Cranky Hanke’s Weekly Reeler November 25-December 1: Brooklyn Trumbo Frankenste­in Dinosaur Creed

In Theaters. This week we get three new mainstream titles and two art titles — and though I’ve seen none of the mainstream ones, I’ll say that the art titles are the things to watch, because I have seen those and they are among the best films of the year. No fooling. It’s one of […]


Cranky Hanke’s Weekly Reeler November 18-24: Spotlight Secret Room Night Games

Once again the floodgates have opened and we are deluged with movies — three mainstream and two art titles. Of course, one of those mainstreamers is one of the year’s biggest Next Big Things: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 2. This is one those movies that you “have” to see or suffer a violent loss of pop culture social status.

New Movie Releases

Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Domhnall Gleeson, Emory Cohen, Jim Broadbent, Julie Walters, Fiona Glascott, Jane Brennan, Jessica Paré


The Story: The tale of a young Irish woman who moves to America. The Lowdown: You will find few better movies this year — and none that are more magical. This is an essential. Saoirse Ronan moves to the forefront of young actresses with this film.
Starring: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Nicole Kidman, Julia Roberts, Dean Norris, Alfred Molina, Joe Cole, Michael Kelly

Secret in Their Eyes

The Story: An unresolved 13-year-old murder case returns to haunt those involved. The Lowdown: Intelligent, and largely effective, Americanized remake of the 2010 Argentinian thriller. Great performances and a respect for the original mostly carry the day, but the plot-driven nature of the story is apt to disappoint viewers who already know where it’s all…
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Donald Sutherland, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Julianne Moore

The Hunger Games Mockingjay — Part 2

The Story: Conclusion to the popular film series. The Lowdown: While it’s not a great film (was that even a possibility?), it’s a satisfying enough wrap-up to the story — one that boasts a sequence of genuine power.  
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen, Anthony Mackie, Jillian Bell, Lizzy Kaplan, Michael Shannon

The Night Before

The Story:  Three longtime friends cling to youthful irresponsibility one last time as they put to rest a time-honored Christmas tradition: getting wasted and avoiding their families. The Lowdown: A broad farce cashing in on holiday angst that works better than it has any right to.

Special Screenings This Week

Starring: Hugh Grant, Rachel Weisz, Toni Collette, Nicholas Hoult

About a Boy

In Brief: The Asheville Film Society jumps into seasonal mode with Chris and Paul Weitz’s About a Boy (2002) — the film that demonstrated there was a lot more to these guys than Jason Biggs having conjugal relations with baked goods. It’s not, perhaps, standard Christmas season fare, but About a Boy isn’t your standard…
Starring: Toshiro Mifune, Machiko Kyo, Masayuki Mori, Takashi Shimura, Minoru Chiaki


In Brief: Though he’d made better movies before this one — and would make better ones after it — Rashomon (1950) is the film that put Akira Kurosawa on the map as a major force in international film. The secret probably lies in the picture’s unusual structure, which not only functions as a hook, but…
Starring: Natalie Portman, Scarlett Johansson, Eric Bana, Mark Rylance, Jim Sturgess

The Other Boleyn Girl

In Brief: This deadly dull Masterpiece Theatre-ish waxworks display came out in 2008 and quickly disappeared. It isn’t hard to understand why. Apart from a few “shocking” interjections of earthy dialogue, an array of truly tepid PG-13 sex scenes, a dose of 16th-century feminism and the absurdly bloodless beheadings, the film is dull, dull, dull.…