This started out as an easy week — from my perspective at least. Two big mainstream titles vying to knock Age of Ultron off its throne and one art title. Then up crops another art title. Having adjusted to that (more or less), another art title shows up completely out of left field. If anything else happens, I’m going to pretend I don’t notice, but keep that to yourself.
The two additional art titles throw things off a little. One of them — the documentary She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry (opening Friday with two shows a day at the Fine Arts) — I do have at hand. In fact, now I’ve seen it — but too late for the print edition, and too late to get it online today. However, I will review it for online only tomorrow. So check back tomorrow for my take on this film about the birth of the women’s movement (1966-71).
The one art title that I’ve seen and that is this week’s paper is 5 to 7 — a pretty terrific romantic comedy opening Friday at The Carolina. Surprisingly — and I think ill-advisedly — it’s opening on a split schedule with that out-of-left-field art title. As a result, 5 to 7 is only showing at 11:30, 3:50, and 8:10. I urge you make room for this one. It is a pure delight that manages to blend several genres — romantic comedy, culture-clash comedy, age-difference romance — very effectively into a cohesive whole of a much greater quality than any aspect would be on its own. The story focuses on a sophisticated (to a point), but naive 24-year-old struggling Jewish writer (Anton Yelchin) and a more sophisticated 33-year-old married French woman (Bérénice Marlohe) who become romantically involved in New York City. The cast also includes Glenn Close, Frank Langella, Lambert Wilson, and Olivia Thirlby — and all of them are excellent in their sharply written roles. The whole film — a first time feature from writer-director Victor Levin — is excellent in fact. It may remind you of Woody Allen, but it’s really its own thing. Check out the review and see the film.
The art/indie title that really sneaked up on me is Shira Piven’s Welcome to Me — also at The Carolina (at 1:45, 6:05, 10:25). I was vaguely aware of the film’s existence without knowing much about it. The blurb tells us: “What happens when a young woman with Borderline Personality Disorder wins the lottery? In the case of Alice Klieg (Kristen Wiig), she quits her psychiatric meds and buys her own talk show. Inspired by the immortal Oprah, she broadcasts her dirty laundry as both a form of exhibitionism and a platform to share her peculiar views on everything from nutrition to relationships to neutering pets. Also starring Wes Bentley, James Marsden, Tim Robbins, Joan Cusack, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Linda Cardellini.” As you may guess, it’s supposed to be a dark — maybe very dark — comedy. It has 45 “fresh” and 17 “rotten” reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. More troubling than anything, though, is the fact that director Piven is married to frequent Will Ferrell director Adam McKay. If this is anything like her husband’s Talladega Nights or Step Brothers, it won’t be pretty.
In the realm of the mainstream, we have George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road — opening Friday (or Thursday night) at The Carolina, Epic of Hendersonville, Regal Biltmore Grande, and UA Beaucatcher. Here we find Miller returning to his Ozploitation mainstays 30 years later — now with Tom Hardy as Max. To judge by the early reviews — 39 positive vs. one negative — it would seem this is more than just a return to form for Miller. Of course, words like “masterpiece” and phrases like “adrenaline-fueled” with the kind of wild abandon we used to only associate with studio ballyhoo. I admit I’m interested — and I’m delighted they went for the R rating. I’m also braced for the possibility that it’s being built-up too much and too fast.
What I may never be sufficiently braced for is Pitch Perfect 2 — opening Friday (or Thursday night) at The Carolina, Epic of Hendersonville, Regal Biltmore Grande, and UA Beaucatcher. It promises more of the same as its freak hit predecessor. That’s my problem. Few things will put me to flight quicker than a cappella singing. Add to that the necessary acquired taste (which I have never acquired) for Rebel Wilson and…all I can say is that I’m grateful to be able to palm it off on someone else on the strength of the fact that I didn’t see the first one and would doubtless be lost.
This week we The Carolina drops While We’re Young (which had a pretty good run), Maggie (which is no great loss), and, unfortunately, The D Train. (Considering the last named did far worse business at the Regal Biltmore Grande, I’m sure they’ll drop it, too. Carmike — where it did even worse business– may hold it, because of a dearth of product.) The Fine Arts is dropping Clouds of Sils Maria (still at The Carolina) and splitting Kumiko with the aforementioned She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry.
Before getting down to the usual suspects, let me remind you that the Jewish Film Festival continues at the Fine Arts Theatre. The second week’s film is Above and Beyond playing Thu., May 14 at 7 p.m. and again on Fri., May 15 at 1 p.m..
This week the Thursday Horror Picture Show has Dario Argento’s Phemonena (Creepers) (1985) at 8 p.m. on Thu., May 14 in Theater Six at The Carolina. World Cinema is showing Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Teorema (1968) on Fri., May 15 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 Jon Favreau’s Chef (2014) on Sun., May 17 at 2 p.m. in the Smoky Mountain Theater at Lake Pointe Landing in Hendersonville. The Asheville Film Society has John Boorman’s The Tailor of Panama (2001) on Tue., May 19 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.
Looks like this week pretty much consists of Still Alice — and, less happily, Blackhat.