In the sense of high-profile movies, this is a slack week. All we’re getting is Matthew Vaughn’s X-Men: First Class. That’s perhaps wise, since the box office is already slammed with big money-makers, and going up against anything as anticipated as this X-Men prequel/reboot is a death wish. However, we do have a couple of art titles to consider—Meek’s Cutoff at The Carolina and the documentary Bill Cunningham New York at the Fine Arts.
I’ve seen Kelly Reichardt’s Meek’s Cutoff. The review appears in this week’s paper and I’m hosting a free Asheville Film Society members-only screening on Wednesday, June 1, at 7:30 p.m. at The Carolina. So there’s not much to say about it here, but no one was more surprised than I was when I actually liked the film, since I’m not an admirer of Reichardt or “minimalist” filmmaking.
Bill Cunningham New York, on the other hand, came out of nowhere on me. It’s actually booked for a single week, so if you’re interested, this is a catch-it-quick title. And there would appear to be reason to do that. Were it not for the ubiquitous nay-sayer Armond White, this would have a perfect score of reviews from largely major critics on Rotten Tomatoes. So who is Bill Cunningham? Don’t feel bad if you don’t know. The press notes tell us: “‘We all get dressed for Bill,’ says Vogue editrix Anna Wintour. The ‘Bill’ in question is 80+ New York Times photographer Bill Cunningham. For decades, this Schwinn-riding cultural anthropologist has been obsessively and inventively chronicling fashion trends and high society charity soirées for the Times Style section in his columns On the Street and Evening Hours.” The man himself, however, remains enigmatic—and completely uninterested in the fame of his subjects. He’s simply fascinated by what people wear. Atypically, several of the reviews use the word “love” to describe the reaction to the film.
And then there’s X-Men: First Class. Yeah, sure, X-Men: The Last Stand (2006) kind of—well, sucked. But it was directed by Brett Ratner. That explains so very much. Matthew Vaughn is something else again. His movies have all been at least worthwhile—and often a good deal more than that. I’ll freely concede that the fact that prequels and origin stories are often no great shakes, but I’m willing to give this one a try—not in the least because it seems to have tied itself in with some actual and interesting history. The cast is generally solid, too. So maybe … My essential problem—potential problem—is that the trailer tends to strike me as amusing when it goes into CGI shape-shifting mode. We’ll see.
To make way for Bill Cunningham, the Fine Arts is dropping Potiche and Everything Must Go, but is holding onto The Double Hour for another week, but that should be all. The Carolina is finally losing the mystifyingly popular I Am, as well as Jane Eyre, Everything Must Go and The Conspirator. 13 Assassins did surprisingly well, so it’s also hanging around. Bear in mind, though, that Hobo with a Shotgun opens next week, as does—tentatively at least—Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris (also tentatively at Fine Arts).
As noted above, there’s a members-only screening of Meek’s Cutoff for Asheville Film Society members Wednesday, June 1, at 7:30 p.m. If you’re not a member, $10 will make you one. And considering that that’s only 25 cents more than an evening ticket and that a membership gets you—among other things—a dollar off admission to any and all movies at The Carolina, you’ll be 75 cents to the good next time you go to a regular movie.
This week’s Thursday Horror Picture Show is Son of Frankenstein (1939) at 8 p.m. on Thursday, June 2, in the Cinema Lounge at The Carolina. Hiroshima, Mon Amour (1959) is the offering from World Cinema on Friday, June 3, at 8 p.m. in the Railroad Library of the Phil Mechanic Building. The Hendersonville Film Society has John Huston’s The Kremlin Letter (1970) at 2 p.m. on Sunday, June 5, in the Smoky Mountain Theater at Lake Pointe Landing in Hendersonville. The Asheville Film Society is showing The Magic Christian (1969) on Tuesday, June 7, at 8 p.m. in the Cinema Lounge at The Carolina. More on all these in this week’s Xpress (with a particularly loquacious piece on Son of Frankenstein in the online edition).
Alright! This is something like it! Drive Angry comes to DVD this week. It won’t be like seeing it in 3D in the theater, but still—just be sure you watch it with like-minded friends. There’s also Biutiful, but I can tell you now, it’s a lot less fun. Otherwise, perhaps Mr. Marc can fill in the gaps.
Notable TV screenings
On Wednesday, June 1, at 6 a.m., TCM has the very odd—though not really all that good—Secrets of the French Police (1932), but it’s only 58 minutes, which is short enough for the curio value of seeing Gregory Ratoff as a mad genius hypnotist type who turns his victims into statues. This is followed by two pretty darn terrific Lee Tracy comedies, The Hal Naked Truth (1932) and, better yet, The Nuisance (1933).
On Thursday, June 2, TCM starts its “Drive-in Double Features” at 8 p.m. and keeps going all night with Godzilla (1956), Rodan (1957), Ghidora the Three-Headed Monster (1964), Godzilla vs. Monster Zero (1970), Dinosaurus! (1960), and The Valley of the Gwangi (1969). Now, really, what more can you want?