This is one of the stranger weeks to come along. There are quite a few movies opening—none of the seem to qualify as entirely wide releases. The only art movie opening is Of Gods and Men at The Carolina. And there’s a small fact-based, faith-based uplifting sports drama, The 5th Quarter, that appears to be opening only at the Beaucatcher. Neither of these being limited to one screen is surprising. But what of Dylan Dog: Dead of Night, Fast Five, Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil, and Prom? Wide? Well, not exactly—except for Fast Five. While I have yet to see the listings for the Epic or the Biltmore Grande, right now Prom is only listed at The Carolina, Hoodwinked Too! only at the Beaucatcher, the longest shot of all Dylan Dog is at The Carolina and the Carmike. What does this mean? Mostly that no one expects much out of Prom or Hoodwinked.
The only of these that I’ve seen is Of Gods and Men, the review for which is in this week’s paper, and without getting into it, I’ll be mightily surprised if any of the other things opening are anywhere near being in the same league. But let’s do the usual prognosticating anyway.
First there’s The 5th Quarter, which pretty much came out of nowhere (and that’s why it’s not in the paper’s “Upcomers,” since I didn’t even know it existed till last night). What is it? Well, as I said, it’s seemingly a fact-based, faith-based uplifting sports movie—amusingly being distributed by the folks who brought us Atlas Shrugged. It’s the first directorial feature for writer-producer Rick Bieber (Crazy) and it stars Andie MacDowell and Aidan Quinn. The fact that it stars Andie MacDowell is problematic for me, since I like her personally and have enjoyed talking to her about movies, but the sub-genres attached to this are like garlic to a vampire for me, even if Orland Sentinel critic Roger Moore says, “It scores points for being that rare ‘faith based film’ to show a little edge.” (It should be noted that Roger and I don’t always agree.)
There’s every reason to expect Dylan Dog: Dead of Night to be dead on arrival—if only because it’s being handled by Freestyle Releasing, who usually handle the most egregious low-rent junk. The last thing of theirs that played locally was the execrable I Want Your Money, which (literally) almost no one went to see—a wise decision. Dylan Dog was originally slated for a limited release, then inexplicably was expanded. What is it? Well, the press notes say it’s “a new horror/comedy film based on one of the world’s most popular comics (60 million copies worldwide). Brandon Routh stars as Dylan Dog, world famous private investigator specializing in affairs of the undead. His PI business card reads ‘No Pulse? No Problem.’ Armed with an edgy wit and carrying an arsenal of silver and wood-tipped bullets, Dylan must track down a dangerous artifact before a war ensues between his werewolf, vampire and zombie clients living undercover in the monster-infested backstreets of New Orleans.” OK, that’s intriguing, as is the fact that the Italian comics in question are written by Tiziano Sclavi, whose novel Dellamorte Dellamore was the source for Cemetery Man. And the trailer really doesn’t look bad, so …
Fast Five is, of course, yet another in the seemingly endless Fast and Furious movies. In other words Vin Diesel and Paul Walker (and their stunt drivers) do a lot of fancy driving in souped-up cars while “shit blows up real cool” interspersed with wooden dialogue that’s less expressive than the stars’ faces. Somehow—though it probably doesn’t matter how—this seems to take place before The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006). Dwayne “No Longer the Rock” Johnson comes on board as an adversary and much has been made by the PR folks about a smackdown ‘twixt him and Mr. Diesel. I have no memory of it, but I appear to have reviewed the last one. I’m probably getting this one, too—if only because I really, really, really don’t want the next one up.
Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil is the long unawaited sequel to the 2006 Hoodwinked!—a snarky revisionist take on “Red Riding Hood” that I found massively unfunny, flat and unoriginal. It also looked like it had been made by moderately creative film students on a laptop in their dorm room. But it made money, so a sequel was inevitable, even if they couldn’t get Anne Hathaway to come back to voice Red. They can’t sucker me into watching it either. I have to say I have never heard a single person express a desire for a sequel, but there was somebody out there somewhere who paid to see the first one. I guess.
That brings us to Prom, which the folks at Disney tout with, “At Prom, every couple has a story and no two are exactly alike. Several intersecting stories unfold at one high school as the big dance approaches; Prom portrays the precarious passage from high school to independence as some relationships unravel and others ignite.” “Several intersecting stories unfold” must mean this is like a Robert Altman movie for teens. They also say its has “an emerging ensemble cast,” which is code for “people you never heard of.” Where’s Carrie when you need her?
Otherwise, this week finds Certified Copy departing The Carolina, but Jane Eyre is holding nicely both there and at the Fine Arts. Win Win is also staying at the Fine Arts. The Conspirator and Super also have at least another week at The Carolina. Some may also want to note that Asheville Pizza and Brewing has brought in Alan Parker’s The Wall (1982) for their 10 p.m. slot.
Roman Polanski’s The Fearless Vampire Killers (1967) is this week’s Thursday Horror Picture Show on Thursday, April 28, at 8 p.m. in the Cinema Lounge of The Carolina. World Cinema has Chris Marker’s Sans Soleil (1983) on Friday, April 29, at 8 p.m. in the Railroad Library in the Phil Mechanic Building. Victor Erice’s The Spirit of the Beehive (1973) is this week’s Hendersonville Film Society choice at 2 p.m. on Sunday, May 1, in the Smoky Mountain Theater at Lake Pointe Landing in Hendersonville. The Asheville Film Society is screening Mervyn LeRoy’s Five Star Final (1931) at 8 p.m on. Tuesday, May 3, in the Cinema Lounge at The Carolina. More about all these in this week’s Xpress.
Also, for those who are Asheville Film Society members—or who’d like to become ones—there’s a special advance members only free screening of Of Gods and Men at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 27, at The Carolina. The film opens on Friday, but AFS members get to see it earlier. And since at $10 memberships are only 25 cents more than a regular evening admission, it’s not a bad deal—and it’s even a better one when you consider that being an AFS member gets you a dollar off admission to any movie at The Carolina. So with your first regular ticket purchase, you’ll be 75 cents ahead.
Well, Marc McCloud from Orbit DVD told me that nothing was coming out this week. Damned if he wasn’t right!
Notable TV screenings
It’s one of those rather flat weeks—good movies, but nothing unusual. As a result, yes, you’re on your own.