Only one movie opens this week—and that’s no surprise. Put simply, no one wants to put their film up against the poised juggernaut of Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises. Not even the art titles care to tackle this one, but then the current run of art titles—Moonrise Kingdom, To Rome with Love, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Your Sister’s Sister, and even Bernie—are going strong enough that that market might be saturated anyway.
In a summer season that’s seemed like one event movie after another, this one looks like the title that most deserves the accolade. That, by the way, is not a value judgment. I have no idea if this is really better than what has come before it, but The Dark Knight Rises looks even more a pre-sold title than The Avengers. Certainly, all those people who get bent out of shape if you call them fanboys are jazzed to the max. I keep reading comments where people say things like, “I don’t have to see this to know that it’s going to be the greatest movie ever made.” (Now, really, does anything but fanboy match that mindset.) One person did allow that it might be second to Citizen Kane. But another announced that anyone who doesn’t love this, doesn’t “deserve” to watch movies. And they’re out for blood, too. I pity Marshall Fine—the poor boob who “ruined” their 100 percent positive reviews (God save us from review aggregation sites!) by not giving the movie its due. In the space of a few hours, he received 335 responses (and they keep growing)—a portion of which were wishing him dead, one suggested he was a pedophile. (There’s a reason the term fanboy exists.) And there’s the usual contingent who think they can pressure Rotten Tomatoes into removing him. There really are people on there who think all their whining and name-calling caused the removal of Armond White. Update: The name-calling and death threats—yes, death threats—got so out of hand (especially after three other critics didn’t love it) that the folks at Rotten Tomatoes “temporarily” disabled the comment section for this movie.
Bear in mind that all these internet villagers with their website torches ablaze have one thing in common with me—they haven’t seen the movie. The thing is I know that Christopher Nolan is a filmmaker to be reckoned with—The Prestige (2006) and Inception (2010) prove that. That doesn’t make him infallible—and I am increasingly disenchanted by his Batman movies. For me, the main things they brought to the comic book movie are pomposity and a lack of humor—and Christian Bale, which is pretty much the same thing. As a result, yeah, I’m going to be a hard-sell on this new one. At the same time, I’m hoping to like it. I don’t have any real desire to sit in misery for a whopping 164 minutes. I’ll find out Friday morning. (Yes, I know, there are midnight shows on Thursday. I’ll leave those to the faithful.)
As noted, none of the art titles are leaving. The Fine Arts is holding Moorise Kingdom and To Rome with Love. The Carolina is holding those along with Your Sister’s Sister, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, and Bernie. Bernie, however, is again in split shows—and with two new art titles slated for July 27, I’d be very surprised if it lasts more than another week.
In addition to the usual screenings, don’t forget the showing of Orson Welle’s The Stranger (1946) at 7:30 p.m. on Wed., July 18 at The Carolina. Admission is $5 for Asheville Film Society members and $7 for the general public.
This week the Thursday Horror Picture Show is running James Whale’s Bride of Frankenstein (1935) at 8 p.m. on Thu., July 19 in the Cinema Lounge at The Carolina. David Cronenberg’s Videodrome (1983) is this week’s film from World Cinema on Fri., July 20 at 8 p.m. in the Railroad Library in the Phil Mechanic Building. The Hendersonville Film Society is showing part one of John Frankenheimer’s The Iceman Cometh (1973) at 2 p.m. on Sun., July 22 in the Smoky Mountain Theater at Lake Pointe Landing in Hendersonville. (Part two shows on July 29.) The Asheville Film Society is screening James Whale’s Show Boat (1936) on Tue., July 24 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.
There’s a fairly wide range of titles this week. On the higher end of the scale we have Friends with Kids and Salmon Fishing in Yemen. Then there’s Lockout, which Mr. Souther didn’t think was awful. But on the really low end of things there’s The Three Stooges, which I hope never to encounter again.
Notable TV Screenings
A week of perfectly reasonable offerings—even some great ones—but there’s really nothing that stands out as unusual.