The excitement of last week -- the opening of Trance and Beyond the Pines -- gives way to slighter art house pleasures this week, but pleasures all the same. There are two of those, but only one mainstream title -- and no matter how it fares it absolutely has to be better than Scary Movie 5. An evening with a door-to-door God salesman or someone making an Amway pitch is better than Scary Movie 5.
I probably should note that I didn't see last week's other release, 42. That's because I'm still holding out for an uplifting badminton movie. Now, I have seen this week's art titles -- Sally Potter's Ginger & Rosa and Abbas Kiarostami's Like Someone in Love (both opening at The Carolina) -- though I only reviewed the latter. Mr. Souther tackled the former. There's no denying that these are not in the same league of exciting filmmaking as Trance and The Place Beyond the Pines, but they're definitely worth consideration.
Like Someone in Love -- the one I reviewed -- is clearly a film for specialized tastes. If you like Kiarostami's last film, Certified Copy, there's a good chance this will appeal to you. But be warned this is small scale work in which very little happens that can reasonably be called action. Plus, Kiarostami leaves the motivations and feelings of his characters up to the viewer to read. I like it a good bit -- in part because it didn't do a single thing I expected. Read the review and decide.
I suspect Ginger & Rosa will find a warmer reception. It's more accessible and its story is more universal. I suspect it will work even better for those who were in their teens during the Cuban missile crisis and have a clearer memory of the time and the first glimmerings of what would come to be called the counter-culture. The presence of familiar faces -- Annette Bening, Timothy Spall, Oliver Platt -- is also a plus. Check out Justin's review.
And that brings us to the week's single mainstream offering, Oblivion, which stars Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman (unlike Scary Movie 5, this has the real one), Olga Kurylenko, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, and Melissa Leo. It was directed and co-written by Joseph Kosinski, who made TRON: Legacy. The trailers make the film look very slick with impeccable effects work. But neither they, nor the studio plot outline can make it sound like something you haven't seen before -- even if they assure us it's "an original and groundbreaking cinematic event from the visionary director of TRON: Legacy." But then I'm skeptical of "events" and even more skeptical when I'm told the director is "visionary." (Zack Snyder, anyone?) Maybe I'm jaded. Still, can you honestly read this and not wonder how it's "original?" -- "Living in and patrolling the breathtaking skies from thousands of feet above, Jack's soaring existence is brought crashing down after he rescues a beautiful stranger from a downed spacecraft. Drawn to Jack through a connection that transcends logic, her arrival triggers a chain of events that forces him to question everything he thought he knew." It sounds like dozens of conspiracy-based movies to me (not to mention being appallingly written). Well, we'll see.
This week we lose Stoker -- which I was really hoping would do better than it did -- and West of Memphis -- which did about what I expect from a documentary. You've still got a couple days to catch them.
This week the Thursday Horror Picture Show celebrates its third anniversary by showing the film that started the series three years ago -- Stuart Gordon's Re-Animator (1985) at 8 p.m. on Thu., April 18. World Cinema is screening Ishiro Honda's Gojira (Godzilla) (1954) on Fri., April 19 at 8 p.m. in the Railroad Library in the Phil Mechanic Building. The Hendersonville Film Society has Richard Fleischer's Soylent Green (1973) at 2 p.m. on Sun., April 21 in the Smoky Mountain Theater at Lake Pointe Landing in Hendersonville. On Tue., April 23 a 8 p.m. the Asheville Film Society is running the Irving Cummings' Technicolor musical-comedy That Night in Rio (1941) in the Cinema Lounge at The Carolina. More on all films in this week's paper with expanded reviews in the online edition.
There's only one thing of note here, but that one is incredibly choice -- Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained. Also up are a couple of titles that didn't make it to local theater screens -- the animated Monster in Paris and the geographical oddity The Haunting in Connecticut2: Ghosts of Georgia. I've heard good things about the former, but not the latter.
Notable TV Screenings
I'm very much afraid that this is one of those weeks -- one where there's no real shortage of good stuff on TCM, but nothing particularly out of the ordinary.