This week the art titles have it — four art titles to one mainstream title, and a mainstream title I’m unconvinced there’s a long felt want for. I might be surprised by this, but I kind of doubt it. We shall see.
Last weekend was a strange one for me — simply because I was under the weather and that resulted in me not reviewing any of the movies. (That’s not a first, but it’s close to it — and it is a first on a five review weekend.) Stranger still, while there are two art titles opening this week that have been reviewed, I’ve actually seen neither one. As a result, my views are entirely based on hearsay, and preconceived notions about the filmmakers.
The first of the reviewed art titles is Tom Tykwer’s A Hologram for the King — starting Friday at The Carolina Cinemark. This is a film for which I had — and have — great hopes. I believe it came as a surprise to Scott Douglas that it was good, since he appears to be somewhat less of a fan of Mr. Tykwer than I am — ever more so, I think, when Tom Hanks is thrown into the mix. But I was certainly pleased that he liked it well enough to give it the Weekly Pick. (I do take issue with his statement, “Tykwer still displays a proclivity for excessive stylization,” but then I don’t believe there is such a thing as “excessive stylization.”) Regardless, read his review — and check out the film. I intend to, if I can.
Then there’s Richard Linklater’s Everybody Wants Some!! — starting Friday at The Carolina Cinemark and Fine Arts Theatre. I freely confess I never had any great desire to see this — and I still don’t. It’s not that I dislike Linklater’s work. It’s that I dislike certain aspects of his work, and this looks to be filled with those aspects — to a degree that I could never have been fair to it. Mr. Douglas again gave it high marks, and so may you.
In the unseen art realm, we have Liza Johnson’s Elvis & Nixon — starting Friday (with Thursday evening shows) at The Carolina Cinemark and Regal Biltmore Grande. Ms. Johnson previously made the very pleasant Hateship Loveship (2014) — a movie I bumped into completely by chance on Netflix. Expecting nothing and fearing the worst when the film was grounded in an unusually cruel joke, I was surprised by the manner in which Johnson handled the material. I suspect she may well be the perfect director to have made Elvis & Nixon. It’s the kind of fact-based yarn that — though apparently largely true — strains credulity from the very onset. The idea is that one day Elvis Presley (Michael Shannon) just decided to pay a call on Richard Nixon (Kevin Spacey) and offer his services as an undercover narcotics agent. Preposterous? Yes, but then Elvis and Nixon were pretty preposterous themselves.
And then there’s Don Cheadle’s directorial debut Miles Ahead — Starting Friday at The Carolina Cinemark and Fine Arts Theatre. Cheadle not only directed this biopic on jazz musician Miles Davis, but he stars in it and co-wrote the screenplay. The reviews are mixed, but mostly positive, and no one denies that Cheadle has tried something different with the biopic format and is certainly ambitious. Also, let’s be honest here — there is a snobbish tendecy to look down on biopics for no reason other than the fact that they are biopics, so bear that in mind. Also in the cast are Ewan McGregor and Michael Stuhlbarg, who are plus factors in any film.
Bringing up the rear is Cedric Nicolas-Troyer’s The Huntsman: Winter’s War — doing that Thursday evening/Friday opening thing at Carmike 10, The Carolina Cinemark, Epic of Hendersonville, Regal Biltmore Grande. Somehow or other this is apparently both a sequel and a prequel to 2012’s Snow White and the Huntsman. Why that film warrants a follow up is perplexing. OK, so, yeah, it grossed $396 million worldwide, but bear in mind that the budget for the first film was $170 million, meaning (roughly) that it had to hit $340 million before it broke even. In the black? Yes, I suppose so (though I’ll bet that studio accountants can prove otherwise), but once you factor in the law of diminishing returns that plagues most second trips to the well, this just seems…at least unnecessary and perhaps ill-advised. The early reviews have been oh so very unkind.
This week we lose Demolition at The Carolina Cinemark, while the Fine Arts is dropping Hello, My Name Is Doris, Eye in the Sky and Embrace of the Serpent. It is worth noting that The Carolina is cutting Midnight Special to three shows a day (11:15, 4:40, 7:25), suggesting this will be its last week.
Before getting to the usual films, let’s note that on Thu., Apr. 21st at 7 p.m., the Fine Arts Theater is screening several “Works in Progress” titles that preview upcoming works by local filmmakers including Katie Damien, Erin Derham, Paul Schattel, Hank Eder, and more.Also featuring a special look at the new short film How to Love Your Demon y writer/director Jamie Parker and starring Hayley Heninger (Transplanting) and Allen T. Law. Admission is $5/
World Cinema is screening Nicolas Roeg’s Bad Timing: A Sensual Obsession (1980) at 8 p.m. on Fri., Apr. 22 at Phil Mechanic Studios, 109 Roberts St., River Arts District (upstairs in the Railroad Library). The Hendersonville Film Society is screening Julie Taymor’s The Tempest (2010) at 2 p.m. on Sun., Apr. 24 in the Smoky Mountain Theater at Lake Pointe Landing in Hendersonville.