A singularly slack week is upon us — at least in terms of quantity. We're only looking at one mainstream release and one art title. Of course, most the world is likely to be resting up after the headlong rush to shell out big bucks to see The Avengers last week. But the week's two new offerings have something to be said for them.
Unsurprising as it may be, I've already seen Monsieur Lazhar (opening at Fine Arts), the last of the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar nominees to make it to town. The review for it is in this week's paper. It's a very estimable work — much better than its "teacher who made a difference" cred may make it appear on the surface — and from what I hear it comes under the heading of a crowd pleaser. It's certainly a very good movie in any case.
That, of course, bring us to the week's big title — or it will once I note that, for reasons beyond my paygrade (and probably having something to do with the peculiarities of the Weinsteins), The Artist is making a return visit to The Carolina, and even more mystifyingly the Carmike. I guess if you neglected to see it when it first was here — for weeks and weeks — here's you chance to catch it at last.
Now, that brings us to the sure-to-be-divisive release of the week — Tim Burton's Dark Shadows. Burton is always at least a little divisive if only because there's always a group of people ready to bitch that people are fed up with his style and with him casting Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter. Of course, the last time we heard that was just before Alice in Wonderland, which went on to gross a billion dollars. (Let's overlook the fact that it was still one of his less interesting movies.) Of course, there's no chance whatever that Dark Shadows is going to pull down that kind of money, but since it trades on a popular — on a cult level anyway — old TV series with a cult icon lead character, there's a block of folks with their knives already sharpened. And since the trailer makes it look like a wholly comedic take on the old show, they're even more unhappy. Apparently, the film is rather different than the trailer makes it appear.
Personally, I don't care. I was there and just the right age and with the right set of interests when the original Dark Shadows TV show came on in 1966. And, yes, my friends and I went home from school and watched it — mostly to make fun of how cheap and cheesy it was. Bear in mind, this was daytime TV, which is a nice way of saying "soap opera," and it had all the production values and polish of The Guiding Light or As the World Turns. All this is to say that I don't hold the show in any kind of esteem, nor have I any nostalgia for it, and so I don't care what Burton's done with it or, if you prefer, to it. I'm more interested in it as a Tim Burton film. And I'll admit that my feelings about the trailer are mixed — even if it gets bonus points for the T. Rex song — though later explanations about the plot have taken care of some of my reservations. Anyway, I'll be at the first show on Friday morning. Yeah, I know The Carolina has a midnight show on Thursday, but I'm getting too old for those.
Not much is departing this week — in some cases because not much is opening. Footnote and Salmon Fishing in the Yemen are leaving the Fine Arts. And the disastrously tanked Bully flees the Carmike after a single week. Damsels in Distress — though it proved just as polarizing as I thought it would (oh, I've heard about recommending it) — did well enough that it's holding at the Fine Arts. The surprisingly popular The Deep Blue Sea is staying at The Carolina, while Being Flynn and The Kid with a Bike, while staying, have gone to split shows.
In celebration of the opening of Dark Shadows, there's a raft of Tim Burton titles in the Cinema Lounge at The Carolina. In fact, if you're intrepid in nature, you could go to the Thursday Horror Picture Show screening of Sweeney Todd at 8 p.m., stick around for Edward Scissorhands at 10 p.m. and go catch the first show of Dark Shadows at midnight. Starting on Friday, it runs:
Pee-Wee's Big Adventure (1987) 10:30 a.m.
Beetlejuice (1988) 12:15 p.m.
Batman (1989) 2 p.m.
Edward Scissorhandd (1990) 4:15 p.m.
Batman Retrurns (1992) 6:15 p.m.
Mars Attacks! (1996) 8:30 p.m.
Big Fish (2003) 10:30 p.m.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005) 10:30 a.m.
Mars Attacks! (1996) 12:30 p.m.
Beetlejuice (1988) 2:30 p.m.
Batman (1989) 4:15 p.m.
Edward Scissorhands 6:30 p.m.
Batmam Returns (1992) 8:15 p.m.
Big Fish (2003) 10:30 p.m.
In the realm of the usual suspects, the Thursday Horror Picture Show (as noted above) is screening Tim Burton's Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007) at 8 p.m. on Thursday, May 10, in the Cinema Lounge at The Carolina.World Cinema is showing Guillermo del Toro's Cronos (1983) at 8 p.m. on Friday, May 11, in the Railroad Library in the Phil Mechanic Building. No Hendersonville Film Society screening this week because of Mother's Day. The Asheville Film Society is running Preston Sturges' Sullivan's Travels (1941) on Tuesday, May 15, at 8 p.m. in the Cinema Lounge at The Carolina. More on all titles in this week's paper with expanded coverage in the online edition.
Frankly, I consider presenting the list of the "major" titles coming out this week as being in the nature of a friendly warning. I can think of nothing else to say about the appearance of Underworld: Awakening, The Vow and the toxic waste known as Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie.
Notable TV Screenings
I can't claim that the first two titles — Bedazzled (1967) and The Wrong Box (1966) — that are in TCM's triple feature salute to Peter Cook and Dudley Moore are out of the ordinary, though they're both always welcome. However, less frequently seen is Richard Lester's damn near career-killing surrealist black comedy The Bed Sitting Room (1969), which pops up at midnight. It's a post-apocalyptic comedy that could only come from the minds of Spike Milligan and Lester. I promise only that there's nothing else like it.