Starring: Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody, Jason Schwartzman, Amara Karan, Wallace Wolodarsky, Waris Ahluwalia, Anjelica Huston

The Darjeeling Limited

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In Brief: Wes Anderson's The Darjeeling Limited (2007) is one of the filmmaker's best works — and a film that flirts with the term "perfect." Complaints that it doesn't "go anywhere" and that it is "twee" (a favorite term of Anderson detractors) seem to miss the point. The film — or the characters (who pretty…
Starring: Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Ty Simpkins, Lin Shaye, Barbara Hershey, Steve Coulter, Leigh Whannell, Angus Sampson

Insidious: Chapter 2

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The Story: A continuation of 2010's Insidious — with the focus changed to the father. The Lowdown: One of the most beautifully connected sequels I've ever seen, Insidious: Chapter 2 is everything I hoped for and more. Easily as creepy as the first film and quite possibly a better movie in the bargain.
Starring: Clara Bow, Charles "Buddy" Rogers, Richard Arlen, El Brendel, Roscoe Karns, Gary Cooper

Wings

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In Brief: William A. Wellman's Wings (1927) won the very first Oscar for best picture — and unlike many Oscar winners since then, it was a deserved honor. It's also one of those rare Oscar winners that holds up to this day. First of all, it's truly an epic, but it's an epic grounded in…
Starring: George C. Scott, Brad Dourif, Ed Flanders, Jason Miller, Scott Wilson, Nicol Williamson

The Exorcist III

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In Brief: Exorcist author William Peter Blatty brought his own Exorcist sequel novel Legion to the screen in 1990 as The Exorcist III. (Since its story follows an entirely different tangent, it doesn't have to consider Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977) in its plotting.) For my money, the result is the scariest, best-acted and certainly…
Starring: Cillian Murphy, Chris Evans, Michelle Yeoh, Rose Byrne, Benedict Wong

Sunshine

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In Brief: It can certainly be argued that Danny Boyle's Sunshine (2007) is more science-fiction than horror film. However, it's hard to deny that its last act — at least up to its mystically transcendent ending — owes a great deal to the horror genre. In fact, at the time of its release, this horror…
Starring: Diana Wynyard, Clive Brook, Una O'Connor, Herbert Mundin

Cavalcade

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In Brief: Frank Lloyd's 1933 film adaptation of Noel Coward's stage play won Oscars (best picture and best director) and was one of the big prestige pictures of its year. Today, the luster of this time-spanning (1899-1932) ode to the British character has dimmed considerably. It is, however, a worthy film that ought to be…
Starring: Robert Morse, Jonathan Winters, Anjanette Comer, John Gielgud, Lionel Stander

The Loved One

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In Brief: It was the film "with something to offend everyone," and it's my guess that while Tony Richardson's The Loved One is less shocking today than it was in 1965, it still contains more than its share of outrages against anything approaching good taste. Its tale of Hollywood funerary practices, movie studios, pet cemeteries,…
Starring: Ryan W. Martin, Nathanial Perz, Danna Kennelly, Marty Danekind

Bad Ideas

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In Brief: There's really no glossing it over — Ryan W. Martin's Bad Ideas is aptly named. It comes under the vague heading of experimental cinema, which in this case is a mind-numbing two hours of navel gazing. According to the movie description, "A Stranger has awoken in an unknown world, the Astral Field; the…
Starring: Lake Bell, Fred Melamed, Michaela Watkins, Ken Marino, Demetri Martin, Rob Corddry, Alexandra Holden

In a World…

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The Story: A young woman finds herself breaking down the boys' club barrier in the world of trailer voice-overs. The Lowdown: Funny, charming, sweet-tempered comedy from first-time writer-director-star Lake Bell. Its fresh setting — the world of voice-over artists — and a perfect cast matched with a clever script make it one of the most…
Starring: Rooney Mara, Casey Affleck, Ben Foster, Keith Carradine, Nate Parker

Ain’t Them Bodies Saints

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The Story: Tragic romantic crime drama about a prison escapee trying to return to the woman he loves and the daughter he's never seen. The Lowdown: Strong on visuals, atmosphere and performances, but perhaps a little too deliberately paced and enigmatic for all audiences. Those interested in the art-film scene should definitely take notice.
Starring: James Cromwell, Geneviève Bujold, Julie Stewart, Rick Roberts, Campbell Scott, George R. Robertson, Jonathan Potts

Still Mine

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The Story: An elderly man tries to cope with his wife's Alzheimer's and a battle with a building inspector. The Lowdown: This is one-half of a pretty good film that's compromised by a silly straw-man plot (to goose the uplift quotient), but raised by terrific performances from James Cromwell and Geneviève Bujold.

Cranky Hanke’s Weekly Reeler September 11-17: Ain’t Them Bodies in a World Still Insidious

Well, this is certainly tastier than last week, which produced the absolute worst grosses I’ve seen in … well, a very long time. This week looks better. I say that based on both things I’ve seen and my level of interest in at least one thing unseen. This is also one of those weeks in which there are, I fear, more art titles than the market will bear.

Starring: Kim Ashdown, Ken Balcomb. Samantha Berg, Dawn Brancheau, Dave Duffus

Blackfish

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The Story: Documentary about the killer whale that killed three people. The Lowdown: Very basic activist documentary. Its message is a worthy one, but its delivery is never as compelling as it should be.
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Daniel Day-Lewis, Cameron Diaz, Jim Broadbent, Brendan Gleeson, John C. Reilly

Gangs of New York

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In Brief: Martin Scorsese's Gangs on New York (2002) is an epic in the best and truest sense of that oft overused word. It's big, it's sprawling, it's filled with larger-than-life characters. It's also quite violent and long — both of necessity to the story being told. The film marks Scorsese's first work of the…
Starring: Silvia Monfort, Philippe Noiret

La Pointe Courte

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In Brief: Agnès Varda's first film, La Pointe Courte (1955), has somewhat mystifyingly come to be viewed as the first New Wave film, but this assessment has more to do with its low budget and being made outside the industry than for any aesthetic reason. In terms of style, the film is more connected to…
Starring: Juliette Binoche, Olivier Martinez, Pierre Arditi, François Cluzet

The Horseman on the Roof

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In Brief: The Horseman on the Roof may have been made in 1995, but it feels like a film from a much earlier era — even with its outbursts of nudity and grisly images of a cholera plague. It's utterly romantic, but in an almost absurdly chaste manner. In fact its stars, Juliette Binoche and…
Starring: Jordana Brewster, Clea DuVall, Laura Harris, Josh Hartnett, Elijah Wood, Shawn Hatosy

The Faculty

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In Brief: Odd — and oddly appealing — 1998 throwback to 1980s horror from Robert Rodriguez. It's an alien-invasion yarn — not unlike Invaders from Mars (1953) where most of the authority figures have been taken over by an alien force. This, however, is very much in the 1980's teen-centric mold (with most of teens…

Cranky Hanke’s Weekly Reeler September 4-10: This? This Is It?

Unless there’s something hiding in the recesses of the listings I haven’t seen — thanks to Labor Day — this has all the earmarks of being the lamest week of 2013. We have one mainstream title and one documentary headed our way. It’s not really surprising — the summer is over and awards season hasn’t started — but that doesn’t keep it from being dispiriting.

Starring: Sharni Vinson, Nicholas Tucci, Wendy Glenn, AJ Bowen, Joe Swanberg

You’re Next

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The Story: Gory home invasion movie with a twist ... and a few dollops of black comedy. The Lowdown: Overrated but reasonably adequate horror of the splattery kind. Nothing special.
Starring: Eric Bana, Rebecca Hall, Ciarán Hinds, Riz Ahmed, Jim Broadbent, Julia Stiles

Closed Circuit

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The Story: Defense lawyers for a sensitive case involving an alleged terrorist bomber find themselves embroiled in something more than they bargained for. The Lowdown: An unusually smart legal thriller that appeals more to the intellect than your standard action-oriented flick. (Think Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.) A strong cast, solid direction and a well-rounded script…