Cranky Hanke’s Weekly Reeler July 6-12: Horse Whisperers, Trolls, Horrible Bosses and a Zookeeper

In Theaters

Last week was a curious mix. There were two movies that turned out to be somewhat better than expected, and one that proved to be every bit as awful as one might have suspected. This week—well, we’ll see. In the mainsteam, we have two mid-range movies—Horrible Bosses and Zookeeper—since no one sees much point in shoehorning a big picture in between Transformers last week and the final Harry Potter movie next week. On the art/indie front, The Carolina opens the surprisingly strong and popular documentary Buck and the giant monster flick TrollHunter.

I’ve already seen Buck—the review is in this week’s paper—and TrollHunter—Justin’s review is in this week’s paper— so all I’m looking forward to (if that indeed is the phrase) are the mainstream titles. If there’s any confusion anywhere about TrollHunter that’s because it was going to open, then it wasn’t going to open, and now it really is going to open, but only for evening shows. I guess that makes sense—you don’t want to start your day with trolls.

Before tackling—prognostication-wise—the two remaining titles, I should note that “Asheville’s own resident movie horse, Count of War, who has appeared in feature films, made for TV movies and internet commercials” is scheduled to make personal appearances at The Carolina (presumably not inside the theater) on Friday, July 8 (5:30-8 p.m.), Saturday, July 9 (tentative time 2-5:30 p.m.), and Sunday, July 10 (11 a.m-5:30 p.m.) in connection with the opening of Buck.

Now about those other movies…

The name Seth Gordon may mean little to you, but he made something of a splash in 2007 with the documentary The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters. He then followed this up with the dismal Four Christmases (2008).  Horrible Bosses marks the first feature he’s been given since then. What the results will be is open to question. This tale of three beleagured employees—Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, Charlie Day—who scheme (with advice from Jamie Foxx) to dispose of the titular horrible bosses—Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Aniston, Colin Farrell. The big hook here appears to be casting Aniston against type as one of the bosses. The problem with this conceptually is whether or not anyone really cares about this.

The name Frank Coraci, on the other hand, may be one you’re trying to forget unless you’re an Adam Sandler fan (Click, The Waterboy). Regardless, he’s the director behind the Kevin James/talking-animal family comedy Zookeeper. It looks … tiresome. OK, it’s kind of clever that they’ve named “Joe the Lion” after a David Bowie song. But aren’t talking lions now the exclusive property of Liam Neeson as Jesus the Lion in those Narnia movies? You know, when I was a kid I used to think that a dubbed-into-English French move called The Bear (1963) was really swell. And I still like the talking animals in the “Road” Pictures. I am somewhat doubtful this will call to mind any similar mood.

Otherwise, this is the week that The Tree of Life expands to The Carolina (it also remains at the Fine Arts). Since Midnight in Paris seems to be nigh on to unstoppable, it’s sticking around at both venues as well. Somewhat surprisingly, Cave of Forgotten Dreams has hung on in its 2D version at The Carolina, but I really expect this will be its final week.

Special Screenings

This week’s Thursday Horror Picture Show is a Roger Coman double feature of Not of This Earth (1957) and Attack of the Crab Monsters (1957) on Thursday, July 7, at 8 p.m. in the Cinema Lounge at The Carolina. World Cinema presents John Huston’s biopic Moulin Rouge (1952) on Friday, July 8, at 8 p.m. in the Railroad Library at the Phil Mechanic Building. The Hendersonville Film Society will be showing Roger Corman’s The Young Racers (1963) at 2 p.m. on Sunday, July 10, in the Smoky Mountain Theater at Lake Pointe Landing in Hendersonville. The multi-star, multi-director If I Had a Million (1932) is this week’s Asheville Film Society offering on Tuesday, July 12, at 8 p.m. in the Cinema Lounge at The Carolina. More on all titles in this week’s Xpress.

On DVD

Unless I’m missing something (and I’m sure someone will tell me if I am), this looks to be a week consisting (moviewise at least) of three art/indie titles and nothing else. That gives us 13 Assassins, Of Gods and Men and Hobo with a Shotgun. That also gives us something unusual in that I’d recommend all three titles.

Notable TV Screenings

Not exactly an overwhelming week on TCM, but there is Louisiana Purchase (1941) at 10:30 p.m. on Sunday, July 10. This largely overlooked Bob Hope comedy was his first in Technicolor and is actually better than its obscurity suggests. It’s a film version of a popular musical play and as often happens in these cases, the songs have been given rather short shrift (this may please some people, of course). The play’s political satire has been tailored to fit the Hope persona, but it comes across all the same. The highlight—apart from Dona Drake singing the title song and a musical intro used as a disclaimer about the film being fiction—is Hope’s filibuster that parodies James Stewart’s in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939).

Admirers of Richard Lester should catch his first feature It’s Trad, Dad! (1962) at 6 a.m. on Tuesday, July 12. Though the traditional jazz acts and the stars may mean little to most viewers, it’s interesting to see just how fully formed Lester’s style was two full years before A Hard Day’s Night. It’s even more remarkable if you’ve seen the film that comes between the two, The Mouse on the Moon (1963), which show little of the creativity of the two films that bracket it.

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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 6-12: Horse Whisperers, Trolls, Horrible Bosses and a Zookeeper

  1. Couple more. Hammer Studios has been resurrected and WAKE WOOD is the first new one to have the feel of the old. Great performance by Timothy Spall. Tarkovsky’s last film, THE SACRIFICE, gets a great transfer from Kino. A THIRD addition from Actionfest comes out this week… TRAILERS FROM HELL! Eureka Season 4 is one of the few good things that Sci-Fi channel does.

    I’ll make a rare recommendation to catch a dvd elsewhere. HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN is at Asheville Pizza and really needs to be seen with a rowdy crowd.

  2. Ken Hanke

    Hammer Studios has been resurrected and WAKE WOOD is the first new one to have the feel of the old.

    This I’m actually kind of interested to see even though I don’t quite get the name-brand loyalty people seem to have, since really all this amounts to are people with connection at all to the original studio reviving the name.

    I’ll make a rare recommendation to catch a dvd elsewhere. HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN is at Asheville Pizza and really needs to be seen with a rowdy crowd.

    With this I agree, though is it still there after Thursday? With the holiday, I haven’t seen Mike’s listings yet.

  3. And I refuse to see that documentary. I’m still disappointed it’s not a Buck Owens biopic. Do they at least feature ‘Under the Influence of Love’ on the soundtrack?

  4. DrSerizawa

    Dang Ken, looks like this week is even worse than last week. I didn’t think that was possible. Fortunately for me we’re going rafting on the Snake River this w/e so I won’t have to make any movie decisions like I did last week…. which entailed staying home. Although Hobo is on my Netflix que so I’m looking forward to that. Should be in next week.

  5. Ken Hanke

    Awww, how come it’s not Southerner biting Ken’s ear?

    What? Have you been overtaken by Cullen’s erotic fantasies?

  6. Ken Hanke

    And I refuse to see that documentary.

    That’s okay. I’d refuse to see a Buck Owens biopic — unless it was a silent.

  7. Ken Hanke

    Dang Ken, looks like this week is even worse than last week. I didn’t think that was possible.

    However bad this is, it at least won’t have Transmoosers: Dark of the Moon. That has got to be in my favor.

  8. Me

    Jason Batman deserves a hit? Charlie Day deserves a hit. Looking forward to seeing what they do with fat Mac on this seasons Always Sunny.

  9. Mike

    I begrudgingly ventured over to the Carmike this morning to catch Horrible Bosses because I missed the early matinee at the Carolina, and noticed they were screening the 1945 French epic Children of Paradise at 1:30. This strikes me as an odd booking for a theatre that normally seems to cater to the average movie goer. Any insight on why a nearly three hour long historical melodrama was shown here, Ken? I try to avoid the Carmike if I can so am unaware if this sort of thing has happened before.

  10. Ken Hanke

    Well, it wasn’t in their listings. I admit I haven’t been to the Carmike in nearly a year and a half, but I do get their listings and have seen nothing like this. It’s certainly nothing that Carmike corporate thought up. I cannot imagine anyone there ever having heard of the film, much less booking it. What I suspect is that it wasn’t the film, but it was the ballet based on the film. I know they’ve hooked up with some ballet/opera subscription outfit and that would make the ballet seem far more likely. Or did you actually see the film?

  11. Mike

    Nah, I didn’t have the time.

    Quick google search shows it was indeed a ballet production.

  12. Ken Hanke

    Nah, I didn’t have the time.

    Since it turns out they didn’t have the film that seems a fair arrangement.

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