Welcome to the new-and-improved (well, in a work-in-progress sense) “Weekly Reeler” and a week of some considerable note in terms of the art and indie scene—with no less than three worthy non-mainstream entries. Hobo with a Shotgun opens at The Carolina, while Incendies opens at the Fine Arts, and Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris opens at both! What more can you ask? Well, asked for or not, there’s also Super 8 and something called Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer.
What can be said about Hobo with a Shotgun? Well, actually, you’ll see that I managed to say a good bit about it in this week’s paper, but the big thing is probably that this was the big hit at ActionFest—and deservedly so. At least deservedly so in terms of splattery exploitation goodness. The title kind of says it all. If you’re in doubt, take a look at the trailer. I freely admit to having seen the movie twice—something that will undoubtedly cause certain people to shake their heads in dismay.
I’ve also seen Denis Villeneuve’s remarkable Incendies, which is reviewed in the Xpress as well. That this movie didn’t win the Best Foreign Language Oscar is about as hard to imagine as the Academy overlooking Pan’s Labyrinth (2006).
Maybe it’s because I’ve seen Hobo and Incendies, or maybe it’s simply because I’m a huge Woody Allen fan, but the biggie for me—at least potentially, since I’ve yet to see it—is Midnight in Paris.
I’m interested in the fact that it has the highest approval rating (92 percent) on Rotten Tomatoes of any Allen picture in years, but that doesn’t sell me in itself. Match Point (2005) got high marks (77 percent), too, and it’s one of the few Allen movies I absolutely don’t like. No, what intrigues me is the premise of the film—Owen Wilson meeting his 1920s literary heroes in late night Paris. This just sounds like the sort of material that only Allen could pull off, and I’ll be at the first show on Friday to find out.
There are probably others who are just as anxious to see Super 8—the movie that teams director J.J. Abrams with producer Steven Spielberg. Since I am not an overwhelming admirer of either gentleman, I am not all that anxious. I’m a little curious to see how the mix works, since collaborating with Spielberg tends to mean making a film as Spielberg would have made it (see Tobe Hooper and Poltergeist). The difference here may be that there’s not all that much difference between Spielberg and Abrams. In short, there’s not all that much at stake. Graft the found-footage schtick and keep-the-monster-offscreen ethic of Cloverfield onto the Spielbergian nerdy kids in suburbia template—et voila. Maybe I’m cynical. Maybe I’m not nostalgic for the 80s. We’ll see.
I have no idea who is interested in seeing Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer. I am told the book—or books—it’s based on are best-sellers. This doesn’t surprise me, since that appears to be true of every piece of kid-lit that gets made into a movie. All I’m surprised by is that it isn’t a “Newberry Award winner,” since those awards seem commoner than OBE’s in the UK. Whatever. It looks shrill, frantic and annoying.
Now, this week both The Double Hour and Bill Cunningham depart the Fine Arts. Jane Eyre and The Conspirator finally take a hike at The Carolina. If there’s anyone left who hasn’t seen The Conspirator and wants to, however, the Flat Rock Cinema is picking it up. 13 Assassins, Meek’s Cutoff, and Everything Must Go are all in residence at The Carolina for another week.
Before getting to the usual crop, I should note that the 2011 Found Footage Festival is on Thursday, June 9th (8 p.m.) at the Grey Eagle (185 Clingman Ave.), where they’re also showing a 25th anniversary screening of the legendary music documentary, Heavy Metal Parking Lot.
This week’s Thursday Horror Picture Show is Son of Dracula (1943) at 8 p.m. on Thursday, June 9, in the Cinema Lounge at The Carolina. World Cinema has Almodovar’s Talk to Her (2002) at 8 p.m. on Friday, June 10, in the Railroad Library in the Phil Mechanic Building. That Championship Season (1982) is the film from the Hendersonville Film Society at 2 p.m. on Sunday, June 12, at 2 p.m. in the Smoky Mountain Theater at Lake Pointe Landing in Hendersonville. The Asheville Film Society is screening Woody Allen’s Stardust Memories (1980) on Tuesday, June 14, at 8 p.m. in the Cinema Lounge at The Carolina. More on all titles in this week’s Xpress
The best of this week come down to True Grit and Another Year—both estimable works that more than repay a second look if you’ve seen them already. If you have’t seen them, what on earth are you waiting for? A number of people seemed to like The Company Men. I was not among them, but if you can get all misty-eyed at the idea of Ben Affleck having to give up his Porsche due to corporate downsizing, I wish you the joy of it. That anyone wanted to see Just Go with It or Sanctum in the first place is amazing. That they should want to see them again is deeply troubling.
Notable TV screenings
TCM’s “Drive-in Thursdays” all night cheese-athons continue this week. Starting at 8 p.m. on Thursday, June 9. Them! (1954), The Cosmic Monsters (1958), Tarantula (1955), The Black Scorpion (1957), The Giant Claw (1957), The Wasp Woman (1959). Some of you may recognize The Giant Claw from the avatar of one of the more frequent commenters in the movie section, proving he’s a man of impeccable taste in Bad Cinema. Truth to tell, it’s not really a bad movie. It’s a very good movie of its kind, but it just happens to have the hands-down dumbest-looking monster in the history of film. Check out the trailer if you don’t believe me.
I have a soft spot for the 1950 Jack Carson comedy The Good Humor Man. Or so I think. This is based entirely on having liked it when I was about 12. It’s actually probably quite dreadful. The trailer certainly suggests it’s less than intellectual. Regardless, it’s on late night Sunday, June 12 (or early morning Mon., June 13, if you don’t work on TV Guide time), at 3:30 a.m. on TCM. Ill-advised as I am sure it is, I plan on watching it. This is not an actual recommendation.