This, of course, is Star Trek Into Darkness week, which, I confess, doesn't thrill me as much as Gatsby week, but I'm not against it. We also have two art/indie titles braving the blockbuster storm -- and both are really worthwhile.
Last week brought two surprises. On the national level, Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby outperformed expectations beyond anyone's wildest dreams. The film's "projected" $30 million take turned into an actual $50 million. (I love it when analysts are incredibly wrong.) Locally, the French film Renoir did surprisingly strong business. (Unfortunately, but not unexpectedly -- there's just too much art out there and Gatsby crosses over into it -- two other art titles, Disconnect and Lore, didn't fare so well.) This week remains to be seen.
We get two art titles -- No and Gimme the Loot -- and both are reviewed in this week's Xpress. I reviewed No and Mr. Souther reviewed Gimme the Loot, but I've seen both. No is the stronger film -- a fact-based film starring Gael Garcia Bernal (as a fictional character) about the campaign that helped vote down Chilean dictator Pinochet -- but don't sell Gimme the Loot short. I expect it to get pretty much lost in the shuffle, and that's too bad because Gimme the Loot is a very sweet, very entertaining, unassuming and extremely likable -- even lovable -- little movie that's worth your time and your moviegoing dollars.
And then there's J.J. Abrams' Star Trek Into Darkness -- a movie that arrives with generally good reviews and which appears to have held on to those things that made Abrams' 2009 reboot such a pleasant surprise. The cast is back. The director (obviously) is back. The writers are back. And as a bonus, Benedict Cumberbatch and Peter Weller are onboard for this one. Even while not being a Trekkie (or is it Trekker these days?), I have not unreasonable expectations of being entertained -- and even greater expectations of seeing a lot of lens flare. One thing I will note is that this is in retrofitted 3D (Gatsby was shot in 3D) and I'm going to be opting for the plain old 2D version, especially after the stupefyingly underwhelming retrofitted 3D of Iron Man 3.
This week we lose last week's opening art titles -- Disconnect and Lore (both at The Carolina) -- so you have a very small window for catching them. It's also worth noting that The Company You Keep and The Place Beyond the Pines have gone into split shows at The Carolina, which usually means this is their final week. Renoir is holding at the Fine Arts, and Mud is still doing well at both The Carolina and the Fine Arts.
Apart from the usual screenings, the Fine Arts is showing the final film in this year's Asheville Jewish Film Festival, Defiant Requiem at 7 p.m. on Thu., May 16 and 1 p.m. on Fri., May 7. Pack Memorial Library is screening Alfred Hitchcock's To Catch a Thief (1955) on Tue.,May 21 at 3 p.m.
Also, this month's ActionFest film, Java Heat is showing at 7:30 p.m. on Fri., May 17 at The Carolina -- with all proceeds going to Homeward Bound of Asheville.
This week's Thursday Horror Picture Show is a double feature of Lon Chaney, Jr. in The Frozen Ghost (1945) and Bela Lugosi in The Mysterious Mr. Wong (1934) on Thu., May 16 at 8 p.m. in the Cinema Lounge at The Carolina. World Cinema has a double feature of shorts -- Chris Marker's La Jetee (1962) and this year's Twin Rivers Media Festival short film winner Mousse -- at 8 p.m. on Fri., May 17 in the Railroad Library in the Phil Mechanic Building. The Hendersonville Film Society is showing Herb Gardner's I'm Not Rappaport (1996) on Sun., May 19 at 2 p.m. in the Smoky Mountain Theater at Lake Pointe Landing in Hendersonville. The Asheville Film Society is running Thornton Freeland's Eddie Cantor musical-comedy Whoopee! (1930) at 8 p.m. on Tue., May 21 in the Cinema Lounge at The Carolina. More on all titles in this week's paper -- with complete reviews in the online edition.
The big release this week is Cloud Atlas -- definitely a film to see and to savor more than once. Also up is Texas Chainsaw 3D, for which one viewing was more than enough.
Notable TV Screenings
This is one of those weeks where you're on your own. Nothing jumps out at me as particularly notable.