Slim pickings for new selections at theaters

Blue Fox Entertainment

It’s been a relatively quiet week for movie theater news in Fayetteville. The Malco Razorback Cinema and IMAX is the lone theater in operation at this time on Fridays through Sundays. The 112 Drive Inn also is up and running Thursday through Sunday nights with a double feature.

Malco stated last week that its goal is to have all 35 of the Memphis-based chain’s theaters up and running by August. Likewise the AMC Fiesta 12 is expected to be open in late July to early August, based on news releases by its parent office in Leawood Kan.

“Deadline” reported Thursday that cash-strapped AMC is finalizing a deal with bondholders that would slash the company’s debt up to $600 million and bring in a fresh infusion of $200 million to keep the world’s largest theater chain up and running into 2021.

That’s good news for Fayetteville movie goers. Being served by two chains rather than just one should help keep ticket prices in check as well as offer a slightly greater selection of films and exhibition times.

As of right now, the selection of new films is slim with only the Australian movie “Never Too Late” opening today at the Razorback. “Variety” gave the comedy about an elderly veteran going to great lengths to reunite with his wife and several of his military buddies a positive review.

Horror fans took a knife to the ribs this week when Universal Pictures announced “Halloween Kills,” the sequel to last year’s “Halloween,” a reboot/sequel, has been moved from Oct. 16 of this year to Oct. 15 of 2021. October’s film slate is becoming very crowded as movies that were scheduled to be released in the summer are being backed up into fall.

Also on the horror front, Universal and Blumhouse Productions have convinced “Invisible Man” director Leigh Whannell to help star Ryan Gosling update “The Wolfman” for modern audiences.

Gosling pitched his idea for the story, which at one point he was considering directing, and Lauren Schuker Blum and Rebecca Angelo (Orange is the New Black) will write the screenplay that would re-set the 1941 Lon Chaney Jr. original in modern America instead of during an indistinct time period in Wales.

Whannell, the co-creator of the “Saw” franchise, impressed with his “Invisible Man” update this spring. The film was a critical and box-office hit. It’s a very suspenseful and clever take that focuses on the victim more so than the invisible villain. I was impressed. I can’t wait to see what Whannell and Gosling do with my favorite Universal monster.

New In Local Movie Theaters

  • Never Too Late(NR) 1 hr. 38 min. (trailer)
    Playing at: Malco Razorback

  • 112 Drive In

  • Black Panther(PG-13) 2 hr. 15 min. (trailer)
    Playing: July 10
  • Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back(PG) 2 hr. 7 min. (trailer)
    Playing: July 10-12
  • Inside Out(PG) 1 hr. 42 min. (trailer)
    Playing: July 11-12

Classic Corner

Dr. Strangelove / Sony/Columbia Industries Inc.

As an old movie — maybe at this point an ancient movie — buff, my favorite cable channel is Turner Classic Movies, as if you hadn’t already guessed.

TCM is usually the first channel I check when I flip on the TV if I’m not tuning into some specific, especially with sports still on the sideline because of the coronavirus. The familiar old movies make great background chatter for just about anything.

For this week’s Classic Corner, I thought I’d suggest a movie of the day playing on TCM over the next week just for fun. Fire up those DVRs.

Saturday — Dr. Strangelove (7 p.m.)

I almost chose “The Adventures of Robin Hood, which plays at 5 a.m., but when I saw “Dr. Strangelove or How I Stopped Worrying and Love the Bomb,” I had to go with the classic 1964 Stanley Kubrick satire that features three incomparable performances by Peter Sellers as a trio of characters: Group Captain Lionel Mandrake of England, U.S. President Merkin Muffley, and the wheelchair-bound Dr. Strangelove, a nuclear war expert and former Nazi. It’s debatable whether the movie is Kubrick’s and Seller’s best work, but there’s no arguing that the movie is a brilliant and terribly funny send-up of not-so-funny Cold War fears.

Sunday — The Kid (11 p.m.)

I have to admit that I find it difficult to dig into silent movies. I have to really focus and be in the right mood, but it’s worth the effort for a movie like “The Kid” and a director and performer like Charlie Chaplin. Chaplin may have created the “dramedy,” and “The Kid” from 1931 certainly qualifies as one. It features as much hilarity as it does tear-jerking moments. Basically, it’s the story of a tramp who takes in an orphaned baby to raise. Not only is Chaplin wonderful, but so is young Jackie Coogan as “The Kid,” thanks to his innate talent but also Chaplin’s marvelous direction. I like Chaplin’s “The Little Dictator” and “City Lights” a bit better, but “The Kid” is right up there with his best work.

Monday — Some Like It Hot (7 p.m.)

Many classic film fans rank “Some Like It Hot” not only as one of the best comedies ever made, but also one of the best films, period. It’s certainly hard to argue with them. As absurd as the 1959 Billy Wilder-directed movie is, the cast of Tony Curtis, Jack Lemon, Marilyn Monroe, and Joe E. Brown make you want to buy into the fun. The plot is simple. Joe (Curtis) and Jerry (Lemon) are jazz players who witness a crime. They disguise themselves as women to escape, and hijinks ensue. Not only are Curtis and Lemon on point comedically, but Monroe also gives the best performance of her career. Brown, who was fairly big comedy star in the 1930s, proves he still has the gift to draw laughs even at an advanced age.

Tuesday — The Wild One (7:30 a.m.)

“The Wild One” is the original outlaw biker film, and while the 1953 movie certainly shows its age, there is no denying Marlon Brando’s magnetism as leader of the pack Johnny Strabler. It’s an iconic performance that helped vault the anti-hero to the fore of the American movie screen. The film isn’t among Brando’s very best, but his performance and its affect on pop culture makes it a must-see movie.

Wednesday — What’s Up Doc? (3:15 p.m.)

“What’s Up Doc?” is director Peter Bogdanovich’s homage to the screwball comedies that he loved from the 1930s, but set in the odd and awkward early 1970s. Barbara Streisand and Ryan O’Neal star and have an undeniable chemistry as the daffy girl and an uptight professor, who are thrown together for a wacky and wild adventure.

Thursday — Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (10:45 p.m.)

“Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” is a saucy 1953 musical-comedy that help lift Marilyn Monroe from being a contract player to a star. The movie features her performance of “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend,” which Madonna famously spoofed in her “Material Girl” video in 1985. Monroe plays the gold-digging showgirl Lorelei Lee co-starring with Jane Russell as Dorothy Shaw, Lorelei’s more down-to-earth cohort in director Howard Hawks’ adaptation of the stage musical of the same name. Russell and Monroe are both stunning and quite funny in their roles. It’s a terrific pairing that makes the musical stand out along with the musical stylings of Hoagy Carmichael, Leo Robin, June Styne and Harold Adamson.

Friday — How Green Was My Valley (7 p.m.)

TCM is celebrating the films of director John Ford on Friday nights in July, and “How Green Was My Valley” is considered one of his best. The 1941 film is the story of a Welsh mining town divided by a strike as told through the eyes of young Huw Morgan (Roddy McDowall). The Morgan family is at odds when Huw’s three older brothers campaign for improved working conditions but their father doesn’t want to rock the boat. At the center of the story is a romance between Angharad Morgan (Maureen O’Hara) and the new village preacher, Mr. Gruffydd (Walter Pidgeon). Ford’s fondness for medium and long shots are on full display, and his Expressionistic interior lighting gives the move the characteristic warmth you would expect from his family dramas. The movie was nominated for 10 Academy Awards and won six, beating out the likes of “Citizen Kane,” “Sergeant York,” and “The Maltese Falcon” for Best Picture and also garnering Ford a Best Director Oscar.