Cranky Hanke’s Weekly Reeler June 17-23: When Dope Was Inside Out

In Theaters.

 Though there are three new movies opening this week, no one really expects to dethrone Jurassic World — a film that could be called the Saviour of the Summer — but I expect Pixar hopes to worry it a little. Otherwise, we have one art title and one film that probably should have been an art title — or at least handled like one.

I honestly have no clue what Open Road is thinking by going wide with Dope. If it’s not an art film, then it’s certainly an indie (I’d call it both), and a wide release…OK, it’s a decision that was made by people who get paid far more than I do, so what do I know? (Well, I do know that Asheville isn’t a big urban market, and that Hendersonville is even less so.) In any case, both that title and the bona fide art title have been screened and reviewed.

 

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I gave the Weekly Pick to When Marnie Was There — opening Friday at The Carolina — but honestly it’s on completely even footing with Dope. Plus, let’s be honest, it’s impossible to compare a gentle animated fantasy and an R rated coming of age comedy. In truth, I highly recommend them both. If you don’t know Hiromas Yonebayashi’s When Marnie Was There may well be the last film from Japan’s Studio Ghibli — and it already is the first Ghibli film without any input whatever from Hayao Miyazaki. If indeed this turns out to be the last, what a perfect farewell this elegant and touching film is — and it serves as something of a reminder of what we’ve lost in the move to computer animation. The beautiful hand-drawn images — like water colors in motion — have a beauty that computers — at least as they’re being used — just aren’t capable of.

 

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Let’s call Rick Famuyiwa’s inventive and stylish Dope — opening Friday (and Thursday evening) at The Carolina, Epic of Hendersonville, Regal Biltmore Grande, and UA Beaucatcher — my Weekly Co-pick. It really is that good — and was it ever a surprise. I went into the screening expecting nothing much and soon found myself utterly captivated. (Had I realized that Famuyiwa’s last film was the truly appalling Our Family Wedding — the “highlight” of which was a Viagra-fueled goat with romance on its mind — I would have approached Dope with absolute dread. I now officially — and without qualification — forgive Famuyiwa for that movie.) What we have here is a wholly fresh and refreshing take on the coming of age comedy — focused on three geeks from a bad neighborhood going to a bad school. It sticks pretty closely to the sub-genre’s format — well, apart from backpack of drugs — but it does so from a new perspective and in ever surprising ways. It has no name stars (though in a sane world it would make a star out of Shameik Moore) and it’s by no means a big movie — except in heart and creativity. It is a movie you really should see and support, but it never should have been put on four area screens. This is an art/indie title. It should have been at one theater — preferably one that specializes in this kind of film — and had the chance to find its audience. I’ll restate something I often point out when the big box corporate theaters jump on the broader interest titles — just remember the theaters that bring you this kind of film on a weekly basis in making your choice.

 

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That leave us with the unseen new Pixar film Inside Out — starting Friday (and, yes, Thursday evening) at Carmike 10, The Carolina, Epic of Hendersonville, and Regal Biltmore Grande. The film is from Pete Docter who gave us Up (2009), and, in fact, is being called the studio’s best film since Up. (That’s not quite as impressive as it sounds, considering the movies that come between them.) At the moment the film has 34 reviews on Rotten Tomatoes — all of them positive and most of them rapturous. Even allowing for the casual tendency toward hyperbole (I’m rarely sure whether “best in years” says more about the movie or the memory of the reviewer), it’s pretty impressive. Whether it lives up to this, of course, remains to be seen.

This week we don’t actually lose anything (though I’m personally sorry to see Insidious: Chapter 3 leaving The Carolina after only two weeks). Instead, we get Woman in Gold back (at 11:20 and 4:30 only) at The Carolina. Why? Because the ways of the Weinsteins are ever mysterious.

Special Screenings

 

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On Wednesday, June 17 at 8:00 p.m., the Asheville Film Society will screen Alfred Hitchcock’s suspense thriller Rope in Theater 10 at The Carolina. Dismissed as a failed experiment in 1948, reassessed as anything but a failure (by most) when it was re-issued in 1984, Rope is a film that was truly ahead of its time. It’s as tense as anything Hitchcock ever made — and more provocative than just about anything he made. Here’s a a chance to see it — from a new DCP — on the Big Screen, as it has to be seen to truly appreciate the technical mastery of Hitch’s long-take approach.

 

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The Thursday Horror Picture Show has Dario Argento’s Deep Red (1975) at 8 p.m. on Thu., June 18 in Theater Six at The Carolina. World Cinema is showing Rainer W. Fassbinder’s The Marriage of Maria Braun (1979) on Fri., June 19 at 8 p.m. at Phil Mechanic Studios, 109 Roberts St., River Arts District (upstairs in the Railroad Library). (This title was not reviewed for lack of a viewable copy.) The Hendersonville Film Society is screening Terence Fisher’s So Long at the Fair (1950) on Sun., June 21 at 2 p.m. in the Smoky Mountain Theater at Lake Pointe Landing in Hendersonville. The Asheville Film Society is running Peter Greenaway’s black comedy A Zed & Two Noughts (1985) on Tue., June 23 at 8 p.m. in Theater Six at The Carolina. More on all titles in this week’s Xpress — with full reviews in the online edition

On DVD

The big — or at least most desirable — titles this week are Wild Tales and The Wrecking Crew. This, however, does not prevent the arrival of Chappie, Run All Night, Unfinished Business,  The Lazarus Effect, and Welcome to Me — and there’s not a thing that can be done about it.

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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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48 thoughts on “Cranky Hanke’s Weekly Reeler June 17-23: When Dope Was Inside Out

  1. Ken Hanke

    For what it’s worth, the Inside Out reviews are still all on the gushing side. Actually, it is worth something, because more and more credible critics are weighing in.

  2. Edwin Arnaudin

    Has anyone watched the Wachowski’s sense8 on Netflix Streaming? The trailer didn’t look appealing, but now that I’ve learned that the siblings directed most of the episodes and that their past collaborators Tom Tykwer, James McTeigue and Dan Glass (visual effects supervisor on McTeigue’s V for Vendetta and every Wachowski film since The Matrix) handled the rest, I’m more inclined to check it out.

    • Ken Hanke

      Except for the fact that it’s a series, I’d be inclined.

      • Edwin Arnaudin

        Err…should be Wachowskis’ – seeing as there are two of them.

  3. Edwin Arnaudin

    Also Streaming: the under-under-underrated Lee Daniels’ The Butler and the Elmore Leonard adaptation Life of Crime.

  4. Ken Hanke

    At long last Inside Out has garnered a couple of negative reviews. In itself this is immaterial and I have no opinion because I won’t see it for a couple hours yet. However, it’s illustrative of this current bizarre mania for people to start screaming, “You ruined our 100 percent,” followed by things like, “You shouldn’t post on Rotten Tomatoes” (as if it was a message board, which I’m not sure everyone understands it’s not). What is wrong with people they need this complete validation? Do they distrust their own judgment that much?

    • Edwin Arnaudin

      What is wrong with people they need this complete validation? Do they distrust their own judgment that much?

      I think that’s the case. As if there is a perfect movie that the entirety of humanity unequivocally adores…

    • Ken Hanke

      Well, he isn’t speaking to me. Besides pretentious is a perfectly valid criticism. It’s just usually applied incorrectly. Someone making an obvious Tarkovsky knock-off is being pretentious.

      • Me

        Reminded me more of Bella Tarr. I was reading an article about the filmmaker in The Guardian, and they were talking about how he’s only made 4 films, all of them which are masterpieces so that peaked my interest on the director,

        • Ken Hanke

          Looks more like half-baked Andrei Rublev to me than Tarr. (At least, it doesn’t look as bad as Tarr.) “All of them are masterpieces,” huh?

          • Me

            According to Ronald Bergan of The Guardian.

            Aleksei German actually died right as the film was being finished, It’s also been getting a lot of 5 star reviews.

          • Ken Hanke

            Yes, well…

            I like the heading on Ignatiy Vishnevetsty’s (essentially positive) review: “Hard to Be a God will take you to a world of shit.” Yes, sir, that’s why I go to the movies!

          • Ken Hanke

            Which had the good sense not to run 170 minutes.

        • Edwin Arnaudin

          How many masterpieces is one master allotted before the word ceases to have meaning?

          • Ken Hanke

            An interesting point that should be settled.

          • Edwin Arnaudin

            Is “masterpiece” a malleable term? If Martin Scorsese’s Silence proves to be his best film to date, does that knock ___________ from masterpiece status?

          • Ken Hanke

            Then again, since the word “classic” has ceased to have any meaning, maybe “masterpiece” must follow suit.

          • Edwin Arnaudin

            Last year (or, technically, early this year) I referred to Mr. Turner as Mike Leigh’s “magnum opus” because I believe it to be his best film. I also called Inherent Vice a “period comic masterpiece,” which I stand by since I think there are few comedies that capture a past era in so humorously and detailed a fashion.

            “Classic,” I try to reserve for referring to an established style, not in terms of enshrining something as one of the all-time greats.

          • Ken Hanke

            “Classic,” I try to reserve for referring to an established style, not in terms of enshrining something as one of the all-time greats.

            That pretty much puts you out there by yourself. The term “classic” has been used to mark (enshrine is perhaps too strong) or denote films (or really anything) of significant quality for longer than either of us (yes, even I) have been around. There is, I suppose, a classic — or classical — style, but it’s always evolving. The classic style of 1912 is not the classic style of 1916. The classic Hollywood style of 1925 bears only the slightest resemblance to 1927 when there was an outburst of style that forever changed movies, and so on. It is more or less possible to determine a formal style, which means a linear narrative presented in a standard manner, but there have always been departures. These days, you might almost say that any film that tells a coherent story and uses a tripod is formal.

            Regardless of how you choose to apply the term classic, it doesn’t alter the fact that it is generally used as a barometer of quality. The problem isn’t whether or not, say, Grand Illusion is a classic, but that when the term is debased by calling Friday the 13th (the 1980 thing, not the strange 1933 drama) or implementing the term “instant classic” about a movie you saw three hours ago, it ceases to mean anything.

          • Ken Hanke

            Sez who? Only 392 and five of them belong to this guy almost no one has heard of, huh?

  5. Edwin Arnaudin

    These days, you might almost say that any film that tells a coherent story and uses a tripod is formal.

    Pretty much.

    Regardless of how you choose to apply the term classic, it doesn’t alter the fact that it is generally used as a barometer of quality.

    That’s why I try to avoid using it.

    • Ken Hanke

      You write mostly about contemporary films, too. You should avoid it in that case. It’s not just a question of if the movie stands the test of time in general, but if it stands that test with you. I’ve been doing the weekly thing for almost 15 years, and I don’t know if I’d call any of those films classics yet. On the other hand, I’m comfortable with calling Sunrise a classic.

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