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.
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.
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.