However it shakes out, it can clearly be said that art titles outweigh mainstream titles this week. There are three of them up against two mainstream offerings. No, of course, they aren’t going to win against the double whammy of How to Train Your Dragon 2 and 22 Jump Street, but they do have them outnumbered.
Yes, all three of the art titles have been seen and are reviewed in this week’s paper. Mr. Souther reviewed the documentary Fed Up (opening Friday at the Fine Arts), in large part because the trailer so annoyed me that I went out and bought the greasiest, worst fast food I could think of. There was no way I could be fair to it. I did, however, tackle Kelly Reichardt’s Night Moves and Fred Schepisi’s Words and Pictures (both opening Friday at The Carolina). While conceding that the story is very contrived, the direction, the literate dialogue, and the combined star power of Clive Owen and Juliette Binoche more than carried the day with Words and Pictures for me. As for Reichardt’s Night Moves…well, read the review. I’ll say no more.
I had nothing especially against 21 Jump Street and have nothing against the idea (at least) of the sequel, 22 Jump Street (they moved). Channing Tarum and Jonah Hill make a pleasant screen team and there’s no real reason there oughtn’t be a sequel — and millions of dollars worth of reasons there should be. Of course, any possibility of the same level of surprise generated by the original is gone here. And the reviews that salute the sequel for spoofing the fact that it’s a sequel seem to forget that the first one made fun of the fact that it was recycling an old TV show. The difference here is not very great. But let’s face it, this is the kind of picture that people go to expecting more of what they liked about the first one. Hope and Crosby get going for 13 years on that.
The other big release this week — and the one that’s expected to rule the marketplace — is How to Train Your Dragon 2, which is obviously also a sequel. This, too, promises more of the same — extending the adventures of Hiccup (voiced by Jay Baruchel) and his dragon, Toothless. The first film was almost up to the standards of co-directors Chris Sanders’ and Dean DeBlois’ Lilo & Stich (2002) — almost, but not quite. The change this time is that Sanders teamd up with Kirk De Micco last year to make The Croods, leaving DeBlois to play a lone hand on this one (Sanders is still listed as executive producer). DeBlois and Sanders are unusual in the world of animation in that they have managed to avoid being part of a committee of writers, crafting theit own films. This one is no different except that DeBlois is entirely responsible. Early word would indicate that he has succeeded.
What do we lose this week? Well, the Fine Arts is dropping Belle, but it’s staying at The Carolina. The Carolina, however, is dropping Palo Alto, which — not to beat about the bush — crashed and burned. It’s also worth noting that Cold in July is being split with The Grand Budapest Hotel. I will be surprised if they last another week. Well, after all, The Grand Budapest Hotel has been there about three months, and hits DVD on June 17.
Before getting into the (more or less) usual suspects, let’s start with the original Usual Suspect — Michael Curtiz’s Casablanca with (if you don’t know, which seems incredible) Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman will be this month’s Budget Big Screen movie from the Asheville Film Society. It shows at 7:30 p.m. on Wed., June 18 at The Carolina. Admission is $6 for AFS members and $8 for the general public.
This week’s Thursday Horror Picture Show is Neil Jordan’s Byzantium (2013) at 8 p.m. on Thu., June 12 in the Cinema Lounge at The Carolina. World Cinema is running Fritz Lang’s Liliom (1934) on Fri., June 13 at 8 p.m. in the Railroad Library in the Phil Mechanic Building. Wedge Brewery is showing the Coen Brothers’ The Big Lebowski (1998) outdoors at Wedge Brewery 15 minutes after sundown on Sat., June 14 (rain date is Sat., June 21, if this gets called on account of weather). The Henderonville Film Society is screening Alan Taylor’s The Emperor’s New Clothes (2002) at 2 p.m. on Sun., June 15 in the Smoky Mountain Theater at Lake Pointe Landing in Hendersonville. The Asheville Film Society is showing Stephan Elliott’s The Adventures of Priscilla, the Queen of the Desert (1994) on Tue., June 17 at 8 p.m. in Theater Six at The Carolina. More on all titles in this week’s Xpress — with full reviews in the online edition.
This week seems to consist of two movies I’ve never seen — Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit and Non-Stop.
Notable TV Screenings
The only thing that really stands out for me is Billy Wilder’s Witness for the Prosecution (1957) at 12:15 a.m. on Tue., June 17 (early Wed., June 18 if you’re not on TV Guide time). (The film is currently OOP on DVD, but is slated to come out on Blu-ray on July 22.)