We can now settle back into movie releasing normalcy since The Dark Knight Rises has risen. And considering it's Bele Chere weekend that's good news for those of us in search of air conditioned amusements that don't involve going anywhere near downtown. However, all is not skittles and beer. The two art titles opening this week are one thing, but the ones grasping for those simoleons from more mainstream moviegoers look pretty sketchy indeed. Then again, those art titles are choice.
I've seen the art titles. One of them, in fact, I've seen three times. That may give you some hint as to how I feel about that one. The films in question are The Intouchables and Safety Not Guaranteed -- and both open Friday at The Carolina. (Reminder: the Fine Arts is closed from July 27 till Aug. 3 -- first due to Bele Chere and then for the conversion of the theater to digital projection.) And both movies are good. I don't want to sell The Intouchables short. It's the biggest moneymaker at the French box office of all time -- and it's not hard to see why. It's pure crowd-pleaser stuff, and I mean that in the best way. But Safety Not Guaranteed is...well, truly something special. There aren't many films I can make the time to see more than once, let alone more than twice, but this is one of them. I came to it expecting little. I spent most of that first viewing expecting it to go wrong -- and it never did. In fact, it transcended my best case scenario. Read the review.
And then, well, first off there's Step Up Revolution (in both 2D and 3D incarnations, depending on how involved you want to be with the movie), the fourth -- yes, fourth -- in the Step Up series. Now, I have managed to never see one of these, but as near as I can tell the films are but loosely related to each other -- except that they all have lots of that peculiar style of dancing where you can't tell where terpsichore leaves off and gymnastics take over. They star folks you've never heard of and the directors are no better known. There is, however, an apparent audience for them -- and, it seems, a bigger one overseas (the last one made nearly three times its U.S. gross elsewhere). This time, the film seems to carry some kind of social message about stopping greedy developers. This concept was new...about 1935. The thing is I can avoid this one easily enough. I have it in Justin Souther's own words from his review of Step Up 2 the Streets -- "I’ve somehow become some sort of expert when it comes to the underdog-dance flick." Who am I to try to usurp that title?
Otherwise, there's The Watch (note: that's the Red Band trailer and is pretty raunchy)-- an R rated comedy from the maker of the Andy Samberg movie, Hot Rod. Remember that? Neither do I. This used to be called Neighborhood Watch, but events made the studio think that title was unwise. Of course, the title change isn't going to change that this is a movie in which Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughan, Jonah Hill, and Richard Ayoade play guys in a neighborhood watch group. The idea is that this group of mismatched is going to have to save the world from an alien invasion -- kind of like Attack the Block without the thick Cockney accents. I have no clue why Richard Ayoade is in this. Shouldn't he be off making another movie like Submarine? In all fairness, this might be a nice surprise. Yeah, it's a long shot, but it could happen.
Now, as I predicted last week, Bernie is leaving us this Friday. It's also worth noting that Your Sister's Sister is being split (evening shows only), so I expect this is its final week.
The Thursday Horror Picture Show this week is Fernando Mendez's The Black Pit of Dr. M. (1959) on Thu., July 26 at 8 p.m. in the Cinema Lounge at The Carolina. World Cinema is running the Japanese film After Life (1998) on Fri., July 27 at 8 p.m. in the Railroad Library in the Phil Mechanic Building. The Hendersonville Film Society is showing Part Two of The Iceman Cometh (1973) at 2 p.m. on Sun. July 29 in the Smoky Mountain Theater at Lake Pointe Landing in Hendersonville. Pedro Almodovar's Law of Desire (1987) is this week's film from the Asheville Film Society on Tue., July 31 at 8 p.m. in the Cinema Lounge at The Carolina. More on all titles in this week's Xpress with expanded coverage in the online edition.
This week we get the very fine The Deep Blue Sea and the elegant documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi. There's also the gimmick-driven Silent House, which probably marked the 90 most tedious minutes I spent in a theater so far this year. This was a movie where a complete stranger stopped me on the way out to ask, "Did you like it?" and was much pleased when I told her I thought it was awful.
Notable TV Screenings
I really hate to pull this two weeks in a row, but this just isn't a very inspiring week on TCM. You may have better luck combing the listings than I did.