This is an odd week in a number of ways. First of all, there's something unusual in terms of approach with a collection of music films. Then we have one art title — an unusally fine documentary — and three mainstream ones, which is no shock. But on top of that those happy pranksters the Weinsteins have hit us with another of those curious, out-of-nowhere split bills.
The documentary is Inequality for All, and it opens on Friday, Oct. 18, at the Fine Arts. This is something of a rarity for me, because I usually glaze over when it comes to activist documentaries — even ones with which I'm in complete agreement. (If I ever have to sit through another documentary about mountain-top removal, I'll be ready to push the detonator personally.) They all tend to be so earnest and gloomy and — worst of all — convinced that I'm as fascinated by the topic as they are and want to hear the same points over and over. This one was another matter in large measure, I think, because its "star" (if you will) is former Labor Secretary Robert Reich, who is one of the most charismatic and persuasive screen presences I've seen in a long time. Check out my review. Better yet, check out the film.
Then there's this collection of music films — called Music Madness — that opens at The Carolina on Friday. My review (or write-up, in one case) is in this week's paper. The films this week (there's a second edition of this next week) are two new showcased ones — Broadway Idiot and Metallica Through the Never — and two older titles — Anvil! The Story of Anvil and the classic This Is Spinal Tap. (Breakdown of times is in the review.) It's set up for either individual tickets at regular prices or a full set at a reduced rate. (I do not know how the 3D showing of Metallica Through the Never is handled for the group rate.) It's an interesting concept — one that could lead to us getting some of the more obscure titles that we're now missing if it works.
UPDATED. Now, about this Weinstein split bill of All the Boys Love Mandy Lane and Concussion. I only found out that this was happening — starting Friday at The Carolina — late yesterday. (That's why these aren't in the print edition's "Upcomers.") This appears to be pretty much the same thing as that pair of French movies a couple of weeks ago — except there's no possible way to connect these. One's a culty horror picture and the other is a drama involving a lesbian couple, one of whom decides to jazz up her sex life by becoming a Sapphic call girl. I've seen the horror one. Well...it's not nearly as clever as it thinks it is. I'm not sure how we'll be handling reviews on these. Online reviews have been added for both titles..
So let us turn our attention to the mainstream offerings — whether or not it seems desirable to do so.
First up is Kimberly Peirce's remake of Brian De Palma's Carrie, though I suppose I should be nice and say her new adaptation of the Stephen King novel. However, since this apparently relies heavily on the screenplay for the 1976 film, remake seems fair. Now, I try my damndest not to be one of those people — the ones who piss and moan about remakes. Remakes do nothing to the originals and, in fact, can increase interest in the originals. (In this case — shades of "Golden Age" MGM — though, the studio slapped a moratorium on allowing the De Palma version being booked till after this blows over. I know. I tried to book it.) Anyway, this looks downright grim. Chloë Grace Moretz strikes me as miscast, though I'm willing to have her prove me wrong. I am unimpressed by the director, the trailer, and the fact that it's coming out under the Screen Gems label (almost never a good sign). Plus, it remains unreviewed. The big thing is...how can you actually improve this? By adding explosions that were in the book, but not the film? Including the fantasy sequence where Jesus comes down from the cross and chases her around? I guess we'll find out, but I am approaching this with grave misgivings. Grave misgivings.
Then we have Mikael Håfström's (The Rite) Escape Plan with Stallone and Schwarzenegger. Stallone appears to play some kind of security system expert (yes, I believe that, too) who is tricked into prison where inmate Arnold befriends him (not, it appears, to the delight of Stallone). We also get Jim Caviezel as a villainous warden and Vinnie Jones as a nasty prison guard. For reasons that completely mystify me, 50 Cent is also in the picture. It, too, has gone largely unreviewed, but you already know whether you want to see this. I have no such desire myself, but I am curious to see if the brief boon in geriatric action movies has had its day.
Finally, there's Bill Condon's The Fifth Estate, which ought to be poised as the adult entertainment of the week, but seems to be generating very tepid interest and indifferent to negative reviews. Why? My own feeling is that Benedict Cumberbatch looks just as creepy as the real Julian Assange in that blonde wig and folks aren't excited about spending two hours with him. Still, you'd think Assange's tantrums about the film being unfair to him would generate interest, but I'm not seeing it. The cast is good and Condon — if we overlook those Twilight things — has done at least a couple of great things in the past. I guess we'll see how this plays out, but the smart money has Carrie down as the big opener this week.
And so this week we say goodbye to (too soon) to I'm So Excited and Short Term 12. The Fine Arts is trading them in for Inequality for All. The Carolina is dropping Parkland (no surprise there) and relegating Escape from Tomorrow to two shows a day. They're also losing Lee Daniels' The Butler (hey, it's been there since mid-August), but that's hanging on at Carmike, if you have managed not to see it yet.
We have several out-of-the ordinary special screenings this week — all on Thursday, it seems.
There's the monthly ActionFest feature:
ActionFest Film Festival is pleased to announce the seventh film of its monthly screening series. Ip Man: The Final Fight, the opening night film of the Hong Kong Film Festival, will screen one night only at The Carolina Asheville on Thursday, October 17 at 7:30 p.m.
In postwar Hong Kong, legendary Wing Chun grandmaster Ip Man (Anthony Wong) is reluctantly called into action. What began as simple challenges from rival kung fu styles soon turns deadly, drawing him into the dark and dangerous underworld of the Triads. Now, to defend life and honor, he has no choice but to fight one last time.
All proceeds from this screening will be donated to Homeward Bound, celebrating its 25th anniversary of providing pathways to housing for the homeless in Asheville. The suggested donation for admission is $10. Those in attendance will receive complimentary pints of beer donated by Asheville Brewing, plus complimentary soft drinks and popcorn donated by Carolina Cinemas.
Next we have Before You Know It at the Fine Arts:
The Fine Arts Theatre has teamed up with the LGBT Elder Advocates of Western North Carolina to bring light to the journey of our LGBT population. “The LGBT Elder Advocates of Western North Carolina aim to improve the lives of LGBT older adults in Western North Carolina by connecting people to resources and promoting cultural change” says chair person, Rebecca Chaplin. “In 2012 we worked with Fine Arts Theatre for a showing of GenSilent as a fundraiser for the LGBT Elder Advocates,” Chaplin said, “the film served to both raise awareness and educate our community on the needs of LGBT elders.” The showing was a great success.
This year the LGBT Elder Advocates of WNC will be working with the Fine Arts Theatre again to show the film Before You Know It. This film tells the stories of no ordinary senior citizens, but rather of go-go booted bar hoppers, love struck activists, bold adventurers and more. The film will show on Thursday, October 17th at 7pm and Friday, October 18th matinee.
A wine and cheese reception will proceed the showing on Thursday, October 17th at 6pm at the Blue Spiral Gallery. Tickets for the reception and film will be $20; tickets for the film will be $10. Tickets will be available at the door, online via the Fine Arts Theatre or by calling 828-251-7438.
World Cinema also has a special event:
October 17, Poster Exhibition and Film Screening at UNC Asheville Library–30 posters
6–7:30 p.m. Reception for Dr. Hamid Dabashi, Columbia University at the Ramsey Library Glasshouse.
7:30 p.m. Poster lecture and book signings by Dr. Dabashi
8:30 p.m. Screening of This is Not a Film in the Walt Whitman Room. This is Not a Film documents a day in the life of prisoner Jafar Panahi, banned for 20 years from filmmaking in Iran. The film was smuggled out of Iran in a USB stick hidden in a cake.
Now, for the usual things...
This week the Thursday Horror Picture Show has Michel Soavi's The Sect (1991) on Thu., Oct. 17 at 8 p.m. in the Cinema Lounge at The Carolina. World Cinema is showing Vincent Paronaud and Marjane Satrapi's Chicken with Plums (2011) at 8 p.m. on Fri., Oct. 18 at 8 p.m. in the Railroad Library in the Phil Mechanic Buiding. The Hendersonville Film Society is screening Robert Altman's The Company (2003) on Sun., Oct. 20 at 2 p.m. in the Smoky Mountain Theater at Lake Pointe Landing in Hendersonville. The Asheville Film Society is running their second Chiwetel Ejiofor movie of the month, Julian Jarrold's Kinky Boots (2005) at 8 p.m. on Tue., Oct. 22 in Theater Six at The Carolina. More on all titles in this week's paper with expanded reviews in the online edition.
This week the big deal releases are Pacific Rim (bound to lose a lot on a TV) and The Heat (which has nothing to lose).
Notable TV Screenings
You are on your own this week.