Cranky Hanke’s Weekly Reeler February 10-16: How to Invade Zoolander Deadpool Next

In Theaters.

This week’s Next Big Thing would seem to be wisecracking, R-rated superhero I freely admit to never having heard of prior to this movie. But there’s also the new Michael Moore documentary, a sequel I’m not sure anyone asked for, and something I’m pretty sure nobody asked for.

While the Coen Brothers’ latest offering couldn’t dethrone Kung Fu Panda, I’m happy to report that it did better locally than nationally. In fact, at The Carolina it was the No. One film, beating the Panda. The winter is still with us, but at least there are signs of a cinematic thaw.

 

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The only thing on the “art” side this week is Michael Moore’s Where to Invade Next — opening Friday at The Carolina and the Fine Arts. The review is in this week’s Xpress, but let me note here that the title is deceptive. That’s to say that the movie is not an attack on the U.S. getting involved in international altercations, but is instead a good-natured invasion by Moore into other countries to see what we might learn from them. It is easily the filmmaker’s sunniest work, but that doesn’t mean the targets have changed, though the approach has. Does Moore stack his deck and ignore things that don’t suit his purposes? Of course, he does. I’ve never seen a documentarian who didn’t. Is the film likely to change any minds? Probably not. Moore will continue to polarize audiences. The thing that most amuses me is the fact that his detractors worry so about what he says. Seriously, if you consider the fact that Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004) is still the highest grossing documentary of all time, but it didn’t impact the presidential election, it seems unlikely there’s much cause for concern.

 

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First up in the mainstream realm is Tim Miller’s Deadpool — starting Friday (with the usual Thursday night shows) at Carmike 10, The Carolina, Co-ed of Brevard, Epic of Hendersonville, Regal Biltmore Grande. I am startled to see that this is predicted to gross $70 million on its opening weekend. I grant you I haven’t followed comic books since somewhat before the demise of Magnus, Robot Fighter (which apparently limped along in its original incarnation till 1977, but I bailed about 1968). As such, it’s not surprising that I’d never heard of Deadpool till this movie started being promoted. Near as I can tell he’s kind of like Wolverine, but far less attractive and much more foul-mouthed. OK. I have nothing against that, and at this point I have nothing against the movie, which has gotten pretty stellar early reviews. It’s being praised for its self-awareness and raunchy sense of humor, and that may be well deserved. But there’s a thin line between smart and merely smart-assed.  Some of the advertising are just too cute (or maybe campy) and borrowing Jack Nicholson’s line from the 1989 Batman for a catch-phrase feels like wishful thinking. Still, I’m curious to say the least. I’ve liked the trailers, but have been finding advertising otherwise a little too much. We shall see.

 

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Next we have Christian Ditter’s How to Be Single — starting Friday (with the usual Thursday night shows) at The Carolina, Epic of Hendersonville, Regal Biltmore Grande, UA Beaucatcher. Who, you may ask, is Christian Ditter? Well, he seems to have made a few children’s movies in Germany and a UK/German co-production (made in Toronto) called Love, Rosie (2014). None of these seem to have played locally. Now, he’s made this rom-com about the difficulties of finding love in modern society. It stars Dakota Johnson (the lip-biting lead from Fifty Shakes of Grey), Rebel Wilson (whose appeal escapes me), Leslie Mann (Mrs. Judd Apatow), Damon Wayans, Jr. (of the second wave of Wayanses), and the charisma-challenged Jake Lacy. I guess there’s a market for this (primarily, people who won’t go to Deadpool), but I can’t name one.

 

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Last up is Ben Stiller’s Zoolander 2 — starting Friday (with the usual Thursday night shows) at Carmike 10, The Carolina, Epic of Hendersonville, Regal Biltmore Grande. Yes, 15 years ago Stiller’s Zoolander at least seemed pretty cool. It was silly, a little raunchy, stuffed with celebrity cameos, and just generally unexpected. I liked it enough that I bought the DVD (not sure that I’ve ever played it, though). So here we are with a sequel. Stiller is starring and directing again. Owen Wilson and Will Ferrell are also back. The trailer is…so-so. Penelope Cruz and Kristen Wiig may help, but there’s nothing here that looks fresh or surprising. The pop culture references are updated (we get Justin Bieber instead of Paris Hilton), but so what? Well, it looks better that How to Be Single. There’s an endorsement.

This week we lose The 2016 Oscar Shorts (all categories) at The Carolina and Anomalisa at the Fine Arts. It’s not exactly an art title (it almost is), but, as predicted Regression is also taking its leave from The Carolina.

Special Screenings

 

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The Thursday Horror Picture Show is running Rafael Baledón’s werewolf Mexi-horror The Man and the Monster (1959) at 8 p.m. on Thu., Feb. 11 in Theater Six at The Carolina. World Cinema is screening Carl Theodore Dreyer’s Ordet (1955) at 8 p.m. on Fri., Feb. 12 at Phil Mechanic Studios, 109 Roberts St., River Arts District (upstairs in the Railroad Library). The Hendersonville Film Society is showing Max Ophuls’ La Ronde (1950) on Sun., Feb. 14 at 2 p.m. in the Smoky Mountain Theater at Lake Pointe Landing in Hendersonville. The Asheville Film Society has Rouben Mamoulian’s High, Wide and Handsome (1937) on Tue., Feb. 16 at 8 p.m. in Theater Six at The Carolina. More on all titles in this week’s Xpress and in the online edition.

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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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39 thoughts on “Cranky Hanke’s Weekly Reeler February 10-16: How to Invade Zoolander Deadpool Next

  1. T.rex

    Zoolander was fun but they sure waited a long time to make a sequel, just like Sin City 2.

    • Ken Hanke

      My question is whether Zoolander would be nearly so much fun today as it was in 2001, especially devoid of the surprise factor.

  2. Xanadon't

    The winter is still with us, but at least there are signs of a cinematic thaw.

    I’m happy to take your word here, but must note that the three trailers I watched in front of Hail, Caesar! gave no indication of this.

    • Ken Hanke

      What were they? We watched it early and were spared the trailers. Also, did you get no thaw from Hail, Casesar!.

        • Ken Hanke

          I have unfortunately seen that trailer, but not not Hail, Caesar!.

      • Xanadon't

        They were, in order of presentation, The Bounce Back (I had to scroll through theatrical release dates for this, since the title escaped me), Now You See Me 2 (No, no I don’t see you… I didn’t see the first one either… does this really need a sequel?), and.. oh christ, I just had it… Clooney, Roberts.. oh hell.. Mad Money.. Show Me the Money.. some terribly paint-by-numbers looking thing with Money in the title.

        • Ken Hanke

          Good Clapton, that’s a depressing array. It’s that Jodie Foster thing, Monster Money.

          Not actually a new release, but it’s new to us is The Lady in the Van, which is down to open next week — and it’s pretty swell.

          By the way, there’s a not bad thing on Netflix called After. I’m not saying it’s good, but it’s rather more clever than most of the “horror” crap on there. And it’s solidly made.

          • Xanadon't

            Yes, that’s it!- Monster Money. I think there’re something like five credited screenwriters attached to that thing. Oh wait, unless that was the first up The Bounce Back. Now I can’t remember.

            I’ll look forward to The Lady in the Van (British, right?) and if luck has it maybe I’ll catch Anomalisa before it leaves the Fine Arts.

            I watched The Pact with every intent of cracking the mystery and failed. The movie was fine. No idea why it’s titled as it is. Anyone else offer an answer?

            Yes, excellent, a “not bad thing on Netflix” is exactly what I’m in the mood for, so I’ll check out After. I already expect to like it better than Hellions.

  3. Big Al

    I know this is not a comics forum, but since YOU brought it up…

    “Magnus, Robot Fighter” has actually soldiered on through several different comic labels with a re-boot premiering as recently as 2010. I would LOVE to see a well-made movie of him.

    I too am skeptical about “Deadpool’ earning any significant gross, even with (especially with?) Ryan Reynolds.

    • Ken Hanke

      Oh, I’m not skeptical of Deadpool making money. I’m skeptical of it being good.

      • Big Al

        Well, turns out I’m fulla shit. RR has finally made bank. This has been touted as the highest grossing R-rated opening week film in history.

        I would still rather see Zoolander 2.

          • Big Al

            Sadist. Anywhoo, I saw Zoolander 2. It had its’ moments but was an anemic follow up to the original. For one, the first benefited greatly from the inclusion of some great pop songs, while this one relied almost solely on dramatic orchestra music more suited to a Tom Clancy thriller. It was nice to see Justice Beaver killed off. One can dream….

            Since I have seen all of the good plays in town for now, maybe I will try Deadpool this weekend. After Ant-Man (which has been my favorite comic adaptation so far) I expect to be mildly amused but not overwhelmed.

          • Ken Hanke

            Well, you can’t blame me for you seeing Zoolander 2.

  4. Edwin Arnaudin

    I’m delighted to report that Dope is now Netflix Streaming.

  5. boatrocker

    I am soooo looking forward to Mr. Moore making the far right gnash their teeth again.

    • Ken Hanke

      I have no doubt about that eventuality. I’m only surprised it hasn’t started already.

      • boatrocker

        Maybe Mr. Moore can next do a mini web series about Mr. Trump’s baby hands or the failed John Brown-esque Occupy Oregon?
        Hot!

  6. Xanadon't

    The Railway Man just hit Netflix streaming- a film I was sorry to miss when it passed through town a couple years ago.

    • Edwin Arnaudin

      Agreed. There’s really no reason why that film didn’t find an audience, especially since it one-upped Unbroken almost a year before that inferior film debuted.

  7. Xanadon't

    Thanks, Ken, for bringing After to my attention. I really enjoyed it. Not too many unknown Netflix horrors out there featuring one, let alone two, leads that are actually agreeable to watch. It’d be nice to see that director do more work in the genre. Distinctive voices that stretch the boundaries of horror are few and far between but this guy shows promise.

    • Ken Hanke

      After was a pleasant surprise. I think the generic title works against people watching it.

  8. Xanadon't

    By the way, seen Honeymoon yet? It’s no masterpiece, but I thought it was an engaging watch with some pretty solid lights down/sound up value.

    • Ken Hanke

      Honeymoon was in last year’s Magnolia year-end package. I only remember finding it kind of tedious.

      To bring you up to date on my frittered away Netflix time (I think TCM having “31 Days of Oscar” is a factor here) —

      The Big Sky — phooey.
      Late Phases — low-rent werewolf movie with hokey monsters.
      Intruders — high-end psychological (sorta) horror with better than average cast — Clive Owen, Carice van Houten, Daniel Bruhl (playing a Spanish priest). It’s not bad, but it can’t hold together as to exactly what it wants to be. Also, it looks like at one point cats were part of the plot — the movie is full of them — but whatever function they were supposed to serve has vanished.
      Deep in the Darkness — avoid this stinker. It’s deep in something alright.
      Parallels — This is actually almost clever, but turns out it’s the pilot for a series that never happened. Result? It’s all set-up and then it stops with (as yet) no follow-through.
      Vanishing on 7th Street — Brad Anderson’s horror sci-fi whatever benefits from Thandie Newton and John Leguizamo, but…Hayden Christensen (not as bad as usual). Watchable, but with one of those inconclusive endings — and a few things that are funnier than I think they were meant to be.
      Dark Was the Night — yeah, the title is pretty dumb (night’s usually are dark) and the story about some ancient monster coming to town because its habitat has been logged out of existence is pretty ho and hum. But they keep the monster unseen, which is effective, and the main characters are more likable than usual. Plus, it makes interesting use of darkness, which almost works as a change in ratios (the darkened sides make for a different shape) and is sometimes kind of creepy.

      Yes, I have been wasting my time…

      • Xanadon't

        Wasting your time, maybe. And yet I can’t help but feel a pang of jealousy.

        I watched ‘Twas a Dark Night without any regret. The story was easy to stay drawn toward and yes, likeable characters. I did begin to grow a little impatient with the “Aw shucks-ness” of it all… I’d have liked if at some point the whole “You have to protect the people” business eventually gave way to “Now go take that motherfu—- down!”

        Oh, but even as I say that I’m reminded of dozens of crapfest horror flicks that strive for badassery to laughably awful effect. So really I suppose I’d rather have this than the other.

  9. Xanadon't

    Haven’t seen any of the others, though I once started Late Phases before something or another took me away from it. Must not have made a big enough impression to pick it back up. I’m curious about When Animals Dream, however. Know anything about that one?

    • Ken Hanke

      Yeah. I bailed on it after 30 minutes. That’s what I know about When Animals Dream.

      I watched Darkness (2002, released three years later). After a few minutes, I thought it looked familiar. Yep, I reviewed it in Jan. 2005. I sat through it again, since this was the uncut version (15-20 min longer). I think it helped, but not that much. This is from that early oughts era when filmmakers were overly fond of having “spooky” characters neither we, nor the cast see clearly — with, of course, a musical sting or a loud noise.

  10. Xanadon't

    Well okay then- I’ve removed Darkness from my queue a scant two hours after adding it. Thank you. I see you also had the misfortune of reviewing Darkness Falls. There’s a video store rental I’d’ve liked to have back.

    • Ken Hanke

      Darkness Falls makes Darkness look like a masterpiece.

      I will keep you apprised of further adventures in horror crap on Netflix.

  11. Xanadon't

    At risk of being considered an enabler I’ll nonetheless look forward to that.

  12. Me

    Ken, you said you don’t like podcasts, but I think you would really enjoy author and critic Karina Longworth’s podcast. Its call You Must Remember This and its all about the obscure and secret history of Hollywood’s yesteryear. The research she does is pretty ridiculous.

  13. Ken Hanke

    I must confess I have fallen down on watching crappy movies on Netflix. Partly, this has been due to a lack of time, but honestly, the pickings are lean. I bailed early on An American Ghost Story. I may or may not go back. I did watch all of The Haunting of Whaley House, which solidly mediocre. The Harvest wasn’t awful if you want to a matronly Samantha Morton in a tale of psychotic mother love that has a twist you can see coming pretty early on. Michael Shannon is also on hand being Michael Shannon-like.

  14. Ken Hanke

    Netflix update: Devil Seed. Don’t do it. Low-grade possession hooey with a script so…uh…dicey that it thinks palatable is the same as palpable.

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