Cranky Hanke’s Weekly Reeler Aug. 3-8: Change-up to a Trip with Nim and Other Apes

In theaters

The Smurfs to one side, last week didn’t turn out so badly. So what of this week? Well, let’s see. In the land of the mainstream we have The Change-up and Rise of the Planet of the Apes (both everywhere but the Carmike). And on the art film side of the ledger there’s Project Nim and The Trip (both at The Carolina). Apart from the unintentional connection between two movies involving chimpanzees, it’s at least diverse.

As is often the case, I’ve already seen and reviewed the art titles—the reviews are in this week’s paper—and I have to say that they appear to be far more interesting and noteworthy than the mainstream offerings. Of course, the mainstream may prove surprising. That remains to be seen, but a new documentary from the maker of Man on Wire and a variant of the “road/buddy” picture from Michael Winterbottom is a hard duo to top. We shall see.

The Change-up is from David Dobkin, whom the ads delight in telling us gave us Wedding Crashers (2005) while skillfully leaving out the fact that he also made Fred Claus (2007)—which might be worth considering. I’m not sure exactly who decided it was high time to revive the “body switch” comedy—let alone why they made this decision—but that’s what we have here. Much put-upon married man (Jason Bateman) and unrepentant ladies’ man (Ryan Reynolds)—supposedly best friends since childhood, which is a neat trick considering the seven-year age difference—make one of those ill-advised wishes to change places in an unfortunate locale. They awake the next day in each other’s bodies. Hilarity ensues—in theory at least. This is also one of the current wave of R-rated comedies with a raunch factor. Based on seeing both the “audience appropriate” trailer and the “red band” one, it appears to be full of both bathroom and bedroom amusement in order to appeal to all audiences.

I’m equally unsure of the need to—or desirability of it—reboot the Planet of the Apes series, much less provide us with an origins story. But that’s what we’re being offered with Rise of the Planet of the Apes—which seems to be a sci-fi variation on Project Nim gone very wrong. In its service are a good cast—James Franco, Freida Pinto, John Lithgow, Brian Cox—and Andy Serkis doing his motion-capture thing to be CGI’d into chief chimp Caesar. And there’s certainly plenty of state-of-the-art effects stuff going on. Now, the folks at 20th Century Fox assure us that “The film is a reality-based cautionary tale—a science fiction/science-fact blend where mankind’s hubris leads to the development of intelligence in apes and the onset of a war for supremacy.” That, I presume means the old sci-fi notion that “there are some things that man must leave alone” is alive and well and coming to a multiplex near you. The early reviews are generally good and entirely from people I don’t pay much attention to. Friday will reveal all.

Leaving town this week is, unfortunately, Submarine. My personal belief is that it was killed by Bele Chere, but that hardly matters—you only have through Thursday to catch it, and well you should. Beginners is around for another (probably final) week at the Fine Arts. Midnight in Paris (can’t kill it with a stick!) is staying at both the Fine Arts and The Carolina, while Page One and Buck are also staying at The Carolina, but have been split, which suggests this is probably their last week. The Tree of Life, however, is still going pretty strong there.

Special Screenings

In addition to the usual fare, there’s an Asheville Film Society word-of-mouth screening on Wednesday, Aug. 3, at 7:30 p.m. at The Carolina of Project Nim, which is an exclusive free showing for AFS members. Not a member? That can be remedied for ten bucks, which’ll fix you up for a year’s worth of these screenings—among other things. (End of shameless plug.)

This week the Thursday Horror Picture Show has a double feature of The Strange Case of Dr. Rx (1942) and The Last Warning (1938) at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 4, in the Cinema Lounge at The Carolina. World Cinema has Robert Bresson’s Diary of a Country Priest (1951) on Friday, Aug. 5, at 8 p.m. in the Railroad Library in the Phil Mechanic Building. The Hendersonville Film Society is screening Richard Thorpe’s Ivanhoe (1952) on Sunday, Aug. 7 ,at 2 p.m. in the Smoky Mountain Theater at Lake Pointe Landing in Hendersonville. The Asheville Film Society has Josef von Sternberg’s The Scarlet Empress (1934) on Tuesday, Aug. 9, at 8 p.m. in the Cinema Lounge at The Carolina. More on all films (except Ivanhoe) in this week’s Xpress.

On DVD

It appears to be a pretty slack week on DVD releases. The only mainstream titles I see are Rio and Soul Surfer, neither of which I’ve seen. A film I had kind of hoped with play here theatrically—The Music Never Stopped—is also coming out, but that’s truly an unknown quantity.

Notable TV screenings

TCM is in its “Summer Under the Stars” mode, meaning you get 24 hours devoted to a single star. In other words, unless you’re into a particular star, you’re out of luck for a day. Wednesday is Bette Davis, and that’s fine except for the fact that there’s never what you’d call a shortage of Bette Davis movies on TCM, though the day’s first offering, The Working Man (1933), isn’t shown very often. It’s Bette in support of George Arliss—whom she always credited for getting her career started—and a rather charming little movie it is. You can catch it at 6 a.m.

Thursday is all Ronald Colman. The most notable or unusual are blocked together starting at 11:30 a.m. with Kiki (1926), Raffles (1930), The Unholy Garden (1931), and Arrowsmith (1931). John Garfield gets Friday, which is fine, but since TCM owns just about everything he ever made, he’s in the Bette Davis boat of being generally around TCM a lot of the time. Saturday is given over to Lucille Ball, who is an acquired taste I’ve never really acquired. That said, the 1947 thriller Lured—which also has Boris Karloff and George Zucco in it—is pretty agreeable and is on at 1:30 a.m. Sunday we have Charles Laughton, but nothing unusual for TCM is on hand. Monday we get Orson Welles—pretty much the usual suspects, but most of those are are pretty tasty. A rather strange choice is Ann Dvorak on Tuesday, but this does provide us with Crooner (1932) at 6 a.m., Scarface (1932) at 8 p.m., and Three on a Match (1932) at 9:45 p.m.

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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 Aug. 3-8: Change-up to a Trip with Nim and Other Apes

  1. Steve Shanafelt

    [b]I’m equally unsure of the need to—or desirability of it—reboot the Planet of the Apes series, much less provide us with an origins story.[/b]

    It actually sounds more like a revamping of the existing origin story, [i]Conquest of the Planet of the Apes[/i] [1972). http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0068408/

    For that series, it’s pretty dark.

  2. Ken Hanke

    It actually sounds more like a revamping of the existing origin story, Conquest of the Planet of the Apes [1972).

    Frankly, I bailed on these things after the second film, so I couldn’t tell you, but from the plot synopsis you’ve linked to, it sounds like Conquest is some bizarre future history. Of course, considering we saw the earth blow up at the end of no. 2, who knows where this thing went to keep popping these movies out? (I was never an admirer.)

  3. Steve Shanafelt

    [b]Frankly, I bailed on these things after the second film, so I couldn’t tell you, but from the plot synopsis you’ve linked to, it sounds like [i]Conquest[/i] is some bizarre future history.[/b]

    It was the none-too-distant future in 1972, but their timeline doesn’t quite hold up today. The events in [i]Conquest[/i] were scheduled to take place around the time Nirvana was releasing [i]Nevermind[/i].

    “In 1983 (several years after the end of Escape from the Planet of the Apes), a disease kills the world’s cats and dogs, leaving humans with no pets. To replace them, humans began keeping monkeys and apes as household pets. Realizing the apes’ capacity to learn and adapt, humans train them to perform household tasks. By 1991, America has become a fascist culture of uniformed classes and castes, based on ape slave labor.”

  4. Justin Souther

    Apart from the unintentional connection between two movies involving chimpanzees, it’s at least diverse.

    That’s no way to talk about Ryan Reynolds.

  5. Dionysis

    Will ‘Cowboys and Aliens’ be reviewed? I saw it this past weekend and am curious as to how the review will shake out, and how close (or not) it tracks with my take on the movie.

  6. Ken Hanke

    Will ‘Cowboys and Aliens’ be reviewed? I saw it this past weekend and am curious as to how the review will shake out, and how close (or not) it tracks with my take on the movie.

    Yes. I reviewed it and the review should be up on here about 9 p.m.

  7. Also out this week is Kenny “effin” Powers… EASTBOUND & DOWN SEASON 2 picks up with Powers heading to Mexico to pitch in the leagues down there. Not as funny as the first season, but still more laughs than most of what’s out there.

    Mystery Science Theater Volume 21 treats us to an all Gamera set. Looking forward to Rifftrax at the Carolina in a couple of weeks.

    Also out UNITED STATES OF TARA S3 (last one), EXPORTING RAYMOND and HEY BOO HARPER.

  8. DrSerizawa

    Frankly, I bailed on these things after the second film, so I couldn’t tell you….

    When I returned from Nam I took my little brother (he was 13) to a Planet of the Apes drive-in showing he wanted to see of the three movies that has been released by then. This was an attempt to be a good big brother. I’ve never let him forget the sacrifice that was. I don’t think I’ve ever recovered from that and have never watched a PotA movie since then. Well, except for the Tim Burton one which only cemented my opinion those PotA flicks as it was even dumber than the first three.

    Shoulda stopped with the first one. It had some shock value but the series plummeted into irrelevance with the 2nd one.

  9. Ken Hanke

    Not as funny as the first season

    Danny McBride is never funny.

  10. Ken Hanke

    It will beat TRANSMOOSERS, goshdarnit!

    In staying power maybe it just might.

  11. Ken Hanke

    Do you know if Terri is going to get some play in Asheville?

    Neither likely venue has mentioned it yet.

  12. Ken Hanke

    I’ve never let him forget the sacrifice that was

    That kind of leverage might be worth sitting through those.

    Well, except for the Tim Burton one which only cemented my opinion those PotA flicks as it was even dumber than the first three.

    Even though I can easily make a case for it Burton’s filmography, I don’t especially like it, but “dumber than the first three” seems excessive to me.

  13. Dionysis

    Are filmmakers that bereft of ideas that they have to trot out yet another Planet of the Apes? I agree with the good DrS…the first of the series was the best, subsequent sequels were increasingly weak. As for Burton’s remake…ugh.

  14. Danny McBride is never funny.

    If you haven’t seen FOOT FIST WAY or EASTBOUND AND DOWN then you can’t make that assumption.

  15. Ken Hanke

    If you haven’t seen FOOT FIST WAY or EASTBOUND AND DOWN then you can’t make that assumption

    Considering all the Danny McBride performances (he reached his peak as a cardboard cut-out in Up in the Air) I’ve been subjected to and am going to be subjected to, I’m not doing any extra-curricular research. (Cue The Poster Known As Hurted.)

  16. Considering all the Danny McBride performances (he reached his peak as a cardboard cut-out in Up in the Air) I’ve been subjected to and am going to be subjected to, I’m not doing any extra-curricular research. (Cue The Poster Known As Hurted.)

    I totally agree that he’s milking the mullet redneck parts for all they got. However, he’s very very funny in the projects that he co-writes.

    I have yet to see YOUR HIGHNESS, so this might burst my bubble.

  17. Ken Hanke

    he’s very very funny in the projects that he co-writes

    That, I suspect, is a matter of taste. And with the involvement of Jody Hill…

    My bubble for him burst without seeing Your Highness.

  18. Steve Shanafelt

    [b]Danny McBride is never funny.[/b]

    [i]Eastbound and Down[/i] almost certainly isn’t going to be your cup of tea, but I really enjoyed the first season.

  19. Ken Hanke

    Eastbound and Down almost certainly isn’t going to be your cup of tea

    I’d’ve bet substantial money on that.

  20. Me

    Eastbound and Down is a pretty good show besides anything with John Hawkes cant be half bad.

  21. Ken Hanke

    I have succesfully blocked his presence in that from my mind.

  22. I have succesfully blocked his presence in that from my mind.

    We’ll watch YOUR HIGHNESS together on Tuesday.

    Is Asheville going to get ATTACK THE BLOCK? Early (non-internet) reviews have been great.

  23. Ken Hanke

    We’ll watch YOUR HIGHNESS together on Tuesday.

    No, I don’t think so. It’s quite enough that Mr. Souther and I have to decide who gets to see the upcoming one.

    Is Asheville going to get ATTACK THE BLOCK?

    I asked The Carolina booker a week or so ago. There was no word at the time.

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