Cranky Hanke’s Weekly Reeler Feb. 9-15: I’m sure prepared to say “never”

In theaters

The horror! The horror! It’s finally here—the dreaded week that finds Justin Bieber: Never Say Never comin’ at you in the miracle of 3D. It’s not as if it wasn’t a sufficiently terrifying prospect without 3D-ification. Thank God, there are five other movies opening—even if one of them stars Adam Sandler and another stars Channing Tatum. Relativity is a wondrous thing.

OK, let’s look at this dispassionately for a moment and take the week as we find it—regardless of how we find it. In addition to the massive Bieberfying, we have The Eagle, Gnomeo and Juliet, The Illusionist, Just go with It, and The Oscar Nominated Shorts 2011. Of these, the only one I’ve seen in the last named. The review for The Oscar Nominated Shorts—which opens Friday at The Carolina—appears in this week’s Xpress. In the meantime, I’ll say it’s your chance to actually have an informed opinion of what wins in the short film categories this year. It also offers you three-plus hours of movies.

Let’s jump to The Eagle (opening at every multiplex other than Carmike on Friday). It was directed by Kevin Macdonald, who did fine with The Last King of Scotland (2006) and State of Play (2009). Now, whether that means he can make this ancient (140 A.D.) Romans in Britain yarn starring Channing Tatum worthwhile is another matter. The still photos from the film have that gray drabness that filmmakers seem to feel was inherent to Ye Olde Times. I’m not sure why they feel this way, but they sure seem to think it’ll all be more convincing if they leech nearly all the color from the frame. You’d think Tatum (who I am told is on his way to stardom) was sufficiently colorless without digital intermediate jiggery-pokery. In any case, Donald Sutherland and Jamie Bell are there to help out. For another plus, it has nothing to do with Justin Bieber.

I have to admit that I am shocked—yeah, shocked—and stunned—very stunned—that it took this long for someone to hit on the idea of rethinking Romeo and Juliet with yard ornaments. (Take that, Baz Luhrmann!) Well, at least they have now and it’s called Gnomeo and Juliet, and it opens Friday everywhere but the Carmike and Fine Arts. It looks rather quirky, and it does boast a pretty interesting voice cast—James McAvoy, Emily Blunt, Michael Caine, Maggie Smith, and Ozzy Osbourne. It also has songs by Elton John and Tim Rice. OK, I admit I stopped buying everything Elton put out after Rock of the Westies in 1975, and I’m pretty sure I haven’t bought anything since Ice on Fire in 1985. I’ll also admit that I tend to find his attempts at “show tunes” lacking in personality, but maybe this’ll be different. At least—yes, you guessed it—he’s not Justin Bieber.

Sylvain Chomet’s The Illusionist (opening Friday at The Carolina) is the one unknown I can say I’m really looking forward to this week. I thought Chomet’s The Triplets of Belleville (2004) was very fine and I liked his “Tour Eiffel” segment in Paris, Je Taime (2007). Here he’s back with animation—and animation that’s up for an Oscar, too—and working from a script he adapted from a never-produced screenplay by Jacques Tati. The spirit of Tati—and a poster for Tati’s M. Hulot’s Holiday (1953) appears, as does a clip from his Jour de Fete (1949)—hangs heavy over Triplets, so this seems a natural—as does the fact that the Magician in The Illusionist is clearly supposed to be Tati. Word has it that this is a rather melancholy film, but not without moments of comedy—and a lot of charm. That anything else opening this week could be in this league is unlikely indeed.

The most notable thing about the latest Adam Sandler offering, Just Go with It (opening at all multiplexes but Carmike), seems to be that Rob Schneider isn’t in it. Frankly, I suspect a trick where they don’t warn you of his presence till you’re in the theater and it’s too late. (And, unfortunately, it’s my turn for the Adam Sandler movie.) Otherwise, he’s brought his usual director, Dennis Dugan, along for this supposed rom-com that has Sandler playing a guy who keeps women from getting serious about him by wearing a wedding band. (Does anyone really think this would be a problem for Sandler if he wasn’t the Adam Sandler?) This runs aground when he meets a girl he’s serious about, so he talks a friend (Jennifer Aniston) into posing as the wife he’s divorcing. Hilarity ensues, Rob Schneider doesn’t —they claim.

And then, inescapably, there’s Justin Bieber: Never Say Never, which inflicts itself on all multiplexes (except Carmike again). What is there to say? I’ve managed to limit my exposure to Bieber to a few clips and the trailer for this movie. (“He’s living this amazing life, but he’s just like you and me!”—a claim I question.) I have every intention of keeping it that way (Justin Souther knows exactly what that means). I find all these pictures of him where he seems to be reaching out to us most disconcerting and I don’t like the prospect of seeing them in 3D.

So what else is up? Well, time is up as far as The Way Back and 127 Hours are concerned or will be come Friday. You still have a little time to catch them at The Carolina. Blue Valentine is still at The Carolina and the Fine Arts. But it’s been split with another title at The Carolina and is supposed to depart the Fine Arts next week, if nothing changes. In other words, this is very probably its last week. The King’s Speech and True Grit haven’t left anyplace. Black Swan is still at The Carolina and the Beaucatcher. And Another Year and Biutiful are remaining at The Carolina. It’s also worth noting that Asheville Pizza and Brewing is bringing in Raising Arizona (1987) for its 10 p.m. movie. And this is the Rocky Horror Picture Show weekend at The Carolina (11 p.m. Sat.).

Special Screenings

This week’s Thursday Horror Picture Show is Robert Rodriguez’s From Dusk Till Dawn (1996) on Thu., Feb.10, at 8 p.m. in the Cinema Lounge at The Carolina. Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s Lola (1981) is this week’s World Cinema title on Fri., Feb. 11, at 8 p.m. in the Railroad Library of the Phil Mechanic Building. The Hendersonville Film Society is showing The Night Visitor on Sun., Feb. 13, at 2 p.m. in the Smoky Mountain Theater at Lake Pointe Landing in Hendersonville. And this week’s Asheville Film Society offering is Charles Chaplin’s City Lights (1931) on Tue., Feb. 15, at 8 p.m. in the Cinema Lounge at The Carolina.

On DVD

It’s Kind of a Funny Story is kind of a good movie and if you missed it in theaters, you can now see it on DVD. Tyler Perry’s For Colored Girls is not a good movie, but it’s a movie with good—sometimes at least close to great—things in it that’s ultimately compromised by Perry’s usual ham-fisted melodrama. Once was way more than enough for You Again, and I’m personally quite happy to never see Life As We Know It altogether. As for Paranormal Activity 2—well, it’s quite perfect for anyone who wants to be terrorized by a robotic pool cleaner.

Notable TV screenings

TCM is still in its “31 Days of Oscar” mode. I’m sure there’s some very fine stuff mixed in there, but you’re on your own to find it this week.

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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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43 thoughts on “Cranky Hanke’s Weekly Reeler Feb. 9-15: I’m sure prepared to say “never”

  1. Mike

    And to think just a few days ago you were bemoaning the lack of fun movies – and along comes not only an Adam Sandler/Jennifer Aniston flick (wheee!), but a concert film starring what can only be described as the unholy clone of Donnie Osmond.

    Methinks the gods have smiled upon you most favorably.

  2. Lots of stuff out on dvd including the abysmal Wes Craven flick, MY SOUL TO KEEP. They remade LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT, so why remake I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE? Next will be CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST.

    ONG BAK 3 is not as bad as the reviewers say, but it is the weakest of the trilogy. Also out is MIDDLE MEN, WILD TARGET, STILL WALKING (Criterion), WILD TARGET, TAMARA DREWE, and A PRIVATE FUNCTION (fun Michael Palin/Maggie Smith film).

    It took a couple of months, but they finally released the insanely fun Indian blockbuster ENTHIRAN (THE ROBOT). It’s the best Bollywood film I’ve ever seen!

  3. the dreaded week that finds Justin Bieber: Never Say Never comin’ at you in the miracle of 3D.
    I saw the poster recently and wondered why Rachel Maddow felt she needed to star in a 3D concert film in the first place.

  4. They remade LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT, so why remake I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE? Next will be CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST.

    Followed by A NYMPHOID BARBARIAN IN DINOSAUR HELL 3D.

  5. Ken Hanke

    Lots of stuff out on dvd including the abysmal Wes Craven flick, MY SOUL TO KEEP…

    Neither it (which I didn’t mind), nor Tamara Drewe (which I like a lot) were on the list I got. I wish you’d start sending me your lists. You’d still get to announce the esoterica, since I won’t have any idea what most of it is.

    And, by the way, you didn’t show up at Night of the Hunter. (I noticed.) Very gratifying turnout, though, since we had a few in the floor. Brian and I stood leaning against the bar. I think this may be the title that makes me buy a Blu-ray player (as soon as I recover from the fuel oil bill).

  6. Ken Hanke

    I saw the poster recently and wondered why Rachel Maddow felt she needed to star in a 3D concert film in the first place.

    If either of those two cohorts of mine — I refer to Messrs. Souther and Shanafelt — send you anything and try to get you to put my head on the Bieberbody, only agree if you do the same to them.

  7. Ken Hanke

    And to think just a few days ago you were bemoaning the lack of fun movies – and along comes not only an Adam Sandler/Jennifer Aniston flick (wheee!), but a concert film starring what can only be described as the unholy clone of Donnie Osmond.

    Actually, I think he’s the result of an orgy involving the Jonas Brothers and Miley Cyrus.

    And I bemoaned the lack of entertaining fun movies. This is just a whole different kind of depressing.

  8. Ken Hanke

    “Bierberfying” is a great word. Adding to the Urban Dictionary, we are, Ken?

    Not intentionally. We can now, I suppose, start referring to things achieving “total Bieberosity.” You should have been around for the podcast recording. I’m sure most — if not all — of the best material will be expurgated by Steve. It’s either fortunate or unfortunate that “Bieber” sounds like another word. I believe it started innocently with “Leave it to Bieber.” And then — well, it progressed. Or regressed. Anyway, it got pretty — yes — rooty tooty. Or at least juvenile.

  9. . It’s either fortunate or unfortunate that “Bieber” sounds like another word.
    Well, the kid’s got some heat around him, even if they just delayed Jodie Foster’s biopic about him starring Mel Gibson.

  10. Ken Hanke

    Well, the kid’s got some heat around him, even if they just delayed Jodie Foster’s biopic about him starring Mel Gibson.

    I’m afraid that one didn’t occur to us during out adolescent raunch-a-thon.

    And should I be expecting some art work soon? Mr. Shanafelt will be asking.

  11. Mike

    Apologies if you’ve already been asked this here Jeremy, but are you the Jeremy Dylan responsible for Benjamin Sniddlegrass and the Cauldron of Penguins? I heard a podcast interview the other day by Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo with an Aussie gent that shares your name; thought you might be the same guy.

  12. And, by the way, you didn’t show up at Night of the Hunter. (I noticed.) Very gratifying turnout, though, since we had a few in the floor. Brian and I stood leaning against the bar. I think this may be the title that makes me buy a Blu-ray player (as soon as I recover from the fuel oil bill).

    Turns out Tuesday night is tough for other employees to work.

    Isn’t funny though that the best looking blu-ray is black and white? I’m glad that this film is getting the attention that it deserves.

  13. Neither it (which I didn’t mind), nor Tamara Drewe (which I like a lot) were on the list I got. I wish you’d start sending me your lists. You’d still get to announce the esoterica, since I won’t have any idea what most of it is.

    I don’t know what most of it is either!

  14. dpewen

    I am sure nobody over 13 will be interested in the Justin movie!
    I will be attending “From Dusk Till Dawn” Thursday … love that flick!

  15. DrSerizawa

    I’ve seen the trailer for Just Go With It three times now. I think once more will give me a seizure.

    I’d love to hate Bieber but I just can’t summon the strength. Life’s too short to waste time getting exercised about teen poop stars since they appear and disappear with such rapidity. I ran out of energy for that when my daughter was in her Spice Girls phase. I just thank the Lord that I’m not a movie reviewer and don’t have to watch the trash that you must. I suspect that Never Say Never won’t even have the unintentional joys that Glitter did.

  16. Ken Hanke

    Turns out Tuesday night is tough for other employees to work.

    You’re just not mean enough.

    Isn’t funny though that the best looking blu-ray is black and white?

    That may not be the whole selling-point for me. I’ve only seen three Blu-ray titles — The Fall, Tetro, and this. The Fall and Tetro I’d only seen once and the latter I’d only seen on 35mm. Night of the Hunter I’ve seen lots of times — mostly on TV, but once we ran the old DVD on the big screen after hours at Carmike.

  17. Ken Hanke

    Apologies if you’ve already been asked this here Jeremy, but are you the Jeremy Dylan responsible for Benjamin Sniddlegrass and the Cauldron of Penguins?

    He hasn’t and I could tell you, but I’ll give Jeremy the chance to answer whether or not he’s the real McSniddlegrass.

  18. Ken Hanke

    I am sure nobody over 13 will be interested in the Justin movie!

    But it will be Bieberlicious. It will also be full of parents and of parents who get all defensive because “he’s a great role model.” (I’m actually surprised that hasn’t been said on here.) However, it is worth noting that the Jonas Bros. movie of this sort pretty much flopped.

    I will be attending “From Dusk Till Dawn” Thursday … love that flick!

    I’m sure Justin will be there. I hope to be, but it doesn’t take much snow to make my driveway impassable. We shall see.

  19. Ken Hanke

    I’ve seen the trailer for Just Go With It three times now. I think once more will give me a seizure.

    Be a reviewer. That’s when you really get to see trailers too many times.

    I suspect that Never Say Never won’t even have the unintentional joys that Glitter did.

    At least Glitter was restful, because you had the theater all to yourself.

  20. Apologies if you’ve already been asked this here Jeremy, but are you the Jeremy Dylan responsible for Benjamin Sniddlegrass and the Cauldron of Penguins?
    Yes indeedy, that would be me, sir.

  21. Mike

    Yes indeedy, that would be me, sir.

    Fantastic! What a small world.

    Congratulations on your first film. Think I’m going to DL it this weekend – it sounds really fun.

  22. Fantastic! What a small world.
    But I wouldn’t want to paint it.

    Congratulations on your first film. Think I’m going to DL it this weekend – it sounds really fun.
    Much obliged sir. I hope we don’t disappoint you.

  23. Me

    Sundance is playing A Town Called Panic Thusday.

    Ken have you read any on some of the films that are getting good reviews from Sundance? Im excited for Miranda July’s The Future and Richard Ayoade’s Submarine. Ayoade has been in some of the best comedies of the last decade Garth Marenghi’s Dark Place, The Mighty Boosh, and Chris Morris’s Nathan Barley. Im glad to see him have a go at directing, the trailer for Submarine looks pretty good.

  24. Sundance is playing A Town Called Panic Thusday.

    Sundance Channel or festival? We’ve had A Town Called Panic in our video stores for quite awhile and it has been a HUGE hit.

  25. Ken Hanke

    Ken have you read any on some of the films that are getting good reviews from Sundance?

    I read the press releases as they come out, but the only thing that has stayed with me is the Miranda July film since I like Me and You and Everyone We Know.

  26. Ken Hanke

    I should point out — now that I’ve found it — that Carmike made a mistake in their listings and that Blue Valentine is not opening there this weekend. (I knew that looked wrong from an allocation standpoint.) Rather, they’re opening The Company Men. The online movietimes will reflect this change, but obviously the print edition will not.

  27. DrSerizawa

    Panic is on the Sundance Channel. However, I just saw this, Gods and Monsters is on tonight, 8PM and Midnight EST.

  28. Ken Hanke

    However, I just saw this, Gods and Monsters is on tonight, 8PM and Midnight EST.

    You mean you don’t own a copy?

  29. Me

    “I like Me and You and Everyone We Know”

    We finally agree! I was disappointed it wasn’t on more best of the decade lists last year.

  30. Ken Hanke

    We finally agree!

    Yeah, makes me suspect I need to watch it again.

    I was disappointed it wasn’t on more best of the decade lists last year.

    I don’t like it quite that much.

  31. Me

    “Panic is on the Sundance Channel. However, I just saw this, Gods and Monsters is on tonight, 8PM and Midnight EST.”

    HBO is also premiering the Tommy Lee Jones directed film adapted from Cormac McCarthy’s play called The Sunset Limited tonight.

  32. DrSerizawa

    You mean you don’t own a copy?

    I’m very chagrined to say that I never picked up a copy, though I was sure I had one until I checked my database. A terrible omission to be sure that has now been rectified.

  33. Ken Hanke

    A terrible omission to be sure that has now been rectified.

    I knew I was justified in having a high opinion of you.

  34. Sean Williams

    While Bill Condon is the subject of conversation, I ought to mention that he’s directing Breaking Dawn, the last installment in the Twilight Saga.

    And although I have mixed feelings about Riddley Scott, I confess I’m looking forward to his next film. Apparently, it’s a musical about a silent film star and former song-and-dance man who gets mixed up with the Japanese Yakuza. No word yet on casting or release date, though.

  35. Ken Hanke

    While Bill Condon is the subject of conversation, I ought to mention that he’s directing Breaking Dawn, the last installment in the Twilight Saga.

    Depressing, is it not?

    And although I have mixed feelings about Riddley Scott

    I’m having trouble remembering when I thought he was better than his brother…

  36. DrSerizawa

    Depressing, is it not?

    Even more depressing…… anyone who actually believes that there will be no more fantastically profitable Twilight movies please raise your hands. I have a nice bridge to sell you.

    After all, they ran out of James Bond books too.

  37. Ken Hanke

    Even more depressing…… anyone who actually believes that there will be no more fantastically profitable Twilight movies please raise your hands. I have a nice bridge to sell you.

    And I don’t see Stephenie Meyer saying, “Enough,” either.

  38. Tomislav Hadeon Perun

    Apparently, it’s a musical about a silent film star and former song-and-dance man who gets mixed up with the Japanese Yakuza.

    Surely you mean…

    Singin’ in the Black Rain?

  39. Ken Hanke

    The great advantage of saying such things at a distance is you don’t have to duck.

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