Cranky Hanke’s Weekly Reeler March 14-20: Lean Times

In Theaters

Is there some little something you’ve been putting off doing that didn’t involve going to the movies? Some project? It could be anything from organizing your DVDs to starting to slog your way through War and Peace. You know that stack of DVDs you’ve been meaning to get at? Well, this may be the weekend to undertake any of those things. To say that the pickings are lean is probably an understatement. What we have are a whopping two titles—one of which is probably not worthy of the word “title,” let alone “movie.” The other … well, that remains to be seen.

The one “movie” that’s up that I’ve seen is Tim & Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie. (Warning: Red Band trailer.) I wish I could say that I’d never had the displeasure of seeing it, but I have. There’s a review, of course, in this week’s Xpress, and I fully expect to be descended upon with cries of, “You just don’t get it.” I cannot adequately convey how over-the-moon happy I am that that is indeed the case. Now, if I could only figure out some way to have never seen it. In any case, it dribbles into The Carolina this Friday. I feel marginally certain that some will find this a good thing.

And then there’s one other movie headed our way also coming to The Carolina—and, in fact, every first run theater except Beaucatcher and the Fine Arts—and that’s the surprisingly well-reviewed (so far) big-screen re-monkeying of 21 Jump Street, which is called, amazingly enough, 21 Jump Street. The question may be whether or not the combination of Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum can indeed jump start Jump Street. It occurs to me that I never saw the old TV series that turned Johnny Depp into a star, but I’m fairly certain that it was more seriously intended than this one appears to be—at least based on the trailer. (And I still can’t believe that poster got by the MPAA.)

Roughly, Messrs, Hill and Tatum are screw-up—and none too bright—cops who get transfered to Jump Street where the head of that organization (Ice Cube, no less) puts them to work on a drug case at a high school on the shaky belief that they can pass for high school students. (At least, the movie appears to realize that they don’t really look that young.) The comedy looks broad and loud and obvious in the extreme, but as I said it’s been treated rather nicely by critics so far. What’s rather interesting is that the single voice of outright dissent has been Andrew L. Urban of the Australian website Urban Cinefile. The only reason this is noteworthy is that Urban normally praises just about anything that comes down the pike. (And, oh my, is he ever suffering the slings and arrows—and f-words—of outraged fanboys for “ruining the 100 percent.” While this critic is one I view with extreme skepticism, I would love if someone—anyone—could explain this childish fixation over “perfect” scores.)

With only these movies opening, things are mostly status quo this week, though I am chagrined to note that Pariah is taking its leave of The Carolina this Friday, so catch it while you can. On the other hand, it’s worth noting that Hugo is coming to Asheville Pizza and Brewing for the 1:00, 4:00, 7:00 slots and at Cinebarre (1:10, 4:10, 7:20, 9:55).Yeah, I know it’s out on DVD (I’ve already watched it twice), but a theater screen is always a better choice.

Special Screenings

This week the Thursday Horror Picture Show is running Ronnie Yu’s Bride of Chucky (1998) on Thursday, March 15, at 8 p.m. in the Cinema Lounge at The Carolina. Luchino Visconti’s Rocco and His Brothers (1960) is being shown by World Cinema on Friday, March 16, at 8 p.m. in the Railroad Library in the Phil Mechanic Building. The Hendersonville Film Society is showing Blake Edwards’ Peter Sellers film The Party (1968) at 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 18, in the Smoky Mountain Theater at Lake Pointe Landing in Hendersonville. The Asheville Film Society is screening William Friedkin’s film of Mart Crowley’s landmark play The Boys in the Band (1970) on Tuesday, March 20, at 8 p.m. in the Cinema Lounge at The Carolina. More on all titles can be found in this week’s Xpress with expanded coverage in the online edition.

On DVD

Quite a few things—some even of note—come out this week. Probably the most desired is The Descendants (which is actually still playing at The Carolina), followed by My Week with Marilyn, Melancholia and Young Adult. Also out are The Adventures of Tintin, Happy Feet Two and the so-preposterous-it’s-kind-of-fun The Three Musketeers.

Notable TV Screenings

At 2:45 p.m. on Wednesday, March 14, Turner Classic Movies is showing Bryan Forbes’ The Wrong Box (1966), which is always welcome in my house. And if you hang around till 4:15 a.m. (technically, that March 15, if you don’t work on TV Guide time) they have Ken Russell’s early feature Billion Dollar Brain (1967), the third film in Michael Caine’s Harry Palmer spy movie series. It’s better than its reputation might suggest—and with quite a few flights of fancy that deserve the term “Russellian.”

On Thursday, March 15, they’ve given the evening over to John Ford movies, but the most notable in this set—in terms of most infrequetly shown—is Ford’s 1935 gangster comedy The Whole Town’s Talking with Edward G. Robnson (in a dual role) and Jean Arthur.

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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."

2 thoughts on “Cranky Hanke’s Weekly Reeler March 14-20: Lean Times

  1. Justin Souther

    Is that 21 JUMP STREET tagline supposed to be that homoerotic?

  2. Ken Hanke

    I don’t know. I don’t like the idea of even the slightest possibility of homoerotic fantasies involving either one of them.

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