Starring: Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Basil Rathbone, Claude Rains, Patric Knowles, Eugene Pallette, Alan Hale, Ian Hunter, Una O'Connor

The Adventures of Robin Hood

In Brief: What is left to be said about The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)? It is — even if mostly by accident — one of the most perfectly cast movies ever made. Every player in it seems to have been born to play his or her role. The production values are top-notch. The score…
Starring: Gaspard Manesse, Raphael Fetjo, Francine Racette, Philippe Morier-Genoud

Au Revoir, les Enfants

In Brief: Generally speaking, Louis Malle’s films are a little too restrained for my taste, but, as with most things, there are exceptions. With Malle, the exception is his semiautobiographical 1987 work, Au Revoir, les Enfants, a film where his restraint is less pronounced than usual. Malle’s approach is perfectly suited to the subject —…
Starring: Deborah Kerr, Megs Jenkins, Peter Wyngarde, Martin Stephens, Pamela Franklin, Michael Redgrave

The Innocents

In Brief: Though highly regarded in some quarters, I have always found Jack Clayton's The Innocents (1961) a well-produced bore with literary pretensions of the stupefyingly trapped-in-amber kind. But I thought it was time to give it another try when this screening popped up. I wish I could say another viewing of this film version…
Starring: Bill Murray, Kate Hudson, Leem Lubany, Fahim Fazli, Arian Moayed, Bruce Willis

Rock the Kasbah

The Story: A meandering series of events that ultimately becomes the tale of a low-rent talent agent getting a young Afghan girl on the show "Afghan Star." The Lowdown: The first half of this Bill Murray vehicle is just not good, but it gives way in its second half to a movie that's very worth seeing to a degree that…
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Starring: Bob Hope, Paulette Goddard, Willie Best, Paul Lukas, Richard Carlson, Anthony Quinn

The Ghost Breakers

In Brief: For their Halloween movie, the Asheville Film Society revisits the Bob Hope horror-comedy The Ghost Breakers, which they showed four years ago. After spending nearly a year trying to figure out what to do with Hope, Paramount had struck gold by putting him in a film version of an “old dark house” stage play with The…
Starring: Jack Black, Dylan Minnette, Odeya Rush, Ryan Lee, Amy Ryan, Jillian Bell


The Story: The assorted monsters from R.L. Stine's Goosebumps books get loose, causing kid-friendly mayhem. The Lowdown: It's better than you probably think, and children should love it. It looks good, is pleasant enough, but anything more than that — probably not.
Starring: Mia Wasikowska, Tom Hiddleston, Jessica Chastain, Charlie Hunnam, Jim Beaver

Crimson Peak

The Story: A young woman marries a strange man and discovers that life with him and his sister in the family mansion isn't what she'd hoped for. The Lowdown: Guillermo del Toro's gothic horror, haunted house shocker — perhaps the most visually striking film of the year — is in a class by itself. A…
Starring: Susanne Wuest, Lukas Schwarz, Elias Schwartz, Hans Escher, Elfriede Schatz, Karl Purker

Goodnight Mommy

The Story: Two children become convinced that their mother — wrapped in bandages following cosmetic surgery — isn't their mother. The Lowdown: Highly regarded on the festival circuit it may be, but this is a slow, unpleasant thriller with the most transparent "twist" of all time.
Starring: Tom Hanks, Mark Rylance, Scott Shepherd, Amy Ryan, Alan Alda, Sebastian Koch

Bridge of Spies

The Story: Fact-based story of Cold War politics and espionage. The Lowdown: Solid old-fashioned moviemaking with everything that implies. Sure, it's well-made and it does what it sets out to do, but there's an inescapable sense of ossification.
Starring: Akira Takarada, Momoko Kôchi, Akihiko Hirata, Takashi Shimura, Fuyuki Murakami

Gojira (Godzilla)

In Brief: Perhaps no series in the history of movies ever went to hell as fast as the seemingly endless spawn of Gojira — or Godzilla as it came to be known in the West. Oh, sure, the immediate cheapjack sequel Godzilla Raids Again (1955) — which made it to the U.S. in 1959 as Gigantis the Fire Monster — was at…
Starring: Ellen Burstyn, Linda Blair, Max von Sydow, Jason Miller, Lee J. Cobb

The Exorcist

In Brief: For the Halloween season, the Asheville Film Society has booked — from a new DCP rendering of the movie — William Friedkin's horror classic The Exorcist (1973). Friedkin’s film treatment of William Peter Blatty’s best-selling novel about a young girl possessed by a demon originally seemed more an “event” than a great movie. Its…
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Levi Miller, Garrett Hedlund, Rooney Mara, Adeel Akhtar, Amanda Seyfried


The Story: An attempt at creating an origins story for Peter Pan. The Lowdown: A deeply disappointing film from an incredibly talented filmmaker. It sometimes works. More often, it doesn't. It's mostly watchable, but it's a lot of fuss over not much. Think of it as Peter Pan: The YA Years.
Starring: Oliver Reed, Samantha Eggar, Art Hindle, Henry Beckman, Nuala Fitzgerald, Cindy Hinds

The Brood

In Brief: The Brood (1979) may reasonably be considered the first of David Cronenberg’s mature films. It’s undeniably the first that afforded him the presence of two actual stars — Oliver Reed and Samantha Eggar. It’s also the first that is clearly about more than it seems, which only serves to make its excursions into Cronenbergian…
Starring: Woody Allen, Alan Alda, Martin Landau, Mia Farrow, Anjelica Huston

Crimes and Misdemeanors

In Brief: If Crimes and Misdemeanors isn’t Woody Allen’s best blending of drama and comedy, it’s most certainly in the running (and beats the pants off his 2005 white-bread, wholly dramatic reworking of similar material, Match Point). It may also be the filmmaker’s most intensely Jewish work. Jewishness, of course, is rarely far removed from any Allen film,…
Starring: Rudolph Valentino, Nita Naldi, Casson Ferguson, Gertrude Olmstead


In Brief: Rudolph Valentino's penultimate film, Cobra (1925), is something of an oddity. Cobra (no, the title doesn't refer to Valentino) is essentially a drawing room romantic drama done in the typical Hollywood style of the era. The camera is nailed down (the one shot where it moves is startling just because it feels out…
Starring: W.C. Fields, Peggy Hopkins Joyce, George Burns, Gracie Allen, Bela Lugosi, Stuart Erwin, Cab Calloway

International House

In Brief: With International House, the Asheville Film Society celebrates not its star, its strangeness, nor its Pre-Code freedom, but rather the birthday (the 133rd) of horror icon Bela Lugosi, who here (despite his billing) had probably his best non-horror role. A friend of mine once summed up A. Edward Sutherland’s International House (1933) by running down the cast list and…
Starring: Andrew Garfield, Michael Shannon, Laura Dern, Clancy Brown, Tim Guinee, Noah Lomax

99 Homes

The Story: A man who loses his home in the housing bust goes to work for the crooked realtor who evicted him. The Lowdown: It's powerful, and it's still timely, but 99 Homes is also obvious and increasingly less compelling as it goes on.
Starring: Idris Elba, Abraham Attah, Emmanuel Nii Adorn Quaye, Ama K. Abebrese, Richard Pepple, Opeyemi Fagbohungbe

Beasts of No Nation

The Story: Uncompromising account of a child soldier in an African war.  The Lowdown: Stark, powerful, finely crafted, but inclined to redundancy in its excessive length. Still, its unflinching portrait of the unthinkable is unforgettable.

Cranky Hanke’s Weekly Reeler September 30-October 6: Sleeping with the Sicario Martian

In Theaters.  OK, here it is — the first week of the real fall movie season and we have one mainstream release, one expanding to mainstream art title and one little art title of some note which is likely to be crushed under the combined weight of those two. That’s assuming it isn’t already going […]