Another light week — one mainstream title and one art title. Come to think of it that’s a step up from last week. But all this is, of course, merely filler — marking time till next week when the movie the entire world is waiting for comes to town. I refer, of course, to Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip.
In a way, I’m benefitting from this, since this is also the week that members of the Southeastern Film Critics Association (familiarly called SEFCA) votes on the Ten Best films of the year, along with various other aspects of the year in film. As a result, I’m playing catch-up on some titles and bitching about the fact that we’re having to vote without having seen The Revenant and The Hateful Eight. It’s the penalty of living in the provinces — and the arrogance of certain filmmakers who punish us for it. (Yes, I am looking at you, Tarantino.) I’m also nursing a cold, but that’s a completely separate issue — and a pretty unpleasant one.
This week’s art title is Justin Kurzel’s Macbeth — opening Friday at The Carolina. Yes, I’ve seen this and, yes, the review will be in this week’s paper. This is a Macbeth for which I have mixed feelings. It most assuredly has not entered into the exalted realm of Orson Welles’ 1948 version, nor of Roman Polanski’s 1971 take on the material. That’s not to say that it isn’t worthwhile, but I don’t agree with some of the choices the filmmaker has made in paring the text and adding to the action — and I really don’t agree with Michael Fassbender’s approach to the dialogue. But I did like Marion Cotillard’s Lady Macbeth, and I found the film — and its very bleak approach — constantly intriguing, and sometimes breathtaking in its striking imagery.
The other offering is Ron Howard’s In the Heart of the Sea — opening Friday (with the usual Thursday evening, etc.) at The Carolina, Epic of Hendersonville, Regal Biltmore Grande, UA Beaucatcher. This fact-based tale of the events that led Herman Melville (Ben Whishaw) to write Moby Dick was supposed to come out last spring. Then it got shunted to summer. Now, it’s finally here — on a suicide run that will come smack up against Star Wars next week and probably kill whatever chance it had. It certainly has a decent cast — Whishaw, Chris Hemsworth, Brendan Gleeson, Cillian Murphy — but early word is not strong. Even the critics who have liked the film have called it old-fashioned. (Not necessarily a bad thing.) Those who haven’t liked it have called it much worse. On the one hand, it seems a natural for our age, being a kind of Moby Dick origins story. On the other, how much interest is there in a whaling movie these days? We shall see.
This week the status quo is maintained on all the art titles. I would expect major changes in the next couple of weeks. In other words, now is the time to see Trumbo (Carolina), Spotlight (Carolina, Fine Arts), and Brooklyn (Carolina, Fine Arts).
This week the Thursday Horror Picture Show has with Claude Rains in James Whale’s The Invisible Man (1933) on Thu., Dec. 10 at 8 p.m. in Theater Six at The Carolina. World Cinema is showing Jean-Luc Godard’s Alphaville (1965) on Fri., Dec. 11 at 8 p.m. at Phil Mechanic Studios, 109 Roberts St., River Arts District (upstairs in the Railroad Library). The Asheville Film Society continues its seasonal Richard Curtis’ Love Actually (2003) on Tue., Dec. 15 at 8 p.m. in Theater Six at The Carolina. More on all titles in this week’s Xpress and in the online edition.
This week we’re looking at Ant-Man, Minions, and The Transporter Refueled. I’d go with Ant-Man.