It’s the week of the “official” beginning of the summer blockbuster season. That means you can expect to see the season’s first Next Big Thing all over the place, but that is not quite the only thing opening locally this week. The truth is — despite what might be perceived — I really have nothing against the blockbuster season — at least as long as it doesn’t involve Transformers 37, that is. I actually enjoy some of these pictures. And I’ve championed one or two that I thought were a lot better than they were being judged. What will inevitably annoy me is when people start throwing around terms like “instant classic” (just add water and stir) and “one of the great movies.” Oh well, it is inevitable.
I want to take this opportunity to mention that we’ve added a new reviewer to our roster. No, neither Mr. Souther, nor I are going anywhere, but there are times when a little help is helpful. Enter Scott Douglas whose name you’ll find on the reviews for Little Boy and The Water Diviner in this week’s paper. Those of you who attend the AFS and THPS screenings may recognize him, since he’s pretty much a fixture at those. (He’s the fellow who looks like George Harrison on the cover of the All Things Must Pass album.)
But before dealing with this Next Big Thing, let’s pause to consider the other film coming to town this week, Olivier Assayas’ Clouds of Sils Maria — opening Friday at The Carolina and Fine Arts. If I was prone to using the term “instant classic” (and if I ever do, I hope someone slaps me), I’d slap it on Clouds of Sils Maria. I’ll settle for noting that it’s my first full five star review for a 2015 release. (Before we go any further, I’d like to reassure the subtitle-phobic that the film is almost entirely in English.) I was actually surprised by how much I liked — no, loved — the film. No, I wasn’t put off by the presence of Kristen Stewart, since I’d already thawed toward her with Camp X-Ray (which didn’t play here and isn’t much of a film) and Still Alice — neither of which prepared me for how good she is here. And I wasn’t that worried about Chloë Grace Moretz, whose performance in Laggies very nearly absolved her for the Carrie remake. (The less said about If I Stay, the better.) As for Juliette Binoche…well, that’s always a plus (let’s forget Dan in Real Life and Godzilla.) But it just didn’t hold any particular appeal to me. I was wrong — and I say that three viewings later. It’s not going to be for everyone — but then what is? Read the review in this week’s Xpress and see if you think it might be for you.
That, of course, brings us to Avengers: Age of Ultron — opening Friday (and Thursday at 7) at The Carolina, Co-ed of Brevard, Epic of Hendersonville, Regal Biltmore Grande, UA Beaucatcher. I haven’t seen it and have little opinion on it. I liked The Avengers (2012) well enough — at least until it got the inevitable big smackdown and attendant property damage at the end. (My mind always wanders during those scenes.) I expect much the same to be true of this. It hardly matters. I have no doubt that it will have made a billion dollars by mid-day on Friday. Available in your choice of 2D or 3D flavors (except at the Co-ed, which I don’t believe is equipped for 3D).
This week we lose Child 44 at The Carolina (it may still be at Carmike, owing to lack of product) and Merchants of Doubt (documentaries just don’t cut it most of the time). The Fine Arts is dropping While We’re Young, but it’s holding at The Carolina, which is splitting Danny Collins (which dropped sharply after a second week increase) and True Story.
This week the Thursday Horror Picture Show has Alejandro Hildalgo’s The House at the End of Time (2013) at 8 p.m. on Thu., Apr. 30 in Theater Six at The Carolina. World Cinema is showing Vincent Paronaud and Marjane Satrapi’s Chicken with Plums (2011) on Fri., May 1 at 8 p.m. at Phil Mechanic Studios, 109 Roberts St., River Arts District (upstairs in the Railroad Library). The Hendersonville Film Society is screening Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane (1941) on Sun., May 3 at 2 p.m. in the Smoky Mountain Theater at Lake Pointe Landing in Hendersonville. The Asheville Film Society starts its May calendar with Margaret Sullavan and Henry Fonda in William A. Seiter’s The Moon’s Our Home (1936) on Tue., May 5 at 8 p.m. in Theater Six at The Carolina. More on all titles in this week’s paper — with full reviews in the online edition.
This week we get Inherent Vice, Paddington, and The Gambler — but we also get The Wedding Ringer and The Boy Next Door. You win some, you lose some.