meet john doe-imdb
Starring: Gary Cooper, Barbara Stanwyck, Edward Arnold, Walter Brennan, James Gleason

Meet John Doe

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The great Frank Capra’s most ambitious and disturbing film, Meet John Doe is possibly more relevant today than when it first appeared in 1941. The idea of a completely media-fabricated celebrity — raised almost to the level of deity and used as a tool for political gain — probably seemed pretty fantastic then. Of all…
house
Starring: Louis Hayward, Lee Bowman, Jane Wyatt, Dorothy Patrick, Ann Shoemaker, Jody Gilbert

House by the River

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In Brief: One of Fritz Lang's lesser-known films, House by the River (1950) was in fact often referred to as a "lost film." The fact seems to have been more prosaic than that. There was simply no interest in it because it was considered to be physically too dark to be watched on TV, especially…
RSFS_01
Starring: Glenda Jackson, Stratford Johns, Imogen Millais-Scott, Nickolas Grace, Douglas Hodge

Salome’s Last Dance

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In Brief: At an early point in Ken Russell’s Salome’s Last Dance (1988), Oscar Wilde (Nickolas Grace) is surprised to see an amateur production of his banned play Salome interrupted by a photographer taking a flash picture of the proceedings. The photographer is none other than Russell himself, who is playing a visiting dignitary in the show, prompting Wilde…
zombies
Starring: Dick Purcell, Joan Woodbury, Mantan Moreland, Henry Victor, John Archer, Madame Sul-Te-Wan

King of the Zombies

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In Brief: The story goes that King of the Zombies was written and designed with Bela Lugosi in mind for the villainous Dr. Sangre. It certainly has all the earmarks of a Lugosi role — a creepy foreigner with a zombie-like wife (Patricia Stacey), a sinister, isolated castle, equally sinister servants and a small squad of zombies. Instead,…
naked-lunch
Starring: Peter Weller, Judy Davis, Ian Holm, Julian Sands, Roy Scheider

Naked Lunch

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In Brief: Only a madman would attempt to film William S. Burroughs' novel Naked Lunch, and that is perhaps why David Cronenberg didn't make a film of it, instead making a film about Burroughs and the creation of the book. This does not make his 1991 film of Naked Lunch an easy undertaking for the casual…
our-kind-of-traitor-1-ewan-mcgregor-and-naomie-harris
Starring: Ewan McGregor, Stellan Skarsgård, Naomie Harris, Damian Harris, Mark Stanley, Jeremy Northam

Our Kind of Traitor

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The Story: A British couple on holiday in Marrakech become involved in espionage and intrigue. The Lowdown: Reasonably cerebral thrills are to be found in this latest transfer of a John le Carré novel to the screen. Solid entertainment with Ewan McGregor and Naomie Harris as appealing leads and Stellan Skarsgård and Damian Harris in…
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Cranky Hanke’s Weekly Reeler June 29-July 5: Swiss Legend of Our Kind of BFG De Palma Election Year

In theaters.  It’s the July 4th weekend, which I guess means people are expected to go to the movies. I don’t know. I can’t keep track of these things anymore. So maybe. Actually, there are only two mainstream movies locked in a death match (the third is on a wholly different level). So that means […]

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Starring: Jan Vokes, Brian Vokes, Howard Davies, Angela Davies

Dark Horse

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The Story: Documentary about a real-life uplifting sports tale of an unlikely racehorse. The Lowdown: Sweet without being cloying, crowd-pleasing without being obviously manipulative, this is how this kind of tale ought to be told. See it now before Hollywood decides to remake it.
not of this
Starring: Paul Birch, Beverly Garland, Morgan Jones, Jonathan Haze, William Roerick

Not of This Earth

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In Brief: In 1957, this Roger Corman cheapie played on a double bill with Attack of the Crab Monsters and was advertised as a “Terrorama! Double Horror Sensation!” As with most sci-fi horror pictures of its era, the ad campaign smacks of wishful thinking. Yet, there’s no denying that Not of This Earth (a premise Corman liked so much…
the-man-who-knew-too-much2
Starring: Leslie Banks, Edna Best, Peter Lorre, Frank Vosper, Hugh Wakefield

The Man Who Knew Too Much

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In Brief: The Asheville Film Society's first monthly ticketed film, 1934's The Man Who Knew Too Much, is the movie that gained Alfred Hitchcock the attention of the international film world — attention that would increase with The 39 Steps (1935) and The Lady Vanishes (1938), the films that took him to America. It is also a film that…
maraviglioso
Starring: Kasia Smutniak, Riccardo Scamarcio, Jasmine Trinca, Vittoria Puccini, Rosabell Laurenti Sellers

Wondrous Boccaccio

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In Brief: Put bluntly, the Taviani Brothers' Wondrous Boccaccio (2015) isn't. That's not all that surprising since it's from the Taviani Brothers, gained no release in the country and is out on DVD from Film Movement, whose name is synonymous with movies no one else would touch. What you get with this adaptation of Giovanni Boccaccio's…
Port-of-Shadows
Starring: Jean Gabin, Michel Simon, Michèle Morgan, Pierre Brasseur, Édouard Delmont

Port of Shadows

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In Brief: Marcel Carné's Port of Shadows (1938) is — not unjustly — celebrated today as a kind of precursor to film noir, but the truth is that it's more a very French fatalist romance of a kind that can best be called poetic, trashy melodrama. And that is not a put-down by any means.…
anthonyweiner-1453231900
Starring: Anthony Weiner, Huma Abedin, Adam S. Barta, Amit Bagga, Sydney Leathers

Weiner

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The Story: Documentary about Anthony Weiner's doomed bid for redemption by running for mayor of New York City. The Lowdown: Yeah, you almost certainly know how this is going to play out, but that doesn't keep the film from being compelling and even fascinating.
fits
Starring: Royalty Hightower, Alexis Neblett, Inayah Rodgers, Da'Sean Minor, Antonio A.B. Grant Jr., Lauren Gibson

The Fits

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The Story: A young girl finds her world opening up when she becomes a member of a dance group at a community center. The Lowdown: Virtually impossible to synopsize and not even easy to describe. Let me just say that this is a rather special movie.
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Starring: Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga, Madison Wolfe, Frances O'Connor, Lauren Esposito, Simon McBurney, Simon Delaney

The Conjuring 2

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The Story: "Psychic investigators" Ed and Lorraine Warren are called in on a case of demonic possession in England. The Lowdown: A considerable improvement over its predecessor, this one is genuinely unsettling and atmospheric — even knowing that the story is utter hogwash. While deploring the glorification of the Warrens, I can't deny that James…
SAVING MR. BANKS
Starring: Emma Thompson, Tom Hanks, Colin Farrell, Ruth Wilson, Paul Giamatti, Bradley Whitford, B.J. Novak, Jason Schwartzman

Saving Mr. Banks

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In Brief: For their Father's Day selection , the Hendersonville Film Society has settled on the ... interesting, but defensible, choice of the 2013 movie Saving Mr. Banks. In order to enjoy this movie, it’s necessary to realize only that the principal characters truly did exist. Walt Disney did indeed woo P.L. Travers for years to…
Cary_Grant_and_Audrey_Hepburn_in_Charade_2
Starring: Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn, Walter Matthau, James Coburn, George Kennedy

Charade

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In Brief: Often spoken of as “the best Alfred Hithcock movie Hitchcock never made,” the truth is that Stanley Donen’s Charade is much better as sophisticated, sexy entertainment than anything Hitchcock himself was making in the 1960s. In fact, by 1963, Hitch would never make anything that was this much pure fun again. This is old-style Hollywood moviemaking, complete…
The-Lady-Vanishes-02
Starring: Michael Redgrave, Margaret Lockwood, Paul Lukas, Dame May Whitty, Cecil Parker

The Lady Vanishes

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In Brief: The Lady Vanishes (1938) is not only one of Hitchcock’s best and most completely entertaining films, but it’s the film that launched Hitch on his Hollywood career. Hollywood had taken notice of him with The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934) and The 39 Steps (1935), but it was The Lady Vanishes that sealed the deal. It’s not hard…
genius-poster-lg-1
Starring: Colin Firth, Jude Law, Nicole Kidman, Laura Linney, Guy Pearce, Dominic West

Genius

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The Story: A film centered on the relationship between Thomas Wolfe and his editor, Maxwell Perkins. The Lowdown: Highly polished, poetically minded biographical film that captures something of the essence of the author-editor relationship and the genius of both of its subjects. Few films have such a literary aura as this.