Cranky Hanke’s Weekly Reeler February 4-10: Seventh Jupiter Two Days Out of Water

In Theaters.

Three mainstream and one art title (complete with Oscar nomination) come our way this week. I’d like to be able to say that there’s nothing as dire — and unintentionally funny — on the slate this week as last week’s The Loft, but I’d have to indulge in a fair amount of prevarication not to suggest strong doubts on that point.

 

Two-Days-One-Night-5

 

The art title — Two Days, One Night — opens Friday at The Carolina, and is reviewed in this week’s paper. It’s the kind of art title — Belgian with subtitles — that would likely go unnoticed by all but the art film faithful, except for the fact star Marion Cotillard sneaked in and snagged a Best Actress Oscar nomination for her portrayal of a damaged woman campaigning to not lose her job. The tone is populist and very anti-corporatist, which works well here, since the ideas have been scaled down to human size. It also benefits greatly from a premise — she has the course of one weekend to convince her co-workers to vote for her keeping her job and forego their annual bonuses — that comes with a built-in suspense mechanism. Can she pull it off in time? It makes for surprisingly compelling viewing.

 

Jupiter-Ascending

 

On the unseen side we start with Andy and Lana Wachowski’s Jupiter Ascending — a long delayed release that has a great many people already reading last rites over it. This was aggravated when the film was ill-advisedly shown at Sundance (where people go to see the latest art/indie titles) to a cool reception — or so it was reported. Why people insist on paying attention to this sort of thing mystifies me. Are we as a society just becoming more and more addicted to rooting for failure? The Wachowskis have called their sci-fi fantasy movie a “space opera,” which is itself derived from the term “horse opera,” a term coined for rather silly cowboy pictures. This later got altered to “space opera” to describe a kind of western — good guys vs. bad guys — in outer space. It’s action-adventure meant to be fun and not taken all that seriously. The original Star Wars (1977) qualified as a “space opera.” Personally, I’m keen to see what the Wachowskis have cooked up. Nobody goes over-the-top like they do.

 

seventh-son-ben-barnes-jeff-bridges-hi-res

 

Much less enticing is Seventh Son — some sort of fantasy horror hooha that looks for all the world like the rightful heir to Season of the Witch (2011), but with a slumming Jeff Bridges standing in for Nicolas Cage. To add insult to injury, this thing also boasts Oscar nominee Julianne Moore as some kind of evil witch in some kind of feather dress that might have been designed by Bob Mackie for Cher to wear on an awards show. It’s all about Bridges as the force of good out to prevent Moore from destroying the world — or something like that. The real star appears to be Ben Barnes — you know, Prince Caspian from those dire Narnia movies. Good heavens.

 

The-SpongeBob-Movie-Sponge-Out-of-Water-HD-Wallpaper

 

Finally, there’s The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water. This is a presold thing — so presold that the studio didn’t bother with a plot synopsis. The irony here is that this will probably be the movie to dethrone American Sniper. I’ve never gotten the appeal of Mr. Squarepants, so I have every intention of sitting this one out. I do wonder if anyone in the film’s target demographic will even get the gag of presenting SpongeBob in a parody of the old — and now politically incorrect — Coppertone sun tan oil ad.

Also worth noting, Asheville Pizza and Brewing is bringing back The Grand Budapest Hotel in the 7 and 10 p.m. slot.

This week we lose Cake, which took quite a tumble following a surprisingly strong first week.

Special Screenings

Before getting down to the usual listings, there’s this press release for a screening of The American Nurse — “Highlighting the lives of five American nurses from diverse specialties, the moving documentary The American Nurse — a recent recipient of the  American Academy of Nursing’s Excellence in Media Award and a Top 10 2014 Documentary according to www.aisleseat.com – is booked for a special one-night exclusive screening engagement at the Carmike 10 (121 River Hills Road in Asheville) on Thursday, February 5, 2015 at 7:00 p.m.”

 

gypsy hs

 

This week the Thursday Horror Picture Show has a double bill of Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi in The Black Cat (1934) and The Raven (1935) at 8 p.m. on Thu., Feb. 5 in Theater Six at The Carolina. World Cinema will show Jean Cocteau’s Orphée (Orpheus) (1950)  on Fri., Feb. 6 at 8 p.m. in the Railroad Library in the Phil Mechanic Building. The Hendersonville Film Society is running Gregory Hoblit’s Fracture (2007) on Sun., Feb. 8 at 2 p.m. in the Smoky Mountain Theater at Lake Pointe Landing in Hendersonville. The Asheville Film Society is showing the Maria Montez-Jon Hall campy adventure romance Gypsy Wildcat (1944) in glorious Technicolor on Tue., Feb. 10 at 8 p.m. in Theater Six at The Carolina. More on all titles in this week’s Xpress — with extended coverage in the online edition.

On DVD

This week’s releases do not make a pretty picture — Dracula Untold, John Wick and Ouija. My advice? Go to the movies.

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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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35 thoughts on “Cranky Hanke’s Weekly Reeler February 4-10: Seventh Jupiter Two Days Out of Water

  1. Edwin Arnaudin

    Perhaps Seventh Son will be Julianne Moore’s Norbit and shift attention to the four more impressive Best Actress nominees? Nice as that would be, I doubt it will prove true since she still has that one award-friendly advantage over her competition.

  2. Edwin Arnaudin

    Jim Mickle’s debut feature Mulberry St is now streaming on Netflix. The first 25 minutes did not inspire me to continue with it, but since I like all of his other films I suppose I will try again at some point.

      • Edwin Arnaudin

        Though it may redeem itself in the final hour, L.O.W.E.R. your expectations.

          • Edwin Arnaudin

            It does, however, make Mickle’s progress all the more impressive.

          • Ken Hanke

            That could be like saying how impressive Edgar G. Ulmer’s The Black Cat is coming after his VD exploitation film Damaged Lives the previous year.

          • Edwin Arnaudin

            Could be. Stake Land is a significant step up for me and his films only get better from there.

    • Me

      I just looked that up since you mentioned it, and I swear that sounds like an 80s movie I’ve seen,

  3. Me

    It’s Such a Beautiful Day is now streaming on Netflix, I watched it about a year ago and liked it, but didn’t see why people were going ga ga over.

  4. Me

    He, apparently had a new short film at Sundance this year that people were going crazy for too.

      • Edwin Arnaudin

        If you watched just one minute of it, that would be sufficient to see what Hertzfeldt is doing.

          • Ken Hanke

            I watched 5 minutes. This is so not for me.

          • Ken Hanke

            I wanted to see if it was going change. It seemed it was just gonna be this half-assed animation and this guy narrating.

          • Edwin Arnaudin

            That’s all I saw, too. I suspect Faustian bargains are responsible for the effusive praise it’s received.

          • Ken Hanke

            People do go gaga over the damndest things.

  5. Edwin Arnaudin

    Dead Snow: Red vs. Dead is now on Netflix. I’ve still yet to see the first one.

  6. Xanadon't

    The first one is more fun than not and more worthwhile than most horror offerings these days. Terribly high praise that is, I know. Probably more in the way of camp than any kind of subversive dark comedy. I won’t avoid the sequel, but can’t say I’m in any real hurry.

    • Ken Hanke

      I think you liked the first one more than I did. Not that I probably won’t watch the sequel.

      • Ken Hanke

        Well, since I shoulda been working, I instead watched Dead Snow 2. I actually think I liked it better than the original, though Clapton knows it goes on too long. Now, I’ll be working damn near all night to catch up.

    • Ken Hanke

      Actually I was. I don’t agree with it (I’m betting the writer’s not from the south as it was 40-50 years ago), but I had seen it. He is, however, right that Chainsaw 2 is better, but I would argue that its target is more Reagan’s America than the south.

      • Me

        I was reading up on that film it sounds pretty good, I’ve never seen Texas Chainsaw Massacre though.

        • Ken Hanke

          Chainsaw is probably more notable for what it spawned than for itself, and it might be a “you had to be there” thing in a lot of ways. Chainsaw 2, on the other hand, still works, but it’s also more polished.

  7. Xanadon't

    I don’t know… I think its ability to shock, or at the very least impress, remains pretty well intact even today. 7 years ago I watched TCM for the first time and felt remiss for ignoring a pivotal page in horror for so long. (Granted the film predates me by 8 years so I was destined to play catch up… but I ought to have shaved a decade or so off the process.) Funny enough I revisited the movie only last week and it still feels dirty and grimy and dangerous and like an absolutely nihilistic nightmare in ways that any Eli Roth or early era Wes Craven remake could only hope to achieve. Does that make it great? No, I suppose not. But it makes it something that stands apart… not only from its peers but from most of the catalogue of horror that has come since. What I’m saying I guess is that I wasn’t there, yet the movie works for me. And also that now, having still not seen Chainsaw 2, I’m even further behind than I started.

  8. Xanadon't

    Well, since I shoulda been working, I instead watched Dead Snow 2. I actually think I liked it better than the original, though Clapton knows it goes on too long. Now, I’ll be working damn near all night to catch up.

    I figured it was only a matter of the right opportunity coming along. And only a mere matter of hours later… what luck. The way I figure, I’m destined to watch Dead Snow 2 at precisely that time in between when I should’ve called that guy about that thing and “oh shit, that’s what I absolutely needed to do today, lest I ruin everything.”

    Hmm, I remember one of the things I liked about the original is that it was pretty tightly made and to the point. Just how long is the sequel? Does it get bogged down by unnecessary exposition and zombified Red Scare propaganda footage? Oh right, you’ve got work to catch up on.

    • Ken Hanke

      I’ve mostly done it — at least enough to get me through the daylight hours. There’s no Red Scare stuff, because those commie zombies are the good guys who are used to battle the Nazis. I think there’s too much battling zombies and maybe too much time given to a massively stupid cop. I believe it runs 100 minutes. There are definitely good things in it — and an ending that is in startlingly gross taste — and I’m not sorry I watched it (or won’t be once I can get a nice nap), but it was wearing out its welcome with me by the end.

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