Cranky Hanke’s Weekly Reeler May 11-17: Everything Must Go—even bridesmaids and the priest

In theaters

After the surprise box-office juggernaut of Fast Five week before last and the unsurprising box-office success of Thor, it comes as no great shock that the studios aren’t bringing out the big guns this week—especially when you consider that whatever opens this weekend is almost certain to get trounced next weekend when Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides comes out. So what do we get? Well, from the mainstream we have Bridesmaids and Priest (both opening everywhere except the Beaucatcher). On the art/indie side things look a little more interesting with Everything Must Go (opening at The Carolina and the Fine Arts).

Everything Must Go is the film from newcomer writer-director Dan Rush that’s adapted from a Raymond Carver short story—and presents Will Ferrell in a non-comedic role. I’ve already seen this one—the review is in this week’s Xpress—but I will say that it’s something of a surprise, even if you’re familiar with Ferrell in Marc Forster’s Stranger Than Fiction (2006).

That brings us to Bridesmaids—a female-centered raunch comedy from the Apatow Factory. Directed by Paul Feig—primarily known for TV work, but with a couple of non-starter theatrical films to his credit—and starring Kristen Wiig, who also co-wrote the screenplay, Bridesmaids has gotten surprisingly good early reviews. I’m not entirely sold myself, because I’ve seen other Apatow produced movies that I found mostly obnoxious get enthusiastic reviews. On the other hand, I like Kristen Wiig and I like co-star Maya Rudolph. Exactly what can be done with a wedding-preparations comedy remains to be seen, though this has to be more entertaining than last week’s Something Borrowed. Then again, my big toe is more entertaining than Something Borrowed.

Last year, director Scott Stewart and star Paul Bettany got together and made Legion, which turned out to be a jaw-droppingly bad, theologically specious and mind-numbingly dull horror picture. Well, now they’ve teamed up again to bring us Priest, which the studio describes as “a Western-fused post-apocalyptic thriller.” In other words, it sounds a lot like The Book of Eli with vampire action. Unlike Bridesmaids this has been getting really, really, really bad early reviews. Most times, I don’t pay much attention to reviews of horror movies—too many critics think they’re above such things. In this case, I’m not so sure—based on my last Stewart/Bettany experience, the PG-13 rating (yeah, I know, it didn’t hurt Insidious), and the fact that Cam Gigandet is in the cast. But who are we kidding? I’ll see it because it’s a horror picture. I’ll probably regret it, but I’ll see it.

In the area of what’s leaving and what’s staying, let’s note first off that Rubber will be history come Friday. I’m not sure why, since a movie about a killer tire ought to have found a niche in Asheville on quirk value alone, but the only thing I’ve seen have a worse opening weekend of late was Prom. On a happier note, The Conspirator, Of Gods and Men and Jane Eyre are holding at The Carolina. (So is the New Agey documentary I Am, though I’m less enthused about that. Sentient yogurt has its appeal, I guess.) Win Win is staying at the Fine Arts, but they’re dropping Jane Eyre to make room for Everything Must Go.

Special screenings

This week’s Thursday Horror Picture Show is a double feature of TV terror with the Thriller episode Pigeons from Hell (1961) and the TV movie The Night Stalker (1972) that introduced the world to Darren McGavin as Carl Kolchak. The films show on Thursday, May 12, at 8 p.m. in the Cinema Lounge at The Carolina. World Cinema has In the Mood for Love (2000) on Friday, May 13, at 8 p.m. in the Railroad Library in the Phil Mechanic Building. Frank Capra’s Lost Horizon (1937) is this week’s Hendersonville Film Society offering at 2 p.m. on Sunday, May 15, in the Smoky Mountain Theater at Lake Pointe Landing in Hendersonville. The Asheville Film Society has Ken Russell’s Savage Messiah (1972) on Tuesday, May 17, at 8 p.m. in the Cinema Lounge at The Carolina. Reviews of all films are in this week’s Xpress.

Also up this week and worth the attention of anyone interested in the local filmmaking scene is David Saich’s debut film Scapegoat, which makes its bow at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 12, at the Fine Arts Theatre.

On DVD

This week’s offerings are a mixed bag. Never having seen No Strings Attached and Justin Bieber: Never Say Never suits me just fine. I admit I’m a little curious about Black Death, which was given a free showing prior to ActionFest, but didn’t reappear and didn’t play here. Blue Valentine was definitely a once-was-enough proposition for me. Others may like it better. I Saw the Devil is a good—and disturbing—Korean film that almost no one went to see theatrically when it played here. I’ll be interested to hear if it fares better on DVD. In their constant efforts to squeeze every nickel out of their old movie library, Universal has brought out a stand-alone DVD of My Little Chickadee (1940), which has already been in at least two sets. Also going stand-alone are The Sign of the Cross (1932), Christmas in July (1940), and Hail the Conquering Hero (1944)—all of which have also been sold as parts of sets.

Notable TV screenings

I have fond memories of Tay Garnett’s Trade Winds (1938) and it’s showing on Wednesday, May 11, at 10 p.m. on TCM. It’s famous as the movie where Joan Bennett became a brunette. I’ll probably check it out, but I make no claims for its actual quality, since I was in high school when last I saw it. If you stick around till 3 a.m. you can try the feature film spin-off of Dark Shadows, House of Dark Shadows (1970). I saw this when it was new and was seriously underwhelmed, but it might look better now.

On Saturday, May 14, at 9:15 a.m., there’s Rene Clair’s first English-language film The Ghost Goes West (1936) with Robert Donat, Jean Parker and Eugene Pallette. It’s not up to Clair’s earlier French films, but it’s worth seeing, if you never have.

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About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress from December 2000 until his death in June 2016. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

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18 thoughts on “Cranky Hanke’s Weekly Reeler May 11-17: Everything Must Go—even bridesmaids and the priest

  1. Also the French animated THE ILLUSIONIST, Oscilloscope’s David vs. Goliath documentary BANANAS, SOMETHING WILD gets a great Criterion treatment and NINJAS VS. VAMPIRES!

    I SAW THE DEVIL is the must-see of the week for me of course.

  2. Me

    How close does Everything Must Go stick to the short story.?

    Fishtank is showing on Sundance Wednesday it was one of those films that Fine Arts dropped at the last minute last year and is now on Criterion.

  3. DrSerizawa

    Last year, director Scott Stewart and star Paul Bettany got together and made Legion, which turned out to be a jaw-droppingly bad, theologically specious, and mind-numbingly dull horror picture.

    What? You didn’t buy into the idea that the Legions of Heaven can carry modern automatic weapons and that an angel could be defeated with an assault rifle?

    Neither did I.

  4. Ken Hanke

    Also the French animated THE ILLUSIONIST

    I wasn’t clear whether that was just out or just out on Blu-ray. If it’s just out in general, it’s a must see.

  5. Ken Hanke

    How close does Everything Must Go stick to the short story.?

    The short story’s what? 1500-1600 words? It’s basically a vignette. The film uses the basic set-up and expands on it — in some cases, it takes hints from the story and builds on them. Much has been added, but it would have to be to make a 100 minute movie.

    Fishtank is showing on Sundance Wednesday it was one of those films that Fine Arts dropped at the last minute last year

    Movies are very rarely etched in stone as concerns playing, especially in a theater that only has two screens. It may have been on their newsletter as coming, but if it fared poorly at the box office as it branched out into the provinces, it’s pretty certain to be dropped.

  6. Ken Hanke

    What? You didn’t buy into the idea that the Legions of Heaven can carry modern automatic weapons and that an angel could be defeated with an assault rifle?

    Those were just the tip of the iceberg!

  7. Fishtank is showing on Sundance Wednesday it was one of those films that Fine Arts dropped at the last minute last year and is now on Criterion.

    We’ve had FISHTANK for about 3 months now. It’s the second best film of the year… behind DOGTOOTH.

  8. Ken Hanke

    Would I like it?

    By the way, we made 70 new Stranger Than Fiction fans tonight. It was exceedingly well received.

  9. Dionysis

    “Legion, which turned out to be a jaw-droppingly bad, theologically specious, and mind-numbingly dull horror picture.”

    You got that right; it has been on heavy rotation for months now on Showtime and Starz (which tend to play crummy movies over and over and over). I watched about 45 minutes of this turkey one night, and felt my I.Q. dropping as each agonizing minute elapsed. The idea of seeing something else by Scott Stewart is a non-starter.

  10. Would I like it?

    I think so. Despite its subject matter (teen w/free spirited mom in the Essex projects), it is an uplifting film.

    By the way, we made 70 new Stranger Than Fiction fans tonight. It was exceedingly well received.

    Ultimately, that’s why we do what we do, right? I feel proud turning thousands of people onto films they would have never watched otherwise.

  11. I wasn’t clear whether that was just out or just out on Blu-ray. If it’s just out in general, it’s a must see.

    Well, the dvd is only packaged with the blu-ray. Because of this, it is our biggest blu-ray release ever.

    I think the story behind this is the studios are not happy with the proliferation of blu-ray. It was predicted (by organizations probably paid by the studios) that blu-ray sales would have completely taken over dvd sales by 2011. I don’t see that happening this year or ever, for that matter. So I think Sony is pressing the issue. There’s another small title by them packaged the same way coming out next month.

  12. Ken Hanke

    I think so. Despite its subject matter (teen w/free spirited mom in the Essex projects), it is an uplifting film.

    Perhaps it can go on the list of things I should see. How long is that list now?

    Ultimately, that’s why we do what we do, right? I feel proud turning thousands of people onto films they would have never watched otherwise.

    I think an insufficient number of people realize that. The biggest kick I get from the movie screenings is seeing an audience moved to applause by a movie like Shanghai Express, The Old Dark House, Mystery of the Wax Museum, The Ghoul or Stranger Than Fiction. Seeing the last 15 minutes of Five Star Final in a crowd where you could have heard a pin drop and just so pole-axed by it that they didn’t budge for a bit after the final fade-out was pretty gratifying, too.

    Well, the dvd is only packaged with the blu-ray. Because of this, it is our biggest blu-ray release ever.

    That explains it, but it’s kind of sneaky.

    There’s another small title by them packaged the same way coming out next month.

    Which is?

  13. Ken Hanke

    ANOTHER YEAR, unfortunately

    Well, it’s a fine film, but I’ve seen it twice, which is probably enough for a while.

  14. luluthebeast

    We saw BRIDESMAIDS today and really enjoyed it. I was never a fan of Wiig on SNL, but she does a great job here, as does Rudolph, but Melissa McCarthy steals the show. It bogs down in a few spots, but otherwise it zips right along.

    You know my views on Farrel’s comedies, but you were right about STRANGER THAN FICTION, so EVERYTHING MUST GO sounds like a good bet when it hits town.

  15. DrSerizawa

    Everything Must go wasn’t bad at all. Kudos to the director for keeping Farrell on a short leash.

    Come to think of it Farrell reminds me a bit of Robin Williams, another actor who can give a good performance when not allowed to run riot like in Insomnia and One Hour Photo.

  16. Jessamyn

    “they’re dropping Jane Eyre to make room for Everything Must Go.”

    What a wonderfully ridiculous sentence! :^)

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