So here we are celebrating the end of the year with exactly one new movie to choose from (not that there aren’t some pretty choice choices already out) — and because it’s from the Weinsteins, they’ve played around with when we’ll get it because…well, they’re the Weinsteins and they can. You may recall that The Hateful Eight in its regular (or commoner) release wasn’t supposed to appear till next week. Then it moved to a Dec. 31 slot — a Thursday opening of all things. And there it stayed till Monday afternoon when it suddenly changed to Wednesday (with showings Tuesday evening). Why? Because it’s the Weinsteins.
With the release of The Hateful Eight we’re just about caught up with 2015’s big movies. We get The Revenant and Carol next week. Anomalisa comes to town later in January and that pretty much eats up the more anticipated 2015 releases. It also means that we’re getting very near the Ten Best lists. I had hoped those would be ready by next week (I think Hateful Eight is the only contender Mr. Souther and I haven’t seen), but the fact that I have been pretty effectively laid low by some kind of respiratory infection, I think we’re looking at the Jan. 13 issue.
So here we have Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight — opening Wed., Dec. 30 (with evening shows Dec. 29) at Carolina Cinemas, Epic of Hendersonville, Regal Biltmore Grande, UA Beaucatcher. Though I have serious issues with the way Tarantino handled this whole thing (more on that in a minute), yes, I’m very interested in this release. If we exempt Death Proof (2007), I’ve liked everything Tarantino’s done from Kill Bill (2003-04) forward. So why wouldn’t I be interested in this? No reason at all — even though I know people (from more metropolitan areas) who hated it, and even though I have gleaned it’s more a violent, bloody, vulgar, talky Agatha Christie drawing room mystery than the epic western its highly-touted 70mm Panavision format suggests. I’m still enthusiastically in, despite the inescapable conclusion that Tarantino is punishing me for not living in a major metropolitan area by withholding the “road show” version. (I don’t care at all that we had to wait an extra week.) I find the whole approach arrogant, but it is Tarantino, so what should I expect? The most amusing thing is that unless the film was being shown in a theater that was actually made for the format, viewers only got an approximation of the effect of 70mm Panavision. Theaters that were quickly converted with 70mm projectors are still not projecting it on a screen made for the format’s extremely narrow — 2.79:1 — ratio. Anyway I’ll be at The Carolina to see the movie for myself — hopefully, in the morning (antibiotics willing).
The only notable loss this week is Brooklyn, which is a real pity since it still did remarkably good business on only two shows a day this past weekend at The Carolina. Screen space is at a premium just now.
The Thursday Horror Picture Show has that trio of terror, Bela Lugosi, George Zucco, and John Carradine in a newly restored version of William Beaudine’s Voodoo Man (1944) at 8 p.m. on Thu., Dec. 31 in Theater Six at The Carolina. World Cinema is taking New Year’s Day off. The Hendersonville Film Society is screening The Cassandra Crossing (1976) on Sun., Jan. 3 at 2 p.m. in the Smoky Mountain Theater at Lake Pointe Landing in Hendersonville. The Asheville Film Society starts the new year with Peter Sellers, Peter O’Toole, and Woody Allen in Clive Donner’s What’s New Pussycat? (1965) on Tue., Jan. 5 at 8 p.m. in Theater Six at The Carolina. More on all titles in this week’s Xpress and in the online edition.