This week’s pretty easy, so this’ll be on the short and sweet side — well, short anyway. Apart from the lone brave (or foolish) art title coming to The Carolina, Ernest & Celestine, the week is pretty much all Spider-Man all the time. Screens and screens and more screens of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 in your choice of 3D and 2D. It’s Spider-Man as far as the eye can see. Probably further.
Before concerning ourselves with the spandex-clad superhero, let’s take a moment to consider the gentle and charming animated film Ernest & Celestine, which I’ve already seen and which is reviewed in this week’s Xpress. Do not be put off — those of you who are sub-titlephobic — because this is one of those cases where there’s an English language version coming to us, so the fact this is a French-Belgian production is not an issue. Yes, it’s what we might call a children’s film — and it might find a niche, since there’s not much in that market right now — but it’s a wonderfully well-made movie that ought to appeal to adults as well. So if you want to get out of the Spider-Man frenzy, here’s a pleasant alternative for you.
I wish I could say that you might use your time to check out Dom Hemingway, which opened last week and which I completely loved. Unfortunately, almost no one went to see the film. The box office was … well, pathetic would not be too strong a word. That’s too bad, because it’s one of the best films I’ve seen this year. Oh, I admit that it’s not going to be to every taste. When the MPAA tells you it has “pervasive language,” they mean it’s pretty much constant swearing. Every vulgarity known to man — including the dreaded “c” word — is in this movie. But there’s a huge difference between mere “bad” language and such language when it’s employed creatively, as it is here. The film is dark and darkly funny, but it’s also brilliantly made and acted. You have today, Wednesday, and presumably Thursday to see it before it gets the bum’s rush at The Carolina. (I say “presumably Thursday,” because I would not be surprised to see it bumped for an early screening of The Amazing Spider-Man 2.) I urge those of you who don’t have a problem with a hard, R-movie to beat a path to the theater to catch it while you can. Yes, of course, you can see it when it comes out on DVD, but it’s such a stunning-looking film that it deserves the Big Screen.
Having gotten that off my chest, we come to The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Except for the fact that I’d be perfectly happy not to see another comic book movie for years and years, I have nothing against this. I like director Marc Webb just fine. I’m OK with Andrew Garfield. I adore Emma Stone. I like Dane DeHaan, Jamie Foxx, Paul Giamatti and well, most of the cast. It’s the whole superhero thing I’m burned out on. And here we have the studios giving themselves two starts to the summer season. They just had one with Captain America: The Winter Soldier and here’s another one. This is really where my problem lies — these are all being treated as utterly disposable entertainments. They’re no longer “events,” despite claims that they are. Instead, they’re being knocked out. They’re all just the Next Big Thing until the next Next Big Thing comes along. My prediction right now is that I’ll see it. I’ll like it just fine. I’ll forget about it entirely in less than a month. Maybe I’m asking too much, but I like movies to have a little staying power.
What do we lose this week other than Dom Hemingway? Well, nothing really. Both The Carolina and the Fine Arts are holding The Grand Budapest Hotel and the Fine Arts is keeping The Lunchbox. The Carolina is keeping Finding Vivian Maier, while Joe and Le Week-End are hanging on, but neither have full schedules. And for reasons I will never understand Under the Skin is hanging around for one 9:50 p.m. show a day.
This week the Thursday Horror Picture Show is Neil Jordan’s In Dreams (1999) at 8 p.m. on Thursday, May 1 in the Cinema Lounge at The Carolina. World Cinema is showing Francois Truffaut’s Love on the Run (1979) on Friday, May 2 at 8 p.m. in the Railroad Library in the Phil Mechanic Building. The Hendersonville Film Society is running King Vidor’s The Big Parade (1925) on Sunday, May 4 at 2 p.m. in the Smoky Mountain Theater at Lake Pointe Landing in Hendersonville. The Asheville Film Society kicks off its May calendar with Michael Curtiz’s Noah’s Ark (1928) at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, May 6 in Theater Six at The Carolina. More on all titles in this week’s Xpress — with full reviews in the online edition.
Far and away the best thing this week is Gloria. The rest of the new offerings … well, Escape from Tomorrow has a great premise, but it isn’t much of a movie. Even that much can’t be said for Devil’s Due, Labor Day and The Legend of Hercules.
Notable TV Screenings
I was about to write off this week’s TCM listings — when the most arresting title that hits your eye is The Mexican Spitfire Sees a Ghost (1942) on Saturday, May 3 at 10:30 a.m. things are bad — but then I noticed that Rouben Mamoulian’s Queen Christina (1933) is on Sunday, May 4 at 8 a.m. That’s at least something. Then, too, there’s the Charlie Chan mystery, The Scarlet Clue (1945) on Tuesday, May 6 at 4:15 p.m. For Chan enthusiasts, it’s definitely worth a look.