Cranky Hanke’s Weekly Reeler Oct. 12-18: Big Year of the Footloose Mozart Attack the Block Thing

In Theaters

Another week, another outburst of movies, but no boxing robots this round—and judging by what folks went to see last week, it appears that boxing robots are the happening thing. Go figure. Instead, this week finds us with The Big Year, Footloose and The Thing is the realm of the wide-release, while Mozart’s Sister opens at the Fine Arts and Attack the Block finally makes it to The Carolina. And I sincerely hope they get better moviegoer support than Restless and The Whistleblower did.

Now, of the five movies opening, I’ve—you guessed it—seen the two art titles, though I’m sure there are those who will wrinkle their collective noses at the idea of Attack the Block as an art film. Fine. If it’s not an art film, let’s have less art films and more of whatever it is. (And note the link is to the R rated red band trailer.) There’s a review of it and Mozart’s Sister (which I also liked, though not as much) in this week’s paper, but here and now I’ll say that Attack the Block turned out to be one of my absolute favorite films of the year so far—and I really hope people go see it and don’t wait for the DVD. It’s the sort of film that when you watch the DVD you think, “God, I wish I’d seen this on the big screen.” Just bear that in mind.

And having gotten that out of my system, on to other matters—matters unknown.

OK, David Frankel made a pretty good movie out of The Devil Wears Prada back in 2006, but then he made Marley & Me in 2008 and turned into mush. But it would appear that either he liked working with Owen Wilson or Owen Wilson liked working with him, since he and Wilson are back with this The Big Year thing—and they’ve brought along Jack Black and Steve Martin. This appears to be based on a novel of some popularity. I couldn’t say, because I never encountered it. The film is about birdwatchers—our three stars—and them competing for spotting the most species. But it also appears to be about Wilson having a mid-life crisis, Martin having a late-life crisis and Black having a no-life crisis. From this we may conclude that life is essentially a series of crises. (I know I often feel that way when I look over the week’s movies.) It’s rated PG and hasn’t been shown to critics.

I like Craig Brewer. I was pleasantly surprised by Hustle & Flow (2005) and I liked Black Snake Moan (2006) even more (not everyone did). I saw the original Footloose (1984) once—and that was enough. I didn’t think, “Gee, I hope someone remakes this someday.” Well, no one asked me, so here we have Craig Brewer making a Footloose of his own. I like the adult stars—Andie MacDowell and Dennis Quaid—just fine, but I know little or nothing about the “kids.” I guess I saw Julianne Hough in Burlesque (2010), but I don’t remember her. I presume I saw Kenny Wormald in You Got Served (2004), but I’ve managed to block that whole film from my mind. I will note that a lot of Australian critics have liked it and only half of the people (the more enthusiastic half) posting user reviews on the IMDb appear to be studio shills.

And bringing up the rear is Matthijs van Heijningen, Jr.‘s (I’m not typing that name again) The Thing, which is not a remake of either the 1951 film, or the 1982 one. It’s the prequel to the 1982 one, showing the events at that ill-fated Norwegian outpost that led to the opening of John Carpenter’s version. I guess in some ways that does make this a remake of the original, since the trailer indicates we’ll be seeing the discovery of the “Thing” in the ice, the thawing out, etc. Of course, it won’t be the 1951 James Arness “carrot man” when it gets defrosted. Personally, I’ve never really warned to the Carpenter film, which I watched again last year and found the special effects a lot more dated looking than the simpler ones from 1951. It’s a matter of taste and temperament—and the fact that I can be a little old-fashioned. Will this be any good? Who knows? So far, there are two so-so positive reviews from sources I don’t rely on. Four out of five of the IMDb user reviews are obvious shills—and the fourth is from someone calling himself “Bollywood-Buttsquirts,” and I just can’t take that seriously (nor do I see how it can be his “first review” on there, since he has 10 earlier ones).

This week sees the departure of Restless and Senna from The Carolina and Sarah’s Key from the Fine Arts. Sarah’s Key, however, keeps a full set of shows at The Carolina—and, guess what, Midnight in Paris returns to a full set. Drive is hanging on for three shows a day, but with Vera Farmiga’s Higher Ground set to open on Oct. 21, expect something to be gone after this week. The Fine Arts has split The Guard and The Whistleblower this week, but since they’re down to open The Way next week, I’d say this is the last week for those two.

Special Screenings

Before getting to the usual things, let’s take a look at the Preservation Society of Asheville and Buncombe County’s screening of the documentary The Greenest Building at the Fine Arts Theatre on Thu., Oct. 13 at 7 p.m. The film by Jane Turville is described as a “compelling overview of the important role that building reuse plays in creating sustainable communities. Narrated by David Ogden Stiers, The Greenest Building explores the myth that a ‘green building’ is a new building and demonstrates how renovation and adaptive reuse of existing structures fully achieves the sustainability movement’s ‘triple bottom line’—economic, social, and ecological balance.” The screening is free and open to the public.

This week’s Thursday Horror Picture Show is a double-bill of 1940s horrors, The Mad Ghoul (1943) (not merely a ghoul, mind you, but a peevish one) and Weird Woman (1944), at 8 p.m. on Thu., Oct. 13 in the Cinema Lounge at The Carolina. Chapter Three of Flash Gordon’s Trip to Mars shows at 7:40. World Cinema is screening Carl Theodor Dreyer’s Vampyr (1932) at 8 p.m. on Fri., Oct. 14 in the Railroad Library of the Phil Mechanic Building. The Hendersonville Film Society is showing Peter Bogdanovich’s The Cat’s Meow (2001) at 2 p.m. on Sun., Oct. 16 in the Smoky Mountain Theater at Lake Pointe Landing in Hendersonville. Michael Winner’s’ I’ll Never Forget What’s’isname (1967) is this week’s film from the Asheville Film Society and screens at 8 p.m. on Tue., Oct. 18 in the Cinema Lounge at The Carolina. More on all the films in this week’s Xpress—and even more in the online edition.

On DVD

Probably the most noteworthy thing coming out on DVD this week is Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life, but don’t overlook Terri and The Trip, which also make their DVD bow this week. Also out are Horrible Bosses, Zookeeper and Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer. Let your conscience be your guide on those. Oh, yeah, one of the year’s most notable flops, Green Lantern shows up on Friday.

Notable TV Screenings

You’re on your own this week. Nothing unusual or essential is leaping out at me. Your luck in perusing the TCM listings may be better.

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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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6 thoughts on “Cranky Hanke’s Weekly Reeler Oct. 12-18: Big Year of the Footloose Mozart Attack the Block Thing

  1. I’ve started to see MIDNIGHT IN PARIS posters adorning the sides of bus shelters around town. We shall have a crossover yet!

  2. Ken Hanke

    We shall have a crossover yet!

    Well, it’s going to at least be close.

  3. Me

    Saturday night TCM is doing a Italian Neorealists marathon with films by Filini, Pasolina, Rossellini, and De Santis.

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