Cranky Hanke’s Weekly Reeler May 18-24: Angry Meddler Neighbor Nice Guys

In Theaters.

The Captain America juggernaut continues apace, but three mainstream titles are attempting to slow it down. Two of them might have a chance — slim though it is. The other not so much, and the lone art title opening locally certainly won’t dethrone it. And there’s more news, too.

That more news is the opening — at least partial opening — of The Grail Moviehouse (45 S. French Broad Ave.) this Thursday, May 19. I will most certainly be there, since this locally-owned art and rep theater is the new home of the Asheville Film Society (coming in a couple of weeks) and the Thursday Horror Picture Show. In fact, the THPS screening of The Brainiac (El Barón del Terror) is one of the events this Thursday.

 

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This week’s art title is Lorene Scafaria’s The Meddler starting Friday at Carolina Cinemark. I caught this last week and the review is in this week’s paper. I spent much of the running time of this unassuming little charmer thinking it was a pity that it wasn’t a wider release, since it would been a much better movie for Mother’s Day than that…thing from Garry Marshall. The Meddler has the air of reality — of a film that knows a thing or two or more about mothers. That’s perhaps not surprising since Scafaria based the movie on her own mother — and to some degree her relationship with her. That — and solid performances from Susan Sarandon and Rose Byrne — manages to turn what could have been a bad sitcom into a minor delight of the kind that should play well with audiences “of a certain age.” (Actually, it should resonate with anyone who’s had a mother — even more with anyone who’s had a mother and worked at home writing.)

And then…

 

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First up is The Angry Birds Moviestarting Friday (and Thursday night) at Carmike 10, Carolina Cinemark, Epic of Hendersonville, Regal Biltmore Grande. So here it is — the game I’ve never played has been turned into a movie I hope never to see in either 3D or 2D. Is that closed-minded of me? I suppose so, but the trailer is more than enough. And then there’s the fact that the best they could come up with is essentially a (groan and shudder) origins story for the aggravated ornithological specimens of the title. The movie promises to tell us just why these birds are angry. Was anybody actually wondering about this?

 

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Then Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising invading our world Friday (and Thursday evening) at Carolina Cinemark, Epic of Hendersonville, UA Biltmore Grande. I freely admit I didn’t much like the original (and, no, I have nothing against Zac Efron, so that wasn’t the problem). No, for me it was just another not-really-shocking R-rated raunchy-com with a muddled plot that relied on people being incredibly stupid to work. It also worked on the dubious premise that Seth Rogen (who I prefer in serious roles) is intrinsically funny. My lack of enthusiasm didn’t keep the first film from grossing $270 million worldwide on an $18 million budget. Now comes the inevitable sequel, which follows the same basic premise of youngish couple’s suburban dream being upturned by new next door neighbors. The twist this time is that it’s not frat boys led by Zac Efron, but sorority girls led by Chloë Grace Moretz. Indeed, Efron returns to help in the battle with the sorority. It, too, will probably make a fortune.

 

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Finally, we have Shane Black’s The Nice Guys — starting Friday (and Thursday evening) at Carmike 10, Carolina Cinemark, Epic of Hendersonville, Regal Biltmore Grande. OK, I’m no fan of Mr. Black’s Iron Man 3 (2013), but I mostly liked his Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005) and this seems to be more in that key. The idea of Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling as rival private investigators (sort of) who grudgingly team up to solve a murder in 1977 Los Angeles sounds familiar in the best possible sense. After all, the prospect of these two in a gritty action-buddy comedy is more than a little appealing — something the trailer and the early reviews only enhance. It’s not going to be the movie to dethrone Captain America, but it’s the movie I plan on being there first thing Friday to see.

 This week we lose Eye in the Sky, Green Room, and A Hologram for the King, though Hologram is being picked up by Flatrock Cinema.

 Special Screenings

 

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On Thu., May 19 at 6 p.m., the Fine Arts Theater concludes this year’s Jewish Film Festival with the documentary In Search of Israeli Cuisine in a special event showing with a reception (tickets are $25). There will be an encore film only screening Fri., May 20 at 1 p.m.

 

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The big news this week is the return of the Thursday Horror Picture Show at the brand new Grail Moviehouse (45 S. French Broad Ave.) with the Mexi-horror The Brainiac (El Barón del Terror), which will screen Thu., May 19 at 7:30 (please note new time as well as theater). World Cinema is showing George Sluizer’s The Vanishing (1988) at 8 p.m. on Fri., May 20 at Phil Mechanic Studios, 109 Roberts St., River Arts District (upstairs in the Railroad Library). The Hendersonville Film Society is running Sidney J. Furie’s Lady Sings the Blues (1972) Sunday, May 22, at 2 p.m. in the Smoky Mountain Theater at Lake Pointe Landing Retirement Community (behind Epic Cinemas), 333 Thompson St., Hendersonville. More on all titles in this week’s Xpress and in the online edition.

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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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26 thoughts on “Cranky Hanke’s Weekly Reeler May 18-24: Angry Meddler Neighbor Nice Guys

  1. Edwin Arnaudin

    It seems prudent to let people know that Kindergarten Cop 2, starring Dolph Lundgren, Bill Bellamy and the spectacularly named Fiona Vroom, is now streaming on Netflix.

    • Big Al

      The Wikipedia entry for KC2 did not mention a Fionna Vroom (although IMDb does).

      It did list a Sandra Strange (we Stargate SG-1 fanboys know her.)

    • Ken Hanke

      New titles, no? This week (starting Friday) I’m told:

      Cinema Paradiso — Friday-Thursday 6:30, 9:00
      Sunset Boulevard — Friday-Thursday 7:00, 9:15
      Monty Python and the Holy Grail — Friday-Thursday 7:30, 9:30

        • Ken Hanke

          They’re all good in their own way and they are so different they don’t invite comparison. Since I’ve seen both Sunset Blvd. (admittedly in 2000) and Holy Grail on the big screen at the Fine Arts, I’d lean toward Cinema Paradiso. How you feel about subtitles may be a consideration.

          • Big Al

            I am getting over my aversion. It helps if the films are any good.

          • The Real World

            I concur about Cinema Paradiso and saw Sunset Blvd on the telly recently, it’s also quite good.

            Very happy about The Grail!

  2. Big Al

    Would you recommend the “Mechanical Eye Micro Cinema” event tomorrow night? I enjoyed the short films programs that Fine Arts has hosted in the past, although this seems to be more local and lower budget.

    • Ken Hanke

      Having never seen any of their events, I can’t really say.

  3. Ken Hanke

    I see we are down for another Purge movie this summer. Hollywood hates us.

  4. Ken Hanke

    Good turnout at the Grail Moviehouse, and overall a good experience. The theater is nice and the projection was excellent. Also, the vibe was super good.

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