Cranky Hanke’s Weekly Reeler January 2-8: Promised Hyde Park Chainsaw

In Theaters

Now that the studios have finished putting their supposed best feet forward for Christmas—two cheesy cash-grabs and one re-issue notwithstanding—it’s back to business as usual. Oh, sure there are some limited release things waiting in the wings that will be doled out to us in the coming weeks, but when all is said and done, the studios’ January White Sale is upon us—as demonstrated by this week’s notion of a mainstream offering.

There are three movies coming our way on Friday—and two of them are OK, but I can’t claim great excitement over them (and, yes, I’ve seen them both). They come under the heading of art or maybe prestige pictures that didn’t quite make the cut for the holiday rush. First, there’s Hyde Park on Hudson—opening at The Carolina and the Fine Arts—a movie that had awards in its starry eyes not so long ago. That changed once the film started screening for frequently perplexed critics. Granted, Bill Murray has scored a Golden Globe nomination for his performance as FDR—and not undeservedly—but it looks like it might end there. It’s not that the movie is bad. It’s slight and entertaining, but it falls far short of being the sort of film it wanted to be. You can read my review in this week’s paper.

The other notable release is Gus Van Sant’s Promised Land—opening at The Carolina. It stars Matt Damon, Frances McDormand, Rosemarie DeWitt, and John Krasinski. It is certainly well intended—and it has wrung some right wing withers because it’s about fracking. In fact, I think of it as “that fracking movie.” That said, it’s…well, just not very exciting. Mr. Souther’s review of the film appears in this week’s paper.

Now, all this looks like a super-duper classy treat of sheerest ne plus ultradom when placed up against this week’s single mainstream release—Texas Chainsaw 3D. Yes, for whatever low-rent, low-brow, low-stakes, low-interest reason, we’re down for another of these. Nevermind that the only merit to be found in this series begins and ends with the first two Tobe Hooper movies, here comes another—and in 3D, no less. It appears to have been directed by John Luessenhop—a man primarilly know for the 2010 stinkeroo Takers. (Yes, I know, there’s at least one person out there who thinks it was “off the hook good,” but we’ll let that pass.) It stars people I never heard of—including Clint Eastwood’s son, Scott, and someone by the unlikely name of Trey Songz. The latter appears to be a musician. Based on one of stills from the movie, he also appears to have difficulty keeping his trousers up. This could prove fatal when trying to escape chainsaw mayhem. The film has thrown fans of the first couple of movies a bone or three by bringing in Bill Moseley, Gunnar Hansen (the original Leatherface), and Marilyn Burns in presumably small roles. My question is—does anybody really want this movie?

This week looks like the end of the line for both Anna Karenina and Hitchcock. Damn shame, too.

Special Screenings

Things start to settle back into normalcy this week—with only World Cinema missing in action (they come back next week). This week the Thursday Horror Picture Show is running Ishiro Honda’s classic Gojira (Godzilla) (1954) at 8 p.m. on Thu., Jan 3 in the Cinema Lounge at The Carolina. The Hendersonville Film Society returns with Carol Reed’s Oliver! (1968) on Sun., Jan. 6 at 2 p.m. in the Smoky Mountain Theater at Lake Pointe Landing in Hendersonville. The Asheville Film Society is screening Pedro Almodovar’s :Live Flesh (1997) on Tue., Jan. 8 at 8 p.m. in the Cinema Lounge at The Carolina. More on all titles in the Xpress—with expanded coverage in the online edition.

On DVD

I’ve seen worse weeks. First and foremost we have Rian Johnson’s Looper. I confess this hasn’t stayed with me the way I had hoped it would, but I’d certainly recommend it. I’d also recommend David Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis, which didn’t play here. I didn’t like it exactly, but it lingered—not entirely pleasantly—in my mind for serveral days after seeing it. Now, whether I want to see it again…

Notable TV Screenings

It’s another non-starter really, but it’s worth noting that Fellini’s Julet of the Spirits (1965) is on TCM at 8 p.m. on Mon., Jan. 7. Also, Jean-Pierre Melville’s Bob le Flambeur (1955) shows up at 12:15 a.m. late night on Tue., Jan. 8 (or early Wed., Jan. 9, depending on whether you were raised on TV Guide time or not).

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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."

39 thoughts on “Cranky Hanke’s Weekly Reeler January 2-8: Promised Hyde Park Chainsaw

  1. Xanadon't

    I’d also recommend David Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis, which didn’t play here. I didn’t like it exactly, but it lingered — not entirely pleasantly — in my mind for serveral days after seeing it. Now, whether I want to see it again…

    I had trouble with that movie. I’d be willing to give it another shot. I think. In part because I didn’t object to Robert Pattinson’s performance the way I’d feared.

  2. Ken Hanke

    Okay, so a bunch of underwhelming happenings. Now what about a review for Django?

    Check back about 2 p.m.

  3. Jeremy Dylan

    Apparently I was the sixth most frequent commenter on this site last year.

    Watch out Xanadon’t. I’m comin’ for your spot!

  4. Xanadon't

    Apparently I was the sixth most frequent commenter on this site last year.

    Watch out Xanadon’t. I’m comin’ for your spot!

    By all means. Even if it means pillaging the archives. You’re comments are always insightful. Or, at the very least, colorful.

    I wish one of you would overtake Tim Peck.

    Considering the frequency in which I find my apartment in a general state of disarray and the snail’s pace I’ve taken at the AFI 100 list, I’m not sure that more time dallying around here is the answer.

  5. Ken Hanke

    I’d probably rather dally than go through the AFI list, though I admit I’ve forgotten what’s on it.

  6. Ken Hanke

    Well, On the Road is on their mailing. I knew it was only a matter of time till somebody booked Amour.

  7. Xanadon't

    I knew it was only a matter of time till somebody booked Amour.

    Ouch. I feel for ya. Just not enough to go see it myself.

    And still no sign of Rust and Bone. Now that’s a bummer.

  8. Ken Hanke

    Ouch. I feel for ya. Just not enough to go see it myself.

    I am blessed in my friends. Everything about this — including all the gush — sounds like everything I don’t like about Haneke.

  9. Orbit DVD

    I hope that Rust and Bone makes it here. It’s got the actor from Bullhead, which will probably make my top 10 of the year.

  10. Xanadon't

    I was completely transfixed by him in Bullhead. And I’ve always been charmed by Cottilard. Hence my excitement.

    Amour indeed looks like 120 minutes of misery and melancholy, likely capped by a *profound* ending. Boy, I’d hate to have to go about my daily business with a Germoaustrian doomsday clock ticking in my ear. Hope you get to see some good movies between now and then, Ken.

  11. Ken Hanke

    Well, boys, here’s the thing, Rust and Bone is by the guy who made A Prophet (granted that didn’t make a nickel here), has Mation Cotillard im it, and is being distributed by Sony Pictures Classics. Chances are it will come here.

  12. Me

    I will give Rust and Bone the benefit of the doubt, being that the plot sounds ridiculous. A Prophet was one of my favorites from that year.

    I am hoping Amour is better than his last movie which, hopefully it will be at least as good as Cache.

    Speaking of On The Road, this must be the year of Kerouac there are like 3 film adaptations of his books coming out this year.

  13. Me

    That whole night on TCM looks good beside Juliet of the Spirits there is Spirit of the Beehive, California Split and the Last Detail.

  14. Ken Hanke

    I hope so thats the best film of his ive seen and one of the great mystery films of the 00′s.

    I thought it was awful and deadly boring. I still do.

  15. Ken Hanke

    Once was quite enough. And if you think I’m not partial to mystery films, you really know very little about me (which I suspect is true). It helps, however, if they’re actually good mysteries.

  16. Jeremy Dylan

    Everything about this — including all the gush — sounds like everything I don’t like about Haneke.

    Given a choice of Haneke related product, I’ll take his Twitter feed.

    https://twitter.com/Michael_Haneke

    plz RT if u wud buy a doll of izzy huppert in piano teacher that comes with a littul razor blayd. @mattel is askn 4 numbrs lol

    if a tree falls in the forest and no1 is around 2 heer it, does terruns malick still film it for 3 hours?? lol

  17. Jeremy Dylan

    I am now told that On the Road has been pulled by the distributor.

    Now if we can just convince the publisher to pull the book.

  18. Big Al

    “I am now told that On the Road has been pulled by the distributor.

    Now if we can just convince the publisher to pull the book.”

    I don’t understand the BFD about the book. I tried to read it and gave up about 20 pages in. Booorrringg…

    The movie review appeared to be a cross between disturbing and disgusting. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

  19. Ken Hanke

    Pretty similar facial hair too.

    I’m guessing that refers to Herr Haneke and myself. But I don’t have a Twatter account…oh, wait, I do, but someone else set it up as a gag and it has never been used.

  20. Jeremy Dylan

    I’m guessing that refers to Herr Haneke and myself. But I don’t have a Twatter account…oh, wait, I do, but someone else set it up as a gag and it has never been used.

    I can’t say 100%, but I have a feeling that Haneke’s may not be totally on the level either:

    does any1 no what the plural of parms dorz is? o wait, none of u wud ever need 2 use it. scrap that lol
    —-
    remind me how rottn tomatoes werks again. is 50% for 2 the wondr bettr or worse than 94% for amour? jst checkn lol

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