days. "The Hangover" genre is made for one demographic. This one does not depend on gross-out humor; I wish they'd do the same story with actresses of the same age. Between this and "Behind the Candelabra," Michael Douglas is full of talent and heart.

Three hats.


Naomi Watts as "Diana"
Naomi Watts as "Diana" (credit: Entertainment One)


This movie deserves better publicity and critical acclaim. Naomi Watts stars as the princess of Wales during the last two years of her life. It's based on the book "Diana: Her Last Love." At the center of the film is Diana's love for a brilliant Pakistani heart surgeon, played by Naveen Andrews.

Diana--Official US Trailer by eOneFilmsUS on YouTube


While some of my colleagues did not understand how she could be so in love with him, it makes perfect sense to me since because often powerful women appreciate men who are not afraid of them. The movie also shows Diana's global humanitarianism, taking on issues like land mines and HIV. She was a complicated woman living a challenging life. This film is a chance to see a part of it, whether you believe it or not.

Three hats.

Movies To See Right Now: Gravity, All Is Lost,

Captain Phillips & Don Jon

Home Viewing/DVD: The Way, Way Back, The Spectacular Now & The Heat

You can hear KCBS Entertainment Editor Jan Wahl's movie reviews on KCBS All News 740AM and 106.9FM Fridays at 8:53am & 4:53pm.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.