Cranky Hanke’s Weekly Reeler Nov. 17-23: Anything else coming out this week?

In theaters

This Friday, we have Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1. Actually, if you’re morbid about the whole thing, you can see it at midnight on Thursday. I know The Carolina has it then, and I assume that means some other local theaters will, too. That may be as much as you need to know this week. I know for some folks it is. Even so, two excellent films that are not Harry Potter are also opening: Fair Game (at the Fine Arts) and Tamara Drewe (at The Carolina). It would be a shame if these got overlooked in all the Pottermania. Oh, yeah, and some Paul Haggis picture opens.

Both Doug Liman’s Fair Game and Stephen Frears’ Tamara Drewe are movies I’ve already seen. The reviews for both will be in this week’s Xpress—available for all discerning moviegoers in the very near future. The upshot, of course and as usual, is that I’m not saying a whole lot about them here. I’ve noted that they’re both excellent, which gives you a starting point. OK, so one’s a fact-based political thriller starring Naomi Watts and Sean Penn. The other’s a non-fact-based comedy starring Gemma Arterton and Dominic Cooper. The picture of Ms. Arterton at the right will probably be all some readers need to know (you know who you are).

As far as the Big Event is concerned, I’m no better than the rest of you (and I’m worse than those of you who disdain the whole thing). I probably won’t take it in at midnight on Thursday, but I’ll be there on Friday morning to see part one of the last Harry Potter movie. I like the series and I’ve seen them all. Granted, I stopped reading the books about halfway through the second, but the movies have generally pleased me—with numbers three and six ranking especially high. I’m impressed by the way the films have not lessened in quality over the run. And I very much like the way they’ve become more horrific as they’ve moved along. The last one very nearly was a horror movie. This one looks like it might even be more so—though, of course, it may take Part 2 to go whole hog (or Hogwarts) on that score.

Now, I’ve often wished that Paul Haggis’ movies would go on a suicide mission. This time it looks like they’ve taken me seriously. I can conceive of no good reason why anyone would release The Next Three Days up against Harry Potter, but that’s what Lionsgate has done with this remake of a 2008 French thriller. From what little can be determined, it appears that the source material has been Haggisized. In other words, it’s supposed to be weighty. It’s all about Russell Crowe deciding to bust his wrongly convicted wife (Elizabeth Banks) out of the slammer (no 16 years of school and a law degree for the manly Mr. Crowe as in Conviction). Right now the film has eight reviews on Rotten Tomatoes: four positive (three from people I don’t take seriously) and four negative (three from people I do take seriously). You know, it’s been a busy couple of weeks, so I think I’ll split an easy two-movie weekend with Mr. Souther. My generosity being legendary and all.

Sad to report that You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger (The Carolina) takes its leave on Friday. And though viewers did turn out in greater force to support Nowhere Boy (Beaucatcher) last week, it wasn’t enough to save it at a seven-screen theater with three screens going to Harry Potter. So make haste to get there before Friday, if you’d like to see it. Waiting for “Superman  departs the Fine Arts to make way for Fair Game, but Inside Job hangs on there, and Four Lions is still going to be at The Carolina another week.

In the realm of special screenings, we get an early start this week with a special Asheville Film Society members-only showing of Tamara Drewe on Wednesday, Nov. 17, at 8 p.m. at The Carolina. (And if you’re not a member, for $10 bucks you can change that.) On Thursday, Nov. 18, the Thursday Horror Picture Show has the world’s first werewolf picture, Werewolf of London (1935), at 8 p.m. in the Cinema Lounge at The Carolina. Luis Buñuel’s The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972) is the World Cinema movie on Friday, Nov. 19, at 8 p.m. at Courtyard Gallery in the Phil Mechanic Studios building. The Hendersonville Film Society has Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire (2008) on Sunday, Nov. 21, at 2 p.m. in the Smoky Mountain Theater at Lake Pointe Landing in Hendersonville. Satoshi Kon’s Millennium Actress (2001) is the Asheville Film Society feature on Tuesday, Nov. 23, at 8 p.m. in the Cinema Lounge at The Carolina. More on these titles in this week’s Xpress.

On DVD

I didn’t absolutely hate the Disney A Christmas Carol when it played theaters. That does not, however, mean I have the least desire to let it into my house, though it comes out this week. I didn’t even see Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore in theaters and have no intention of trying to housebreak it. There’s also The Last Airbender. The best thing is The Kids Are All Right, but I have to admit that while I liked it, it’s not a movie that has really stayed with me. However, if you haven’t seen it, it’s certainly worth at least one look. Actually, the real gems this week are the Criterion releases of the complete Metropolis and Charles Laughton’‘s Night of the Hunter—the latter finally getting the release it deserves.

Notable TV screenings

It’s not a really prime week on TCM, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that Chaplin’s The Kid (1921) and his often overlooked The Pilgrim (1923) are on at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 17. If you hang around, you get a solid dose of silent comedy—Steamboat Bill, Jr. (1928), Safety Last (1923), It (1927) and Show People (1928)—all night long. Otherwise, it’s one of those weeks where you’re on your own.

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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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9 thoughts on “Cranky Hanke’s Weekly Reeler Nov. 17-23: Anything else coming out this week?

  1. The basic goal in allowing comments on Xpress articles is to try to bring meaningful information to the dialogue
    Bugger. There goes that comment then.

  2. Ken Hanke

    Bugger. There goes that comment then.

    Just keep it in the movie section and you’ll be alright.

  3. cinephile

    Now that _Night of the Hunter_ is available on a quality DVD, consider showing it at AFS screenings. It would fit both the Tues and Thurs night schedules. It has the same sort of ‘poetic horror’ as the Val Lewton/Jacques Tourneur films, so a Thurs night showing would not be out of place, IMHO.

  4. Ken Hanke

    Now that _Night of the Hunter_ is available on a quality DVD, consider showing it at AFS screenings.

    It will probably be a January AFS screening.

  5. Ken Hanke

    I will note that I am more looking forward to Harry Potter since both Victoria Alexander and Cole Smithey have given it bad reviews.

  6. Ken Hanke

    Note to whoever took out the incomprehensible “Thanx” posting: Thanx for leaving my now incomprehensible response.

  7. John

    @ Ken Hanke:

    In your review you say that you stopped reading the books halfway through the second, which is understandable, and also suggested that you liked the fact that the most recent film was almost a horror movie. I wanted to express my opinion that the books follow the same pattern, getting considerably darker and more mature as they go. I would say with confidence that the order from best to worst is inverse to the chronological order, and that you might truly enjoy the last three books. Maybe give them a chance?

  8. Ken Hanke

    In your review you say that you stopped reading the books halfway through the second, which is understandable, and also suggested that you liked the fact that the most recent film was almost a horror movie. I wanted to express my opinion that the books follow the same pattern, getting considerably darker and more mature as they go.

    Let me rephrase your opening a little, since I have not yet written a review of the new film — merely commented on the level of interest and what’s been said about it elsewhere. However, I have no reason not to believe that the tone of the books is mirrored by the films. And I may well try the later books eventually, though at this point, I’m still at least partly in ignorance of the climax of the story and I think I’ll wait till I see the second half of the last film to find out. After that, there’s a good chance I will undertake the books.

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