This week may be on the slack side — in fact, it is on the slack side — but it cannot possibly be as bad as last week. Last week's three mainstream pictures marked a trilogy of tripe the likes of which I don't need to see again any time soon (as in this century). I don't even like thinking about last weekend, so let's get on with this one.
There are only three movies opening this week — unless you count the Fine Arts bringing Chasing Ice back an opening. For that matter, it's debatable whether or not Jurassic Park with a shiny new 3-D paint job really qualifies as a new release. (I can't claim any great interest in rushing out to see it myself. Even in 2-D I mostly remember it as headache-inducing.) So a case could be made that there are only two movies opening this week.
One of the week's movies is Amy Berg's documentary West of Memphis, which I've already seen. It was the single bright spot in last weekend's viewing — and that's coming from someone who isn't known for being wild about documentaries. The review is in this week's paper. I'll point out here — as I do in the review — that part of my enjoyment of the film may be due to knowing very little about the case under consideration and, as a result, the movie played like a suspense drama for me. (Mr. Souther tells me that if you grew up paying attention to music in the 1990s — which I obviously didn't — not knowing about the West Memphis Three would be unthinkable.)
That brings us down to one movie, so let's break out the Magic 8-Ball and take a look at it.
That one movie is the remake — or something like that (who knows these days?) — of Sam Raimi's 1981 cult favorite The Evil Dead. (This new film is merely called Evil Dead, so you can immediately tell it's different.) It's been some considerable time since I saw Raimi's film, but my original memory of it — before it was any big deal — was that it was cleverly cheesy on a really low budget. (I may have reviewed it in The Official Splatter Movie Guide, but I don't remember and I don't know where the book is offhand. Five or six moves take their toll.) The new film isn't by Raimi (he and Bruce Campbell are producers), but by someone named Fede Alvarez, a filmmaker from Uruguay known for his short films. At least two of these — Panic Attack! and El Cojonudo — are available on YouTube. The former is the more impressive (hey, it even gets an Odessa Steps Potemkin reference in its short running time). The latter, however, has more obvious connection to Evil Dead and it suffers from bad acting. Hopefully, the presence of better actors in Evil Dead will help. The plot — or at least the set-up — of young people in a secluded foolishly reading aloud from an old book is in keeping with Raimi's original. The fact that Alvarez boasts of using floor effects rather than CGI is encouraging, as are the early reviews. Plus, it's not like there's an abundance of choices this weekend.
This week the Fine Arts is cutting Stoker to one show at 7 p.m., but The Carolina is holding steady on it. However, The Carolina is dropping Spring Breakers, which predictably dropped like a rock in its second week. (No word yet on whether the Biltmore Grande is holding onto it.) Somewhat surprisingly, On the Road did well enough at The Carolina to justify a second week, but I would not expect a third, especially with all the art titles slated for April 12.
This week's Thursday Horror Picture Show is Edward L. Cahn's It! The Terror from Beyond Space (1958) — a film that qualifies as the original, much cheesier, version of Alien — at 8 p.m. on Thursday, April 4 in the Cinema Lounge at The Carolina. World Cinema is showing Federico Fellini's 8 1/2 (1963) on Friday, April 5 at 8 p.m. in the Railroad Library in the Phil Mechanic Building. The Hendersonville Film Society is screening Leo McCarey's An Affair to Remember (1957) at 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 7 in the Smoky Mountain Theater at Lake Pointe Landing in Hendersonville. Orbit DVD is running Jack Sholder's The Hidden (1987) on Sunday, April 7 at 10:30 p.m. at the Admiral. The Asheville Film Society leads into next Friday's release of Danny Boyle's new film with his first film Shallow Grave (1994) on Tuesday, April 9 at 8 p.m. in the Cinema Lounge at The Carolina. More on all movies in this week's Xpress with extended reviews in the online edition.
Well, if you missed it when it was in the theater — and most of you seemed to — Don Coscarelli's pretty darn wonderful John Dies at the End comes out on DVD this week. I'll be adding it to my shelves for sure. Otherwise, this week on DVD is even more slack than the theatrical releases.
Notable TV Screenings
Continuing the pattern established by new releases and DVDs, this is just not a compelling week on TCM. In other words, you are on your own.