It's the beginning of summer — or so the movies insist — and first out of the gate in the headlong rush for your moviegoing bucks is Iron Man 3. And, of course, no mainstream release is about to go up against it. A couple of foolhardy art/indie titles are not so reticent.
Generally speaking, the two art films — Beyond the Hills and the documentary Room 237 (both opening at The Carolina) — aren't really aimed at the same audience as Iron Man 3 anyway, and the greatest damage they're likely to suffer may come from patrons not wishing to subject themselves to the melee of moviegoers that often come with event movies.
I've seen both films (though Mr. Souther reviewed Room 237) and they're on the long-shot side with or without Iron Man 3. Beyond the Hills is two-and-a-half hours of Romanian miserablism with limited appeal. It's not a bad film by any means, but it's long, slow and pretty cheerless. (I will note that my wife liked it a lot better than I did.) There is an audience for it, but it's definitely a select one — certainly not enough to dethrone the astonishingly popular Mud and the surprisingly well-received The Company You Keep. (I even doubt it will overcome the still strong The Place Beyond the Pines.) I say this not to put you off seeing the film — you know if it's your dish of tea — but to warn you that I think it unlikely to play more than a week.
Room 237, on the other hand, is a documentary — and no matter how good those are, they rarely have strong appeal. However, nearly 200 of you turned out for last week's showing of The Shining, and that audience should be ripe for this playful documentary that presents five people offering deep-dish, convoluted, and sometimes pretty preposterous explanations of what Kubrick's film "really" means. I don't say it will make you rethink the film, but it's invariably interesting. Plus, any film that goes to the trouble of coming up with an opening logo that copies the Warner Bros. logo that originally festooned The Shining is OK in my book.
And then there's Iron Man 3. What is there to be said about this? A friend of mine in Australia (Jeremy Dylan, the fellow who used to do the "Elitist Bastard" art) has seen it and is pretty jazzed about it. (I have trouble getting on the "legendary Shane Black" bandwagon, because legendary and writing Lethal Weapon movies don't really go together in my mind, which I'm sure is a personal failing of mine.) Really, what it comes down to for me is this — I enjoyed the first two Iron Man movies just fine, but I've never seen them a second time and remember very little about them. I suspect this will be much the same. I'm perfectly cool with seeing a third Iron Man picture, but I find it impossible to work up any actual enthusiasm for it.
So what do we lose this week? Well, rather a lot — Trance is leaving, which is a damned shame, but box office figures don't lie. Less surprising is the departure of Ginger & Rosa, which actually lasted longer than I expected. And at long last Silver Linings Playbook is taking its leave. And, no, it didn't finally run out of steam. It was still going pretty darn strong — especially for a movie that's been around since Christmas Day — but it also comes out on DVD today.
We have a crowded schedule this week. In addition to the usual offerings, we have the second film in the Fine Arts' Jewish Film Festival, The Other Son (2012), which plays at 7 p.m. on Thu., May 2 and at 1 p.m. on Fri., May 3 at Fine Arts Theatre. On Sun., May 5 at 10:30 p.m. at the Admiral, Orbit DVD is running Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (1970).
This week the Thursday Horror Picture Show is showing James Wan's Dead Silence (2007) at 8 p.m. on Thursday, May 2 in the Cinema Lounge at The Carolina. World Cinema will be screening Jean-Luc Godard's Tout Va Bien (1972) on Fri., May 3 at 8 p.m. in the Railroad Library in the Phil Mechanic Building. The Hendersonville Film Society is running Josef von Sternberg's first Marlene Dietrich film The Blue Angel (1930) on Sun., May 5 at 2 p.m. in the Smoky Mountain Theater at Lake Pointe Landing in Hendersonville. The Asheville Film Society will screen George Archainbaud's John Barrymore drama State's Attorney (1932) at 8 p.m. on Tue., May 7 in the Cinema Lounge at The Carolina. More on all titles in this week's Xpress — with complete coverage and reviews in the online edition of the paper.
The biggie this week is, of course, David O. Russell's Silver Linings Playbook. Also up are Broken City and The Guilt Trip. Plus, one of the dashed hopes of award season — a film that never played here — comes to DVD, Not Fade Away. There were such hopes for this during the awards push that Paramount brought it in to screen for critics. Why, I have no idea, though I didn't think it was actually bad, but awards material — no.
Notable TV Screenings
Friday, May 3, TCM is running the delightful George Arliss comedy A Successful Calamity (1932). That evening they have the fascinatingly bizarre 1933 version of Alice in Wonderland at 8 p.m., followed at 9:30 p.m. by Frank Borzage's very odd anti-war film No Greater Glory (1934), which deals with war in terms of children fighting. Monday, May 6 at 8:15 a.m. they're running Rex Ingram's silent classic The Four Horseman of the Apocalype (1921).