Your guide to Asheville's vibrant and diverse movie offerings.

The Week in Film: 4/13/17

Here's what's coming to Asheville area movie theaters this week. While much of the populace dashes out to see guys named Vin, Dwayne and Jason drive a bunch of vehicles at unsafe speeds, the local art houses respond with some more law-abiding offerings.

The lone wide release to challenge a certain meathead muscle car movie, this tale of a seven-year-old math prodigy (the wonderful Mckenna Grace) embroiled in a custody battle between her protective uncle (Chris Evans) and heartless but driven grandmother (Lindsay Duncan) is the kind of counter-programming that could poke a hole in those not quite street legal tires. Those who winced at its sappy trailer may take heart that the actual film exhibits few such moments.

Now playing at AMC Classic, Biltmore Grande, Carolina Cinemark and Grail Moviehouse.

Did you know that Paul Cézanne and Emile Zola were childhood pals? You did? And you say everyone and their mom knows that, too? Okay, well, snooty attitude aside, there’s still plenty to discover and like about this sumptuous period piece, one of the most authentic portrayals of friendship between male artists ever committed to film.

See it starting April 14 at Grail Moviehouse.

This week’s super huge, explosion-filled release, the eighth installment in the improbably unkillable Fast & Furious series sees family leader Dom (Vin Diesel) pull a Bennie Arnold on his crew when he teams with the mysterious Cypher (Charlize Theron). F. Gary Gray (Straight Outta Compton) takes the directorial reins from James Wan, who wisely took his substantial paycheck and returned to making A-level horror films. Count the number of times Tyrese and Ludacris try and fail to make you laugh, add in the total booty shots, multiply by a million and you’ll have the film’s projected weekend haul.

See it starting with evening shows April 13 at AMC Classic, Biltmore Grande and Carolina Cinemark.

Gael García Bernal is a blast as a Mexico City telenovela actor with a wandering eye whose wife leaves him without warning. Upon discovering that she’s at an Iowa university’s writing workshop, he flies to Middle America in hopes of bringing her home, but his experiences there cast doubt on his assumptions in (often painfully) funny ways. 

See it starting April 14 at Grail Moviehouse.

They’re ba-aaack

The Grail celebrates the 25th (?!?!) anniversary of Quentin Tarantino’s debut feature Reservoir Dogs with a week of screenings, starting April 14. Experience the mayhem on the big screen, the way it was intended to test your limits.

The Bottom Line

Both of the Grail’s new foreign films are worth checking out for very different yet also some of the same reasons, but if you haven’t watched T2 Trainspotting – whether due to an aversion to drug addicts or sequel fatigue – be brave and treat yourself to the year’s best film to date while it’s still at the Fine Arts. Also, if subtitles have kept you from seeing Your Name, take note that the Fine Arts will show the English-dubbed version for all shows on April 16, a step that should go a long way in reducing the amount of text to take in and aiding audience’s appreciation of an already excellent movie.

Fleeing the scene

Ghost in the Shell (still at Biltmore and Carolina) isn’t doing great at the box office, but it’s nonetheless surprising to see it leave AMC Classic after two weeks and interesting still that it’s being replaced by The Zookeeper’s Wife(also added at Biltmore) and two daily showing of The Shack (which also has a full schedule at Biltmore). AMC Classic and Biltmore also cut Power Rangers(still at Carolina), the Grail drops the one-two foreign film punch of Land of Mineand After the Storm and Carolina gives the coup de grâce to Life, meaning the Alien rip-off has completely departed the local market.

On DVD

Robbed of the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, the uproarious Germany comedy Toni Erdmann heads to the home viewing front while fellow empty-handed Academy Award nominees Hidden Figures and Lion look to grow their already sizable fan bases.

Among the titles that didn’t play locally are War on Everyone, the latest from John Michael McDonagh (Calvary); the critically lauded Chinese mystery Kaili Blues; the western Brimstone, starring Dakota Fanning, Guy Pearce and Kit Harington; and, three years after its release, the WWII drama Walking with the Enemy, featuring a supporting turn by Ben Kingsley. There’s also the starless horror film The Bye Bye Man and the CGI/live-action hybrid Monster Trucks, which did receive wide theatrical releases, but three months later still don’t feel like required viewing.

Streaming

The big news this week is the simultaneous release of all 14 new episodes of Netflix’s Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return (April 14), making Showtime Anytime’s addition of empty Indiaphile bait The Man Who Knew Infinity (April 14) all the more insignificant. Over on Amazon Prime, shoulda-been-a-best-picture-and-director-Oscar-contender The Handmaiden (April 13) classes up the joint before welcoming the overrated but visually appealing The Love Witch (April 14).

HBO NOW lowers viewer I.Q. with the theatrical and extended versions of the atrocious Suicide Squad (April 15), then raises the number two days later with 2016’s well-received Philip Roth adaptation, Indignation (April 17). And lastly, Hulu gets its indie groove on with the powerful Brie Larson breakout Short Term 12 (April 13) and the promising but flawed (excessively screechy kid alert!) The Babadook (April 14). Also under the Art heading is Rooney Mara and Casey Affleck in David Lowery’s pretty, Malick-esque but verbally mumbly Ain’t Them Bodies Saints (April 18), suggested viewing before the trio’s summer release Ghost Story, in which Affleck literally walks around wearing a white sheet over his head with holes poked out for his eyes.

The Week in Film: 4/20/17

The Week in Film: 4/6/17