Cranky Hanke’s Weekly Reeler June 18-24: Ida the Immigrant Jersey Rover

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In Theaters.

From the mainstream standpoint, this is what they call a “soft week,” which means that neither of the wide releases are really expected to be the latest Next Big Thing. Well, when your wide releases are Jersey Boys and Think Like a Man Too, that’s not so hard to understand. At the same time, we do get three new art titles locally.

 

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Yes, I’ve seen all three of the art titles this week, but due to a misunderstanding (I really didn’t think Ida was opening this week), only two of them are reviewed in this week’s paper — and I apologize for that. Ida is opening Friday at the Fine Arts (which should tell you that Fed Up did not have people lined up around the block). I saw it last week and it’s definitely a movie to see — a powerful little Polish drama — about a novice about to take her vows being sent into the world to meet the aunt she never knew. The experience turns out to be revelatory as she learns much about herself and her family — like the fact they’re Jewish — that she never knew. Tightly structured at a mere 80 minutes and shot is gorgeous black and white, this is a film that pays big dividends. (There will be a full review in next week’s paper.)

 

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The Carolina is opening James Gray’s The Immigrant and David Michôd’s The Rover — both of which are reviewed in this week’s paper. Of the two, I am definitely far more inclined toward The Immigrant — a richly detailed and, frankly, harrowing look at the downsides (there are few upsides to be found) at the immigrant experience in 1921. The film stars Marion Cotillard as a Polish woman coming to America and falling into the clutches of a first-generation American pimp played by Joaquin Phoenix. If it isn’t quite a masterpiece, it’s not that far from one, but it is strong stuff and pretty grim. But for me, its artistry and performances win the day. I want to note that there are two mistakes in the showtimes listed in the paper. The film plays at 1:05. 3:35, 6:05, 9:30.

 

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Equally grim, but considerably further from a masterpiece is David Michôd’s The Rover. If you were keen on Michôd’s last film, Animal Kingdom (2010), you might like this post-apocalyptic thriller more than I did. I didn’t dislike it, but I just didn’t get the point. It looks and plays like just about every other film of its type. Quite the most interesting thing about it is Robert Pattinson’s performance — and those are words I wasn’t expecting to type.  Read the review and make up your own mind.

And that brings up the mainstreamers…

 

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It has been interesting to read the handful of early reviews for Clint Eastwood’s film of the stage musical Jersey Boys — only because no one seems to want to come out and ask, “Who thought Clint Eastwood should make a musical?” (Clapton knows 1969′s Paint Your Wagon proved he probably shouldn’t be in one.) The bigger question might be why they keep bringing Broadway musicals to the screen they flop far oftener than they don’t. But here it is, the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons starring…well, people who were in this or that stage production. The early word is that the hits are there, but not used in any interesting manner. I admit to a certain morbid curiosity.

 

Cedric (Kevin Hart) in Screen Gems' THINK LIKE A MAN TOO.

 

That’s more than I can say about Tim Story’s Think Like a Man Too, but then I didn’t have much use for the original 2012 film, despite its impressive cast.But, hey, it was a rom-com adapted from (inspired by?) Steve Harvey’s self-help book, Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man. What did you expect? Unfortunately, audiences beat a path to it, so now we get a sequel — a “highly anticipated” one, we’re told. According to the PR piece — “A ll the couples are back for a wedding in Las Vegas. But plans for a romantic weekend go awry when their various misadventures get them into some compromising situations that threaten to derail the big event.” With any luck, we know where Justin Souther will be this weekend.

So, what do we lose this week? Well, as intimated, Fed Up will depart the Fine Arts on Friday to make room for Ida. (No, Chef  isn’t going anywhere.  For reasons I will never understand, it’s still going strong both there and at The Carolina.) At The Carolina, Night Moves met a swift (and well-deserved) demise. Also leaving are Cold in July and, yes, The Grand Budapest Hotel. Both of them were hurt by being split. (Grand Budapest was torpedoed a few weeks back when 6:30 p.m. became its last show. Note: Moviegoers don’t recognize anything earlier than 7 p.m. as an evening show.) But it lasted three months, it comes out on DVD today (I expect mine this morning), and I know Asheville Pizza and Brewing were trying to book it. (I never heard if that panned out.)

Special Screenings

 

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First off, here’s your last reminder that tomorrow — Wed., June 18 — Michael Curtiz’s Casablanca plays for one show only at 7:30 p.m. on the biggest screen at The Carolina. The classic film is being shown from a brand-new digital print and should look terrific. (Yes, I’ll be there.) Admission is $6 for Asheville Film Society members and $8 for the general public. Tickets are on sale now.

 

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Also of note is the fact that this week the Thursday Horror Picture Show moves downstairs from its Cinema Lounge location to its new home in Theater Six (same place the AFS screenings are). This week’s film is Michael Curtiz’s Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933) — your chance to see Michael Curtiz in a different mode than Casablanca — at 8 p.m. on Thu., June 19 in Theater Six at The Carolina. World Cinema is showing the complete version of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis (1927) on Fri., June 20 at 8 p.m. in the Railroad Library in the Phil Mechanic Building. The Hendersonville Film Society is screening Louis Malle’s Atlantic City (1981) at 2 p.m. on Sun., June 22 in the Smoky Mountain Theater at Lake Pointe Landing in Hendersonville. The Asheville Film Society closes out its June calendar with the Will Hay comedy Convict 99 (1938) at 8 p.m. on Tue., June 24 in Theater Six at The Carolina. More on all titles in this week’s paper with complete reviews in the online edition.

On DVD

Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel comes to DVD and Blu-ray today. Everything else is immaterial, though I suppose I should mention David Gordon Green’s Joe is also out.

Notable TV Screenings

 

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On Wed., June 18, TCM turns the evening over to Rene Clair starting at 8 p.m. with Sous les Toits de Paris (1930), followed by A Nous la Liberte (1931), Le Million (1930), the Grand Maneuvers (1955), and It Happened Tomorrow (1944).

Sun., June 22 (Mon., a.m., June 23) starting at 2 a.m., TCM is running Krzystof Kieslowski’s entire Three Colors series — Blue (1993), White (1994), and Red (1994).

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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."

15 thoughts on “Cranky Hanke’s Weekly Reeler June 18-24: Ida the Immigrant Jersey Rover

  1. Edwin Arnaudin

    Everything else is immaterial, though I suppose I should mention David Gordon Green’s Joe is also out.

    I would have been fine with an omission.

  2. Ken Hanke

    Pattinson was okay in Cosmopolis, but the film isn’t one of Cronenberg’s more successful efforts.

  3. swilder

    Ken, I heard “The Godfather”, my second favorite film, was making a limited big screen run this summer. Any local showings that you are aware of?

  4. swilder

    You are correct sir. I have since learned that both GF and GF2 will run this Sunday and next Wen at 2:00 and 7:00 both days at Biltmore Grande. I know you are not a huge fan of the mobster genre, but I’m very excited. I’ve owned every version of the first film since laserdisc, but have never seen it on a screen larger than my current TV.

  5. Ken Hanke

    It isn’t the mobster film as such that alienates me. It’s the Mafia film. It is perhaps hard for anyone who is keen on the topic to understand the utter indifference to it generated in those who aren’t. I wish you the joy of them. I continue to be baffled by Regal continuing this series, since the grosses I’ve seen have been dismal. Maybe this will be a bigger draw.

    • swilder

      I doubt it. It’s not being promoted well. I’m not a fan of all Mafia related film, but I do love Coppola’s work…the amazing master shots, the intentional dark lighting, and solid performances down to even the smallest roles.

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