We only get three movies this week. One of them is seemingly much anticipated. One is more likely to be shunned. And the third…goodness knows what you’ll make of it.
But before we get down to those, I think it’s worth pausing to give a nod to Asheville moviegoers for not only making The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel the number one movie in town — OK, so it’s not a great movie, it still was a lot better than the other new options — but for getting out there and supporting such offbeat fare as What We Do in the Shadows. It’s this kind of thing that helps keep Asheville an art film destination — far in excess of other, bigger cities.
This week we only get one art title — and it’s only getting two shows a day. The film is Ana Lily Amirpour’s A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night. It opens on Friday at The Carolina and plays only at 8:10 and 10:25 p.m. I’ve seen it — twice — and, in fact, gave it “Weekly Pick” in this week’s Xpress. So why is it only getting two shows a day? Well, despite my enthusiasm for it, and the fact that it has a 96 percent “approval” rating (66 positive vs. three negative reviews) on Rotten Tomatoes, there’s no denying that it is a specialized film for specialized audiences. After all, this is an arty black-and-while vampire picture in Persian with English subtitles — yet it was made in the U.S. with Taft, California playing the fictional town of Bad City, Iran. And, yes, it’s as offbeat as that sounds. It’s a dreamlike movie that doesn’t entirely work, but often does — and is always fascinating. It’s only being made available here by the theater’s commitment to make worthy — not always commercial — movies available to Asheville moviegoers. You can read my review in this week’s paper.
The big deal movie of the week is Kenneth Branagh’s live action Cinderella — the latest in Disney’s apparent commitment to rework past animated glories as regular movies with real people. The interesting thing here is that this one appears to be non-revisionist, which is kind of refreshing. (Maybe the idea is that Into the Woods was enough Cinderella revision for a while.) And it’s expected to rake in $60-70 million this weekend. I confess — despite strong early reviews, Branagh directing, and the presence of Helena Bonham Carter and Cate Blanchett — I’m having a hard time getting jazzed about it. Considering, it’s being called visually beautiful — born out by the stills — I live in hope that that heavily blue and orange trailer does not represent the actual movie.
There are, of course, no early reviews for Run All Night — the latest Liam Neeson action movie. (Didn’t we just have one?) Even the presence of Ed Harris does little to boost my interest in this. I’ve only seen two Jaume Collet-Serra pictures — House of Wax (2005) and Orphan (2009) — and they didn’t exactly make me want to follow his career.This marks his third Neeson actioner. This one has something to do with hit-man Neeson and his son (Joel Kinnaman) trying to get away from a crime boss (I’m guessing that’s Harris). For some unknown reason, this is said to run a whopping 114 minutes on what appears to be 80 minutes of plot.
This week we lose both Birdman (come on it’s been playing over three months and is on DVD) and Whiplash. One day distributors might learn that their Oscar-boost is diminished when the movie is already out on DVD. No, no they won’t.
This week the Thursday Horror Picture Show has Dario Argento’s Suspiria (1977) at 8 p.m. on Thu., Mar. 12 in Theater Six at The Carolina. World Cinema is running Carol Reed’s The Third Man (1949) on Fri., Mar. 13 at 8 p.m. in the Railroad Library in the Phil Mechanic Building. The Hendersonville Film Society is screening James Stewart in Henry Koster’s Harvey (1950) on Sun., Mar. 15 at 2 p.m. in the Smoky Mountain Theater at Lake Pointe Landing in Hendersonville. The Asheville Film Society has John Ford’s personal favorite of his films The Sun Shines Bright (1953) on Tue., Mar. 17 at 8 p.m. in Theater Six at The Carolina. More on all titles in this week’s paper — with full reviews in the online edition.
This week seems to consist of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1 and Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb.