Cranky Hanke’s Weekly Reeler August 8-14: Take This Legacy Spring Campaign

In Theaters

Once again we have some of those Wednesday openings. Why? I have no earthly idea. But we do. We also have two other mainstream titles, one art film, and a curio that I can’t quite classify. It perhaps doesn’t matter, since it seems to me to be a very long shot in terms of audience appeal. Time will sort that, of course.

The single art title—Take This Waltz (opening at The Carolina)—is the new film from Sarah Polley, who made her mark as a director a few years back with Away from Her. It’s also—as often seems to be the case—the one film opening that I’ve seen (and have reviewed). Stylistically, it’s quite different from Away from Her—much more stylistically adventurous—but the tone is not wholly dissimilar, even if the subject matter is. It’s also the kind of film that—for me at least—is much more impressive on a second viewing when you can better appreciate just how intricately structured it is. But even on a single look, there’s something quite haunting about it. (Well, that’s how I ended up seeing twice.)

I do recommend catching it quickly, however, since the art title slate is pretty crowded already and only looks to get more so in the coming weeks. However you feel about the mainstream fare this year, it’s hard to deny that the crop of art films has been unusually strong and plentiful. The downside to that, of course, is that some titles are apt to get lost in the shuffle.

Now, let’s get on with these other titles.

Actually, two of these week’s movies open on Wednesday, but the main one is David Frankel’s Hope Springs with Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones undergoing marriage counselling under the guidance of Steve Carell. The film has been heavily promoted as being from the director of The Devil Wears Prada, which is true in itself. It also fails to mention that since that film David Frankel made Marley & Me and The Big Year. Details like that are probably worth knowing. It seems especially worth considering since it has been rightly pointed out that more and more it seems that La Streep is less and less willing to make films with directors she can’t ride roughshod over, and that may well be the case. When the first reviews started to trickle in, the movie was getting a free pass, but now the voice of dissent is starting to creep in. It will be interesting to see how this plays out, but, in all honesty, the trailer looks pretty grim to me.

The other Wednesday opener—which I only learned about last night, and that’s why it’s not in the print edition—something called Nitro Circus: The Movie 3D. Frankly, I never knew there was a Nitro Circus, let alone a movie version in however many dimensions. I was perfectly happy in ignorance of this. What it appears to be is some form of documentary about some pack of extreme stunt enthusiasts. The press guff makes this claim: “The show follows Travis and the Nitro Circus Crew as they travel around the world setting up outrageous stunts and pushing the human body to the limit, constantlylooking to innovate the world of action sports. Travis’ compound in Annapolis houses a full motocross course, foampits and a homemade waterslide carved into a hill creating a self contained extreme sports circus.” I suspect that calling it a “show” is nearer the mark. It looks awfully like some kind of cross between a Jackass movie and one of those “reality” Wipeout shows. I’m debating whether or not it even warrants reviewing. I lean toward not.

Now, on to Friday and The Bourne Legacy wherein star Matt Damon is replaced by Jeremy Renner and director Paul Greengrass by Tony Gilroy. It is perhaps worth noting that Greengrass did not direct the first film, but Gilroy—who went on to make Michael Clayton and Duplicity—was involved with writing all three. It is also notable that this latest is not a sequel, but more in the nature of a spin-off. That means that Jeremy Renner is only inheriting lead role status and not the role of Jason Bourne. The idea is that Aaron Cross (Renner) finds himself in a situation “triggered by the events of the first three films.” This, you see, cleverly leaves the door open for Damon’s return in a future film should that eventuality present itself. The presence of Joan Allen, Albert Finney, Scott Glenn, and David Strathairn is meant, it would seem, to preserve some unity with the earlier films, but I’d guess we’ll be seeing more of new additions Rachel Weisz, Edward Norton, and Stacy Keach. Early reviews on this are currently split, but in such short supply that it means little.

That brings us to week’s last entry—and what looks like the possible wild card—The Campaign. There’s some slight chance that this might turn out to be a penetrating political satire. All the elements are there including the concept of “the best candidates money can buy.” Aspects of the trailer are promising. Other aspects of it somewhat less so. The real question lies in the stars—Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis—and the director—Jay Roach. All of them have done fairly credible work in the past, but they’ve all also done some…well, less credible work. The prospect of the three of them indukging each other’s absolute worst instincts is frankly bone-chilling. But there’s still some possibility that some good may come of all this. I’m curious, but cautious.

Amazingly enough, none of the art titles are leaving this week. Moonrise Kingdom and Beasts of the Southern Wild are sticking at the Fine Arts, while those, along with Safety Not Guranteed, To Rome with Love, The Intouchables, and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, are still at The Carolina.

Special Screenings

This week’s Thursday Horror Picture Show title is the sci-fi horror movie Timecrimes (2009) at 8 p.m. on Thu., Aug. 9 in the Cinema Lounge at The Carolina. World Cinema is showing the purported final film of Bela Tarr, The Turin Horse (2011) at 8 p.m. on Fri., Aug. 10 in the Railroad Library in the Phil Mechanic Building. W.C. Fields stars in William Beaudine’s The Old Fashioned Way (1934), presented by the Hendesonville Film Society at 2 p.m. on Sun., Aug. 12 in the Smoky Mountain Theater at Lake Pointe Landing in Hendersonville. The Asheville Film Society is showing Fritz Lang’s The Testament of Dr. Mabuse (1932) on Tue., Aug. 14 at 8 p.m. in the Cinema Lounge at The Carolina. More on all titles in this week’s Xpress with expanded coverage in the online edition.

On DVD

The most notable of this week’s releases is the documentary Marley. Also up are the so-so Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax and the better than average faith-based film, Blue Like Jazz.

Notable TV Screenings

The TCM theme for August is, as usual, “Summer Under the Stars,” which means you get a 24 hour dose of whatever star happens to get whichever day. One of the more interesting choices this year is Toshiro Mifune, which of course also means a lot of Akira Kurosawa. The usual suspects are there—Rashomon, Seven Samurai, Throne of Blood, Yojimbo—but the day—Thu., Aug 2—begins at 6 a.m. with one of my favorites, the too often overlooked Drunken Angel (1948).

SHARE
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."

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

21 thoughts on “Cranky Hanke’s Weekly Reeler August 8-14: Take This Legacy Spring Campaign

  1. Orbit DVD

    BEL AMI is also out (did that play here). The TV show blitz has begun with PARENTHOOD, STRIKE BACK, CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL and GRIMM. Then there’s 2 HEADED SHARK ATTACK.

    Kudos for programming TIMECRIMES. It’s done really well here and deserves a wider audience.

  2. Ken Hanke

    Give the kudos to Justin. He programmed this month’s titles.

    Bel Ami didn’t play here.

  3. luluthebeast

    It’s nice to see they’re showing DRUNKEN ANGEL, but I wish they would forego the others. While being some of the best films made, they show them quite a bit. It would be nice to see Mifune’s THE RICKSHAW MAN (1958), THE IDIOT (1951) or THE LOWER DEPTHS (1957). It would be even nicer if they could find a nice print (I sure haven’t been able to!) of NIPPON TANJO with Mifune as Prince Yamato Takeru.

  4. luluthebeast

    As far as THE CAMPAIGN goes, you know how I feel about Ferrell, but you were right about that other one, so I think I’ll wait for your review.

  5. luluthebeast

    Say now, is there any way for me to edit stupid spelling mistakes?

  6. Jim Donato

    We just saw a DVD trailer for “Take This Waltz” and having enjoyed Ms. Polley’s earlier film, we’ll probably give this one a chance too. The trailer seemed intriguing enough. I see she’s working with another “Slings + Arrows” alumnus, Luke Kirby.

  7. Ken Hanke

    Say now, is there any way for me to edit stupid spelling mistakes?

    You can ask me to, but that’s about it. Was it that too/to thing?

  8. Me

    If you have the HDNet Movie Channel they are sneak peaking 2 Days in New York.

    With 2 Days in New York and all the praise for his role in the play “The Mother*** With The Hat” Chris Rock is taking a step to being a legitimately good actor if he keeps making some pretty good choice of projects.

  9. Xanadon't

    Chris Rock is taking a step to being a legitimately good actor if he keeps making some pretty good choice of projects.

    I’d be jazzed if that was the case, but I don’t see how his participation in 2 Days in New York could support the claim, considering how terrible Julie Delpy’s 2 Days in Paris was.

  10. Xanadon't

    Cautious as you are, you still seem to be far more hopeful about The Campaign than I. But then again, you’re faced with the task of having to actually see the damn thing, whereas I have the luxury of waiting for you to expose it as a mostly infantile waste of potential and then pick up with ignoring its existence again.

  11. Ken Hanke

    I’d be jazzed if that was the case, but I don’t see how his participation in 2 Days in New York could support the claim, considering how terrible Julie Delpy’s 2 Days in Paris was.

    I actually liked 2 Days in Paris, but I am far from convinced that the guy who just claimed that box office results are the last word in what’s good. I’m not as keen on The Artist as I’m supposed to be, but Madagascar 3 is not better than it based on it making more money.

    But then again, you’re faced with the task of having to actually see the damn thing, whereas I have the luxury of waiting for you to expose it as a mostly infantile waste of potential and then pick up with ignoring its existence again.

    Exactly. And I suspect I’ll soon wish I could have ignored its existence in the first place, but…there is a chance here. I suspect it’s a slim one, especially after two reviewers mis-identified what party which actor supposedly belongs to. One reviwer suggests sloppiness on the writer’s part. Two starts to argue for a seriously bitched-up screenplay.

  12. luluthebeast

    Checking TCM, they are also showing Mifune in RED BEARD, SAMURAI 1,2 and 3, SAMURAI REBELLION and THE RICKSHAW MAN. I have five of these, but the DVR is set for the rest.

  13. luluthebeast

    That was a good one too!

    Or 1941:

    Colonel Akiro Mitamura: [in Japanese; subtitled] You can take your “Third Reich” and shove it up your ass!

  14. Me

    Ive never seen 2 Days in Paris i like Julie Deply, what ive seen at least and the trailer looked promising.

    Ken I noticed Fine Arts added The Master do you have any idea on a date?

  15. Ken Hanke

    Ken I noticed Fine Arts added The Master do you have any idea on a date?

    Probably Sept. 21, but I don’t swear to that.

    • Orbit DVD

      Is it coming that soon? I thought they would hold off until awards season.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.