Freeze Frame: “Taylor Swift – The Eras Tour” (PG-13), “Butcher’s Crossing” (R)

Thanks to Taylor Swift and her army of Swifties for saving the lackluster fall box office. The big screen version of “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour” has already scored one of the biggest box office hauls of the year and set new records for a concert film. Shot over a three-day set at So-Fi Stadium in LA in August, the concert focuses on selections from multiple albums, divided up into ten acts. Like the recent “Barbenheimer” experience, “The Eras Tour” proves that people will show up at the local theaters if they feel like they’re participating in a special event. So, IS it special? Well, the movie gives fans exactly what they want; a flashy, multimedia extravaganza that showcases their idol in a well-directed, skillfully lensed spectacle. One quibble: While the sound quality is uniformly good, non-fans would benefit from subtitles. Naturally, Swifties already know the lyrics, but general audiences might better understand why Swift connects so strongly with her fans if they could read her lyric poetry. Bottom line: Taylor Swift fans will be in heaven and non-fans will probably be entertained, too.

From the other end of the cinematic spectrum, Oscar-winner Nicholas Cage stars in “Butcher’s Crossing,” a bleak Western drama based on the acclaimed 1960 novel by John Edward Williams. Cage plays Miller, an Ahab-like buffalo hunter in 1870s Kansas who becomes obsessed with taking the biggest haul of pelts on record. Fred Hechinger plays Will, a green Ivy League dropout in search of adventure, who joins in on the incredibly risky venture. The man vs. nature and man vs. man themes come through in this respectable effort, but “Butcher’s Crossing” is a grim viewing experience.

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