Well, last week’s onslaught of penguins, beavers, and green-tights wasn’t a very pretty sight. (Maybe penguins and beavers in green tights would have been better. Green Lantern with an all-penguin cast kind of appeals to me.) If it hadn’t been for Cave of Forgotten Dreams and the fact that Midnight in Paris was still around, I might go so far as to call it grim. Do Bad Teacher and Cars 2 indicate much of an improvement? Perhaps not, but there’s also The Tree of Life and L’amour Fou to take into account. That should help.
The only one of this week’s offerings I’ve seen is L’amour Fou—a documentary about Yves Saint Laurent—and the review for it is in this week’s paper. As you might guess, your level of interest in it will largely depend on your interest in fashion, art collecting, and people who own really cool houses that it looks like no one actually lives in (but you wouldn’t mind giving it a try).
Before getting down to the week’s other offerings, I should take this opportunity to make it clear that while Cave of Forgotten Dreams did really well this past weekend, it will only be here through next Tuesday, June 28, since it has to move out to make room for—well, more traditional 3D fare. If you want to see Cave, bear this in mind.
Going in alphabetical order on the others, we come to Jake Kasdan’s Bad Teacher with Cameron Diaz, Justin Timberlake, and Jason Segel. My interest level in this just went up after reading an IMDb post headed, “SHAMEFUL, America is a sick nation.” (This then purports to skewer the film for various transgressions on Muslim law, which mostly seems to center on women being “unfeminine.” I thought it was a gag, till I found this guy has a substantial “reviewing” history in which the phrase “feminist garbage” crops with great frequency.) Anyway, looking at this a little less passionately, we have a movie from Jake Kasdon, who apart from being Lawrence Kasdan’s son, is known for such things as Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (2007) and Orange County (2002). The bar for improvement here is set pretty low. Diaz went the raunch route once before with The Sweetest Thing (2002). I actually thought that was pretty good. Almost no one else did.
Rumor has it that the entire raison d’etre for Pixar’s Cars 2—a sequel to their least highly regarded film Cars (2006)—is that it will sell ancillary items. In other words, they and the folks at Disney can make a mint on the toys it will generate. (I guess Up was a little shy in the action figure department.) After listening to John Lasseter wax ecstatic over it by saying something along the lines of, “It’s like a James Bond movie—only with cars,” I’m more than willing to believe it. What I’m less willing to do is sit through anything involving Larry the Cable Guy if I can possibly avoid it. And I think I can in this case.
And then we come to Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life, which was supposed to be the big movie for people who prefer to fish out of the mainstream this summer. It may still be, but it’s come nowhere near the crossover popularity of Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris (no one really expected it to do what it’s done). But really, apart from the art film circuit aspect, it’s impossible to actually compare Allen’s film and this one— not because I think this one’s more “important” (whatever that means), but because the aims are so different. Malick’s film attempts to somehow be a reflection of his own childhood in a way that encompasses human existence—and indeed the world and possibly beyond—in one film. Is that possible? I’m skeptical—and not just because Malick’s work has never tended to be to my taste—but I’m certainly keen on finding out for myself.
Since The Tree of Life opens at the Fine Arts (it expands to The Carolina next week or the week after) and Midnight in Paris is still going great guns, that means that Incendies is taking its leave this Friday. Also leaving is 13 Assassins (Carolina). And though I doubt anyone much cares, The Beaver takes its final bow on Thursday night after a single week.
David Cronenberg’s massively strange—and landmark—Videodrome (1983) is this week’s Thursday Horror Picture Show on Thu., June 23 at 8 p.m. in the Cinema Lounge at The Carolina. World Cinema is showing Powell and Pressburger’s The Red Shoes (1948) at 8 p.m. on Fri., June 24 in the Railroad Library in the Phil Mechanic Building. The Hendersonville Film Society is showing Ken Russell’s The Boy Friend (1971) at 2 p.m. on Sun., June 26 in the Smoky Mountain Theater at Lake Pointe Landing in Hendersonville. The Asheville Film Society has Josef von Sternberg’s The Last Command (1928) on Tue., June 28 at 8 p.m. in the Cinema Lounge at The Carolina. More on all titles in this week’s Xpress.
Quite a number of new titles seem to be upon us this week, most of which I haven’t seen. The one I have seen, Cedar Rapids, is certainly worth a look. As far as The Adjustment Bureau, Diary of Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules, The Eagle and Unknown, I refer you to Mr. Souther—or at least his reviews.
Notable TV screenings
TCM wraps up its Thursday night “Drive-in Double Features” with more…er…classic schlock. Actually, a couple of these are considered good, which mostly means they’re not as dopey as the others. It starts at 8 p.m. on Thu., June 23 with It Came from Beneath the Sea (1955), featuring world’s only giant quintopus (hey, five arms fit the budget, eight didn’t). This is followed by giant grub worms in The Monster That Challenged the World (1957). Then we have The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953) and The Giant Behemoth (1959), and The Phantom from 10,000 Leagues (1955), which apparently rated no trailer. The climax of the series is Roger Corman’s Creature from the Haunted Sea (1961), which stars quite possibly the dumbest looking monster ever—even by Corman standards.