Cranky Hanke’s Weekly Reeler July 2-8: Jodorowsky Deliver Us from Tammy

jodorowskys_dune

In Theaters.

If nothing else, the entire weekend doesn’t revolve around giant CGI toys and explosions. This doesn’t mean that this messy, messy holiday weekend — where some things open on Wednesday, some things open on Friday, and, in one curious case, another opens on Saturday — is necessarily going to be that much better than last weekend. But there will be more of it. This may or may not comfort you.

 

jodorowskys-dune

 

Now, the art titles — the things that open on Friday — have been seen and reviewed, and can be read about in some detail in this week’s Xpress. The Carolina is opening Jodorowsky’s Dune, and the Fine Arts has Obvious Child. My pick was Jodorowsky’s Dune — and bear in mind I’m not predisposed toward documentaries. This, however, is like no documentary I have ever seen in the way it paints the portrait of a movie that never was, but which has enough pre-production material to allow a pretty good idea of the film that might have been. That it gives the 84-year-old Jodorowsky — in all his gloriously outrageous eccentricity — free rein to tell his story also makes it wildly entertaining. And all the while, you can dream about a film of Dune that would have involved Salvador Dali, Orson Welles, Pink Floyd, Mick Jagger, and H.R. Giger if only it had been made — and it almost was.

 

obvious

 

I freely confess that I am less whelmed by Obvious Child — and that’s being exceedingly kind about it. After the press screening, the studio rep asked me for my initial reaction and I said, “Well, it was in focus.” Now, having said that, I should note that the film has gotten a ton of critical praise from other quarters. It has been likened to Woody Allen (as if) and to Lena Dunham (far more on the mark). The idea is that it’s an edgy romantic comedy. I suppose I’d agree that it at least attempts being edgy, but I found it neither romantic, nor funny. You may feel differently. Others have.

 

The Beatles Running In 'A Hard Day's Night'

 

The Saturday opening is a 50th anniversary re-release of Richard Lester’s A Hard Day’s Night — you know, that movie starring four fellows named Lennon, McCartney, Harrison and Starr. It’s only playing for two days at The Carolina — Saturday, July 5 at 8 p.m. and Sun., July 6 at 2 p.m. It’s a landmark — perhaps the film of the 1960s, the one that changed everything. But it’s also just 90 minutes of pure, exuberant fun that captures a time and place like few films have ever done. And, of course, there are all those wonderful Beatle songs.

And now, the Big Fourth of July Mainstreamers …

 

deliver

 

First up, we have Scott Derrickson’s Deliver Us from Evil — a “fact-based” horror opus from the guy who gave us The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005), The Day the Earth Stood Still — or Keanu Barada Nikto — (2008) and Sinsister (2012). In other words, the bar is not set all that high. This one stars Eric Bana (yes, his career has come to this) as a real-life NYPD cop battling the forces of evil. (The film is based on said cop’s “actual account” book.) In its favor, they went for the R rating. Plus, it’s the only horror movie opening to celebrate July 4. Not so in its favor — I mean apart from the concept and the cheapjack Screen Gems release — is the fact that it opens tomorrow and still has zero reviews.

 

earth-to-echo

 

Then there is Earth to Echo — a family friendly, PG-rated science fictioner about some kids becoming involved with the darn cutest little alien robot you ever saw in your life. (Pardon me while I clean the goo off my keyboard.) Why, yes, it does sound like an E.T. rip-off — even if the little robot fellow looks like that abomination of a stop-motion mechanical owl from the 1981 Clash of the Titans. And for even more variation, one of the characters in this is named for a character in The Goonies (1985). If all this doesn’t send you screaming into the night, this may be for you. I know one critic who usually makes me look like Pollyanna, who deemed the alien robot “adorable.” Oh, well.

 

tammy_a

 

The supposed big deal this week is Tammy — the latest raunchy com starring Melissa McCarthy, whose popularity could well be tested with this one. Apparently feeling the need to expand herself, Ms. McCarthy co-wrote this one with her real-life husband Ben Falcone, who also functioned as director. There’s nothing like having no one to say “no” to whatever you wish to do — not that there’s much evidence of anyone so much as telling her to take it down a notch in her previous films. This time, McCarthy plays a downtrodden character who loses her job, finds her husband is cheating on her and destroys her rattletrap car. The only way out of town and a supposed new life is to team up her troublesome, hard-drinking, outspoken grandmother (Susan Sarandon) for a road trip to Niagara Falls. As a premise, it’s workable. A supporting cast of Kathy Bates, Allison Janney, Mark Duplass, Dan Aykroyd, Toni Collette and Sandra Oh could help. Again, this is a movie that opens in less than 24 hours and it has one review so far.

This week, we lose We Are the Best!, which is not unexpected, but still unfortunate. It was, I fear, a movie that was not likely to find its audience — Swedish, subtitled, 13-year-old girl, punk rock band. Too bad, because it was a pretty special movie — as just about anyone who saw it will attest. The Fine Arts is relegating Ida to one show a day, and The Carolina is cutting The Immigrant to two.

Special Screenings

 

steamboast reeler

 

This week’s Thursday Horror Picture Show celebrates Ken Russell’s birthday with his 1986 film Gothic at 8 p.m. on Thursday, July 3 in Theater Six at The Carolina. World Cinema is skipping a week because of the July 4th holiday. The Hendersonville Film Society is showing Herbert Ross’ The Sunshine Boys (1975) on Sunday, July 6 at 2 p.m. in the Smoky Mountain Theater at Lake Pointe Landing in Hendersonville. The Asheville Film Society is screening John Ford’s Steamboat Round the Bend (1935) at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, July 8 in Theater Six at The Carolina. More on all titles in this week’s Xpress with complete reviews in the online edition.

On DVD

It’s another slack week as far as mainstream — or even mainstreamish — releases are concerned. The only title that played — albeit very briefly — on local screens is Hirokazu Koreeda’s Like Father, Like Son.

Notable TV Screenings

 

west-libby-taylor-gertrude-howard-angel_opt

 

The best thing on TCM this week is a run of Mae West movies on Thursday, July 3 starting at 8 p.m. with her three best films — I’m No Angel (1933), She Done Him Wrong (1933), and Belle of the Nineties (1934) — in a row. These are followed by her famous teaming with W.C. Fields, My Little Chickadee (1940) at 12:45 a.m. and the fairly dire The Heat’s On (1943) at 2:15 a.m. But those first three titles are pure gold.

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About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress since December 2000. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

31 thoughts on “Cranky Hanke’s Weekly Reeler July 2-8: Jodorowsky Deliver Us from Tammy

  1. her troublesome, hard-drinking, outspoken grandmother (Susan Sarandon)

    Sarandon cannot possibly be old enough to play this part.

  2. Edwin Arnaudin

    If Sarandon had Allison Janney when she was 13 and Janney had Melissa McCarthy when she was 11, Tammy‘s casting lineage might work. Alas, this is not 943 A.D.

      • swilder

        Also at Carmike, although their website lists “2016 Obama’s America”, D’Souza’s last film. Not sure what to make of that.

        • Ken Hanke

          It isn’t on the list Regal sent me and it doesn’t show up as having any local showtimes on the IMDb. I thought this guy was in jail.

          • Ken Hanke

            I see the film’s website says it’s at those theaters. I still think I’ll pass.

          • Edwin Arnaudin

            Its History Channel-ish trailer that played before Jersey Boys made me chuckle.

  3. Dionysis

    Susan Sarandon must really, really need a paycheck. The first (and only) time I watched the (inescapable) preview for ‘Tammy’, I found it unfunny and off-putting. I can’t help but wonder just how stuff like this gets made, and why anyone with an IQ above around 80 would pay to see it. But that’s just my opinion. It will probably clean up at the box office.

    • Ken Hanke

      It probably will, but it looks awful and is being roasted by the critics.

      • Edwin Arnaudin

        Based on what people have laughed at during the trailer, I could see a lot of places where audiences might go nuts over McCarthy’s antics. However, I was the only one at the 10:10 screening last night and did not make a sound until the credits rolled.

        You figure McCarthy has got to be tired of playing the same disheveled, unintelligent, loud, crude, clumsy character who invariably dances and sings off key to an old pop song…but I imagine she’s not tired of the paychecks. When I see her like this, I struggle to remember how excellent she was on Gilmore Girls.

  4. Ken Hanke

    Its History Channel-ish trailer that played before Jersey Boys made me chuckle.

    Good Clapton, that means I saw that trailer, didn’t I? I must have done a swell job of blocking it from my mind. The thing is there’s no reviewing stuff like this as a movie since it exists solely to push its political agenda. No one cares if it’s poorly made or filled with awkward speechifying. If its Tea Party politics reflect your beliefs, you’re gonna love it. If those politics don’t reflect yours, you’re gonna hate it. Quality of the film never enters into it.

    • swilder

      You never have a problem reviewing one sided political docs from Michael Moore and others who share your own beliefs. The fact that most media will ignore even the existance of D’Souza’s film only reinforces the point he is trying to make in the first place. Pointing out liberal bias in our culture is low hanging fruit, but that doesnt mean its not worth the effort. And in two weeks, “Persecuted” opens!

      • Dionysis

        Since D’Souza is now a convicted felon who has lost his voting rights, his new notoriety may incent people to struggle through the Marxist-oriented mainstream media (essentially completely owned now by just six left-wing corporations like Time-Warner and News Corp.) out of sheer curiousity.

    • Edwin Arnaudin

      My guess is that its blatant TV visuals made you zone out. The only other thing of that quality that the Carolina has previewed was the National Geographic channel’s Killing Lincoln.

      What’s interesting is that the bulk of the America trailer’s content features liberal politicians and celebrities. That may or may not be an attempt to lure those from the left to buy a ticket.

  5. Ken Hanke

    Michael Moore’s films — whether you agree with them or not — are well made and can be discussed for more than their ideological content. Based on his co-director’s Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed and what I watched of their last collaboration, I’d be willing to bet this is not likely to be of much merit as a film. I don’t even understand why you want me to review it, since you already know what you think of it and can make a good guess what I will. I’m sure you loved my reviews for Expelled and I Want Your Money. No, unless I am ordered to review this, I’m putting it in the category of faith-based cheapies that are pitched to a single audience who don’t have any interest in movies, just the message.

    • swilder

      I actually did like your review of the Ben Stein film, even if I didn’t agree with it. I also think the quality of Moore’s films is proportional to whether you share his views . The fact that D’Souza got into trouble over political tax donations after his last film is ALMOST funny……and then they came for me.

  6. Ken Hanke

    Oh, no, not the Obama’s jackbooted thugs coming after D’Souza scenario? Please. If this was true, there’d be no one left standing at Fox News! This, however, is exactly why I see no percentage in reviewing this thing.

    • Steven

      I agree, though I think it helps if you’re familiar with Bong’s work. His tonal shifts can be jarring for some (at least, that’s how it was for a friend I saw it with.)

      • Ken Hanke

        I’ve seen The Host, his episode of Tokyo!, and Mother, which I guess makes me reasonably seasoned, At any rate I wasn’t bothered by…well, anything really. It is curious that Tilda Swinton is in all three of my favorite films of the year so far,

        • Steven

          You should see Memories of Murder. It’s his best work, I think.

          Budapest, Snowpiercer, and..?

          • Ken Hanke

            …and Only Lovers Left Alive.

            I keep thinking Memories of Murder will show up on Netflix Steaming, but I may just have to buy it.

  7. Me

    According to The Story of Film: An Odyssey Memories of a Murder is Zodiac before there was a Zodiac film.

  8. Ken Hanke

    I know this is an outside view, but I’d be perfectly fine is there never was a Zodiac. I also admit I don’t get the fuss over Fincher. At all.

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