weekly reeler Articles
What can I say? It's another week of some pretty sketchy-looking unknown quantity movies from the mainstream, and only one art title to help balance things out. Well, you have to expect that sometimes. If you're wanting to fill in your Oscar-nom viewing, this might be a good time. However, don't rule out that art title — and one of those others might have possibilities.
There are five movies coming to town this week, which I guess puts us on equal footing with last week in terms of quantity. There are two art titles. Those represent the feast, you see. Then there are three titles that -- from all appearances -- are about as far from art as one can imagine. That, then, is the famine.
At long last — meaning people can stop asking me — The Artist is coming to Asheville in all its black-and-white (mostly) silent glory. Yes, you can finally go see for yourself what all the fuss is about. At this point, I know it's opening at The Carolina and the Fine Arts. (It is likely opening at some other venues as well, since the big-box theaters tend to latch on to the surefire art titles they otherwise ignore. Am I suggesting that you should support the independent theaters that bring us art titles all year long? Well, yes, I am.) I know I also promised you another art title this week, but like Bogart in Casablanca, I was misinformed. There are, however, some other things coming out this week in the mainstream realm -- Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, Haywire, Red Tails and Underworld: Awakening.
We have what you might call a pretty full slate this week -- especially, if you consider the 3D re-issue of Beauty and the Beast. Otherwise we're faced with two mainstream releases -- Contraband and Joyful Noise -- one borderline art title -- The Iron Lady -- and one bonafide art title -- Carnage. This is that point in the year where the backlog of art titles is going to start flowing and keep hitting us in rapid succession. (There are two more art titles coming our way next week.) This year it's even more intense since the studios pretty much stiffed us on the art titles at Christmas -- even the more popular ones. Last year on Christmas Day you had your pick of The King's Speech, Black Swan, True Grit, and even I Love You, Phillip Morris. This year it was down to My Week with Marilyn and The Descendants -- and the latter had been out for a few weeks.
Well, here we are with the first "Reeler" of the year. As I promised you, we get something tasty this week, and something that looks more than a little suspiciously like rankest Velveeta. The tasty is Tomas Alfredson's Tinker Tailor Solidier Spy. It's a film that straddles the realm of art and mainstream, though it leans more toward the former than the latter (I say that having seen it twice now). However, it's done well enough elsewhere that my guess is that it won't just open at The Carolina and the Fine Arts, but may well be at the Regal Biltmore Grande, though that's not confirmed. Also unconfirmed (if anybody really cares) is just who is getting the ... well, we'll call it mainstream release, The Devil Inside. Theoretically, some theater will be the lucky recipient.
We are officially in the doldrums this week. That is to say that absolutely nothing is slated to open this week. With the possible exception of some theaters doing some tweaking of times (and how corporate offices do dearly love to do that to help justify their existence), everything that is playing on Christmas Day is very likely to be playing through Jan. 5. This week you may breathe easily or play catch-up with those movies you have yet to make it to. Next week at least I can pretty much promise you one treat and almost definitely promise you a cheesy-looking horror picture (of the low-budget R rated variety). But for the moment, I can say no more since things do change when you least expect it.
There's really no way to describe the layout of this week's movies other than calling it a total mess. We have movies. Oh, my, do we have movies. And in itself, that's not the problem. No, the problem is that some of them arrive on Wednesday, some of them arrive on Friday and some of them arrive on Sunday. If you want to make it just that much worse, some (maybe most) theaters are opening two of them on Tuesday night. My only suggestion is that you pay attention and keep those theater movie-line numbers close at hand and hope that the theaters can keep up with updating those lines. (Having spent more than my share of time recording the "Hello and thank you for calling" phone message at a theater, I know all the possible flaws in the updating process — including everybody thinking someone else did it.)
It's two and two this week. We're looking at two mainstream titles — Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows and Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chip-wrecked — and two art titles — Take Shelter and Young Adult. Take Shelter is finally opening at the Fine Arts, and Young Adult is coming to The Carolina.
Even though we get two mainstream releases -- New Year's Eve and The Sitter -- and two art titles -- The Descendants and Into the Abyss -- plus one impossible-to-classify offering -- Anonymous -- this week feels like the calm before the storm that is Christmas. And while I can't say I'm quivering in anticipation for the mainstream titles, I'm pretty happy with the other ones.
This is an interesting week. Everything -- even the art titles -- open on Wednesday, which is unusual, Thanksgiving or not. The three mainstream openers -- Arthur Christmas, Hugo, The Muppets -- are all of the family-friendly persuasion, which isn't surprising at this time of year. What is surprising is that they've all been seen by some critics of note, and have all fared very nicely in the process. It will undoubtedly be noted that the bulk of the Arthur Christmas reviews are from the UK -- its country or origin -- and are therefore suspect. The problem with that bit of "conspiracy" theory is that the Brit reviewers love nothing better than trashing their own though some weird sense of cultural inferiority. Neither of the art titles -- Like Crazy at The Carolina and Martha Marcy May Marlene at the Fine Arts -- could even slightly be construed as family-friendly, especially the latter.
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