Cranky Hanke’s Weekly Reeler July 15-21: Mr. Holmes Ant-Man Trainwreck

In Theaters.

Now that Jurassic World and Inside Out have finally been brought down by some pretty unlikely competition, things settle down a little this week. Minions rules the day with its $115 million weekend take, while the ashes of the lackluster Self/less and The Gallows are being swept up.

Not that Minions isn’t facing some challenge from Ant-Man, but the prognosticators have it opening a lot lower than Minions did. It will depend on how far Minions slides in its second weekend. And there is some reason to believe that the other mainstream title has some clout — though not enough to beat the others. And locally, we also get one truly superb art title.

 

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The art title is Bill Condon’s Mr. Holmes — starting Friday at The Carolina and the Fine Arts. This was screened for the local press early Saturday morning at The Carolina — and it was, for me at least (the others seemed pretty darn enthused), everything I’d hoped it would be and more. It’s definitely high on my best of 2015 list at this point — and maybe at the very top, but I’ll have to see how it feels a little further down the road. (I don’t see it slipping much.) If you don’t know the film is speculative fiction…about a fictional character. It poses the question of what might have happened if Sherlock Holmes (Ian McKellen) really did retire to Sussex and keep bees — and why he retired in the first place. Is there a mystery? Yes, there are several, but not quite the sort of thing you might think — though the case that drove Holmes to quit comes pretty close. Rather, this is a character study of the 93-year-old detective in post-WWII England as he struggles against his failing memory and physical stamina. It functions as something of a companion piece to Condon’s Gods and Monsters, which also starred McKellen. It’s a warm, insightful, and just plain lovely film. Check out the review (which got the full five stars) in this week’s Xpress — and definitely see this movie.

 

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The big contender on the mainstream front is Peyton Reed’s Ant-Man — opening Friday (with the usual Thu. evening shows) at Carmike 10, The Carolina, Epic of Hendersonville, and Regal Biltmore Grande. You may recall when this latest addition to the “Marvel Cinematic Universe” was to be directed by Edgar Wright — and Wright and Joe Cornish still have their names on the screenplay…but so do Adam McKay (Get Hard) and the film’s star Paul Rudd. Make of that what you will. Peyton Reed seems a strange choice for director. Yeah, he made a pretty darn good retro-rom-com back in 2003, Down with Love, but since then it’s been The Break-Up (2006) and Yes Man (2008). Now, I never saw Yes Man, but I only wish I could say the same about The Break-Up. This? Well, who knows? Early reviews are mixed, leaning positive. There’s at least a chance that it might still have some of Wright and Cornish’s eccentric quirk.

 

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And there’s Judd Apatow’s Trainwreck — starting Friday (with, yes, Thu. evening shows) at The Carolina, Epic of Hendersonville, Regal Biltmore Grande, and UA Beaucatcher. This is in the usual Apatovian realm of the rather long R rated raunchy com. It stars the immensely popular Amy Schumer, who also wrote the screenplay. I guess I saw her in Sleepwalk with Me, but I don’t recall her. As a result, I have no opinion on her, but I have to say I have yet to be impressed by Judd Apatow. There are certainly some interesting folks in the cast — Bill Hader, Ezra Miller, Norman Lloyd — but whether this will be the movie that sells me on Apatow…well, I think it’s in Mr. Souther’s future.

This week, both The Carolina and the Fine Arts drop Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, which I’m sorry to see. Plus, The Carolina is dropping Love & Mercy, though it’s being picked up by Flat Rock Cinema. Also, I’ll See You in My Dreams is being relegated to matinees only (12:00, 2:35, 5:10) at The Carolina.

Special Screenings

 

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The Thursday Horror Picture Show has Willem Dafoe and John Malkovich in E. Elias Mehrige’s Shadow of the Vampire (2000) at 8 p.m. on Thu., July 16 in Theater Six at The Carolina. World Cinema is showing Jean-Luc Godard’s Detective (1985) on Fri., July 17 at 8 p.m. at Phil Mechanic Studios, 109 Roberts St., River Arts District (upstairs in the Railroad Library). The Hendersonville Film Society is screening Ridley Scott’s Matchstick Men (2003) on Sun., July 19 at 2 p.m. in the Smoky Mountain Theater at Lake Pointe Landing in Hendersonville. The Asheville Film Society is running James Whale’s Show Boat (1936) on Tue., July 21 at 8 p.m. in Theater Six at The Carolina. More on all in this week’s Xpress — with complete reviews in the online edition.

On DVD

The highlight this week is Clouds of Sils Maria, but don’t overlook Ex Machina, It Follows, or the documentary The Salt of the Earth. There’s also the pleasant The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. And there’s also The Longest Ride, but let’s not talk about that.

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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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21 thoughts on “Cranky Hanke’s Weekly Reeler July 15-21: Mr. Holmes Ant-Man Trainwreck

  1. Edwin Arnaudin

    This week, both The Carolina and the Fine Arts drop Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, which I’m sorry to see.

    I’m sorry to see it leave, too. 2.5 weeks seems like far too short a tenure for such an appealing film. Hopefully those who wanted to see it did – or will by Thursday night.

    • Ken Hanke

      I fought for it, but bear in mind I only hear the weekend figures, not the weekday ones. There was a time not that long ago when its numbers would have been good — and they weren’t bad by any means. It beat the national average here at both theaters.

  2. Edwin Arnaudin

    Spike Lee’s Da Sweet Blood of Jesus is now on Netflix Streaming.

    • Ken Hanke

      That I might consider. I tried Patrick Brice’s (the guy who made The Overnight) first film, Creep, a shot. I regained my senses after 10 minutes of shaky-cam of Brice filming Mark Duplass being creepy.

      • Edwin Arnaudin

        I thought Da Sweet Blood of Jesus was only OK, especially after Red Hook Summer and Oldboy, both of which I liked a good deal. It looks more expensive than its $1.4 million, Kickstarter-funded budget and I like its unusual overall nature, but it’s also dull in a lot of spots and ultimately feels like it has little to say.

        • Ken Hanke

          As for it looking more expensive than its price tag, I seem to recall Mr. Lee saying a while back — on the topic of basic technical skill — that the one thing you can be sure of with one of his movies is that it will look good.

          • Edwin Arnaudin

            The good looks have been a constant since She’s Gotta Have It.

            If something’s going to make his films feel cheap, it’s the occasionally clunky acting and writing.

  3. Ken Hanke

    Remember, folks, last chance to see Me and Earl and the Dying Girl today — and unless you’re going to Flat Rock, the same holds true for Love & Mercy.

  4. T.rex

    Even though I like Judd Apatatow (let’s just forget about THIS IS 40) I’d rather put my ear next to a jet engine for two hours than listen to Amy Schumer’s voice for five minutes. She is awful and annoying.
    I guess I’ll see ANT MAN at some point but won’t be sad if I miss it . The huge must see here is definitely HOLMES.

  5. donathan_white

    Hey Ken, are you planning to move your movie group to that new movie theater that’s coming to downtown? Maybe it’d be cheaper for your movie group, and also I’d probably be able to make it at least once in a while.

    • Ken Hanke

      No, there are no plans for any such change. The Carolina has made the AFS and the THPS possible — and they don’t charge us, so it’s not likely to be cheaper than that,

        • Ken Hanke

          Well, it’s also a traffic builder, but it’s very much a case of giving something back to the community.

      • Ken Hanke

        Go back to the main movie page. Scroll down to the next article, then you’ll know as much as I do.

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