Cranky Hanke’s Weekly Reeler November 7-13: Holy Motors Dream Skyfall

In Theaters

In its way, it’s a slack week—one mainstream film and two art titles. That said, any week that brings us Leos Carax’s Holy Motors is OK by me. In fact, it’s considerably more than merely OK. That I will be vastly surprised if it draws a crowd is beside the point.

I’m not going to make the claim that Holy Motors is the best film of 2012, but I will say that it’s the most unusual one—and one of the most multi-layered ones. I have now seen it three times—and revisited certain scenes a fourth time—and I doubt it will stop there. I also devoted nearly twice the space usually given to a review to it, and I could easily have kept going, but some restraint was necessary to accomodate the other reviews. To say that I’m strong for this film—a work which will likely remind some viewers of Luis Bunuel and David Lynch—is probably understating the case.

Now, having said all that, I’m fully aware that Holy Motors is not likely to be everyone’s dish of tea. Far from it. I doubt there will be a more divisive film this year. I like to envision people coming to blows over art like this, but I suspect that’s just my more fanciful nature. I do expect that at least one person will send me an e-mail swearing he or she will never read anything I write again. And there’ll be at least one who only saw the five star rating and wants to complain about that. Who knows? I may even get myself banned from Hendersonville for a third time by recommending it. I fully anticipate a certain amount of walkouts at the Fine Arts over it—especially at the point where M. Merde reveals his full manliness (in its angry state). Reactions like this are what make cinema exciting! 

On the other side of the coin, The Carolina is opening the documentary The Other Dream Team. I didn’t see this—neither documentaries, nor basketball tend to excite me—but Mr. Souther did and you can read what he had to say in this week’s paper.

As far as mainstream film is concerned, there are few things more mainstream than a James Bond movie—and this latest, Skyfall, purports to be something special, since it marks the 50th anniversary of the series. And unlike a great many of you, I actually remember the big deal it was in 1962. Whether this is as big a deal remains to be seen. It is certain make a ton of money—in fact, it already has because it’s already out in most of the world—but excuse me for doubting it will be the kind of cultural touchstone that Dr. No was those many years ago. From what I’ve been able to determine, it attempts to come to some kind of terms with just exactly how a character like Bond fits into the modern world—something the series has heretofore ignored, even when it was being addressed elsewhere (see John Boorman’s The Tailor of Panama). The film even “dares” to address the famous Bond gadgets. (How daring that really is is on the questionable side, since the whole business was spoofed mercilessly in the 1967 Casino Royale.) Well, we’ll see.

So what does this week find us losing? Well, Easy Money didn’t find money that easy to come by and is making a hasty departure from the Fine Arts, as is Liberal Arts. Samsara (mystifyingly, to me) continues to draw an audience, so it’s been reprieved for another week.

Special Screenings

Before getting down to the usual stuff, let’s pause to mention the one-time showing of Romanza at the Fine Arts on Sat., Nov. 10 at 4 p.m. I haven’t seen this, but here’s the information:

Every dog needs a home and why not make it an artful one! The American Institute of Architects is teaming with the Asheville Art Museum, Aloft Downtown Asheville and Fine Arts Theatre to host a fundraiser for Brother Wolf Animal Rescue in November. The project, The Asheville Bow-Wowhaus teams architects, businesses, and builders to create one-of-a-kind dog houses. The houses, to be displayed at Aloft hotel for a week in early November, will be auctioned at a gala party at the Asheville Art Museum. Proceeds from the sale of the houses will benefit both Brother Wolf and The Asheville Art Museum.

The idea began when AIA Asheville scheduled a documentary film, Romanza, a piece by filmmaker Michael Miner about Frank Lloyd Wrights California homes. The film traces homes throughout California, including the smallest of Wrights designs, a doghouse for Eddie Berger, the 12 year old son of a client who wrote Wright: “I would appreciate it if you would design me a doghouse, which would be easy to build, but would go with our house…,” read the letter dated June 19, 1956. “(My dog) is two and a half feet high and three feet long. The reasons I would like this doghouse is for the winters mainly.” He continued that he could pay for the design with his paper route money. “I was probably his youngest client and poorest client,” Jim Berger, now 68, said. Berger rebuilt the doghouse with his brother, using the original plans. It is featured in Romanza and will be displayed at the Bow-Wowhaus events. More information about the film and “Eddie’s doghouse” may be found at http://designedbyfranklloydwright.com/

“This got us thinking,” says Thad Rhoden, AIA Asheville President and Principal at Sparc Design, “If American’s most famous architect designed a doghouse; our members could have fun doing the same plus help great causes in our community.” Brother Wolf Animal Rescue is a non-profit organization which operates a limited intake No Kill shelter and foster program for homeless animals. Staff and volunteers are dedicated to finding excellent homes for pets, often specializing in animals who need behavioral training or extensive medical care before being ready for adoption. BWAR continues to promote responsible pet ownership and offers many forms of community outreach in an effort to improve the quality of life for the animals and people in the community, to decrease pet homelessness, and to strengthen the animal/human bond. Since 2006, Brother Wolf has rehomed over 5,000 cats and dogs. “The Bow-Wowhaus event will assist in raising much needed funds to continue our mission of rehoming thousands of cats and dogs,” said Jennifer Warren.

The Asheville Art museum will host the gala Bow Wow-haus auction. “We are delighted to partner with AIA Asheville by hosting this event in our newly-expanded Primed facility,” remarks Pamela Myers, Asheville Art Museum Executive Director, adding “the Museum and AIA Asheville are long standing partners, both central to the community’s cultural landscape. We invite the community and our patrons to attend this special event in support of two worthwhile causes.”

“This concept of architect design doghouses has been repeated in cities across the country with great success,” Rhoden said. “We want to bring attention to the fact that architects are accessible and available to work with clients on all type projects, both large and really small!” AIA Asheville works to promote the value of the architectural profession and to advance the living standards of people through an improved built environment. AIA Asheville has over 200 members in 18 counties across WNC. Rhoden explained that while many dogs don’t actually live outside these days, the Bow-Wowhaus doghouses will be creative works of art, some for display outside and some created for use inside the home as well.

The public may see the Bow-Wowhauses at the Aloft Downtown Asheville, the brand new 115-room hotel in the heart of downtown, beginning, November 5 through Saturday, November 10. Aloft is a pet-friendly hotel, providing a dog walk for four-legged guests on the third floor Air Level, along with the Arf program, which offers a dog bed, water bowl and mat, toy and a special treat for canine guests. “We know more and more people want to travel with their dogs,” explained Catherine Harris, general manager of Aloft Asheville Downtown. “Our hotel welcomes dog lovers, and features no pet fees!” The hotel will donate a portion of sales at its W xyz bar during the week the doghouses are displayed in the hotel to Brother Wolf.

Event details: Romanza will be screened at the Fine Art Theater on Saturday, November 10, 4:00pm with the gala and auction following at the Asheville Art Museum. Tickets for the Bow-Wowhaus are available for purchase at the AIA Asheville website. Tickets are $45 per person and include the movie, heavy hors d’oeuvres, beer and wine. Tickets may also be purchased for the movie only for $10 per person.

This week the Thursday Horror Picture Show is screening Fernando Mendez’s El Vampiro (1957)—the Mexican horror picture that started the horror boom south of the border—at 8 p.m. on Thu., Nov. 8 in the Cinema Lounge at The Carolina. World Cinema revisits Roman Polanski’s What? (1972) on Fri., Nov. 9 at 8 p.m. in the Railroad Library in the Phil Mechanic Building. The Hendersonville Film Society is showing Francois Truffaut’s The Green Room (1978) at 2 p.m. on Sun., Nov. 11 in the Smoky Mountain Theater at Lake Pointe Landing in Hendersonville. The Asheville Film Society is screening the Four Marx Brothers in Monkey Business (1931) at 8 p.m. on Tue., Nov. 13 in the Cinema Lounge at The Carolina. More on all titles in this week’s Xpress with expanded coverage in the online edition.

On DVD

It’s a light week for new titles with only the very good Your Sister’s Sister and the perfectly fine The Amazing Spider-Man making their debuts.

Notable TV Screenings

I’ve been over the TCM listings twice and have not been able to spot anything out of the ordinary. Try it yourself—maybe you’ll have better luck.

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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."

One thought on “Cranky Hanke’s Weekly Reeler November 7-13: Holy Motors Dream Skyfall

  1. Ken Hanke

    Well, the sad and bitter truth is that Holy Motors was a one week movie.

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