Cranky Hanke’s Weekly Reeler November 4-10: Missing Suffragette Spectre Peanuts Already

In Theaters.

It’s the week of Bond 24 — or Spectre, if you will — and no one can be happier than Hollywood after last week’s debacle at the box office. And if you have kids, or are nostalgic for your childhood, there’s an alternative Big Deal out there, though by the age of eight, I was being taken to James Bond movies. Some will claim this probably explains how thoroughly sunk I am in depravity, but then there are always “some.”

Much ink has already been spilled over this past weekend’s way beyond underwhelming box office. The movies were bad — which I don’t even agree with in all cases — is at the top of the list. The titles were bad is another. And there’s the notion that people won’t pay to see two hour movies that aren’t some kind of spectacle in theaters, since they can stay home and watch “better” TV shows for “free,” or as part of this or that subscription service. These are all shot-in-the-dark answers. None are etched in stone, though the writers seem to think so. In the end, it’s a crap-shoot — and Hollywood knows that. But in this age where everybody with an internet connection knows everything there is to know about movies, “answers” must be found — even if they have to be retrieved by proctologists. The truth is that movies like Burnt and Truth (especially Truth) did far better locally than the national averages indicate. Hits? No, but not — at least in this small section — but not disgraces. Generalizations remain just that.

 

miss you quad

 

The only art title that was made available to local critics this week was Catherine Hardwicke’s Miss You Already — opening Friday at The Carolina. It was an agreeable surprise, but I admit it’s still going to be a tough sell. In its bare bones description it sounds like the latest Lifetime Channel disease-of-the-week pap. That it was made by Catherine Hardwicke — who’s been dining for 12 years on the critical reputation of Thirteen without making anything of real merit since — isn’t likely to help matters. But this is a tough-minded little movie that manages to be witty and moving without glossing over the ugliness of cancer, or descending into maudlin goo. Hardwicke’s direction is reasonably assured, but the film is carried by the screenplay (by Morwenna Banks) and top-drawer performances that complement each other from Drew Barrymore and Toni Collette. There’s also strong acting support from Paddy Considine, Dominic Cooper, and Jacqueline Bisset. Is it an assault on the tear ducts? Only sort of. It’s too smart just for that. My review is in this week’s Xpress.

 

Suffragette_movie_poster

 

There is a second art title, Sarah Gavron’s Suffragette — starting Friday at The Carolina and the Fine Arts. This was not previewed for local critics — probably because the decision to open it was only made on Monday morning. However, Suffragette has Oscar Bait written all over it. Two Oscar-nominated stars, Carey Mulligan and Helena Bonham Carter adorn the cast — as does three-time Oscar winner Meryl Streep. It’s a period piece and can boast historical importance. The somewhat mixed reviews and it being opened this early suggest that it may not be quite up to its pedigree. We shall see.

 

the-peanuts-movie-social

 

Next is Steve Martino’s (Ice Age: Continental Drift) The Peanuts Movie — starting Friday at Carmike 10, The Carolina, Epic of Hendersonville, and Regal Biltmore Grande (no there are not Thursday evening shows). Look, you know what it is — a very expensive big screen, computer animated version of a very economical series of hand-drawn TV cartoons — and you know if you want to see it. I have recused myself from reviewing it. I loved the comics as a small child, spent hours lying on the floor reading the book versions. Then when I was 10 came the first animated TV show, A Charlie Brown Christmas, and I was never so disappointed. No one sounded like I wanted them to sound, and the Charlie Brown perennial loser business that was okay in print grated on me in action. Now, if you grew up where these shows were your first experience with the characters, fine. I’m sure that makes for a very different experience. I’m passing.

 

BOND24_SPECTRE_OneSheet-teaser-Quad-01_zps1goj8nkf

 

Finally, there’s Sam Mendes’ Spectre — starting Friday (with Thursday evening shows) at Carmike 10, The Carolina, Co-ed of Brevard, Epic of Hendersonville, and Regal Biltmore Grande. Here’s Bond 24 — with a director who says no more and a star who said he’d rather kill himself than play James Bond again. This is another case of you know what it is and you know if you’re going to go see it. Since I’ve more or less followed the series since its inception — though I’ve never made it through the Timothy Dalton duo — I’ll see it. Am I excited? Not really, though the presence of Christoph Waltz helps. The fact its early reviews are not exactly glowing might matter more to me, except that when I read complaints about a lack of character development, I wonder what the reviewer was expecting…

This week the Fine Arts drops Goodnight Mommy (really, it only got that second week because of lack of product). There’s no bona fide art leaving The Carolina, but I guess it’s worth noting that Steve Jobs is leaving (that was quick work) and Crimson Peak is being cut to three shows a day (11:50, 5:10, 10:30), signalling its end is nigh.

Special Screenings

 

Richard Dormer as Terri Hooley in 'Good Vibrations'

 

The Thursday Horror Picture Show has Vincent Price, Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, and John Carradine in Pete Walker’s House of the Long Shadows (1983) at 8 p.m. on Thu., Nov. 5 in Theater Six at The Carolina. World Cinema is showing François Truffaut’s The 400 Blows (1959) on Fri., Nov. 6 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 D.W. Griffith’s Isn’t Life Wonderful (1924) on Sun., Nov. 8 at 2 p.m. in the Smoky Mountain Theater at Lake Pointe Landing in Hendersonville. The Asheville Film Society is running the Northern Ireland punk rock comedy-drama Good Vibrations (2013) with guest speaker and Northern Ireland native Gareth Higgins on Tue., Nov. 10 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.

On DVD

The major release this week is the excellent The End of the Tour. Also up is the good documentary Best of Enemies, as well as the Pixar film Inside Out. In addition, Peter Bogdanovich’s critically savaged She’s Funny That Way — which never played locally — comes out this week. I admit I want to see it.

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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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36 thoughts on “Cranky Hanke’s Weekly Reeler November 4-10: Missing Suffragette Spectre Peanuts Already

  1. T.rex

    Speaking as part of the geneartion that grew up with Charlie Brown Christmas and the Great Pumpkin, I sure wish this new movie used the classic hand drawn style. Cest La Vie.
    I’ve only seen the TV ads for Suffragette and they got me hooked so I will see it.
    What is this Spectre? seems new to me….

  2. NFB

    Unfortunately the message of last weekend’s box office fiasco is likely to be “these weren’t movies that appeal to 14 year old boys so we need to make more of those.”

    • Ken Hanke

      Unfortunately, that may be true, but the idea that Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse was made for adults — R rating or not — is no more comforting.

  3. Edwin Arnaudin

    One newish addition to Netflix Streaming that’s worth watching is Asghar Farhadi’s About Elly, which he made before A Separation and The Past, but just received a U.S. release this year. It’s not quite as good as those other two – each of which I think is better than the last – yet isn’t far off. Based solely on these three films, I’m not sure any currently working filmmaker crafts dramas as well as Farhadi.

      • Ken Hanke

        Mind, I’m not discounting Farhadi — he’s made two excellent films — but he’s yet to make a movie I wanted to see twice.

        • Edwin Arnaudin

          A Separation and The Past are films I want to see again at some point – I just haven’t built up the courage to make that happen.

          • Ken Hanke

            See, I thought they were fine — and better — but I wasn’t devastated by them.

          • Edwin Arnaudin

            I wasn’t devastated, either, though I still consider them emotionally challenging films. I’m more impressed by how he reveals new information and shifts dynamics we thought we understood.

          • Ken Hanke

            Ah, see, the need to build up courage to see them again suggested devastated to me.

          • Edwin Arnaudin

            Understandable.

            I think the last film to achieve devastation was the second viewing of 12 Years a Slave.

  4. Big Al

    “Here’s Bond 24 — with…a star who said he’d rather kill himself than play James Bond again.”

    Was this before or after “Spectre”? I frankly felt like “Skyfall” was a step towards retiring the character/franchise, until the end scene which seemed to indicate a revival/rebirth. I think you would agree per your “Dark Spy Rising” analogy. I left that one a little confused.

    I will be disappointed at Craig’s departure. I have never bought into any of the previous Bonds. Connery acted right but just looked wrong for the part, and Moore was the opposite. Dalton did neither, and while I liked Brosnan best of the four, his film’s stories were like silly comic books. I was actually an admirer of Craig long before he took on the mantle of Bond and thought he brought just the right mix of suave playboy and dark killer to the role. I also thought his films had better character development and relied less on stupid gadgets.

    • Ken Hanke

      Craig made that remark to a reporter a few weeks ago — definitely after Spectre was made.

      I don’t think I made a Dark Spy Rising comparison — I certainly don’t remember it, but it’s perhaps not inapt. I don’t much care for the Craig Bonds. He’s not in the least my idea of Bond, though he’s at least less dull than Timothy Dalton. To me, Bond is supposed to be suave, cool. sophisticated, flippant. Craig is like a humorless roughneck in a nice suit.

      • Big Al

        From YOUR November 13, 2013 review of “Skyfall”:

        “Skyfall — or The Dark Spy Rises — is a great-looking movie…”

  5. Ken Hanke

    I understand I’m not supposed to, but I really liked She’s Funny That Way. Any movie that’s based on dialogue from an Ernst Lubitsch movie is starting off on the right foot.

  6. Gregg Terry

    I just saw Hungry Hearts and thought it was quite good, albeit difficult to watch because of its subject matter. Alba Rohrwacher’s performance was quite strong. Grade B+.

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