Cranky Hanke’s Weekly Reeler April 27-May 3: Papa Keanu Green Mother’s Day Clank

In Theaters.

If it weren’t for the one new art title and the surprise addition of a more-or-less art title that showed up at the last minute, this would frankly look like one of those weekends the pages of history tell us is best spent with DVDs — or at least with worthy holdovers from last week. The three new mainstream offerings…well, I suppose they may appeal to someone somewhere. But let’s be honest — they’re being dumped this week since the Captain America: Civil War juggernaut will steamroll the lot of them.

The scarcity of reviews I’ve been responsible for (or guilty of, if you prefer) has, as previously noted, been due to health problems — Clapton knows crappy movies don’t keep me out of the theater, though whether they have taken their toll on my well-being may be a point to ponder. The plan at this point is that I’ll be back in something like full form this weekend. You Are Warned.

 

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Now, I haven’t seen it, but I am told by Scott Douglas (whose review is in this week’s Xpress) that this week’s big art title Green Room — starting Friday at the Carolina Cinemark — is what we used to call a solid sender (at least in music terms). In other words, he thinks this new riff on the slasher horror thriller starring Patrick Stewart, Anton Yelchin, and Imogen Poots is pretty swell. It certainly has a cast not usually associate with such fare. While I wasn’t one of the bigger admirers of Jeremy Saulnier’s previous film, Blue Ruin (2014), I admit this intrigues me.

 

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So last night I found — long after presstime — that Bob Yari’s Papa: Hemingway in Cuba is opening on Friday at the Carolina Cinemark. OK, I’m intrigued — more than intrigued when I look at the mainstream titles. I’m also intrigued by producer Bob Yari’s decision to serve as director on the film. It’s not unprecedented, but the last time Yari actually directed one of his productions was in 1989 with some schlock horror picture called Mind Games. So why now? That’s not clear. The cast includes Giovanni Ribisi, Joely Richardson, Mariel Hemingway (well, why not), and Adrian Sparks as Ernest Hemingway. Solid, but lacking in box office names. The film is described this way: “The first Hollywood film to shoot on location in Cuba since the 1959 revolution, Papa: Hemingway in Cuba is the true-life story of a young journalist who finds a father figure in legendary author Ernest Hemingway. Their relationship began in the late 1950’s when Ed Myers, then a junior reporter at The Miami Herald, wrote a fan letter to his idol. Myers thought he was being pranked when the larger than life Hemingway phoned the newsroom a week later, inviting him to Havana. ‘Good letter, kid,’ the famous voice growled. ‘You like to fish?’ Hidden away at his private estate with his wife Mary, the elusive author mentors Myers in fishing, drinking, and finding his voice while the Cuban Revolution boils up around them. In this turbulent landscape, observing an icon in his twilight years, Myers discovers his strength while recognizing that all of our heroes are human.”

 

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And then there’s Keanu — starting Friday (with the usual Thursday evening shows) at the Carolina Cinemark, Epic of Hendersonville, Regal Biltmore Grande. What is it? Well, it’s an attempt by Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele (or Key and Peele) to transfer their TV sketch comedy to the big screen (with their TV director, Peter Atencio, at the helm). The approach seems to be to graft their comedy onto a story where they pose as drug dealers in order to retrieve a stolen kitten. The results are apparently an action comedy spoof combined with something like a stoner comedy and a YouTube cat video. Will it work? Well, right now it boasts 12 positive to four negative reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, but it should be noted that the good reviews all come from Key and Peele admirers. I admit I am not in that number. I don’t dislike them, but I think I’m more perplexed by their appeal than anything.

 

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Next we find Garry Marshall laying waste to another holiday with another “name” ensemble cast (and Hector Elizondo because it’s a Garry Marshall picture) with Mother’s Day — doing the Thursday evening/Friday opening at the Carolina Cinemark, Epic of Hendersonville, Regal Biltmore Grande, UA Beaucatcher. (Personally, I’m trying to hold out for when he tackles St. Swithin’s Day.) The folks at Open Road assure us: “Bringing together Jennifer Aniston, Kate Hudson and Julia Roberts along with Jason Sudeikis, it’s a celebration of mothers everywhere. This big-hearted comedy invites us all to enjoy the laughter, tears and love as three generations come together in the week leading up to Mother’s Day.” Be honest, you know whether or not this is for you.

 

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Bring up the rear is some animated sci-fi fantasy called Ratchet & Clank — doing the Thursday evening/Friday biz at the Carolina Cinemark, Epic of Hendersonville, Regal Biltmore Grande. Having read the plot and seen the trailer — the latter pulling off the incredible feat of being both innocuous and obnoxious at the same time — I don’t so much know what this is about, but get the sense that it’s an undigested conglomeration of at least 20 other cartoons about learning Life’s Important Lessons. The blurb says, “Ratchet and Clank tells the story of two unlikely heroes as they struggle to stop a vile alien named Chairman Drek from destroying every planet in the Solana Galaxy. When the two stumble upon a dangerous weapon capable of destroying entire planets, they must join forces with a team of colorful heroes called The Galactic Rangers in order to save the galaxy. Along the way they’ll learn about heroism, friendship, and the importance of discovering one’s own identity.” Now, honestly, tell me you haven’t seen this in some other iteration.

This week, the Fine Arts holds steady with Miles Ahead (which deserves your support) and Everybody Wants Some!!. On the other hand, the Carolina Cinemark is dropping Miles Ahead (which for some reason did three times the business at Fine Arts), Elvis & Nixon, and Midnight Special. It’s worth noting that Hello, My Name Is Doris and Everbody Wants Some!! are being cut to three shows a day. The latter may only be cut for Friday-Sunday. Still, it bodes ill for them lasting more than this week.

Special Screenings

 

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Before getting to the usual films, let’s note that on Thu., Apr. 28 at 7 p.m., the Fine Arts Theater begins this year’s Jewish Film Festival with the documentary Rosenwald, which will have an encore screening Fri., Apr. 29 at 1 p.m.

 

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On Friday and Saturday at 9:30, the Fine Arts is screening Prince in Purple Rain (1984), which is also slated to show at the Carolina Cinemark (at 2:10 and 7:50) on Friday through Sunday.

 

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World Cinema is screening Ermanno Olmi’s Il Posto (1980) at 8 p.m. on Fri., Apr. 29 at Phil Mechanic Studios, 109 Roberts St., River Arts District (upstairs in the Railroad Library). The Hendersonville Film Society is screening Blake Edwards’ A Shot in the Dark (1964) at 2 p.m. on Sun., May 1 in the Smoky Mountain Theater at Lake Pointe Landing in Hendersonville. More on all films in this week’s Xpress and in the online edition.

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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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20 thoughts on “Cranky Hanke’s Weekly Reeler April 27-May 3: Papa Keanu Green Mother’s Day Clank

  1. Big Al

    “…Carolina Cinemark is dropping Miles Ahead (which for some reason did three times the business at Fine Arts)..”

    Could it be something to do with lovers of art films being turned off by the corporatization of the Carolina’s personality?

    • Ken Hanke

      It could, but it’s worth noting that Everybody Wants Some!! did about the same at both theaters.

      • Big Al

        I would counter by proposing that “Everybody Wants Some” probably has a broader appeal, especially with younger movie goers who don’t typically go to the FAT.

        • Ken Hanke

          You can counter all you like, but you’re only guessing (and to a large degree so am I). The two films are both niche items and nationally did about even business over the weekend. Also I have doubts about your demographic claims. I think you would find — if you spent much time observing — that the Carolina audience skews older, if only because of the parking.

          • Big Al

            I would not disagree that more Carolina patrons are older, but I very seldom see young viewers (below 35) at FAT except when certain “sexy” offerings like “Mud” and “A Place Among the Pines” was showing.

          • Big Al

            After posting the last reply, I realize that it in no way advances my argument, so let me restate it more clearly:

            My observation is that Fine Arts Theater’s patrons tend to be older, mostly over 40, and that FAT has done nothing to drive them away, so their performance not suffered for either film.

            While I do not disagree that more older patrons attend the Carolina, they also have attracted a healthy population of young art and independent film fans, significantly more than the FAT. I am suggesting that the changes made by Cinemark are making younger viewers less likely to see the less “sexy” films, like “Miles Ahead”, but will tolerate the changes to see more youth-oriented films like “Everybody Wants Some”.

            Thus FAT and CC maintain the same attendance for “Everybody..” but the younger viewers stay away from the Carolina for anything less, like “Miles…”, giving FAT a net gain.

            I am willing to be wrong on this, having no dog in the fight, but it is the first and most obvious explanation that springs to my mind to explain the difference.

            I will admit that, being a getting-to-be-old fart, I was first turned off by the state of things at the Carolina when I moved here 8 years ago, but the longer I have lived in the area, the more accustomed I have become to what fits into the “vibe” of the area, and I am lamenting the oppressive atmosphere of golf shirts, ties and being called “sir”. Vive La Difference! If I want conventional, I’ll go to the Regal cinemas or the chain theater on Tunnel Road.

          • Ken Hanke

            I’m not claiming to have more knowledge of this than you, but I have observed it up close and personal and from something of an insider’s perspective, since I’ve worked closely with both theaters for a number of years. Many of the objections to the corporatization of the Carolina you refer to, I share — and there are others you haven’t even mentioned. But having said that, I think you are arriving at the answer you want more than anything else — and I think one instance is way too slight to arrive at any meaningful conclusion. Plus, you are leaving out key information — like the time of day and the day of the week you’re basing your observations on. (I’m also perplexed by your definition of “sexy.”) And I certainly see no advantage in going to other Big Box theaters for preference. I can see choosing the Fine Arts — assuming the same films are playing — but otherwise…

  2. Edwin Arnaudin

    Amazon Prime has added multiple Broad Green Pictures titles in the past week. I can’t recommend I Smile Back (if you want dramatic Sarah Silverman, watch Take This Waltz), Learning to Drive (Ken can) nor A Walk in the Woods (if you want retirees behaving badly, watch The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared, also conveniently on Prime), but they’re all on there for the curious. The one from Broad Green on there that I haven’t seen is Samba, an immigration dramedy starring Omar Sy, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Tahar Rahim.

    Pawn Sacrifice and Eden, a well-made narrative chronicle of ’90s Parisian EDM, featuring a brief Greta Gerwig appearance and a secondary story arc on Daft Punk’s rise to fame, are also now on Prime.

    • Ken Hanke

      The thing to remember about Learning to Drive — despite being marketed as one — is that it is not a comedy. It is instead a drama with a handful of mildly comedic points.

    • Me

      There’s also some great new stuff to rent on there like High Rise, Tale of Tales, Mustang, Darling and the Invitation.

      • Edwin Arnaudin

        Mustang a.k.a. The Turkish Virgin Suicides isn’t that great.

        • Ken Hanke

          I didn’t make it through Mustang. I am curious, however, if the claim of “some great new stuff” is based on actually having seen all these.

          • Ken Hanke

            No answer, huh?

            In the meantime, I am somewhat perplexed how The Green Room is still hanging on.

          • Edwin Arnaudin

            I’d rather have Green Room still playing than Papa: Hemingway in Cuba, and with the dearth of new product my guess is those were the choices.

          • Ken Hanke

            I have no opinion, since I’ve seen neither. What startles me is it’s being held over after a weekend that was…well, pretty bad.

          • Ken Hanke

            I also think, however, that there may have been some miscommunication between a distributor and the booker.

          • Ken Hanke

            By that I mean it looks like something was available to replace it after all.

  3. Matt

    Whoa, I just noticed the poster for Green Room. That is classic 80’s horror style. Is that part of the whole marketing campaign for it? Is the movie an homage to that? Or is the movie itself kind of unserious in a way?

  4. Ken Hanke

    Note: With the late addition of The Man Who Knew Infinity, Green Room lost all but its last show.

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