Cranky Hanke’s Weekly Reeler July 20-26: Captain America and the Submarine with Benefits

In Theaters

Only three movies come our way this week—two in the mainstream realm and one art title. One the mainstream side we get Captain America: The First Avenger and Friends with Benefits. Neither of these carry anything like the level of Harry Potter excitement—and I am skeptical (oh, yes, skeptical) that either will dethrone Mr. Potter as the top-of-the-pops movie. Submarine (which takes place in Wales and not on a submarine)—opening this Friday at The Carolina—certainly has no such aims, but that doesn’t keep it from being one of the best movies I’ve seen this year.

As you may gather from the opening paragraph, I’ve already seen Submarine—and the review will appear in this week’s paper—but I have no qualms about saying here and now that this debut film from Richard Ayoade is the most exciting filmmaking I’ve seen in 2011. The film and the style have been likened to Wes Anderson’s work—especially Rushmore (1998)—but that’s hardly the whole story. Read the review and then go see for yourself. I haven’t seen a debut work this impressive since Rian Johnson’s Brick (2006). The difference here is that nobody booked Brick locally, but Submarine is another story. It’s frankly just the kind of movie that history tells us ought to be a good fit with Asheville audiences.

Of course, if you insist, there’s also Captain America: The First Avenger—a movie I remain unconvinced anyone wants all that much.  By that I simply mean that I’ve yet to run into a single person telling me that this is one of the summer movies they’ve been waiting for. Oh, it’ll probably do all right—and now that I’ve made an issue of its anticipation status (or lack thereof), someone will doubtless tell me it’s the one movie they’ve waited for all year. Really, the cast is fine, the director is OK, and the trailer doesn’t look bad. My own familiarity with the character is based entirely on having sat through the entire 1944 serial in 1976 while dealing with an infant with the colic. I’ve never decided which was more tiresome—the baby or the serial. I will say that the trailer for the new film looks considerably more entertaining. I do find it “interesting”—and not in a good way—that no reviews seem to have sneaked out yet.

And then there’s Friends with Benefits, which I’d normally be writing off as yet another rom-com with that concept as its hook—and, of course, that R rating for a dollop of raunch dressing. What gives me cause for pause is how very good director Will Gluck’s Easy A was last year—and with even less promising material. It helps that two of the actors—Patricia Clarkson and Emma Stone—from Easy A are on board here, though in what capacity remains unclear. Stars Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake are agreeable performers, too. So just maybe this will be a pleasant surprise.

The only title of note that’s taking its leave this week is TrollHunter, but that’s not exactly unexpected. Both Beginners and Midnight in Paris are staying at the Fine Arts, and Midnight is also hanging in nicely at The Carolina—and it’s also opening at the Flatrock Cinema this week. Queen to Play is sticking around another week at The Carolina, but it’s being cut to three shows a day. Buck and The Tree of Life are also on the bill there for at least one more week.

Special Screenings

In addition to the usual set of special screenings, this week, there’s the single showing of the 1933 King Kong on Wednesday, July 20, at 7:30 p.m. at The Carolina. This is an Asheville Film Society fundraiser—tickets are $5 for AFS members and $9.75 for the general public—and are on sale now.

The Thursday Horror Picture Show this week is the Hammer horror The Kiss of the Vampire (1963) at 8 p.m. on Thursday, July 21, in the Cinema Lounge at The Carolina. World Cinema has Seraphine on Friday, July 22, at 8 p.m. in the Railroad Library at the Phil Mechanic building. Roger Corman’s The Secret Invasion (1964) is this week’s title at the Hendersonville Film Society on Sunday, July 24, at 2 p.m. in the Smoky Mountain Theater at Lake Pointe Landing in Hendersonville. The Deanna Durbin romantic comedy It Started with Eve (1941) is this week’s Asheville Film Society offering on Tuesday, July 26, at 8 p.m. in the Cinema Lounge at The Carolina. More on all titles in this week’s Xpress.

On Dvd

Limitless and Take Me Home Tonight appear to be the “big” releases this week. I’ve seen neither and don’t have any burning desire to correct that. I have seen Potiche, which also makes it DVD bow this week, and it I can recommend.

Notable TV screenings

I hate to sound like the proverbial broken record, but once again TCM appears to be offeing us nothing out of the ordinary 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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14 thoughts on “Cranky Hanke’s Weekly Reeler July 20-26: Captain America and the Submarine with Benefits

  1. Steve Shanafelt

    [b]By that I simply mean that I’ve yet to run into a single person telling me that this is one of the summer movies they’ve been waiting for.[/b]

    Right here. I’m waiting for it. I’m far more interested to see what they do with Cap than the last X-Men movie, for instance. I doubt I’m alone in that.

  2. Mike

    Right here. I’m waiting for it. I’m far more interested to see what they do with Cap than the last X-Men movie, for instance. I doubt I’m alone in that.

    Ditto. Easily my favorite Marvel hero. And besides, it just has to be better than previous takes on the character, right?

    I just hope this makes enough to warrant a sequel. SHIELD secret agent Steve Rogers taking on clandestine organizations and their bizarro Jack Kirby created genetic experiments sounds like a pretty great time at the movies to me.

  3. Ken Hanke

    it just has to be better than previous takes on the character, right?

    Not being better than the serial would be quite an accomplishment.

  4. Jim Donato

    Pretty much the worst comic book movie I’ve ever seen was the 1979 CBS TV movie version with Reb Brown as the title character. I know, Ken, that was TV so it didn’t probably count as a movie! It did suck two hours [with commercials] out of my life though. I was young and back then, wasting my time deliberately on really awful “entertainment” had a cachet is lacks when you’re firmly ensconced in middle age and can never get those two hours back!

  5. Steve Shanafelt

    [b][i]Not[/i] being better than the serial would be quite an accomplishment.[/b]

    Allow me to take you back to the yesteryear of 1990, when a director named Albert Pyun made an unwatchable version of Captain America starring Matt Salinger, son of J. D. Salinger, as Steve Rogers. It was so bad that it never saw domestic release.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Captain_America_(1990_film)

  6. Ken Hanke

    I know, Ken, that was TV so it didn’t probably count as a movie!

    Well, it wasn’t a series and I’m assuming it was feature length, so, yeah, it counts as a movie. I have never had the displeasure of seeing it, though.

  7. Ken Hanke

    Allow me to take you back to the yesteryear of 1990

    You can take me back, but you can’t make me watch.

    And what or who is that penis-domed image you’re sporting?

  8. luluthebeast

    I thought CAPTAIN AMERICA was much better than both GL and THOR and unfortunately, this being Green Bay, there’s no way SUBMARINE will show up so I’ll have to wait for it to hit pay-per-view.

  9. Ken Hanke

    I thought CAPTAIN AMERICA was much better than both GL and THOR

    Unless someone makes a super strong case on the “you have to see this!” lines, I’m going to be content to take your word for it. I am not pro or con, just incredibly not interested. For that matter, it was one of those comic books that never caught my interest when I was a kid.

    this being Green Bay, there’s no way SUBMARINE will show up

    That’s interesting, since you’ve a considerably larger population. I was standing in the lobby of The Carolina on Wed. while waiting to go introduce King Kong and someone who’d bailed during the screening of Prospero’s Books the night before came up and started to talk to me. I was really expecting a ration of shit about the previous night’s film, but, no. He even said he was glad to have (mostly) seen it (he left about four minutes from the end — though he didn’t realize it was almost over). His take was that he was just happy that a movie like it was being shown here. Then he gestured at the poster cases — the wall on that side of the theater is given over to the “art” titles and these were Project Nim, Submarine, King Kong, The Trip and Snow Flower and the Secret Fan. “Look at that,” he said. “It’s really remarkable that films like that are playing here. Then you factor in the screenings on Tuesday and Thursday and it’s even more so.” Maybe he’s right.

  10. luluthebeast

    [b]That’s interesting, since you’ve a considerably larger population.[/b]

    A larger population is right, and FS!

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