Cranky Hanke’s Weekly Reeler July 30-August 5: Get on Guardians of Grand Seduction

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In Theaters.

This is the week we get Guardians of the Galaxy and that — near as I can tell is all that matters to most of the world. I guess Bradley Cooper as a talking raccoon is hard to beat. But for the 10 or 12 folks looking for something else, there’s also the James Brown biopic Get On Up and the art entry The Grand Seduction.

 

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The only one of these I’ve seen is The Grand Seduction, a simple and rather predictable film of considerable charm. It’s certainly not a great movie, but it’s unfailingly pleasant. Think of it as good company. And it’s even better company because it stars Brendan Gleeson, who has nice chemistry with Taylor Kitsch, and even nicer chemistry with crusty Gordon Pinsent. It’s slight, but engaging. And it has no talking raccoons. (Nor does the pictured fish talk.)

 

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The James Brown biopic, Get On Up, the new film from The Help‘s Tate Taylor starring Chadwick Boseman as Brown might seem like a long shot. Biopics are a risky proposition — as was recently illustrated by Mr. Eastwood’s Jersey Boys — and whatever the appeal of The Help, it had little to do with Taylor’s direction. However, now that reviews are starting to trickle in, it looks like Get On Up is perhaps not your basic biopic. Apparently, the structure is pretty daring and the film manages to both contextualize its subject and capture Brown’s energy and often contradictory nature. Maybe it’s not such a long shot after all.

 

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And that brings us to James Gunn’s (Slither, Super) Marvel comic book movie Guardians of the Galaxy. I know nothing about the source material. I have nothing whatever against the film — even though, prior to its trailer, I hadn’t heard Norman Greenbaum’s “Spirit in the Sky” since high school and I was perfectly happy with that. In fact, I like that the film obviously doesn’t take its spandex-clad hijinks very seriously. And, yeah, I admit it — a talking raccoon is kinda enticing.

Now, this week, the only thing we actually lose is Life Itself, but The Carolina is splitting Venus in Fur with that damned Chef — and since it’s being cut to just a noon and 4:40 p.m. show, this is certainly its last week. (Hopefully, it will take the mystifyingly popular Chef with it.) The surprise hit of last weekend, A Most Wanted Man, is, of course, hanging on at The Carolina. It’s also opening at the Fine Arts, which is splitting Begin Again with Snowpiercer. Snowpiercer is keeping a full set of shows at The Carolina.

Special Screenings

 

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Before we get to the usual listings, let’s send out a reminder that tomorrow night — July 30 — at 7:30 p.m. the Asheville Film Society has its monthly Budget Big Screen showing. This month it’s Alfred Hitchcock’s classic Rear Window (1954) starring James Stewart and Grace Kelly. It will be shown from a remastered, restored digital print on the biggest screen (that’s Theater 10) at The Carolina. Tickets are $6 for AFS members and $8 for the general public — and they’re on sale now.

 

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This week’s Thursday Horror Picture Show is Francis Ford Coppola’s much-maligned, but visually stunning Twixt (2011) at 8 p.m. on Thu., July 31 in Theater Six at The Carolina. World Cinema is showing Werner Herzog’s Heart of Glass (1976) on Fri., Aug. 1 at 8 p.m. in the Railroad Library in the Phil Mechanic Building. The Hendersonville Film Society is running Delbert Mann’s TV film of All Quiet on the Western Front (1979) at 2 p.m. on Sun., Aug. 3 in the Smoky Mountain Theater at Lake Pointe Landing in Hendersonville. The Asheville Film Society starts it August calendar with Cecil B. DeMille’s Unconquered (1947) on Tue., Aug. 5 at 8 p.m. 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 appears to me that the only notable thing coming out this week is Noah. I’ve yet to decide if I need to watch it again.

Notable TV Screenings 

OK, I’ve been over the listings for next week and I have yet to find anything all that notable — or at least out of the ordinary.

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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."

13 thoughts on “Cranky Hanke’s Weekly Reeler July 30-August 5: Get on Guardians of Grand Seduction

  1. Steven

    Looking at this week’s reviews, I suggest you give a good movie for Justin to review. Or, better yet, give him a great one: Boyhood, perhaps?

  2. Steven

    Oh, I’m not at all sure. It’s just more promising than what he’s been reviewing. (There’s also the fact that I find it to be great, but I’m well aware that my taste doesn’t align with his or yours.)

  3. Lisa Watters

    I usually run the other way when it comes to biopics but the trailer for Get On Up makes me feel like this is one to see.

  4. Ken Hanke

    Well, rumor has that it’s better than most and somewhat unusual. We shall see.

  5. Me

    “OK, I’ve been over the listings for next week and I have yet to find anything all that notable — or at least out of the ordinary.”

    Looks like Hal Ashby’s The Landlord is on TCM tonight.

  6. Ken Hanke

    That’s not really out of the ordinary for TCM, nor do I find it all that notable.

  7. Edwin Arnaudin

    Re: Get On Up – a jumbled chronology doesn’t add much, If anything. It actually removes almost all conflict and plot and makes it less effective than a standard biopic.

  8. Ken Hanke

    That’s unfortunate, but this might be an area where we disagree. Of course, I may not found out anytime soon, since I’m not reviewing it.

  9. Edwin Arnaudin

    Maybe, but I’d be surprised if you liked it. It’s little more than Biopic 101 chopped up.

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