Monthly Reel – March 2013

As the good professor, Chip Kaufmann, and I sat down to discuss the March issue, it was clear we were both suffering from acute cases of early onset movie malaise.

This seasonal disorder, which predominantly affects movie geeks, begins in late winter after award season nominations have been doled out and the studios are waging campaigns to bring home as many statuettes as they can. It’ll be many months before said studios start courting critics for next year’s award season, and a few months before the summer blockbuster season is upon us.

Year after year, March seems to be the month when we struggle the most to bring the issue together. Frankly, the only thing I’m anticipating movie-wise right now (we are writing this on a February deadline) is the 85th Academy Awards telecast, and that’s just as much about the red carpet arrivals and the fashion police as it is the awards.

The cure for movie malaise: Dan Steven and Michelle Dockery keep audiences riveted to the small screen in this year’s season finale of Downton Abbey.
The cure for movie malaise: Dan Steven and Michelle Dockery keep audiences riveted to the small screen in this year’s season finale of Downton Abbey.

Of late, television has in fact held much more interest than the cinema; Turner Classic Movies has been running its 31 days of Oscar, Masterpiece Classic has riveted audiences with season three of Downton Abbey (I intend to write a strongly worded letter to Mr. Fellowes after his devastating season finale), and AMC’s zombie apocalypse drama The Walking Dead.

Chip and I did see some films this month that were worth their salt, but which will not likely be playing by the time the March issue comes out. Standup Guys and Quartet are fun takes for aging baby boomers; the former showcasing the talents of Christopher Walken, Al Pacino and Alan Arkin, and the latter featuring Maggie Smith, Michael Gambon and Billy Connelly.

When we realized it too would likely be gone from theatres by the time the issue came out, neither Chip or I could quite bring ourselves to see Michael Haneke’s Amour. Brilliant performances aside, Haneke’s abstract style and the subject matter spelled absolute downer. After several incredibly rewarding months of award-caliber screenings, Chip and I decided to take in some purely mainstream offerings.

Chip had a lot of fun with the southern gothic drama Beautiful Creatures and even some fun with the 5th (and hopefully last) Die Hard movie. I meanwhile reviewed Identify Theft and Safe Haven. Both were exactly what they were supposed to be, nothing more, nothing less, and nothing to rave about.

Looking ahead to the coming weeks, the Fine Arts Theatre will be opening The Other Son, what looks to be the powerful story of two young men, one Israeli, the other Palestinian, who find out they were switched at birth and the complex repercussions facing them and their respective families. Also coming soon to a theatre near you: Stoker, Dead Man Down, Oz, the Great and Powerful and Jack the Giant Slayer.

If what’s reviewed here and what’s on the horizon doesn’t hold much allure for you, check out the offerings from the Asheville Film Society (AFS) and the Hendersonville Film Society (HFS). Both have great March schedules and the Greta Garbo classic Grand Hotel on the big screen is must-see!

We hope you’ll take the opportunity during the post-Oscar draught to explore some of these classic titles and maybe some of the pictures you missed at the theatre last year, now available on DVD.