It's not exactly what you might call a happening week — unless, of course, you have a burning desire to see Titanic with a coating of 3D. Otherwise, it's down to two art titles and one mainstream milking of an elderly cash cow. It could be worse. No, it has been worse.
Of the two art titles, one has been something readers have been asking about for some considerable time — perhaps too much time, meaning the interest may have waned. I refer to Lynne Ramsay's We Need to Talk About Kevin with Tilda Swinton, which finally makes its local bow at the Fine Arts this Friday. Yes, I've seen it. I've seen it twice. I think I'll let the review say what I thought about the movie.
I've also seen the documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi, which opens at The Carolina. This one took me by surprise, since I'm not that keen on documentaries in general (there,I've said it!) and am at best ambivalent about sushi. (Now that I'm not in a position where anyone who knows the names of the two kinds I liked is around to order for me, I pretty much forgo it altogether. I think it was something called spicy tuna and dancing shrimp — or maybe it was leaping shrimp. But I digress.) I settled in to watch this one in a fairly gloomy frame of mind — and was most pleasantly surprised. You can read why in the review.
For those interested (I confess I am not), I should probably note that Titanic opens on Wednesday. I do not have a list of theaters yet, but I think we can be assured of The Carolina, the Epic, and the Regal Biltmore Grande. I'll go ahead and tell you, though — the damned thing sinks.
And where does that leave us? Well, let's say "us" strictly in the broadest possible sense.
The new mainstream title is American Reunion — the long-awaited (or so Universal hopes) fourth film in the American Pie series, thereby turning the trilogy into a tetralogy, putting it right up there with Wagner's "Ring" cycle, Well, no, maybe not. Anyway, they've managed to reassemble the entire original cast. Yes, indeedy, that means Tara Reid back on the big screen. (I haven't seen her since she mispronounced Newfoundland in Uwe Boll's Alone in the Dark back in 2005.) The whole thing is about a 10-year class reunion. I have to confess that I've never seen one of these movies and I plan on keeping it that way — and since Justin Souther admitted he had seen one ... well, the choice of who should see this was easy enough. (I pay a price, though, by having to be at a press screening of The Raid: Redemption at 9 a.m. on Friday.)
So what are we losing this week? Well, for starters the Fine Arts is sending Thin Ice away in order to make room for We Need to Talk About Kevin. The Carolina is disposing of Friends with Kids, but keeping Rampart and Jeff, Who Lives at Home, but I expect both to be gone next week, since they're there this week more for a dearth of product than because of sterling performance. And, just in case anyone wants to brush up on Gina Carano (filmically speaking) before ActionFest next week, Haywire is being brought back.
Before getting down to the standard things, let me note that on Thursday, April 5, there's a free pre-ActionFest screening of last year's ActionFest hit Super at 10 p.m. at Asheville Pizza and Brewing. (And, yes, you should have time to get there after the Thursday Horror Picrure Show.)
This week's Thursday Horror Picture Show is Bela Lugosi in Dark Eyes of London (The Human Monster) (1939) on Thursday, April 5, at 8 p.m. in the Cinema Lounge at The Carolina. World Cinema is showing Federico Fellini's Amarcord (1973) on Friday, April 6, at 8 p.m. in the Railroad Library in the Phil Mechanic Building. The Hendersonville Film Society has no movie this week because of Easter. The Asheville Film Society is screening the Coen Brothers' Barton Fink (1991) at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, April 3, in the Cinema Lounge at the Carolina. More on all titles in the Xpress and the online edition.
It appears the big titles this week are War Horse and We Bought a Zoo. I shall lose no time in acquiring those, if you follow my meaning.
Notable TV Screenings
On Friday, April 6, at 9:45 a.m. TCM is showing William Dieterle's Jewel Robbery (1932), a sophisticated comedy with William Powell and Kay Francis that comes very close to being as good as a Lubitsch picture. Very close, but not quite.
I don't know that I can reasonably call The New Adventures of Tarzan (1935) good, but this feature version of the serial — produced by Edgar Rice Burroughs' own company — starring Herman Brix (who would find more work as Bruce Bennett) is certainly an interesting departure from the Johnny Weissmuller series. And actually a bit more like the books, but on a budget.
On Sunday — as if to make up for 160 minutes of the 1961 King of Kings just before it — TCM is showing Carl Theodore Dreyer's Leaves from Satan's Book (1919) at midnight. No comment on the programming choice.
Monday, April 9, finds the Jack Benny version of Charley's Aunt (1941). It may not be the best version of the play, but it has its moments, and it's not shown all that often. (This may be the first time it's shown up on TCM.)