Warner Bros. is working overtime to convince us that Green Lantern fills some long-felt want this week. Meanwhile, the folks at Fox insist that nothing spells entertainment like Jim Carrey on ice with penguins. In more specialized realms on the locally level, Werner Herzog explores Cave of Forgotten Dreams and Jodie Foster brings Mel Gibson and The Beaver to town. Make of all this what you will, but make of it here—now with added trailer action!
The only film of the four I’ve seen is Cave of Forgotten Dreams—one of the few movies to use 3D as something other than a gimmick. The review appears in this week’s paper. I have a hunch it’s the most likely thing opening that’s of true merit, but that’s merely a hunch—albeit an educated one. Werner Herzog waxing philosophical about ancient man and his connection to the birth of cinema—among other things—is kind of hard to top.
But looking over the rest of the titles alphabetically, we first come to the opening of The Beaver (so to speak). It’s hard to know what to make of this. Despite getting quite a number of positive reviews—it’s at 65 percent on Rotten Tomatoes—the film has failed to attract much of an audience. It may well be that Mel Gibson’s personal escapades have become just too big to ignore for the moviegoing public. Then there’s the story itself. Honestly, the concept of Mel Gibson as a deeply disturbed man (can you say “typecasting?”) who finds some kind of salvation by talking—in a Cockney accent—through a beaver hand-puppet is not the easiest sell. Regardless, it’s in my future and I admit I’m a little curious.
And then, of course, there’s Green Lantern from James Bond/Zorro specialist Martin Campbell. I suppose there are worse ideas than putting Ryan Reynolds in green tights. But there are two stumbling blocks of some note. In the first place, Reynolds has yet to prove that he can carry a movie. In the second, it’s debatable as to just how many Green Lantern fans there are out there. It’s also a little troubling that the still photos look like some weird mix of John Boorman’s Excalibur and a cartoon. We’ll see. Well, some of us will see, since I’m paying the price for fobbing off Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer on Mr. Souther last week, and so am “looking forward” to this week’s other mainstream release.
That other mainstream release is, of course, Mark Waters’ Mr. Popper’s Penguins, which translates the 1938 novel by Richard and Florence Atwater into modern terms involving Jim Carrey. Yes, well. The press release calls it “a contemporary adaptation of the classic book,” which I think is studio-speak for “bears only the vaguest resemblance to the book.” I have no idea if the book is still a big deal in schools, but it was when I was in grade school. I liked it so much that I bought it for myself from one of those Scholastic Book Sales events they had back then. None of this means that I remember the book all that well, but I do know that neither the trailer nor Jim Carrey express any aspect of my memory.
It will come as no surprise that Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris, which did remarkably well, is hanging around this week at The Carolina and the Fine Arts. Also, staying at the Fine Arts is Incendies. 13 Assassins is staying at The Carolina for evening shows only, which suggests it will be leaving next week. On the other hand, Everything Must Go is indeed going, as is Meek’s Cutoff. More disappointing is the fact that Hobo with a Shotgun is leaving after only one week. At least, we had it in town for a week, but it ought to have done better.
The Hughes Brothers’ From Hell (2001) is this week’s Thursday Horror Picture Show, which as the name suggests is showing Thursday, June 16, at 8 p.m. in the Cinema Lounge at The Carolina. World Cinema is showing the first three episodes The Decalogue (1988) at 8 p.m. on Friday, June 17, in the Railroad Library in the Phil Mechanic Building. Marc Forster’s Finding Neverland (2004) is this week’s film from the Hendersonville Film Society at 2 p.m. on Sunday, June 19, in the Smoky Mountain Theater at Lake Pointe Landing in Hendersonville. Mae West returns to the Asheville Film Society in I’m No Angel (1933) on Tuesday, June 21, at 8 p.m. in the Cinema Lounge at The Carolina.
Looking over this week’s crop—Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son, Battle: Los Angeles, Hall Pass, Red Riding Hood—strongly suggests an actual trip to movie in a theater would be a good bet right about now.
Notable TV Screenings
This pretty much comes down to TCM continuing their “Thursday Drive-in Double Features” on Thursday, June 16, starting at 8 p.m. and running all night long. This round we have Attack of the 50 Foot Woman (1958), Village of the Giants (1965), Queen of Outer Space (1958), Mars Needs Women (1968), The Cyclops (1957), The Manster (1962), and The Killer Shews (1959). Every one is a real eye-waterer.