Cranky Hanke’s Weekly Reeler April 20-26: A Nixon Huntsman Hologram Miles Ahead Everybody Wants

In Theaters.

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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

Special Screenings

 

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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/

 

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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.

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About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress from December 2000 until his death in June 2016. 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."

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17 thoughts on “Cranky Hanke’s Weekly Reeler April 20-26: A Nixon Huntsman Hologram Miles Ahead Everybody Wants

  1. Ken Hanke

    This doesn’t qualify as a review, but it is a recommendation — Saw Don Cheadle’s Miles Ahead and it’s pretty darn great. (And this is from someone who doesn’t much care for that kind of jazz.)

    • Edwin Arnaudin

      I think you mean “that kind of social music.”

      I also heartily recommend it. Prioritize it and Everybody Wants Some!! this weekend and save A Hologram for the King for later.

      • Ken Hanke

        Can’t get onboard “save Hologram for later.” It’s the most likely to go first. Granted, this is without seeing it or Everybody Wants Some!!, though I’m pretty sure seeing the latter would not help matters for me.

    • Me

      Let me guess you’re a John Tesh fan? I didn’t expect Miles Ahead to be released so soon, now I’ve got three films to catch up on.

    • Me

      I hope the master tape that they’re trying to get back in the trailer is his Cyndi Lauper cover recording.

  2. Ken Hanke

    Worth noting that the Fine Arts will be showing Purple Rain next weekend (Apr. 29-30) for its late show. OK, I never bought it as “the Citizen Kane of rock musicals” (and I perversely preferred the much disdained Under the Cherry Moon), but it’s pretty good and a nice gesture on the theater’s part.

    • Under The Cherry Moon is hated, however, I have always liked it. It’s an odd film. Purple Rain is a time capsule, but I find it difficult to classify it as a “great film.” There’s no arguing with the soundtrack, but as a film? Ummmm….
      TB

      • Ken Hanke

        Under the Cherry Moon is, I think, due for reassessment. I’ve noticed it’s already less reviled than it was when it was new. It always had a vague sense of James Baldwin about it to me — and I admired the fact that Prince was clearly more interested in making a film than in promoting and showcasing the songs.

  3. Me

    Glad to see Louder than Bombs is coming to Fine Arts, if you haven’t seen it yet check out Joachim Trier’s previous film Oslo August 31 before it leaves Netflix on May 5.

      • Edwin Arnaudin

        I remember liking it, but I’m not sure you would respond similarly.

          • Ken Hanke

            With a vengeance. 90 minutes with characters I neither liked, nor cared about — mostly medium-close-shots (generally hand-held) of people talking.

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