Cranky Hanke’s Weekly Reeler May 18-24: Pirates, shills, and a couple of French icons

In theaters

Since this is the week that Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides opens, it’s otherwise a slack week in the realm of mainstream releases. Put simply, no studio in its right mind wants to go head-to-head with Capt. Jack Sparrow and his crew. However,  this is Asheville where we have The Carolina and the Fine Arts, meaning that indie/art titles will go where the mainstream fears to tread, which in this case means that The Greatest Movie Ever Sold and Bloodworth are opening at The Carolina, and Potiche is opening at the Fine Arts. As Zero Mostel once said, “That’s for those of you who have absolutely no interest in pirates.”

As is often the case, two of these—The Greatest Movie Ever Sold and Potiche—have been reviewed in this week’s paper, but briefly—the former is a documentary (of sorts) from Morgan Spurlock (Supersize Me) about product placement in movies, while the latter is a comedy from Francois Ozon (8 Women) starring two legends of French cinema, Catherine Deneuve and Gerard Depardieu. The third title, Bloodworth, well, that’s another matter.

Little is actually known about Bloodworth, a film from the festival circuit which was picked up by Sony, but is being distributed by Samuel Goldwyn in the U.S. It’s from a director of unknown nature—Shane Dax Taylor—but its cast (not always for the good) is better known—Kris Kristofferson, Val Kilmer, Hilary Duff, Dwight Yoakam, Frances Conroy. Apparently, the film has been well recieved at festivals. Here’s what the studio handout says: “It’s been 40 years since E.F. Bloodworth (Kris Kristofferson) abandoned his loving wife and sons for a life on the road. Now at the end of the line, Bloodworth reappears, forced to reckon with the stale aftermath of his departure. With his ex-wife Julia (Frances Conroy) mentally destroyed, his three sons; Warren (Val Kilmer), Boyd (Dwight Yoakam) and Brady (W. Earl Brown) soured by years of anger, Bloodworth’s only solace is a budding relationship with Fleming, the grandson he never knew. But when Fleming meets Raven (Hilary Duff), the woman of his dreams, will Bloodworth’s presence force history to repeat itself?”

And that brings us to Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. I seriously doubt that it matters what anyone says about this film. It’s not merely a new Pirates film, it’s one that adds Penelope Cruz to the mix—not to mention Ian McShane and new director Rob Marshall. All are elements that should make it even more critic-proof than it already is. Also, there’s the inescapable fact that viewers realize that a lot of reviewers will be out to “get” the film simply because it’s the fourth film in a hit series. Interestingly, the film has received high-to-decent marks from the handful of major U.S. critics who’ve weighed in. The U.K. and Australian critics, on the other hand, have tended to go against it. Make of that what you will.

Leaving us this week is Win Win, which departs the Fine Arts to make room for Potiche. The Carolina loses Of Gods and Men, but is holding onto The Conspirator and I Am, as well as Everything Must Go, which is also slated for a second week at the Fine Arts. I don’t imagine it will matter to any—save collectors of morbid esoterica—but that final film of Corey Haim’s, Decisions (reviewed in this week’s Xpress by Justin Souther), is making a hasty exit after a week at the Carmike.

Special screenings

Since the original ran a few weeks ago, this week’s Thursday Horror Picture Show is the 1986 Tobe Hooper version of Invaders from Mars at 8 p.m. on Thursday, May 19, in the Cinema Lounge at The Carolina. World Cinema has the very strange 1988 Czech take on Alice in Wonderland, simply titled Alice on Friday, May 20, at 8 p.m. in the Railroad Library of the Phil Mechanic Building. The Hendersonville Film Society is showing Jules Dassin’s Topkapi (1964) at 2 p.m. on Sunday, May 22, in the Smoky Mountain Theater at Lake Pointe Landing in Hendersonville. And the Asheville Film Society celebrates its first anniversary with a return to the Coen Brothers—this time with The Hudsucker Proxy (1994) at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, May 24, in the Cinema Lounge at The Carolina.

Also up is a solo screening of the documentary Marwencol coming from the Asheville Art Museum and Fanaticon 2 at 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 19, at the Fine Arts Theatre. Admission is $8 for Museum Members and $10 for non-members.

More about all films in this week’s Xpress.

On DVD

This appears to be a light week as concerns quality releases. The only one of the “big” three I’ve seen is the fairly silly horror film The Rite, which at least offers the compensation of briefly showcasing Satan’s mule.  I haven’t seen The Mechanic or The Roommate, but nothing Justin Souther said in his reviews makes me inclined to alter that. Possibly Marc McCloud from Orbit will stop by with some titles I missed.

Notable TV screenings

This is one of those weeks where everything of note on TCM is made up of things TCM tends to show on a fairly-to-alarmingly regular basis. In other words, nothing leaps out at me as noteworthy.

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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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7 thoughts on “Cranky Hanke’s Weekly Reeler May 18-24: Pirates, shills, and a couple of French icons

  1. Charles

    Brad Anderson’s (“Session 9,” “The Machinist,” “Transsibberian”) new movie, “Vanishing on 7th Street” hit video stores this week too. I don’t believe it played theatrically in the WNC area.

  2. There’s a few other things out: The Other Woman (Natalie Portman movie of the week), Brad Anderson’s Vanishing on 7th Street, Tim and Eric Season 5 and ESPN’s 30 on 30 Volume 2.

    Three titles have been remastered and are out on dvd or blu-ray: Pale Flower and Diabolique (Criterion), then perhaps the definitive version of Argento’s Deep Red (Blue Underground). All look fantastic in high def.

  3. Ken Hanke

    I don’t believe it played theatrically in the WNC area

    I suspect that’s because the window of release was so small — Feb. 18 to May 17. Then again, maybe it was the Hayden Christiansen factor.

  4. DrSerizawa

    Pirates may add Cruz but Knightley is conspicuously absent. Does she know something we don’t yet? The trailer appears to show a fair number of repeated scenes from earlier films.

  5. Ken Hanke

    I don’t think Knightley was ever in the mix for this, nor Orlando Bloom (not that anyone is likely to miss him).

  6. Me

    Looking forward to the Tim and Eric movie.

    Heard anything on Meeks Cutoff coming to town?

  7. Ken Hanke

    Heard anything on Meeks Cutoff coming to town?

    June 3 at The Carolina.

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