And you thought last week was bad? At least last week you got the expansions of Carol and The Revenant. This week — No such luck. In fact, no luck at all. It is so exceedingly grim that…well, you’ve certainly noticed by now that the featured image is from a movie made 40 years ago. This is in part a statement on how I feel about the floor sweepings the studios have sent our way.
Of course, the featured image is also to mark the passing of David Bowie — and to note that the Asheville Film Society will be running The Man Who Fell to Earth on Tuesday, Feb. 2 in his honor. It is certainly the least that can be done. Then again, Bowie was much more than an actor and he was certainly more than any one movie, though I would argue that this is the movie that could only exist as it does because he’s in it — like it was the role he was born to play. Not to minimize the contribution of filmmaker Nicolas Roeg, but this is a movie that belongs as much to its star as its director.
I realized yesterday that my first exposure to David Bowie was him performing “Foot Stompin'” on The Dick Cavett Show. I was more perplexed than anything at the time. A musician friend of mine tried to interest me, but I was at first reluctant. (I should note that said friend has since become very proper and upright and talks about his Second Ammendment rights more than Bowie — and yet I will always think of him scandalizing an audience singing Bowie’s “Sweet Thing” and wearing my wife’s lamb-skin boa. Time has changed him, I guess.) But my conversion to Bowie was accidental and on my own and completely left to chance — and the vagaries of owning an MG. I had no radio in that car (I was too cool, I had an 8-track!) so I only heard new music on the radio when the MG was broken, which was rather often. I happened to be driving my mother’s car when “Young Americans” came out. It was a defining moment. I bought the album that day and soon added earlier albums to my collection. That means it was March of 1975 and that also means there was no way I was missing The Man Who Fell to Earth when it hit theaters the next year. Anyway, here’s a chance to see it and pay a little tribute to its unique star.
Now, about these new movies…
First up is Michael Bay’s 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi — opening Friday (and yeah Thursday evening) at The Carolina, Carmike 10, Epic of Hendersonville, Regal Biltmore Grande. This is Michael Bay in…serious (well) mode. By this, I merely mean that the “secret soldiers” are probably not Transformers. Then again… I feel sure things will explode and much firepower will be unleashed. And for an unconscionable 144 minutes. The book it is taken from is apparently very deliberately not political. Presumably, the film will follow suit. This, soberingly enough, is the week’s weightiest offering.
Then there is the animated Norm of the North — opening at The Carolina and Epic of Hendersonville (the only confirmed venues) on Friday (no Thu. evening shows). What is this? Well, obviously it’s kiddie fodder and apparently pretty low-rent kiddie fodder at that. Look, it’s star voice actor is Rob Schneider. What more needs be said? It has something to do with the title character — and some lemmings — being displaced from the Arctic and ending up in New York. Yes, Bill Nighy is in the voice cast, but I doubt that’s sufficient reason to see it.
Finally we get the inevitable (and wittily titled) Ride Along 2 — opening Friday (and Thu. evening) at Carmike10, The Carolina, Epic of Hendersonville, and Regal Biltmore Grande. Last year’s Ride Along was trounced by critics and, of course, made a ton of money. So we have the same director (Tim Story) and the same stars (Ice Cube and Kevin Hart) for, one imagines, more of the same. Having not seen the first one, I fear I would be unable to follow the sequel — meaning it is Justin’s lot in life.
Now, this week is odd in that the Fine Arts is dropping The Danish Girl, but is bringing Trumbo back to town to play on a split (1:20, 7:20) with Youth (4:20, Fri-Sat Late show at 9:50). The Carolina is splitting Youth (11:05, 4:15, 9:30) with The Danish Girl (1:40, 6:55). Carol holds steady at both theaters.
The Thursday Horror Picture Show running Bela Lugosi (with the East Side Kids) in Phil Rosen’s Spooks Run Wild (1941) at 8 p.m. on Thu., Jan. 14 in Theater Six at The Carolina. World Cinema is still off this week. The Hendersonville Film Society is screening George Stevens’ Shane (1953) on Sun., Jan. 17 at 2 p.m. in the Smoky Mountain Theater at Lake Pointe Landing in Hendersonville. The Asheville Film Society is showing Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, and Grace Kelly in Charles Walters’ High Society (1956) on Tue., Jan. 19 at 8 p.m. in Theater Six at The Carolina. More on all titles in this week’s Xpress and in the online edition.