The Week in Film: Mr. Roboto edition

Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

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In Theaters

Pacific Rim ( )

Pacific Rim
(Warner Bros.)

Big budget Droid commercial?  Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots: The Movie?  A feature-length expansion of the Beastie Boys’ “Intergalactic” video?  Some combination of all three?  Whatever Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim winds up being, it’s sure to be interesting.  Covering the near-future battle between deep sea monsters from another dimension (OK…that’s got to be a Beastie Boys reference, right?) and humankind, the film pits Godzilla-type creatures against two-person mechanical giants with civilization as their arena.  Early reviews have been encouraging and del Toro (HellboyPan’s Labyrinth) has yet to deliver a flop, so signs point to an enjoyable Friday morning.

20 Feet from Stardom ( )

20 Feet from Stardom
(The Weinstein Company)

Back-up singers get their due in 20 Feet From Stardom, a documentary primed to make stars out of Merry Clayton, Darlene Love, Claudia Lennear, Lisa Fischer, and Judith Hill.  Morgan “No Relation to Aaron” Neville’s film focuses on the triumphs and travails of vocalists who’ve supported the likes of David Bowie, Ray Charles, Luther Vandross, and others, combining interviews with performances old and new.  Bruce Springsteen shows up to give props, as do Mick Jagger, Stevie Wonder, Sting, and Sheryl Crow.  I missed this one at Full Frame in April, but have only heard good things about it and won’t be surprised if it’s nominated for the Best Documentary Oscar.  Find out for yourself starting Friday at the Fine Arts Theatre.

Grown Ups 2 ( )

Grown Ups 2
(Sony Pictures)

Seeing as I’ve yet to watch 2010’s Grown Ups, how can I possibly keep up with the intricate plotting that’s sure to unspool in its sequel?  Hopefully director Dennis Dugan will cut me some slack and make the transition an easy one.  Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, David Spade, and Kevin James return for more man-child shenanigans.  Along the way, they implicate somewhat innocent bystanders such as Steve Buscemi, Salma Hayek, Maria Bello, Maya Rudolph, and fellow old school SNL brethren Jon Lovitz, Colin Quinn, and Tim Meadows.  (Hell, who am I kidding…none of these folks are innocents.)   Maybe the former kings of sophomoric comedy can conjure up some of their old magic?  I mean, they’ve got something left to offer, right?

Fleeing the Scene

Much Ado About Nothing will have to sing hey, nonny nonny elsewhere for a while.  Singing their own version of the blues are We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks and The East.


Admission and The Gatekeepers, two very different but worthwhile views, are now available in disc form.  The same home viewability extents to the well-made Colin Farrell/Noomi Rapace dud Dead Man Down and some not so well-made duds, Tyler Perry’s Temptation…OK, since it’ll be the last time it’s mentioned for a while, let’s invoke the full title…Tyler Perry’s Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor The Host, and Spring Breakerseach of which may land on the year-end Worst Of list.

On Netflix Instant

Monkeybone, the live-action/animation hybrid from The Nightmare Before Christmas director Henry Selick, is one of those critically-panned films that actual human beings (and many actual critics) love, so naturally I’m interested.  I remember its marketing campaign presenting a Curious George type of vibe, then hearing that the film itself was quite a bit darker.  13 Going on 30, the pleasant Jennifer Garner’d take on Big, also warrants a spot in your queue (maybe now I can fully appreciate the Pat Benatar references), as do both of the documentaries listed in the New DVDs section last week, Venus and Serena and The House I Live In, and the latest in Michael Apted’s Up series, 56 Up.

Unknowns include a pair of critically mauled films from 2012, The Expendables 2 and the Gerard Butler romcom Playing For Keeps, and The Bay, Barry Levinson’s latest, in which he tries out the found-footage genre for a tale of ecological horror in a seaside Maryland town.

Aaaaaaand if you’re in the mood for a Gary Sinise marathon, all eight seasons of CSI: NY are now available for binging.  Enjoy!

Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

  • 1

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