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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.

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Cranky Hanke’s Weekly Reeler April 2-8: Captain America with Large Supporting Cast

Captain America: The Winter Soldier crashes, bursts and bludgeons his way into theaters this Friday (or Thursday night for the Truly Dedicated) and no mere mortal mainstream movies dare to challenge his might. Locally, however, no less than four art titles willing to stand up to the onslaught. They won’t defeat him, of course, but they’re willing to give his tights a tug.

Cranky Hanke’s Weekly Reeler March 19-25: The Grand Budapest Hotel Is Open for Business

Like a harbinger of the end of a winter that seemed utterly disinclined to go away — and the typical dead-of-winter parade of dreary movies (at least the ones actually released this year) — Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel comes to town this week. It’s a joy. It’s a wonderment. It’s a delight. It’s a must-see. It’s a film I didn’t mind in the least getting up early Saturday morning to be at a 9 a.m. press screening at The Carolina to see. Oh, yeah, there’s some other stuff opening, too. I’ll get to those eventually.

Cranky Hanke’s Weekly Reeler March 12-18: Need for Better Father Chemistry Club

Where did all these movies come from? That’s a rhetorical question, but there are six of the things this week — six. I know rabbits that don’t breed like that. (And before anybody asks, Veronica Mars is a limited release and to the best of my knowledge is not opening here — at least not this week.) We’ve got three art titles, two mainstream titles and one that isn’t really either one. Come with me and I will explain.

Cranky Hanke’s Weekly Reeler March 5-11: Generation 300 Rise of Mr. Peabody

OK, the Oscars — where it was decided that 12 Years a Slave made itself — are over, so now we can start worrying about next year. Something tells me that nothing coming our way this week will be involved. We have but two mainstream titles and one art title, though the art title is so long that it’s in two parts and perhaps should count as two movies. It will, I imagine, come as no surprise that it’s the one film I’ve seen. The other two … well, we’ll see about those. And, no, despite what you may have heard, Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel won’t make it to Asheville till March 21.

Cranky Hanke’s Weekly Reeler February 26-March 5: Kill Non-Stop Son of Omar Rises

I hate weeks like this. Oh, I’m not complaining that I have zero interest in seeing Non-Stop or Son of God (though I do). No, what distresses me is that there are three truly excellent art titles opening this week. Each of them was completely worthy of being the “Weekly Pick.” But more than that, they’re going to get in each other’s way at the box office. Terrific movies are likely to get overlooked for no reason other than there are too many of them opening on the same weekend. My suggestion is see them all, but I know that’s not practical in terms of time or expense for most people.

Cranky Hanke’s Weekly Reeler February 19-25: In 3 Secret Days to Kill Pompeii

Thank goodness for art titles. Otherwise, this week would look pretty bleak. At the same time, there are all those titles you possibly missed owing to the weather last week. Today (I’m writing this on Monday) marks the first day it has been possible to get out of my driveway since last Tuesday night. (Yes, I have cabin fever. You are warned.) That also resulted in the first time since I started reviewing for the Xpress in 2000 where some movies didn’t get reviewed.

Cranky Hanke’s Weekly Reeler February 12-18: About the Past RoboCop Endless Tale

If nothing else, there’s at least one excellent art title — of the must-see variety — this week. The mainstream offerings — four of them — would seem to be a much dicier proposition. At the moment, it’s an even dicier proposition as to whether we thaw out enough (assuming the weather prognosticators are correct) to actually get to them.