Cranky Hanke’s Weekly Reeler April 4-10: We Need to Talk About Jiro

In Theaters

It’s not exactly what you might call a happening week — unless, of course, you have a burning desire to see Titanic with a coating of 3D. Otherwise, it’s down to two art titles and one mainstream milking of an elderly cash cow. It could be worse. No, it has been worse.

Of the two art titles, one has been something readers have been asking about for some considerable time — perhaps too much time, meaning the interest may have waned. I refer to Lynne Ramsay’s We Need to Talk About Kevin with Tilda Swinton, which finally makes its local bow at the Fine Arts this Friday. Yes, I’ve seen it. I’ve seen it twice. I think I’ll let the review say what I thought about the movie.

I’ve also seen the documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi, which opens at The Carolina. This one took me by surprise, since I’m not that keen on documentaries in general (there,I’ve said it!) and am at best ambivalent about sushi. (Now that I’m not in a position where anyone who knows the names of the two kinds I liked is around to order for me, I pretty much forgo it altogether. I think it was something called spicy tuna and dancing shrimp — or maybe it was leaping shrimp. But I digress.) I settled in to watch this one in a fairly gloomy frame of mind — and was most pleasantly surprised. You can read why in the review.

For those interested (I confess I am not), I should probably note that Titanic opens on Wednesday. I do not have a list of theaters yet, but I think we can be assured of The Carolina, the Epic, and the Regal Biltmore Grande. I’ll go ahead and tell you, though — the damned thing sinks.

And where does that leave us? Well, let’s say “us” strictly in the broadest possible sense.

The new mainstream title is American Reunion — the long-awaited (or so Universal hopes) fourth film in the American Pie series, thereby turning the trilogy into a tetralogy, putting it right up there with Wagner’s “Ring” cycle, Well, no, maybe not. Anyway, they’ve managed to reassemble the entire original cast. Yes, indeedy, that means Tara Reid back on the big screen. (I haven’t seen her since she mispronounced Newfoundland in Uwe Boll’s Alone in the Dark back in 2005.) The whole thing is about a 10-year class reunion. I have to confess that I’ve never seen one of these movies and I plan on keeping it that way — and since Justin Souther admitted he had seen one … well, the choice of who should see this was easy enough. (I pay a price, though, by having to be at a press screening of The Raid: Redemption at 9 a.m. on Friday.)

So what are we losing this week? Well, for starters the Fine Arts is sending Thin Ice away in order to make room for We Need to Talk About Kevin. The Carolina is disposing of Friends with Kids, but keeping Rampart and Jeff, Who Lives at Home, but I expect both to be gone next week, since they’re there this week more for a dearth of product than because of sterling performance. And, just in case anyone wants to brush up on Gina Carano (filmically speaking) before ActionFest next week, Haywire is being brought back.

Special Screenings

Before getting down to the standard things, let me note that on Thursday, April 5, there’s a free pre-ActionFest screening of last year’s ActionFest hit Super at 10 p.m. at Asheville Pizza and Brewing. (And, yes, you should have time to get there after the Thursday Horror Picrure Show.)

This week’s Thursday Horror Picture Show is Bela Lugosi in Dark Eyes of London (The Human Monster) (1939) on Thursday, April 5, at 8 p.m. in the Cinema Lounge at The Carolina. World Cinema is showing Federico Fellini’s Amarcord (1973) on Friday, April 6, at 8 p.m. in the Railroad Library in the Phil Mechanic Building. The Hendersonville Film Society has no movie this week because of Easter. The Asheville Film Society is screening the Coen Brothers’ Barton Fink (1991) at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, April 3, in the Cinema Lounge at the Carolina. More on all titles in the Xpress and the online edition.

On DVD

It appears the big titles this week are War Horse and We Bought a Zoo. I shall lose no time in acquiring those, if you follow my meaning.

Notable TV Screenings

On Friday, April 6, at 9:45 a.m. TCM is showing William Dieterle’s Jewel Robbery (1932), a sophisticated comedy with William Powell and Kay Francis that comes very close to being as good as a Lubitsch picture. Very close, but not quite.

I don’t know that I can reasonably call The New Adventures of Tarzan (1935) good, but this feature version of the serial — produced by Edgar Rice Burroughs’ own company — starring Herman Brix (who would find more work as Bruce Bennett) is certainly an interesting departure from the Johnny Weissmuller series. And actually a bit more like the books, but on a budget.

On Sunday — as if to make up for 160 minutes of the 1961 King of Kings just before it — TCM is showing Carl Theodore Dreyer’s Leaves from Satan’s Book (1919) at midnight. No comment on the programming choice.

Monday, April 9, finds the Jack Benny version of Charley’s Aunt (1941). It may not be the best version of the play, but it has its moments, and it’s not shown all that often. (This may be the first time it’s shown up on TCM.)

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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."

17 thoughts on “Cranky Hanke’s Weekly Reeler April 4-10: We Need to Talk About Jiro

  1. Jim Donato

    That one-sheet brings the evocative phrase “Tarzan In Brylcreem” to mind. That’s a song or album title waiting to happen.

  2. Dionysis

    “…Titanic opens on Wednesday.”

    Ahh, so this explains why DVDs of Titanic have dried up like beef jerky, and are going for sky-high prices.

    • Dionysis

      I’m tempted to agree; while I didn’t care as much for that movie as most others, Goodman was great. But then there’s his role in O’Brother Where Art Thou, which is way up my list.

  3. Ken Hanke

    Ahh, so this explains why DVDs of Titanic have dried up like beef jerky, and are going for sky-high prices.

    The question in my mind is why you knew this…

    • Dionysis

      Normally I wouldn’t have known this, as it is not the genre of film that I collect. However, right before Christmas, my brother was trying to find a copy (new or, if not, even used) of the DVD as a requested gift for his granddaughter. He couldn’t find a copy for a copy so I scoured the area around here and could not find a copy anywhere, new or used.

      The on to Amazon and ebay for confirmation…the disc is unavailable except through the after-market or used at inflated prices. But I have little doubt that a few months from now, it will be re-released.

  4. Ken Hanke

    Mmmm… Barton Fink. John Goodman’s best ever performance IMO.

    Well, come out next Tuesday and he will show you the life of the mind.

  5. Ken Hanke

    That one-sheet brings the evocative phrase “Tarzan In Brylcreem” to mind. That’s a song or album title waiting to happen

    Always liked Wildroot Cream Oil myself.

  6. Ken Hanke

    Not sure about DVD but i think the highly acclaimed Tyrannosaur is now available to stream.

    I know it’s just proof that I’m an artistic lightweight, but this one comes under the heading of “I feel no burning need to watch a movie that starts with a guy kicking his dog to death.”

  7. Jeremy Dylan

    That one-sheet brings the evocative phrase “Tarzan In Brylcreem” to mind. That’s a song or album title waiting to happen

    Justin and I are on it. Following the lead of Justin Townes Earle, we will be holing up in Asheville’s famous church-turned-recording-studio when I swing through town next month for the debut album from our band ‘Waskabi Explosion’.

    “Tarzan In Brylcreem” will drop as the lead single around September, to keep within the time frame for Grammy consideration.

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