Starring: Kyle MacLachlan, Sean Young, Brad Dourif, Dean Stockwell, Freddie Jones, Patrick Stewart, Jürgen Prochnow, Max von Sydow, Sting, Kenneth McMillan


In Brief: Generally considered a science-fiction film, David Lynch's Dune is really an epic operatic horror fantasy that owes more to cockeyed myth-making and grotesque — often disturbing — imagery than to sci-fi. When it was released in 1984, it was not a hit with critics or audiences. It was considered confusing to the point of incoherence.…
Starring: Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward, Orson Welles, Anthony Franciosa, Lee Remick, Angela Lansbury, Richard Anderson

The Long, Hot Summer

In Brief: Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward, Orson Welles (and his perpetually melting fake nose) and a collection other stars got together in 1958 — along with their phony (and often wavering) southern accents — to bring this mash-up William Faulkner to the screen under the direction of formerly black-listed Martin Ritt. The resulting movie —…
Starring: Robert Redford, Nick Nolte, Emma Thompson, Mary Steenburgen, Nick Offerman

A Walk in the Woods

The Story: Two grumpy codgers set off to walk the Appalachian Trail. The Lowdown: Loose adaptation of the popular memoir by Bill Bryson re-fitted for its stars and played for broad comedy as an odd-couple buddy comedy — not very successfully. Probably harmless, but largely mediocre.
Starring: Yashpal Sharma, Baljinder Kaur, Ravi Chauhan, Daksh Mahotra, Nidhi Mahla

Pagdi: The Honour

In Brief: Rajeev Batia's Pagdi: The Honour is an Indian film and the winner of the 22nd annual Twin Rivers Media Festival in Asheville. If you are unfamiliar with the Twin Rivers Festival, that's hardly surprising. It has been almost completely ignored by local media. Yet for a very small film festival, it's managed to…
Starring: Barry Ward, Francis Magee, Simone Kirby, Aileen Henry, Jim Norton, Andrew Scott, Brian F. O'Byrne

Jimmy’s Hall

The Story: Fact-based tale of Jimmy Gralton and the furror that erupts over his community center and leftist political beliefs in 1932 Ireland. The Lowdown: Deeply political, but warm, human and completely engaging drama from British director Ken Loach. No, you've probably never heard of most of the cast or Jimmy Gralton — but neither…
Starring: Barry Otto, Lynette Curran, Helen Jones, Gia Carides, Jeff Truman, Tim Robertson


In Brief: Back in 1985, Ray Lawrence’s Bliss was the art house sensation. It had created quite a stir at Cannes — as much for the fact that about 400 viewers walked out of the movie in disgust (mostly at the same moment: the film’s notorious “sardine scene”) as from the accolades it drew. No Australian film had ever…
Starring: George Burns, Art Carney, Lee Strasberg, Charles Hallahan

Going in Style

In Brief: Martin Brest’s Going in Style (1979) is one of those inoffensive, but not particularly distinguished, little movies that come and go without leaving much of a mark. It’s very much a product of its time in that it was clearly spawned by George Burns’ renaissance after The Sunshine Boys (1975) and Oh, God! (1977). It’s also a surprisingly serious…
Meru Expedition, Garwhal, India
Starring: Conrad Anker, Jimmy Chin, Renan Ozturk, Jon Krakauer, Grace Chin, Jennifer Lowe-Anker


The Story: Documentary about three men climbing Meru Peak in the Himalayas. The Lowdown: Good looking, sometimes incredibly tense mountain climbing documentary with effective use of biographical material.
Starring: Greta Gerwig, Lola Kirke, Heather Lind, Michael Chernus, Matthew Shear, Jasmine Cephas Jones, Cindy Cheung, Dean Wareham

Mistress America

The Story: An awkward college freshman meets her impending 30-year-old step-sister, and nothing will ever be the same. The Lowdown: Fast, funny, appealing, perfectly judged — a comedy and more — this may be Noah Baumbach's best film and it puts him in the running for having two of 2015's best films. Co-writer star Greta…
Starring: Leigh McCloskey, Irene Miracle, Eleonora Giorgi, Daria Nicolodi, Sacha Pitoëff, Alida Valli


In Brief: Inferno has beautiful production design and is an almost endless stream of striking images. But because it's a Dario Argento picture, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. How much of its look is due to Argento and how much is due to an uncredited Mario Bava is hard to tell —…
Starring: Nanni Moretti, Laura Morante, Jasmine Trinca, Giuseppe Sanfelice

The Son’s Room

In Brief: There’s nothing really wrong with writer/director/star Nanni Moretti’s The Son’s Room (2002), but neither is there anything all that special about it. It’s a small, well-intentioned study of a family coping with — and not coping with — the drowning death of the son. I enjoyed it well enough while it was onscreen. I even…
Starring: Steve Jobs (archive footage), Michael S. Malone, Chrisann Brennan, Regis McKenna, Michael Moritz, Sherry Turkle, Bob Belleville, Daniel Kottke, Joe Nocera, Jon Rubinstein

Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine

The Story: Documentary on the life and works of Steve Jobs. The Lowdown: While Alex Gibney's film is far too long and sheds very little new light on Jobs' failings as a human being, the questions it raises about his cult status and the way he helped change the world make it worthwhile.
Starring: Owen Wilson, Lake Bell, Pierce Brosnan, Sterling Jerins, Claire Geare, Sahajak Boonthanakit

No Escape

The Story: A family of guileless Americans find themselves in the midst of a bloody revolution in an unidentified Asian country. The Lowdown: Yes, it's appallingly xenophobic and casually racist, but this action picture is so dumb that it clearly has no agenda. A miscast Owen Wilson and Lake Bell run around looking menaced, while…

Cranky Hanke’s Weekly Reeler August 26-September 1: Best Diary of a Teenage Girl — and Some Other Stuff

In Theaters. If it wasn’t for a couple of art titles, I’d frankly suggest you skip the movies altogether this week. There’s only one full-blown mainstream title (which looks pretty chancey) and two not-quite-wide releases (both of which look worse than chancey). Well, let’s go among them anyway. It is increasingly apparent that August is […]

Starring: Fredric March, Miriam Hopkins, Rose Hobart, Holmes Herbert, Halliwell Hobbes, Edgar Norton

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

In Brief: Rouben Mamoulian’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931) is that rarest of things — a full-blown horror movie that also managed to get respect even when it was new. Fredric March won an Oscar for best actor for his performance. Karl Struss was nominated for an Oscar for cinematography, as were Percy Heath and Samuel…
Starring: Rupert Friend, Hanna Ware, Zachary Quinto, Ciarán Hinds, Thomas Kretschmann

Hitman: Agent 47

The Story: The genetically-engineered title character pursues a young woman in the hopes of getting to her missing father. The Lowdown: A witless mess that wastes a few good actors and provides a few unintended laughs, but hardly enough to make it worthwhile.
Starring: Gore Vidal (archive footage), William F. Buckley, Jr. (archive footage), Brooke Gladstone, William Sheehan, Sam Tanenhaus, Reid Buckley, Matt Tyrnauer

Best of Enemies

The Story: Documentary about the televised Gore Vidal-William F. Buckley Jr. debates at the 1968 political conventions. The Lowdown: Entertaining look at two gigantic egos in conflict on national television — and of historical significance as the birth of the political TV pundit.
Starring: Alec Guinness, Stanley Holloway, Sidney James, Alfie Bass, Marjorie Fielding

The Lavender Hill Mob

In Brief: Though not one of the best of the famous Ealing Comedies, The Lavender Hill Mob (1951) may just be the best loved of them all. It's a sly yet largely understated (apart from a few exceptional slapstick sequences) caper comedy about a bank transfer agent (Alec Guinness) who hits upon the idea of…
Starring: Ryan O'Neal, Burt Reynolds, Tatum O'Neal, Jane Hitchcock, Brian Keith, Stella Stevens, John Ritter


In Brief: The idea behind Peter Bogdanovich's Nickelodeon (1976) was clearly to make a comeback after the box office disaster of At Long Last Love (1975). The idea was to re-team Ryan and Tatum O'Neal in a black-and-white period movie that would recapture the success of Paper Moon (1973), and while the studio was OK…
Starring: James Ransone, Shannyn Sossamon, Robert Daniel Sloan, Dartanian Sloane, Lea Coco, Tate Ellington

Sinister 2

The Story: Sequel to the 2012 film about an ancient demon turning susceptible children into mass murderers.  The Lowdown: In most respects, it's an improvement over its predecessor, but it's still more of the same with better characters. Watchable, but hardly essential.