Cranky Hanke’s Weekly Reeler December 31-January 6: January Is Upon Us

In Theaters.

It was as inevitable as Dick Clark’s shrinking posthumous billing on New Year’s Rocking Eve that January would arrive bearing slim tidings mixed with the nuggets of expanding Oscar-bait releases that have yet too penetrate the provinces. Well, this week we get none of the latter (next week promises to be better) and only one release of any kind. You know, these 2014 films that are still kicking that you haven’t gotten around to? Well, now is the time.


04754-WiB AOD-Photo Nick Wall.NEF


The only thing we get this week is The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death, the inescapable sequel to 2012’s popular The Woman in Black. Of course, they’re still riding on the (near as I can tell largely meaningless to today’s viewers) Hammer Films’ name. Typically for such sequels, they’ve retained neither the director, nor the writer of the first film (though the book’s author, Susan Hill, did cook up the story). And, of course, they don’t have Daniel Radcliffe’s name to bank on. I somehow doubt that Jeremy Irvine has the same box office appeal. What they’ve got is the same creepy concept and the same just as creepy house. That may actually be enough. The original was a surprisingly effective ghost story. Moving the idea ahead 40 years to WWII era England isn’t a bad idea. It certainly provides an excuse for relocating a group of orphans from blitz-ravaged London to the supposed safety of Eel Marsh House. Truthfully, the trailer doesn’t look bad, but when is the last time that the first release of the year wasn’t pretty much of a dog? Friday will tell.

The upside to this is that we don’t lose anything of note. In fact, The Carolina is returning Birdman to a full set of shows, though The Homesman is being split with The Theory of Everything. This is likely to change dramatically next week.

Special Screenings




This week the Thursday Horror Picture Show has Carole Lombard in Victor Halperin’s Supernatural (1933) at 8 p.m. on Thu., Jan. 1 in Theater Six at The Carolina. The Hendersonville Film Society is showing Steve Gordon’s Arthur (the 1981 original film) on Sun., Jan. 4 at 2 p.m. in the Smoky Mountain Theater at Lake Pointe Landing in Hendersonville. The Asheville Film Society starts it January calendar with Laurel and Hardy in Pack Up Your Troubles (1932) at 8 p.m. on Tue., Jan. 6 in Theater Six at The Carolina. More on all titles in this week’s Xpress — with full reviews available in the online edition.


Both Tusk and the little-seen Kelly & Cal appear on DVD this week. So does The Equalizer.

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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27 thoughts on “Cranky Hanke’s Weekly Reeler December 31-January 6: January Is Upon Us

    • Ken Hanke

      I haven’t done the TV part for several weeks, maybe months. It didn’t seem like anybody was really bothering with it. That you just now noticed — and no one else has remarked — suggests that was true. But if you’re reading right now, A Hard Day’s Night is on TCM this very minute. And there’s this movie called Tommy on at 1:15 a..m.

  1. Steven

    (next week promises to be better)

    Selma, Inherent Vice, and… Mr. Turner, yes?

      • Steven

        I’m happy with that. Hoping I won’t have to wait too long for [i]A Most Violent Year[/i].

        • Ken Hanke

          Gotta say I don’t get the big fuss over that one. It’s not bad, but neither did I find it in the least remarkable.

          • Edwin Arnaudin

            Agreed. I suggest lowering your expectations. (Mine were already close to rock bottom after All Is Lost and I still only thought Chandor’s latest was pretty good.)

      • Me

        Remember those Inherent Vice commercials I mentioned?, The one I saw today said selected cities, and not everywhere.

      • Ken Hanke

        Foxcatcher is down for here on 16th. Inherent Vice is kind of up in the air.

      • Steven

        Foxcatcher is probably the release of the season that just mystifies me. I was extremely underwhelmed. Although it seems that praise has somewhat died a little for that one.

        • Ken Hanke

          Apart from being truly startled when the gun went off — by which I mean I did a horror movie shock effect jump — my major response was that it effective held my attention with a story that I had no interested in. That and that there’s not enough Vanessa in it. I remain cool on Bennett Miller.

    • Ken Hanke

      It’s gonna take more than that trailer and some critic likening it to David Gordon Green to pull me in. Don’t tell me — either Filmspotting or The Dissolve was all over it?

      • Me

        Josh Larsen was a champion of the film, and I don’t know about the George Washington comparison, I’ve only seen parts of that movie.

        • Ken Hanke

          I’m firmly of the opinion that when you praise a Green movie for its visuals, you’re really praising Tim Orr.

          • Me

            The only Green movies I’ve ever sit entirely through were Joe and Prince Avalanche, and I didn’t really like either, but I thought Eastbound and Down was hilariously filthy and I know he directed some of those.

          • Ken Hanke

            Anything involving Danny McBride and Jody Hill is automatically out of bounds for me.

  2. michaeld

    I’m a sort of new member of the Asheville Film Society and enjoying many of the films that you Justin have selected to screen.
    Two thoughts:
    ** Would love to hear you and Justin talk a little more about each film before it shows, and perhaps a short Q&A session afterward. You guys are wonderfully knowledgable and could really enlighten us audience members.
    ** A website specifically for the AFS would be most welcome as a way to let everyone know what’s coming up and to provide other news, information and links.
    Thanks, and happy new year!

    • Ken Hanke

      Thanks. To be honest, some of the time my intros are cut a little short because of my breathing difficulties. We’ve tried to do an after screening thing, but it never caught on. You can always ask me anything you want afterwards, though.

      It’s rarely updated, unfortunately, but we do have an AFS website, and if you go there and sign up for the newsletter, there is a monthly mailing —

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