To judge by this week’s mainstream releases, it would be easy to conclude that we are somehow being punished for our sins — real or imagined or maybe even sins not yet committed. The truth, of course, is that the SPECTRE juggernaut is still with us. Worse, the final — really, no foolin’ — Hunger Games will be upon us next Friday. This week is pretty much a box office suicide squad.
Regardless of the perfectly sound reasoning for putting out nothing of note this week, this is a depressing array. It frankly makes me nostalgic for Scouts Guide to Zombie Apocalypse. Those were the days. Give or take.
There’s only one art title this week — Laurie Anderson’s Heart of a Dog, which opens Friday at the Fine Arts. I wasn’t able to see this, but Justin Souther did. He termed it a “philosophical documentary” about Anderson’s dog — a rat terrier named Lolabelle. I believe we may safely say it’s experimental in nature — and while that might scare some, Justin seems to have found it fascinating. Goodness knows, nothing else that could even be called unusual, let alone experimental, is headed our way. You can read the review in this week’s Xpress.
And here we begin the other releases, starting with Patricia Riggen’s The 33 — starting Friday (no Thursday evening shows) at The Carolina, and possibly other theaters, but no confirmation on this. This fact-based movie is described thus: “Antonio Banderas and Rodrigo Santoro star in this ensemble drama detailing the daring real-life rescue of 33 Chilean miners who were trapped in the San Jose Mine for 69 days in 2010. Patricia Riggen directs from a script by Jose Rivera and Mikko Alanne.” The early reviews are not exactly encouraging. The only previous film of Ms. Riggen’s I’ve seen is Under the Same Moon (2008), a so-so and rather syrupy immigration drama. The cast here is interesting — and the one in the blurb doesn’t even mention James Brolin, Lou Diamond Phillips, and Gabriel Byrne — and I guess if you’re going to spend a couple hours trapped in a mine, Antonio Banderas would be agreeable company.
Next up is Jessie Nelson’s Love the Coopers — starting Friday (with Thursday evening shows for those who can’t wait) at The Carolina, Epic of Hendersonville, UA Beaucatcher. Here we have the first Christmas movie of the season. Ho ho ho. If the name Jessie Nelson is unfamiliar to you, it’s probably because she hasn’t been let behind a movie camera since the treacly I Am Sam in 2001. Understandable. This is stuffed with stars (or at least name players) — Olivia Wilde, Diane Keaton, Amanda Seyfried, Marisa Tomei, Ed Helms, John Goodman, Alan Arkin. It is described as following “the Cooper clan as four generations of extended family come together for their annual Christmas Eve celebration. As the evening unfolds, a series of unexpected visitors and unlikely events turn the night upside down, leading them all toward a surprising rediscovery of family bonds and the spirit of the holiday.” Gee, that sounds like a lot of other movies.
Last and perhaps least is Angelo Pizzo’s My All American — starting Friday (with Thursday evening, etc.) at The Carolina, and possibly as yet unlisted other theaters. Here’s what they say: “From Angelo Pizzo, the writer of Rudy and Hoosiers, comes My All American — the true story of one of legendary UT Austin football Coach Darrell Royal’s (Aaron Eckhart) most beloved players, Freddie Steinmark (Finn Wittrock), an underdog who led his team to a championship season and was an inspiration both on and off the field.” Notice the “true story” — not “based on a true story” — claim. Note also that Rizzo’s selling point movies are both over 20 years ago. And note that they don’t mention his 2005 effort The Game of Their Lives (probably because it grossed $375,000). This time Pizzo is also directing. You pretty much know what you’re getting here — an uplifting, inspiring sports movie. It has already inspired me — to let someone else review it.
This week we don’t actually lose any art titles, though the Fine Arts is only holding the 1 p.m. show of Truth.
The Thursday Horror Picture Show has Álex de la Iglesia‘s The Last Circus (2011) at 8 p.m. on Thu., Nov. 12 in Theater Six at The Carolina. World Cinema is showing Alfred Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps (1935) on Fri., Nov. 13 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 Jack Lemmon and James Garner in Peter Segal’s My Fellow Americans (1996) on Sun., Nov. 15 at 2 p.m. in the Smoky Mountain Theater at Lake Pointe Landing in Hendersonville. The Asheville Film Society is running the Will Hay comedy My Learned Friend (1943) on Tue., Nov. 17 at 8 p.m. in Theater Six at The Carolina. More on all titles in this week’s Xpress — with complete reviews in the online edition.
Without question the best thing this week is the summer’s only real art house hit Mr. Holmes, an utterly sublime film. Also up, however, are Self/Less, Trainwreck, and Terminator Genisys. Though it didn’t play here, the much-acclaimed Tangerine also appears. Now, I admit I made it about 15 minutes into this before having a “life is too short” moment, but others have loved it.