Cranky Hanke’s Weekly Reeler June 11-17: Words and Pictures and Dragons and More

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In Theaters

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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

Special Screenings

 

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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.

 

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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.

On DVD

 This week seems to consist of two movies I’ve never seen — Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit and Non-Stop.

Notable TV Screenings

 

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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.)

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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."

28 thoughts on “Cranky Hanke’s Weekly Reeler June 11-17: Words and Pictures and Dragons and More

  1. Me

    Do you know when any of these are opening Obvious Child, Borgman, The Rover, Ping Pong Summer?

  2. Me

    I didn’t get to catch Palo Alto, its on Itunes as a pre order rent, but who knows when it will be available.

  3. Ken Hanke

    Do you know when any of these are opening Obvious Child, Borgman, The Rover, Ping Pong Summer?

    The Rover opens on Fri., June 20 at The Carolina. I’m going to a press screening in the morning. The Immigrant opens next Fri., too. Haven’t heard anything about the others.

  4. Steven

    Looking forward to reading your review for The Immigrant. I’ve gone back and forth on it.

  5. Ken Hanke

    I must say a lot of the reviews — the positive ones — make me skeptical of it.

  6. Me

    I forgot about The Immigrant, thats good to know. Two Lovers is the only James Gray film I really like.

  7. Ken Hanke

    I remember liking — and being surprised that I did — Two Lovers, but damned if I remember anything about it now.

  8. Edwin Arnaudin

    Two Lovers hung out near the top of my Netflix queue for a while, but I never watched it. The Yards is on there now.

  9. Ken Hanke

    Well, I read my review. I can see why I would like it, but at best I vaguely remember some scattered scenes. I did say that it lingers in the mind. I guess I should have specified for how long…

  10. Edwin Arnaudin

    I think it’s a significant step back from his work in The Master and Her, but part of that may have to do with his showman character and the time period of The Immigrant.

  11. Ken Hanke

    Well, I liked this performance more than those. but I’m one of the few who didn’t think he was that good in The Master — or that The Master was anything to get excited about. As P.T. Anderson movies go, I think I even like Hard Eight better.

  12. Steven

    As P.T. Anderson movies go, I think I even like Hard Eight better.
    Blasphemy.

    His next one sounds like something in the vein of Boogie Nights, which, at this point in his career, just seems odd.

    • Me

      Doesn’t seem odd to me, lighten it up a little bit after The Master and There Will Be Blood.

  13. Ken Hanke

    I figured I’d get a blasphemy or a heresy on that, but The Master left me completely cold — apart from the final scene — and all I got from Phoenix was more of his crazy schtick. On the heels of There Will Be Blood, the film was a major disappointment to me. From a purely pragmatic, box office standpoint, I can see doing something in the vein of Boogie Nights, though I’m pretty sure There Will Be Blood was his largest grossing film.

  14. Edwin Arnaudin

    Inherent Vice features a character who, at least on the page, closely resembles The Dude from The Big Lebowski. I thought the book was kind of a mess (Pynchon, especially his California novels, and I don’t get along as much as I’d like), but I’m interested to see how Anderson handles the material.

    I don’t understand the appeal of Punch-Drunk Love and have given it several tries, but I’m fond of Anderson’s other films. Still, I feel like he needed to make the Sandler film in order for There Will Be Blood to be as good as it is, namely in that PDL marked a shift from ensemble casts to a single-character focus. With The Master, he essentially has two characters of Daniel Plainview caliber going head-to-head and I thoroughly enjoyed the results.

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