Ken Hanke (with Justin Souther on left), in 2011

One less Crank[e] amongst us: On the passing of Ken Hanke

The inimitable Ken Hanke died yesterday evening. He had been ailing from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease for some years and was feeling ill in the last few days. Ken informed, entertained, challenged, irritated and enthralled readers for years with his movie reviews, thousands of them. He was also an inspiring force behind the Asheville Film […]

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Cranky Hanke’s Weekly Reeler June 29-July 5: Swiss Legend of Our Kind of BFG De Palma Election Year

In theaters.  It’s the July 4th weekend, which I guess means people are expected to go to the movies. I don’t know. I can’t keep track of these things anymore. So maybe. Actually, there are only two mainstream movies locked in a death match (the third is on a wholly different level). So that means […]

New Movie Releases

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Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Mahershala Ali, Keri Russell, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Christopher Berry

Free State of Jones

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The Story: During the Civil War, a poor Mississippi farmer leads a rebellion against the Confederate Army. The Lowdown: A film too aware of its own importance —  and it shows, with its endless speechifying, solemn tone and laborious pacing.
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Starring: Liam Hemsworth, Jeff Goldblum, Jessie T. Usher, Bill Pullman, Maika Monroe

Independence Day: Resurgence

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The Story: Two decades after thwarting an alien invasion, Earth finds itself in the midst of a surprise attack once again. The Lowdown: A rehash of its predecessor, with shades of interesting ideas, but becomes little more than a big-budget disasterfest with all the trappings and mindlessness this implies.
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Starring: Elle Fanning, Jena Malone, Karl Glusman, Bella Heathcote, Keanu Reeves

The Neon Demon

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The Story: A young model moves to Los Angeles and finds herself the center of attention, some of which is more dangerous than others. The Lowdown: A dull, pretentious and shallow examination of high fashion.

Special Screenings This Week

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Starring: Louis Hayward, Lee Bowman, Jane Wyatt, Dorothy Patrick, Ann Shoemaker, Jody Gilbert

House by the River

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In Brief: One of Fritz Lang's lesser-known films, House by the River (1950) was in fact often referred to as a "lost film." The fact seems to have been more prosaic than that. There was simply no interest in it because it was considered to be physically too dark to be watched on TV, especially…
zombies
Starring: Dick Purcell, Joan Woodbury, Mantan Moreland, Henry Victor, John Archer, Madame Sul-Te-Wan

King of the Zombies

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In Brief: The story goes that King of the Zombies was written and designed with Bela Lugosi in mind for the villainous Dr. Sangre. It certainly has all the earmarks of a Lugosi role — a creepy foreigner with a zombie-like wife (Patricia Stacey), a sinister, isolated castle, equally sinister servants and a small squad of zombies. Instead,…
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Starring: Peter Weller, Judy Davis, Ian Holm, Julian Sands, Roy Scheider

Naked Lunch

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In Brief: Only a madman would attempt to film William S. Burroughs' novel Naked Lunch, and that is perhaps why David Cronenberg didn't make a film of it, instead making a film about Burroughs and the creation of the book. This does not make his 1991 film of Naked Lunch an easy undertaking for the casual…
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Starring: Glenda Jackson, Stratford Johns, Imogen Millais-Scott, Nickolas Grace, Douglas Hodge

Salome’s Last Dance

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In Brief: At an early point in Ken Russell’s Salome’s Last Dance (1988), Oscar Wilde (Nickolas Grace) is surprised to see an amateur production of his banned play Salome interrupted by a photographer taking a flash picture of the proceedings. The photographer is none other than Russell himself, who is playing a visiting dignitary in the show, prompting Wilde…