First, an apology for including the remake of Walt Disney’s “Dumbo” among last week’s Best Bets. Walt still may be spinning, wondering why Tim Burton opted to make the large-eared pachyderm a supporting character while ignoring much of the iconic 1941 animated effort. But more on this later.
Also interesting, after stressing the importance of variety for Best Bets, this week I leaned toward citing as many as three new movies and decided upon only two – and neither are the two films almost guaranteed to at least challenge “Us” on the box office charts.
Indeed, one can expect longer lines and early ticket sales to be earned by yet another remake of Stephen King’s “Pet Sematery” – the misspelling is intentional – and especially the comic superhero introduction of “Shazam,” which finds a magic word transforming 14-year-old foster kid Billy (Asher Angel) into the grown Shazam (played by Zachary Levi). I ignored both films.
I am intrigued by the movie “Best of Enemies,” a drama based on real people which is opening at the Cinemark multiplexes. The casting is magnificent, with director Robin Bissell casting the great Taraji P. Henson as civil rights activist Ann Atwater who – in 1971 Durham, North Carolina – faces off on the subject of school integration against Academy Award-winner Sam Rockwell, who plays C.P. Ellis, Exalted Cyclops of the Ku Klux Klan.
The subject’s history alone affords potential, but it will be interesting to see how far Bissell explores the affect each character has on the other. Perhaps not in the film: Ellis died of Alzheimer’s Disease in 2005; Atwater delivered the eulogy at his funeral. I’d love to understand what happened during the preceding three decades.
Thus, I already have mentioned three of more than twice as many movies opening this weekend – but I decided to recommend only the following two, each directed by a female filmmaker, each an independent release and both finding success on the festival circuit.
This weekend’s Best Bets include:
A drama opening at Premiere Cinemas. Co-written and directed by Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre, with its world premiere taking place three weeks ago at the Sundance Film Festival. Matthias Schoenaerts portrays a convict assigned to participate in a rehabilitation program centered around the capturing and training of wild mustangs in the western states. The film has an approval rating of 95 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and a weighted average score of 77 out of 100 on Metacritic. From what I have read, “The Mustang” is not a sentimental film about a wild horse and tough con affecting one another and is helped in no small way by Bruce Dern as a long-time convict who holds no illusions about what happens to the mustangs captured.
The film is rated R for language, some violence and drug content.
A horror film opening at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema and, like several independents at the Alamo, look for this feature to be screened once each day, between 10:30 p.m. and 11 p.m. (It will have increased matinees on a closing Thursday.) Emma Tami directs from a screenplay by Teresa Sutherland. A synopsis: An unseen evil haunts the homestead in this chilling, folkloric tale of madness, paranoia and otherworldly terror. Lizzy (played by Caitlin Gerard) is a tough, resourceful frontierswoman settling a remote stretch of land on the 19th century American frontier. Isolated from civilization in a desolate wilderness where the wind never stops howling, she begins to sense a sinister presence that seems to be borne of the land itself, an overwhelming dread that her husband (Ashley Zukerman) dismisses as superstition. When a newlywed couple arrives on a nearby homestead, their presence amplifies Lizzy’s fears, setting into motion a shocking chain of events. Masterfully blending haunting visuals with pulse-pounding sound design, director Tami evokes a godforsaken world in which the forces of nature come alive with quivering menace.
The film is rated R for violence/disturbing images and some sexuality.
On the one hand, ABC Rodeo performances take place at 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 5, and both 1 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 6. On the other hand, this likely is Lubbock’s opportunity to say goodbye to the Lubbock Municipal Coliseum. Constructed in the 1950s, the building is not scheduled to host another event before being razed. Tickets prices are on sale at Select-A-Seat, priced at $23 for reserved seats, $15 for general admission seating and $14 for obstructed view seats; prices include service charges. Call Select-A-Seat at 770-2000 for more information. Ticket prices are $2 higher at the door.
Ballet Lubbock’s “Dream Aloud: An Evening of Voice and Dance”
According to Ballet Lubbock executive director Nicholas Dragga, choreographers this weekend find the Ballet Lubbock school of dancers performing to live music sung by local entertainers, including the Texas Tech Women’s Chorale, West Texas Children’s Choir, local gospel choir Joyful Noise and soloists Hanna Jackson, Amy Moss and Corbin DeSpain. Performances are at 7 p.m. Friday-Saturday, April 5-6, at the Lubbock Memorial Civic Center Theatre, 1501 Mac Davis Lane.
Colt Riley, with Select-A-Seat at 770-2000, indicated reserved seats are $62, $46, $36 and $25, with prices including service charges. Dragga confirmed that choreographers include Ballet Lubbock artistic director Yvonne Racz Key, Bashaun Williams, Emily Jane Farr, Elisabeth Gillaspy and Sydney Sorenson.
As for the fifth and last Best Bet, I suppose I could list Saturday’s television broadcast of the Texas Tech Red Raiders in the Final Four. Naturally, there is another First Friday Art Trail on Friday, April 5 – and Josh Abbott will headline a benefit concert Saturday, April 6, at the United Supermarkets Arena, with tickets $36 and $31.
But I’m having a kick including local sports as best bets, so let’s go with:
Texas Tech Baseball and Softball
The Tech Tech Red Raiders baseball team will host the University of Kansas Jayhawks at 6:30 p.m. Friday, April 5; 2 p.m. Saturday, April 6; and 1 p.m. Sunday, April 7, at Dan Law Field at Rip Griffin Park.
And let’s not forget the Texas Tech Lady Raiders softball team plays vs. the University of Texas at 6 p.m. Friday, April 5; 3 p.m. Saturday, April 6; and 1 p.m. Sunday, April 7, at Rocky Johnson Field, 1002 Cancer Center Drive.