Welcome to a week in flux. Up until Monday morning we were slated for two art films and, it appeared, two mainstream titles. Then we were "Weinsteined" (I can think of no other word for their...quixotic approach to releasing movies) on one of the art titles. Now, one of the mainstream titles isn't looking too healthy. I shall explain.
Here's what we know is coming to town -- Stand Up Guys and Warm Bodies. OK? Those are locked in. No, we're not getting the geographically incomprehensible The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia, but then we never were. (When a horror movie opens in limited release, chances are everyone involved knows they've got a lox on their hands.) Now, theoretically we might -- -- be getting Walter Hill's Stallone picture A Bullet to the Head, but it's definitely not at The Carolina or the Carmike. My early information is that it's also not at the Regal Biltmore Grande, but I can't confirm that or the Beaucatcher till tomorrow. As for that Weinstein title that got bumped, it's supposedly moved to next week. I'm taking a wait-and-see stance.
So, of the two movies that we know we're getting, I've seen one -- Stand Up Guys -- which opens on Friday at The Carolina. In fact, I risked life and limb -- or at least ending up in a ditch -- to see it at 9 a.m. on Saturday. I'm not going to claim it's a great movie, but I liked it. Any movie that gives Al Pacino, Christopher Walken and Alan Arkin the chance to hold the screen for 90 minutes is doing something right from the onset. You can read the review in this week's Xpress.
That leaves us with Warm Bodies, Jonathan Levine's first movie since 50/50 in 2011. I wouldn't be expecting anything similar in this romantic comedy about the love between a human girl (Teresa Palmer) and a zombie (Nicholas Hoult) -- based, in some degree, on Romeo and Juliet. No, I didn't just make that up. I have no idea who Teresa Palmer is, though I've apparently seen her in at least one film. Nicholas Hoult, on the other hand, I know -- and you probably do, too, if only as the boy in About a Boy. He was also the student who may or may not be in love with Colin Firth's character in A Single Man, and was Hank McCoy/Beast in X-Men: First Class. This, however, is his first chance at carrying a film -- and as strange a choice as this role may seem, he appears to have possibly pulled it off. At least, the trailer looks that way -- and reviewers for The Hollywood Reporter and Screen International seem to agree. I'm willing to give it a chance.
Since we're not getting much this week, we're not losing anything of note.
This week the Thursday Horror Picture Show taps into the 1950s insect fear film with Jack Arnold's Tarantula (1955) at 8 p.m.on Thu., Jan. 31 in the Cinema Lounge at The Carolina. World Cinema will be showing Gregory Nava's El Norte (1983) on Fri., Feb. 1 at 8 p.m. in the Railroad Library in the Phil Mechanic Building. The Hendersonville Film Society will show David Frankel's The Devil Wears Prada (2006) on Sun., Feb. 3 at 2 p.m. in the Smoky Mountain Theater at Lake Pointe Landing in Hendersonville. The Asheville Film Society is screening Denys Arcand's Love & Human Remains (1993) at 8 p.m. on Tue., Feb. 5 in the Cinema Lounge at The Carolina. More on all films in this week's paper -- with expanded reviews in the online edition.
Seven Psychopaths comes out on DVD this week. (My copy is on the way.) I can't imagine there's anything else you need to know, but in case you do, we also see the debuts of Hotel Transylvania, Hello I Must Be Going, and, God forbid, Paranormal Activity 4.
Notable TV Screenings
Before TCM bogs itself down in their annual "31 Days of Oscar" orgy, they're showing a rarity. Unfortunately, it's a 6:30 a.m. on Wed. Jan. 30, but it's worth getting up for. It's John M. Stahl's film of Preston Sturges' play Strictly Dishonorable (1931). You won't see this show up very often. Make the most of it.
At 7:30 a.m. on Fri., Feb. 1 they have George Arliss in his Oscar-winning role in Disraeli (1929). Yes, the film is a little stagy and Mr. Arliss is at his most theatrically over-the-top here, but it's still an enteraining movie and an engrossing performance. And after that...the yearly Oscar Parade really takes hold.