OK, there are no less than five movies opening this week — two of them falling into the art category, two of them into the mainstream and one borderline case. All in all, it looks more promising than last week, but you know what they say about looks possibly being deceiving.
In the art category, we have Peace, Love, & Misunderstanding and Headhunters — both opening at The Carolina. And, yes, both of them have been seen and are reviewed in this week's Xpress. The difference this week is that while I've seen both movies, I only reviewed Peace, Love, & Misunderstanding, which turned out to be a surprisingly agreeable picture — though it is one that won't play well with the anti-Jane Fonda, anti-Baby Boomer, anti-Woodstock crowd in any of its configurations. (You know who you are.)
Headhunters was reviewed by Justin Souther on the theory that it was more "his sort" of movie, though I thought the film was excellent. I'm actually slightly amused by the fact that he finds the film more disturbing than I did, since I tend to think him less likely to be disturbed than I am. This makes me wonder if I've finally become utterly jaded. Probably not. (My guess is you'll find me wiping my eyes at the end of The Horse's Mouth when it screens tonight.) I actually think this is mostly a case of being so completely absorbed in the intricacies of the narrative that it simply didn't occur to me to be troubled by the film. I'll be interested to see what others make of it.
Now, on to the mainstream stuff that I haven't see yet ...
I have mixed expectations as concerns Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. I've not read the book, though the concept amuses me. I can't get away from the sense that Tim Burton's name is more window dressing than anything else, and I have mixed feelings about Timur Bekmambetov. I kind of liked Wanted (2008) and was fascinated by Night Watch (2004), and I guess he's unusual enough to warrant the term "visionary" that the studio publicity people have slapped on him. Now whether the claims that he and Burton "reinvent the time-honored genre and present the terrifying creatures of the night as they were meant to be experienced — as fierce, visceral, intense and bloodthristy," that's another matter. I'm not even sure how a think both reinvents something and presents that something as it was meant to be seen. I suspect that the latter merely means that these bloodsuckers don't sparkle in the sunlight. Now, I do like Dominic Cooper, and have long felt that Rufus Sewell ought to have had a better career than he's managed to do. The fellow playing Lincoln — Benjamin Walker — is all but unknown to me. The less said about the trailer, the better, but I am curious.
I'm less curious about Pixar's Brave, though David Edelstein's review in New York Magazine makes it look interesting. The fact is, though, I'm simply — Up to one side — not as wild about Pixar as I'm supposed to be. Nothing against them really, though the gush that tends to greet them is wearing, but they aren't something that automatically sets my pulses racing. In this case, I have to admit I don't much like the character design and the trailers have left me cold. Some of the voice cast is impressive — Emma Thompson, Billy Connolly, Julie Walters, Robbie Coltrane — but really does anyone actually go to animated movies based on who's doing the character voices? The thing here is that Pixar needs something to regain some of their lustre after Cars 2. The question is whether this is it.
And lastly, there's Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, which comes from Focus Features, which is normally the art house branch of Universal. They do occasionally go wider if they feel the film warrants it, as is apparently the case here. The most likely scenario is that they think Steve Carell's presence will make the difference as concerns this one, which does have an interesting premise — romance on the edge of the destruction of the world by an asteroid. Think of it as Melancholia with more laughs maybe. I like Carell — and I like Keira Knightly, Adam Brody, Patton Oswalt, and Melanie Lynskey. I find the premise intriguing, but I wonder how they can possibly pull this off without the ending being a lemon. I like the trailer. However, there's the writer-director to consider. Since Lorene Scafania has never directed before, that's a blank slate, but she has written before — and it was the singularly dismal Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist (2008), which I'd done my damndest to block from my mind. Well, I'll remain hopeful.
This week The Best Exotic Hotel Marigold and Bernie are hanging in there at both The Carolina and the Fine Arts. The Carolina is also keeping Hysteria, but losing both First Position and Sound of My Voice (can't say I'm surprised).
Before getting to the usual screenings, let's take note of this Yoga Unveiled showing at the Fine Arts. Here's the press release on it:
Sponsored by Lighten Up Yoga and Asheville's prominent Yoga Teachers.
Harnessing the colorful commentary of the most prominent yoga scholars, teachers, and medical experts, Yoga Unveiled reveals how yoga began, tells the story of yoga's passage to the West, describes its numerous branches, recounts the fascinating biographies of the foremost yoga masters, and explores yoga's astonishing medical potential.Stunning cinematography, ornate visual displays, and stirring music create a truly enchanting viewing experience. The great devotees of yoga grace the screen with their profound wisdom and delightful manner. Yoga Unveiled also features commentary by Krishna Das, Dr. Herbert Benson, Edwin Bryant, Subhash Kak, Vasant Lad, Dr. Timothy McCall, Larry Payne, Pandit Rajmani Tigunait, Father Joe Pereira, Swami Sivananda, Dr. Martina Ziska, and Dharma Mittra.
A panel of local Yoga instructors will speak after the film.
Gita Desi - Film Director
Lillah Schwartz of Lighten Up Yoga
Cindy Dollar of One Center Yoga
Michael Johnson of Clear Light Yoga
Cat Matlock of West Asheville Yoga
Stephanie Keach of Asheville Yoga Center
Martia Rachman of Black Mountain Yoga
Sierra Hollister of Asheville Kundalini Yoga
Tickets are $10 - Advance tickets available at the Fine Arts Theatre box office
This week's Thursday Horror Picture Show is a double dose of Poverty Row horror from George Zucco, The Mad Monster (1942) and The Black Raven (1943) on Thursday, June 21, at 8 p.m. in the Cinema Lounge at The Carolina. (Preceded by Chapter Five of The Lost City at 7:40.) World Cinema is showing the controversial drama Meherjaan at 8 p.m. on Friday, June 22, in the Railroad Library in the Phil Mechanic Building. Martin Scorsese's Hugo (2011) is this week's film from the Hendersonville Film Society at 2 p.m. on Sunday, June 24, in the Smoky Mountain Theater at Lake Pointe Landing in Hendersonville. The Asheville Film Society is showing Busby Berkeley's Technicolor musical The Gang's All Here (1943) at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, June 26, in the Cinema Lounge at The Carolina. More on all titles in this week's Xpress with expanded coverage in the online edition.
It's an interesting week if only because I've never seen a single one of the mainstream releases — Wanderlust, Jeff, Who Lives at Home, Project X, and Big Miracle. All of these fell to Justin Souther for review. That alone may tell you something.
Notable TV Screenings
Another of those weeks where you're on your own.