Nothing huge — in the mainstream box office sense — is headed our way this week because Captain America is certain to rule the roost in its second week. So we get one potentially interesting movie and one low-budget PG-13 horror picture. However, we also get one pretty good indie/art title and one absolutely must-see one.
For those of you who have been following my under-the-weatherness, I can announce that I finally got out of the house and back into a theater this past weekend. Better yet, the movie I was able to see was the press screening of that one “absolutely must-see” art house title, making it more than just any old outing.
That art title I refer to is John Carney’s Sing Street — starting Friday at Carolina Cinemark and Fine Arts Theatre. If you don’t know, this is Carney’s third (and we’re told final) film about the redemptive power of music. (In this case, the music is 1980s pop and New Wave.) It follows his delightful and very human Once (2007) and the more expensive, more ambitious, less delightful Begin Again (2014) — and is better than either. (It is worth mentioning that I rewatched Begin Again — it’s on Netflix — and as sometimes happens when a film can be put in context with the works around it, I found it much better than I did a couple years ago. But some of the same things — like the invisibly played instrutments — still fall short of the intent.) Sing Street returns to the world of Once. It has no big stars. It’s a scrappy little movie with a surprisingly good — and very likable — cast of largely first-time performers, along with a few more seasoned, but little known ones. In essence, it’s the story of 15-year-old Dublin boy (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo), who tries to impress a more worldly 16-year-old girl by asking her to be in a music video for his band. The trouble is he doesn’t have a band, so he forms one. That’s the gist, but there’s much more here. It is a small miracle. It is amazing. Read the review in this week’s Xpress and see the movie.
Also opening is Matt Brown’s The Man Who Knew Infinity — starting Friday at Carolina Cinemark and Fine Arts Theatre. This is a straightforward — even a little backwards — biopic on the little known mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan (Dev Patel) and his collaboration and friendship with Cambridge professor G.H. Hardy (Jeremy Irons) in England from 1914-1920. In many ways, this is the sort of movie that almost might have been made by Warner Bros. in the 1930s, but I don’t find that immediately a bad thing — especially when it’s as intelligently written and likable as this. Patel and Irons are terrific, and there are bonus turns from Toby Jones and Stephen Fry. It won’t change your life. It won’t make you rethink cinema, but it will very probably entertain you for two hours. That’s no small thing. The review is in this week’s Xpress.
First up in the unseen and unreviewed titles is Greg McLean’s The Darkness — opening Friday (with the usual Thursday evening show) at Carmike 10, Carolina Cinemark, Epic of Hendersonville, Regal Biltmore Grande. What is it? It’s latest PG-13 horror from the seemingly unstoppable Blumhouse Productions. Let’s be honest, most Jason Blum productions that don’t come from James Wan or Leigh Whannell are…pretty dire. This one was made by Greg McLean, whose main claim to fame are the fairly repulsive — possibly even vile — Wolf Creek movies. (He also made some vengeful giant crocodile thing called Rogue, which I could swear I’ve seen, but I may be confusing it with some other vengeful crocodile movie.) His films are generally marked by hard R sadistic violence — something we can hardly expect here with this rating. Judging by the trailer, what we’re looking at it Blum Basic — with a dopier than usual plot about a family returning home from a trip to the Grand Canyon who bring with them an Evil Spirit. (Must be one helluva gift shop out there.) Easily the most interesting thing here is that Kevin Bacon is the star.
Finally, there’s Jodie Foster’s Money Monster — starting Friday (with the Thursday, etc.) at Carolina Cinemark, Epic of Hendersonville, Regal Biltmore Grande. OK, so Jodie Foster’s directing career hasn’t exactly been amazing — her last one, The Beaver (2011), was downright embarrassing. But, hey, this one has a first-rate cast — George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Jack O’Connell (Starred Up, ’71), Dominic West — a clever approach (it takes place in real time), and a solid premise. It’s described this way by the studio: “Lee Gates is a bombastic TV personality whose popular financial network show has made him the money wiz of Wall Street. But after he hawks a high tech stock that mysteriously crashes, an irate investor takes Gates, his crew, and his ace producer Patty Fenn hostage live on air.” It might even be construed as topical, and the trailer looks good.
This week we lose Remember (which did much better than might have been expected) and Miles Ahead (which still held up pretty nicely). Because of special showings, Tue. May 5 marks Miles Ahead‘s last evening show (7:20), but it will be there at 1:20 and 4:20 Tue, Wed, Thu.
Before getting to the usual films, let’s note that there’s that special Xpress and Fine Arts showing of Thunder Road (which I believe is nearly at capacity) at 7 p.m. on Wed., May 11 at Fine Arts Theatre.
On Thu., May 12 at 7 p.m., the Fine Arts Theater continues this year’s Jewish Film Festival with the exceptional drama The People vs. Fritz Bauer, which will have an encore screening Fri., May 13 at 1 p.m.
World Cinema is screening Mikio Naruse’s When a Woman Ascends the Stairs (1960) at 8 p.m. on Fri., Mayt 13 at Phil Mechanic Studios, 109 Roberts St., River Arts District (upstairs in the Railroad Library). The Hendersonville Film Society is running Sam Wood’s For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943) Sunday, May 15, at 2 p.m. in the Smoky Mountain Theater at Lake Pointe Landing Retirement Community (behind Epic Cinemas), 333 Thompson St., Hendersonville.