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.
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.
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.