Return of the Double Feature – Jump Street and Dragon

I love double features and marathons. Sadly I won’t be able to see either of these.

Jump Street

 

* Regal, Cinemark, AMC, Metro, and Arclight Cinemas are offering 21 and 22 Jump Street as a double feature on 6/12/14. Regal’s price is a very reasonable $15 and starts at 5 p.m. Participating Regal theaters can be found here. Regal Crown Club members receive a coupon for a $5 medium combo (which can be upgraded).

Double Dragon

* AMC also has a How to Train Your dragon double feature the same day. The original is shown at 6 p.m. with the sequel following at 8.

X-Men Days of Future Past

I was lucky enough to slip away and catch X-Men Days of Future Past the other day.

X-Men Days of Future Past

 

X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014) – Rated PG-13

The X-Men send Wolverine to the past in a desperate effort to change history and prevent an event that results in doom for both humans and mutants.”

Finally! I was beginning to give up hope for the summer season. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 wasn’t, Godzilla was barely in his own movie, and Neighbors was just plain boring. X-Men Days of Future Past is a wonderful start to the summer.

Bryan Singer returns to direct this, having left after the first two installments (i.e. the good ones). I would rate this one as between the first and second one in quality, with X-Men 2 being the adamantium standard for the franchise.

Brett Ratner’s X-Men: The Last Stand (2006) was exactly what you don’t want. As with Spider-Man 3, the powers that be decided that more was better (and I don’t mean more quality). Sure, comic book fans got their first looks at The Beast, Angel, Juggernaut, and Ratner’s version of the Dark Phoenix saga but it was all amped up to 11. They threw in more characters, more battles, more explosions and somewhere along the way story, character development, dialogue, and sense flew out the window.

X-Men: The Last Stand was at least better than X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009) which was basically The Last Stand with a single X-Man and a quarter of the budget. The Wolverine (2013) overcorrected by making it all about the story and turned the Frank Miller comic into a snoozefest. The best scene in The Wolverine is the post-credits sequence alluding to Days of Future Past.

Matthew Vaughn, a writer on Days of Future Past, was handed the directorial reigns for X-Men: First Class (2011), an interesting reboot of the franchise. The story is set during the Cuban Missile Crisis, necessitating younger versions of the X-Men. I am sure this allowed them to save enormously as instead of Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellan, Halle Berry, etc., we got a talented cast of newcomers.

Michael Fassbender is amazing as younger Magneto. James McAvoy is quite good as young Professor X, in spite of the magnetic Fassbender. A pre-Hunger Games Jennifer Lawrence is also excellently cast as Mystique. First Class has a few problems but is overall quite solid.

Days of Future Past is wonderful though not without its flaws. It assumes that you have at least seen X-Men 1, 2, and First Class. If you have not, you’ll have some catching up to do. Even with that knowledge, there are a large number of new mutants whose stories we are not given. We just see them in action periodically.

The movie belongs to Magneto, Wolverine, Professor X, and Mystique and the story keeps the focus squarely on them. Other mutants are in various supporting roles, with good roles for Beast, Kitty Pryde, and several surprises along the way.

While there are plenty of action sequences in the film, Singer underplays them. The focus is always kept on the story and the action sequences often develop the storyline. I did not find any of the fights to be showstoppers but all are good.

The reason Days of Future Past is so good is the overall story and the interactions between the main characters. Many of the post-modern mutants are not developed at all, just shown in combat. Many of the surviving First Class are not present here at all. Yet the story is full and rich and once again we are treated to multiple characters who see the same problems but have vastly different approaches to resolving them.

The acting is exactly what you would expect from accomplished veterans Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellan, Hugh Jackman, and relative newcomers Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender, Peter Dinklage, and James McAvoy.

There is a single post-credit scene at the very end of the credits. It apparently sets up the next movie without featuring any of the known characters. In my opinion, it isn’t worth staying through the credits. Still this is far better than Amazing Spider-Man 2’s coda which was a scene from this movie.

New Netflix Streaming Releases for the Week of 6/10/14

Mostly documentaries this week but also a new season of Orange is the New Black!

Action/Adventure: The Recruit, The Art of the Steal

Comedy: Awful Nice, Three Men and a Baby, What About Bob?, Girl Most Likely

Harry Dean Stanton

Documentary: Bidder 70, Big Joy: The Adventures of James Broughton, Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction, Pretty Old, Stories We Tell, Tiny: A Story About Living Small, 9/11 Stories in Fragments

Romeo

Drama: Romeo (Juliet was so embarrassed she left her name off the title?), Devil’s Knot

Faith: Camp Harlow

Family: The Great Muppet Caper, The Haunted Mansion, The Muppet Movie, Lalaloopsy Ponies: The Big Show

Fantasy & Science Fiction: 4:44 Last Day on Earth

Fairy Tale Killer

Foreign: Fairy Tale Killer, Sleepwalker

Television: New episodes of Orange is the New Black

Theater Rewards Programs – Regal, Epic, Carolina, Carmike, AMC

I love rewards programs. Most theater chains have rewards cards but not all are created equal, and per usual, each one has its strengths.

Epic Rewards

 

Epic rewards program looks wonderful. Rewards are every 40 points and are large size not small. Get to 480 points and you get a night out at the movies. Awesome right? Well in practice not so much. You can only earn a maximum of 12 points a day and NO points at all for concession purchases. Their ad states you can check the Refreshment Menu for additional points but I have NEVER seen additional points. The movie ticket reward is limited by quite a few restrictions. At absolute best, you can receive a reward every fourth visit.

Epic also offers cardholders a promotional size popcorn for $2 on Thursday. I find this size to be quite adequate for one person.

Regal Crown Club

 

Regal’s Crown Club was the standard for a long time. They recently moved from giveaways at 40 point intervals to 50 point intervals. They have the same popcorn/soft drink/movie ticket rotation, although they never give out a night at the movies and all of their rewards are small size. On the other hand, you can earn up to 20 points a day purchasing tickets and up to 10 points a day at concessions. They also often have particular movies that grant bonus points. This means that you can get a reward every second visit (or about every third if you go solo).

Regal also has special rewards. There is a featured candy for $2 every Monday, $2 popcorn on Tuesday, and 5 bonus credits for Thursdays.

*Caveat: while Regal’s stated system seems nice, I have been to 7 movies and many concession purchases lately without receiving a single reward. I can only imagine that my card is locked for some reason and I intend to speak to them next visit but currently my card does not appear to be earning points. I don’t know if this is just my problem or if this is a common occurrence. It certainly has dampened my enthusiasm for Regal.

Carolina Cinemas

 

Carolina Cinemas has a hilarious super secret program called the Carolina Club Card. I say super secret because the counter advertisement merely tells you that you can earn popcorn, soda, and movie tickets but not how many points you can earn in a day. Many other particulars are left vague. The flyer and card both say full rules & regulations are available online at carolinacinemas.com but there is NO mention of any kind on their website that they even have a rewards program. I do manage to earn a fair amount there so I have to assume it is on the same basic schedule as Regal and Epic but it would be nice to know.

I never go to our Carmike theater after having several customer service issues there many years back. There is little need as Asheville is stuffed with theaters. I looked up the Carmike Rewards program. You can earn up to 20 points each for ticket purchases and concessions over a three hour period. This is fairly generous but rewards are only given at the 80 point intervals. Yikes!

We don’t have an AMC theater in our area. I’ve heard that their Stubs program, while having an annual fee, is the best in the business, offering plenty of opportunities to earn items and granting upgrades.

Regal’s Summer Movie Express 2014

Every summer, various theater chains offer cheap or FREE movies in the mornings to entice the little ones. Regal Cinemas (which also includes Edwards Cinema and UA) offers their movies Tuesday and Wednesday mornings at 10 a.m. Sadly my other local chains, Carolina and Epic, are not having programs this year.

Regal Cinemas

When their summer season begins varies by location but the same films will be shown in the same order. Our local theaters, the Biltmore Grande and Beaucatcher begin their films on June 17th. Other locations can be found here. Films are only $1.

Week/Day

1/T Hotel Transylvania

1/W The Smurfs 2

2/T Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2

2/W The Pirates: Band of Misfits

3/T Arthur Christmas

Despicable Me 2

3/W Despicable Me 2

The Lego Movie

4/T Lego

4/W Free Birds

5/T Adventures of Tintin

5/W Rise of the Guardians

6/T Kung Fu Panda 2

6/W Madagascar 3

7/T The Croods

7/W Epic

8/T Turbo

8/W Walking with Dinosaurs

9/T Mr. Peabody & Sherman

9/W Rio 2

New Netflix Streaming Releases for JUNE

The usual assortment of catalog titles. Highlights include the first five Jesse Stone movies, the third season of Sherlock, and the Vengeance trilogy (Oldboy, Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, Lady Vengeance).

Action: Apocalypse Now, Apocalypse Now Redux, Black Mama White Mama, Bucktown, Clear and Present Danger, The Man from Snowy River, Mission Impossible III, Puncture Wounds, The Replacement Killers, The Reunion, We Were Soldiers

Anime: Pokemon the Movie:Kyurem vs. The Sword

Classic: El Dorado, Five Easy Pieces, Julia

Comedy: 1941, Barbershop, Better Than Chocolate, Bingo, Born Romantic, Bringing Up Bobby, Cheech & Chong’s Nice Dreams, Coffee and Cigarettes, Cousin Bette, Duplex, Funny Lady, I.Q., Ishtar, Loser, Major League, My Baby’s Daddy, Picture Perfect, Redemption of a Dog, The Stepford Wives (2004), Todd Oliver: Funny Dog, Trailer Park Boys: Live, Trailer Park Boys: Say Goodnight to the Bad Guys, Wayne’s World

Documentary: Brave Miss World, American Mormon, Barbershop Punk, The Beautiful Game, Doin’ It in the Park, E-Mail Order Bride, The Good Son, Hitler’s Secret Attack on America, I Escaped a Cult, Magic Camp, Nanking, The Paw Project, Sex for Sale: American Escort, Unlocking Sherlock, Vlast (Power)

Drama: Between Us, Cold Mountain, Dance with Me, The Escape Artist, Eyes of an Angel, First Knight, Fool for Love, Hammett, Lonely Hearts, One from the Heart, The Perfect Husband: The Laci Peterson Story, Reign Over Me, A River Runs Through It, Swept Away, Tetro, That Cold Day in the Park, Two Girls and a Guy, Waking Life, Who Did I Marry?, Wild Style

Faith: 17 Miracles, Escape, Left Behind: The Movie, Left Behind II: Tribulation Force, Left Behind: World at War

Family: The Adventures of Milo & Otis, The Blue Elephant, Born Free, Harriet the Spy, Popeye, Rudy, Short Circuit 2

Fantasy & Science Fiction: The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, At the Earth’s Core, Ever After: A Cinderella Story, Johnny Mnemonic, Scorcher

Oldboy

Foreign: Apenas o Fim, The Chorus, D-Day, Iron Monkey, Lady Vengeance, Oldboy, Ring of Curse, Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, The Triplets of Belleville

Horror: Barricade, Blood & Chocolate, The Bride, Candyman 2: Farewell to the Flesh, Carrie (1976), The Craft, Gothic, Lord of Illusions, Night of the Creeps, The Returned, Silent House

Sherlock

Television: Auction Hunters, Drugs Inc., Horrid Henry, Ink Master, Inside Combat Rescue, Little Princess, Noddy in Toyland, Street Football, When Aliens Attack, and new episodes of Guess with Jess and Sherlock

Stone Cold

Thriller: I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead, Jesse Stone: Death in Paradise, Jesse Stone: Night Passage, Jesse Stone: No Remorse, Jesse Stone: Stone Cold, Jesse Stone: Thin Ice, The Mean Season, Smilla’s Sense of Snow

The Last of Netflix Streaming Releases for MAY

 

Classic: Annie Hall

The Pill

Comedy: The Pill, Maria Bamford: The Special Special Special

The Vanishing of the Bees

Documentary: Leviathan, People of a Feather, An Unreal Dream: The Michael Morton Story, Vanishing of the Bees, These Birds Walk, The Greatest Movie Ever Rolled, Severe Clear

Drama: I Used to be Darker, Run & Jump

Family: Stellaluna

Foreign: Child’s Pose, Museum Hours, Caught in the Web

Television: Romanzo Criminale, Salamander, The Devil’s Triangle, Did God Create the Universe?, PopPixie, and more Total Drama

Escape from Tomorrow

Thriller: 24 Exposures, Escape from Tomorrow, The Happy House, Wicker Park

FREE June Movies at The Carolina

Carolina Cinemas

 

Every Tuesday at 8 p.m., the Asheville Film Society puts on a FREE movie at the Carolina in theater 6. Membership is not necessary to attend. Arrive early as they have gotten very crowded.

6/3 Pilgrimage (1933, John Ford)

6/10 The Glass Key (1942, Stuart Heisler)

6/17 The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994, Stephan Elliott)

6/24 Convict 99 (1939, Marcel Varnel)

Thursday Horror Picture Show

 

Every Thursday night at 8, Ken Hanke & Justin Souther put on a FREE horror movie in Carolina’s cinema lounge. Arrive early as they often put on an old serial beforehand.

6/5 Nosferatu, The Vampyre (1979, Werner Herzog)

6/12 Byzantium (2013, Neil Jordan)

6/19 Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933, Michael Curtiz)

6/26 Terror of Mechagodzilla (1975, Ishiro Honda)