Movie News & Previews

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Cranky Hanke’s Weekly Reeler April 16-22: Le Lunchbox Under Heaven’s Transcendence

This is a really strong week — a remarkably strong week. But the odd thing about that is that its strengths all lie in the art titles. Two of those are among the best things I’ve seen this year — the sort of films that will probably be on my Ten Best list come December (hey, we’re to three now!). The mainstream titles are more problematic to say the least. I have, in fact, been told by one who has seen them that one is not very good, one is just plain not good and one is downright awful.

Movie Reviews

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Starring: Maciej Stuhr, Ireneusz Czop, Zbigniew Zamachowski, Danuta Szaflarks, Jerzy Radziwilowicz

Aftermath

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In Brief: The Asheville Jewish Film Festival at the Fine Arts closes with a powerful, disturbing film, Aftermath, that might be described as a Holocaust story devoid of both Nazis and Jews. But that's not exactly right. It is, as its title indicates, a story that takes place long after the Holocaust but is still deeply about that era. It's structured as a kind of mystery set in modern Poland — a mystery with a shattering and horrific conclusion that digs deeply into the heart of Polish anti-Semitism. I've never seen anything quite like it, and I highly recommend it. The Asheville Jewish Film Festival and Fine Arts Theatre will screen Aftermath April 24 at 7 p.m. with an encore showing on Friday, April 25 at 1 p.m. Admission is $8.50.
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Starring: Pierre Brasseur. Alida Valli, Edith Scob, Juliette Mayniel, François Guérin

Eyes Without a Face (Les Yeux sans Visage)

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In Brief: Georges Franju's Eyes Without a Face (1960) is one of the most highly regarded of all horror films, though I've never been able to completely embrace it myself. Certainly, it's well made, has a certain poetic quality, some iconic imagery and a hypnotic performance from Edith Scob. But the film itself strikes me as essentially a fairly standard horror film in terms of its plot. That, however, is a minority opinion.  The Thursday Horror Picture Show will screen Eyes Without a Face Thursday, April 24 at 8 p.m. in the Cinema Lounge at The Carolina Asheville and will be hosted by Xpress movie critics Ken Hanke and Justin Souther.
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Starring: Gérard Depardieu, Nicole Garcia, Roger Pierre, Nelly Borgeaud, Pierre Arditi, Henri Laborit

My American Uncle (Mon Oncle d’Amerique)

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In Brief: World Cinema concludes its monthlong tribute to Alain Resnais with the filmmaker's 1980 film My American Uncle (Mon Oncle d'Amerique), and it's another winner. It takes the intersecting stories of three characters, along with the real evolutionary philospher Henri Laborit, and presents their stories in terms of a sociological/psychological study, based in part on Laborit's theories. (Resnais throws in at least one theory of his own.) The results are slyly comic and finally devastating. Classic World Cinema by Courtyard Gallery will present My American Uncle Friday, April 25, at 8 p.m. at Phil Mechanic Studios, 109   Roberts St., River Arts District (upstairs in the Railroad Library).  Info: 273-3332, www.ashevillecourtyard.com.
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Starring: Johnny Depp, Rebecca Hall, Paul Bettany, Cillian Murphy, Kate Mara, Morgan Freeman, Clifton Collins Jr.

Transcendence

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The Story: A dying computer genius has his mind uploaded to a computer so that he can live on beyond death. The Lowdown: An intriguing, nice-looking science fiction film that risks tackling some pretty big issues. It doesn't entirely succeed, but it remains above-average entertainment with something on its mind.
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Starring: John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Wilfrid Brambell, Norm Rossington, John Junkin, Victor Spinetti

A Hard Day’s Night

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In Brief: Richard Lester's landmark film A Hard Day's Night (1964) not only captured a moment in time and propelled The Beatles even further into the realm of icons, but it revolutionized cinema — especially British cinema — and can be said to be the true birth of modern film. Borrowing much of its style from the French new wave, Lester's  film, and its secret weapon, The Beatles, was a joyous, cheeky experience unlike anything before it.  The Asheville Film Society will screen A Hard Day's Night Tuesday, April 29, at 8 p.m. in Theater Six at The Carolina Asheville and will be hosted by Xpress movie critics Ken Hanke and Justin Souther.