Starring: Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter, Anne-Marie Duff, Brendan Gleeson, Ben Whishaw


The Story:  History and fiction collide in this story of the suffrage movement in early 20th century Britain. The Lowdown: Well-intentioned and full of noble sentiments, but curiously inert as drama. It's perhaps too concerned with being prestigious to work.
my learned friend
Starring: Will Hay, Claude Hulbert, Mervyn Johns, Laurence Hanray, Ernest Thesiger

My Learned Friend

In Brief: Many consider My Learned Friend (1943) to be British comedian (and astronomer and airplane pilot) Will Hay's best film. I'm not sure I can go that far. His obvious failing health (it was his last movie, though he lived for several more years) is a bit of downer, and the absence his earlier co-stars, Moore…
last circus
Starring: Carlos Areces, Antonio de la Torre, Carolina Bang, Manuel Tallafé, Alejandro Tejerías

The Last Circus

In Brief: Calling this complex and disturbing work a horror film doesn’t do it justice — at the very least it’s art-house horror — but that’s as near as you’re likely to get to pinning it down. It is neither practical, nor particularly advisable, to try to offer a detailed plot synopsis of The Last Circus. It…
Starring: Tye Sheridan, Logan Miller, Joey Morgan, Sarah Dumont, David Koechner, Halston Sage, Cloris Leachman

Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse

The Story: Three scouts and a stripper battle a zombie plague. The Lowdown: Raunchy without being terribly funny (or daring) and gory without being horrific, there's just not much here. Yeah, I've seen worse, but that could be said of many things without suggesting anyone else should.
Starring: Carol Dempster, Neil Hamilton, Erville Alderson, Helen Lowell, Marcia Harris, Frank Puglia, Lupino Lane

Isn’t Life Wonderful

In Brief: Frequently cited as D.W. Griffith's last masterpiece, Isn't Life Wonderful (1924) does mark a break in his career, since it is his last independent film. But its status as a masterpiece strikes me as an overstatement of some note. It showcases nearly every one of Griffith's weaknesses and very few of his strengths.…
Starring: Jean-Pierre Léaud, Claire Maurier, Albert Rémy, Guy Decomble

The 400 Blows

In Brief: World Cinema is revisiting François Truffaut's first feature, The 400 Blows (1959), which struck a blow of its own as the first of the New Wave films — movies that came as a reaction to what was perceived as the stodginess of classical French filmmaking (and filmmaking around the world for that matter). It was a…
miss you
Starring: Drew Barrymore, Toni Collette, Dominic Cooper, Paddy Considine, Jacqueline Bisset, Tyson Ritter, Frances de la Tour

Miss You Already

The Story: Film about the friendship of two women from childhood to marriage and to one of them battling cancer. The Lowdown: Much more than a "disease of the week" movie, this is a sharply written, beautifully acted work that edges into the must-see realm.
house of long shadows
Starring: Vincent Price, Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Desi Arnaz, Jr., John Carradine, Julie Peasgood, Sheila Keith

House of the Long Shadows

In Brief: The sixth and (to date) last film version of the George M. Cohan play of Earl Derr Biggers' novel Seven Keys to Baldpate also marked the final film for Brit horror director Pete Walker. (There's no big drama here, he just decided to get out of filmmaking.) House of the Long Shadows (1983) is…
Starring: Richard Dormer, Jodie Whittaker, Kerr Logan, Dylan Moran, Liam Cunningham

Good Vibrations

In Brief: Good Vibrations is one of those British productions that simply never got picked up for U.S. distribution, and that's a shame, because this is a truly remarkable little film. Also, it's remarkable in a few ways — one of which is unexpected. It tells the story of music-obsessed Terri Hooley (Richard Dormer, '71),…
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Daniel Brühl, Omar Sy, Emma Thompson, Alicia Vikander, Matthew Rhys, Uma Thurman


The Story: A top chef who threw it all away with bad behavior attempts a comeback. The Lowdown: Smart, funny, emotionally affecting — if maybe a little overstuffed — film anchored to interesting characters is much better than you've perhaps been led to believe. Very worth your time.

Cranky Hanke’s Weekly Reeler October 21-27: Rock Steve Jobs Last Witch Mommy Dimension Hologram

Yes, it’s another over-stuffed week at the movies. The notable difference is that a lot of it is easier to dismiss out of hand. Of the six movies opening this week, I’d call four of them marginal at best. That, of course, is subjective and has no relation to whether or not they will make money.

Starring: Cate Blanchett, Robert Redford, Topher Grace, Dennis Quaid, Elisabeth Moss, Bruce Greenwood, Stacy Keach


The Story: Dramatic recreation of the events of the 2004 60 Minutes story that destroyed the careers of Dan Rather and Mary Mapes. The Lowdown: Surprisingly effective as drama and thought-provoking on every other level, Truth only stumbles owing to a tendency to preach, but not enough to sink the film.
Starring: Anthony Quinn, Giulietta Masina, Richard Basehart, Aldo Silvani, Marcella Rovere

La Strada

In Brief: Though I'll take The White Sheik (1952) for my dose of early Fellini any day of the week, I don't deny the greatness of La Strada (1954) and I certainly understand its appeal on numerous levels. While The White Sheik looks forward to the more fantastic works of Fellini from the 1960s, La…
Starring: James Cagney, Horst Buchholz, Arlene Francis, Pamela Tiffin, Howard St. John, Hanns Lothar

One, Two, Three

In Brief: Taking a 1929 Ferenc Molnar play, retaining the basic plot and moving it to the Cold War era with Berlin divided by the Wall (or the incipient version of it), Billy Wilder crafted what may well be his funniest movie with One, Two, Three (1961). It’s certainly his fastest-paced film, and one built around the most…
Starring: Vin Diesel, Rose Leslie, Elijah Wood, Michael Caine

The Last Witch Hunter

The Story: An 800-year-old witch hunter squares off against an ill-tempered witch queen with rebirth on her mind. The Lowdown: Not good enough to be good, and not quite bad enough to be fun, this is strictly for Vin Diesel diehards.
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet, Seth Rogen, Jeff Daniels, Michael Stuhlbarg, Katherine Waterston, Perla Haney-Jardine

Steve Jobs

The Story: Biopic of Steve Jobs. The Lowdown: Solidly made, largely entertaining, but hardly the groundbreaking work it's been touted as.
sentinel 3
Starring: Chris Sarandon, Cristina Raines, Burgess Meredith, Eli Wallach, Christopher Walken, Ava Gardner

The Sentinel

In Brief: I saw Michael Winner’s The Sentinel (1977) on its opening weekend as part of a daylong bout of movie-going. It was the first film of the day, and I was frankly appalled by it, but it remains the only movie I remember from that outing (apart from a midnight show of Ken Russell’s 1971 film, The Boy Friend).…