Cranky Hanke’s Weekly Reeler May 15-21: Gimme No Star Trek Loot

In Theaters

This, of course, is Star Trek Into Darkness week, which, I confess, doesn’t thrill me as much as Gatsby week, but I’m not against it. We also have two art/indie titles braving the blockbuster storm—and both are really worthwhile.

Last week brought two surprises. On the national level, Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby outperformed expectations beyond anyone’s wildest dreams. The film’s “projected” $30 million take turned into an actual $50 million. (I love it when analysts are incredibly wrong.)  Locally, the French film Renoir did surprisingly strong business. (Unfortunately, but not unexpectedly—there’s just too much art out there and Gatsby crosses over into it—two other art titles, Disconnect and Lore, didn’t fare so well.) This week remains to be seen.

We get two art titles—No and Gimme the Loot—and both are reviewed in this week’s Xpress. I reviewed No and Mr. Souther reviewed Gimme the Loot, but I’ve seen both. No is the stronger film—a fact-based film starring Gael Garcia Bernal (as a fictional character) about the campaign that helped vote down Chilean dictator Pinochet—but don’t sell Gimme the Loot short. I expect it to get pretty much lost in the shuffle, and that’s too bad because Gimme the Loot is a very sweet, very entertaining, unassuming and extremely likable—even lovable—little movie that’s worth your time and your moviegoing dollars.

And then there’s J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek Into Darkness—a movie that arrives with generally good reviews and which appears to have held on to those things that made Abrams’ 2009 reboot such a pleasant surprise. The cast is back. The director (obviously) is back. The writers are back. And as a bonus, Benedict Cumberbatch and Peter Weller are onboard for this one. Even while not being a Trekkie (or is it Trekker these days?), I have not unreasonable expectations of being entertained—and even greater expectations of seeing a lot of lens flare. One thing I will note is that this is in retrofitted 3D (Gatsby was shot in 3D) and I’m going to be opting for the plain old 2D version, especially after the stupefyingly underwhelming retrofitted 3D of Iron Man 3.

This week we lose last week’s opening art titles—Disconnect and Lore (both at The Carolina)—so you have a very small window for catching them. It’s also worth noting that The Company You Keep and The Place Beyond the Pines have gone into split shows at The Carolina, which usually means this is their final week. Renoir is holding at the Fine Arts, and Mud is still doing well at both The Carolina and the Fine Arts.

Special Screenings

Apart from the usual screenings, the Fine Arts is showing the final film in this year’s Asheville Jewish Film Festival, Defiant Requiem at 7 p.m. on Thu., May 16 and 1 p.m. on Fri., May 7. Pack Memorial Library is screening Alfred Hitchcock’s To Catch a Thief (1955) on Tue.,May 21 at 3 p.m.

Also, this month’s ActionFest film, Java Heat is showing at 7:30 p.m. on Fri., May 17 at The Carolina—with all proceeds going to Homeward Bound of Asheville.

This week’s Thursday Horror Picture Show is a double feature of Lon Chaney, Jr. in The Frozen Ghost (1945) and Bela Lugosi in The Mysterious Mr. Wong (1934) on Thu., May 16 at 8 p.m. in the Cinema Lounge at The Carolina. World Cinema has a double feature of shorts—Chris Marker’s La Jetee (1962) and this year’s Twin Rivers Media Festival short film winner Mousse—at 8 p.m. on Fri., May 17 in the Railroad Library in the Phil Mechanic Building. The Hendersonville Film Society is showing Herb Gardner’s I’m Not Rappaport (1996) on Sun., May 19 at 2 p.m. in the Smoky Mountain Theater at Lake Pointe Landing in Hendersonville. The Asheville Film Society is running Thornton Freeland’s Eddie Cantor musical-comedy Whoopee! (1930) at 8 p.m. on Tue., May 21 in the Cinema Lounge at The Carolina. More on all titles in this week’s paper—with complete reviews in the online edition.

On DVD

The big release this week is Cloud Atlas—definitely a film to see and to savor more than once. Also up is Texas Chainsaw 3D, for which one viewing was more than enough.

Notable TV Screenings

This is one of those weeks where you’re on your own. Nothing jumps out at me as particularly notable.

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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."

25 thoughts on “Cranky Hanke’s Weekly Reeler May 15-21: Gimme No Star Trek Loot

  1. Big Al

    It is still “Trekkie”, although the new generation of Trek fans is so far removed from the original that I suspect some evolution in terms is inevitable.

    I despise 3D. Do films shot in 3D, such as “Gatsby”, lose anything when viewed in 2D? Like when 3D viewed without glasses looks all fuzzy and discolored? And what about DVD release in 2D?

    I saw “Renoir” and agree, visually stunning! (No 3D needed there!) I even “got” the story, and was surprisingly unfazed by the subtitles.

    The previews for Joss Whedon’s “Much Ado About Nothing” looked enticing. Things are looking up.

  2. Ken Hanke

    I despise 3D. Do films shot in 3D, such as “Gatsby”, lose anything when viewed in 2D? Like when 3D viewed without glasses looks all fuzzy and discolored? And what about DVD release in 2D?

    Films that were shot in 3D can lose some of their impact in 2D, but, no, the 2D print will not look like 3D without the glasses. It will look fine. The only 3D films I’ve seen where I really though the 3D added anything significant have been My Bloody Valentine 3D, Drive Angry 3D (let’s be honest that was the raison d’etre for those), Hugo and The Great Gatsby. There have been others I enjoyed okay, but I don’t think it was significant. That said, Hugo is just as swell in 2D.

    I saw “Renoir” and agree, visually stunning! (No 3D needed there!) I even “got” the story, and was surprisingly unfazed by the subtitles.

    It’s an acquired thing, though I find them less of a bother if I have some grasp of the language.

  3. Jeremy Dylan

    I despise 3D. Do films shot in 3D, such as “Gatsby”, lose anything when viewed in 2D?

    Yes. You lose the stupid glasses, eye strain and 30% light loss.

  4. DrSerizawa

    I recently bought a cheap used DVD of the ST reboot and watched it. I was surprised at how rock stupid it was. Apparently on first viewing you kind of miss a lot of stuff. But like INDEPENDENCE DAY subsequent viewings become even painful. I really think that it’s time to put Star Trek to rest. At least stop the stupid time travel memes because they are almost always poorly done.

    However my wife wants to see the latest ST, so I guess I’m stuck. I hope it’s somewhat smarter (less stupid?) than the last, but with it being a JJ Abrams vehicle I’m expecting non-stop idiocy and lens flares.

    I hold out hope that the future will bring more sci-fi like DISTRICT9 and less like ST or AVATAR, but I’m probably doomed to disappointment.

  5. Justin Souther

    I hold out hope that the future will bring more sci-fi like DISTRICT9 and less like ST or AVATAR, but I’m probably doomed to disappointment.

    You do have Elysium and Snowpiercer to look forward to after all. And even Pacific Rim for that matter. Upstream Color — despite Ken’s lukewarm feelings on it — should be included, too.

  6. Me

    Isn’t there enough sci fi these days? I wish they would give it a break. I agree though if they have to more Upstream Color please.

  7. Ken Hanke

    However my wife wants to see the latest ST, so I guess I’m stuck. I hope it’s somewhat smarter (less stupid?) than the last, but with it being a JJ Abrams vehicle I’m expecting non-stop idiocy and lens flares.

    The advantage for me is I don’t expect much from this sort of thing in the first place and would never watch one a second time. Of course, I’m more of a horror fan than a sci-fi one and I never cared for the TV Star Trek.

  8. Ken Hanke

    Upstream Color — despite Ken’s lukewarm feelings on it — should be included, too.

    The further away I get from this, the more I don’t like it and don’t get the appeal. Since you and Edwin are so keen on it, I feel like I must be missing something. There’s just too much about it that’s almost a textbook of what I don’t like about indies.

  9. Ken Hanke

    No word on Stories We Tell (first I’ve seen it mentioned, in fact), but Frances Ha is down for 5/31 at The Carolina.

  10. Steven

    [b]No word on Stories We Tell (first I’ve seen it mentioned, in fact),[/b]

    Well that’s not a good sign. I imagine it would sell better than, say, [i]Beyond the Hills[/i] or [i]Like Someone in Love[/i]. I think. Maybe? I don’t know.

  11. Ken Hanke

    It could hardly do worse, but there’s the catch of the fact that Polley’s Take This Waltz did pretty poorly and this one’s a documentary. And it’s clear that I’m not the only who cringes at that term. There’s maybe one a year that really flies here.

  12. Orbit DVD

    Few more out on dvd this week. Did Roman Coppola’s A GLIMPSE INTO THE MIND OF CHARLES SWAN III play here? Also the fantastic BEWARE OF MR. BAKER (Ginger, that is), DEXTER SEASON 7 and Ken Hanke’s next reviewing project ZOMBIE ASS: TOILET OF THE DEAD.

  13. Ken Hanke

    Did Roman Coppola’s A GLIMPSE INTO THE MIND OF CHARLES SWAN III play here?

    No. Pathetic box office assured that.

    Also the fantastic BEWARE OF MR. BAKER (Ginger, that is)

    That actually intrigues me.

    Ken Hanke’s next reviewing project ZOMBIE ASS: TOILET OF THE DEAD.

    You are a monster.

    Oh, any word on Ramin Bahrani’s new film? It’s called AT ANY PRICE

    After that, I wouldn’t tell you if I knew. But I don’t anyway. It’s SPC, so it probably will.

  14. Me

    “There’s just too much about it that’s almost a textbook of what I don’t like about indies.”

    What would that be?

  15. Me

    Im wondering if Sightseers will come to town. It looks like the darkest comedy of the year so, im all in.

  16. Ken Hanke

    What would that be?

    It’s drab looking, it’s on the dreary side, the acting is uneven, and it has what feels like an Indie 101 musical score.

    And here it is this weeks Youtube discovery.

    Ken Russell’s Debussy film from the BBC.

    Not the best way to see it, but it’s better than not seeing it at all.

    Im wondering if Sightseers will come to town.

    It’s on no lists I’ve seen, but it’s IFC, so there’s a good chance The Carolina will book it.

  17. Me

    I was going to say Soderbergh’s Liberace film is this week but, it appears to be premiering next Sunday.

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