Cranky Hanke’s Weekly Reeler May 1-7: Beyond Iron Man 237

In Theaters

It’s the beginning of summer — or so the movies insist — and first out of the gate in the headlong rush for your moviegoing bucks is Iron Man 3. And, of course, no mainstream release is about to go up against it. A couple of foolhardy art/indie titles are not so reticent.

Generally speaking, the two art films — Beyond the Hills and the documentary Room 237 (both opening at The Carolina) — aren’t really aimed at the same audience as Iron Man 3 anyway, and the greatest damage they’re likely to suffer may come from patrons not wishing to subject themselves to the melee of moviegoers that often come with event movies.

I’ve seen both films (though Mr. Souther reviewed Room 237) and they’re on the long-shot side with or without Iron Man 3. Beyond the Hills is two-and-a-half hours of Romanian miserablism with limited appeal. It’s not a bad film by any means, but it’s long, slow and pretty cheerless. (I will note that my wife liked it a lot better than I did.) There is an audience for it, but it’s definitely a select one — certainly not enough to dethrone the astonishingly popular Mud and the surprisingly well-received The Company You Keep. (I even doubt it will overcome the still strong The Place Beyond the Pines.) I say this not to put you off seeing the film — you know if it’s your dish of tea — but to warn you that I think it unlikely to play more than a week.

Room 237, on the other hand, is a documentary — and no matter how good those are, they rarely have strong appeal. However, nearly 200 of you turned out for last week’s showing of The Shining, and that audience should be ripe for this playful documentary that presents five people offering deep-dish, convoluted, and sometimes pretty preposterous explanations of what Kubrick’s film “really” means. I don’t say it will make you rethink the film, but it’s invariably interesting. Plus, any film that goes to the trouble of coming up with an opening logo that copies the Warner Bros. logo that originally festooned The Shining is OK in my book.

And then there’s Iron Man 3. What is there to be said about this? A friend of mine in Australia (Jeremy Dylan, the fellow who used to do the “Elitist Bastard” art) has seen it and is pretty jazzed about it. (I have trouble getting on the “legendary Shane Black” bandwagon, because legendary and writing Lethal Weapon movies don’t really go together in my mind, which I’m sure is a personal failing of mine.) Really, what it comes down to for me is this — I enjoyed the first two Iron Man movies just fine, but I’ve never seen them a second time and remember very little about them. I suspect this will be much the same. I’m perfectly cool with seeing a third Iron Man picture, but I find it impossible to work up any actual enthusiasm for it.

So what do we lose this week? Well, rather a lot — Trance is leaving, which is a damned shame, but box office figures don’t lie. Less surprising is the departure of Ginger & Rosa, which actually lasted longer than I expected. And at long last Silver Linings Playbook is taking its leave. And, no, it didn’t finally run out of steam. It was still going pretty darn strong — especially for a movie that’s been around since Christmas Day — but it also comes out on DVD today.

Special Screenings

We have a crowded schedule this week. In addition to the usual offerings, we have the second film in the Fine Arts’ Jewish Film Festival, The Other Son (2012), which plays at 7 p.m. on Thu., May 2 and at 1 p.m. on Fri., May 3 at Fine Arts Theatre. On Sun., May 5 at 10:30 p.m. at the Admiral, Orbit DVD is running Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (1970).

This week the Thursday Horror Picture Show is showing James Wan’s Dead Silence (2007) at 8 p.m. on Thursday, May 2 in the Cinema Lounge at The Carolina. World Cinema will be screening Jean-Luc Godard’s Tout Va Bien (1972) on Fri., May 3 at 8 p.m. in the Railroad Library in the Phil Mechanic Building. The Hendersonville Film Society is running Josef von Sternberg’s first Marlene Dietrich film The Blue Angel (1930) on Sun., May 5 at 2 p.m. in the Smoky Mountain Theater at Lake Pointe Landing in Hendersonville. The Asheville Film Society will screen George Archainbaud’s John Barrymore drama State’s Attorney (1932) at 8 p.m. on Tue., May 7 in the Cinema Lounge at The Carolina. More on all titles in this week’s Xpress — with complete coverage and reviews in the online edition of the paper.

On DVD

The biggie this week is, of course, David O. Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook. Also up are Broken City and The Guilt Trip. Plus, one of the dashed hopes of award season — a film that never played here — comes to DVD, Not Fade Away. There were such hopes for this during the awards push that Paramount brought it in to screen for critics. Why, I have no idea, though I didn’t think it was actually bad, but awards material — no.

Notable TV Screenings

Friday, May 3, TCM is running the delightful George Arliss comedy A Successful Calamity (1932). That evening they have the fascinatingly bizarre 1933 version of Alice in Wonderland at 8 p.m., followed at 9:30 p.m. by Frank Borzage’s very odd anti-war film No Greater Glory (1934), which deals with war in terms of children fighting. Monday, May 6 at 8:15 a.m. they’re running Rex Ingram’s silent classic The Four Horseman of the Apocalype (1921).

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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 May 1-7: Beyond Iron Man 237

  1. Xanadon't

    Having seen the well-made but rather devastating 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days, I’m curious about Beyond the Hills but can’t exactly say that I’m overly excited about the prospect of seeing it.

  2. Ken Hanke

    Well, if you want to see it at all, I’d suggest you squeeze it in this weekend.

  3. Jeremy Dylan

    Beyond the Hills is two-and-a-half hours of Romanian miserablism with limited appeal.

    Sounds like a Bela Tarr tribute movie.

  4. Jeremy Dylan

    I have trouble getting on the “legendary Shane Black” bandwagon, because legendary and writing Lethal Weapon movies don’t really go together in my mind, which I’m sure is a personal failing of mine.

    I think it’s more because you haven’t seen KISS KISS BANG BANG. Not that I don’t enjoy LETHAL WEAPON fine (I haven’t seen the sequels), but that’s a cut above. It’s also the best performance Val Kilmer has ever given, and I think the first coming out party for Robert Downey Jr Mach 2.

  5. Ken Hanke

    I don’t think enough people are sufficiently familiar with that one film to make him legendary.

    Sounds like a Bela Tarr tribute movie.

    Well, ol’ Bela does have musical scores (sort of), but he also has more mud than this guy.

  6. Justin Souther

    I believe Ken still has my $5 bargain bin copy of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang hidden somewhere in his den of iniquity.

  7. Ken Hanke

    Actually, I believe it’s on the bottom shelf of the middle section of the Wall of Iniquity.

  8. Justin Souther

    In much more important news, Manborg‘s out on DVD this week.

  9. Ken Hanke

    I did, however, watch that episode of that Maron fellow’s show. Mildly amusing, but that’ll be enough of that.

  10. Me

    Yeah the Maron show isn’t breaking any new ground or anything but it looks like it might be a pretty ok show for a Friday night.

  11. Ken Hanke

    Well, the show — which includes a segment involving his podcast — doesn’t suggest a burning reason for further study.

  12. Jeremy Dylan

    I haven’t watched the episode, so I don’t know how representative of the ninety minute interviews he does on the podcast. But I find them invariably interesting, provided the guest is interesting.

    You would probably find them less interesting, as the guest list tends to tilt toward comedians, but he has branched out in to actors, musicians and directors of late – Jon Favreau, Michael Keaton, Mel Brooks, Dave Grohl, Jakob Dylan, Bryan Cranston, Mark Duplass, Jack White, Diablo Cody, Paul Feig, Aubrey Plaz, Amy Poehler, etc.

  13. Ken Hanke

    There are very few on that list that would draw me — maybe one. Beyond that, I don’t find Maron very appealing and I don’t really have time for this. I’m often baffled by just exactly where you find the time for all the media you suck down.

  14. Jeremy Dylan

    It takes me ninety minutes to get to work in the morning and ninety minutes to get home in the evening. That’s a bus ride and a jog, so I can normally get across a movie or two episodes of television on the bus and a couple of podcasts and some music during the jogs.

  15. Jeremy Dylan

    I’m not driving the bus, so I feel like I can get away with it.

    I have a good set of headphones and a high def display on my laptop, so the viewing experience is good, if not ideal. I tend to watch comedies and dramas that are more intimate in scope and save action/adventure films, musicals, etc. for the bigger screen at home.

  16. Jeremy Dylan

    Says the guy who chose to watch a 3D print of IRON MAN III.

  17. Jeremy Dylan

    It’s choosing to watch a compromised version of the movie. I’d take the bus because watching movies on a laptop doesn’t give me a headache.

  18. Ken Hanke

    No, it’s not a compromised version of the movie — that’s what watching it on a laptop is. That 3D gives you a headache does not make it a compromised version. In the case of Iron Man 3, it’s merely a worthless factor.

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