I promised you a better week and here it is — though it's shy one title I was expecting. That said, we get five new movies this week, and three of them have merit. One of them has a lot of merit. The other two — well, you can't have everything. Just remember that this pretty much washes up the 2013 holdovers (apart from the one that didn't open). And that means it's probably lean times ahead. Get your movies while the getting's good. (This year might be a little better than most with films like The Monuments Men arriving in February. And we can look forward to an early March release of The Grand Budapest Hotel — assuming they don't platform release it, in which case it may take a month to actually reach the provinces.)
Four of the movies in question — Inside Llewyn Davis, August: Osage County, Her, Lone Survivor — I've seen. Three of them, I reviewed. Mr. Souther reviewed Lone Survivor. One of them — and it shouldn't be hard to guess which — made both of our Ten Best lists. Since the reviews will be up shortly, I'll leave them pretty much alone here. Let's just say one is great, one is very entertaining, one is interesting and one is, frankly, pretty bad. (Hint: it's the one I didn't review.)
Speaking of those Ten Best (and Worst) lists, those will be up this afternoon. I anticipate riots. Well, maybe not quite, but I expect dissent. Very probably someone will vow never to take me seriously again. Considering that nothing on my list should be that shocking, my guess is that such a reaction could only come from someone who already didn't take me seriously. I am ready. I think.
So anyway, about that other movie — the one I haven't seen ...
It may only be a rumor, but I hear that Renny Harlin wakes up every morning and thanks God for Uwe Boll. I actually thought we'd seen the last of the fellow, but he's back this week with The Legend of Hercules — a movie about the mythological Greek hero made in Bulgaria and starring some beefy refugee from Twilight by the name of Kellan Lutz. Variety reports that Lutz had several profound observations to offer: "Riding a horse is a great workout for your legs, and for your core. And wielding the sword — I’m topless most of the time, so I’m able to do push-ups in between takes without sweating through the costume.” He's also a man of depth: “There’s a scene halfway through the movie that’s the crucifixion, where I ask my father Zeus for help. I’m a man of faith, so I would just religiously watch The Passion of the Christ, and I’d use that.” I don't know about you, but I feel better about the whole thing now. Well, I did before I watched the trailer.
So what do we lose this week? Well, surprisingly, nothing really. The Fine Arts is dropping Philomena, but The Carolina is keeping it on the same split with The Book Thief they've had for a couple weeks. Both theaters are splitting Nebraska with another film.
This week the Thursday Horror Picture is showing (really, this time) Jacques Tourneur's Cat People (1942) on Thursday, Jan 9 at 8 p.m. in the Cinema Lounge at The Carolina. World Cinema returns this week with Orson Welles' F for Fake (1973) at 8 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 10 in the Railroad Library in the Phil Mechanic Building. The Hendersonville Film Society is running Secondhand Lions (2003) on Sunday, Jan. 12 at 2 p.m. in the Smoky Mountain Theater at Lake Pointe Landing in Hendersonville. The Asheville Film Society concludes their two-part tribute to Peter O'Toole with Peter Medak's The Ruling Class at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 14 in Theater Six at The Carolina. More on all titles in this week's Xpress — with full reviews in the online edition.
The best offering this week is the arty cannibal movie We Are What We Are. The most thought-provoking is Inequality for All. The most troubling and bizarre is The Act of Killing, which didn't play here. The most purely entertaining is Closed Circuit. Then there's the interesting, but problematic Thanks for Sharing and the just plain problematic Runner Runner.
Notable TV Screenings
In their mystifying "Science in the Movies" series (who thought this up?) TCM is running James Whale's Bride of Frankenstein at 8 p.m. on Friday. It's a great picture — one of the greatest — but I don't think you'll get much science out of it. Otherwise, the week looks pretty negligible — apart from the usual things, some of which are great, but at least one of which they ran not two hours ago.