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Cranky Hanke’s Weekly Reeler March 16-22: The Divergent Creative Embrace of the Bronze Serpent from Heaven

In Theaters. This week we get one theoretically “big picture,” one specialty mainstream movie and three art titles, one of which seems to be already written off judging by its limited showtimes. However you look at it, that means five new movies hit town this week. Actually, the way last week shook out in terms […]

New Movie Releases

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Starring: (Voices) Jason Sudeikis, Josh Gad, Danny McBride, Maya Rudolph, Bill Hader

Angry Birds

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The Story: After being pillaged by marauding pigs, a colony of birds sets out to get their revenge. The Lowdown: While a handsome-looking animated film, there’s not much here beyond some slapstick and a thin, pointless plot, even by cartoon standards.
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Starring: David Prowse, Jeremy Bulloch, Angus MacInnes, Paul Blake, Derek Lyons, Garrick Hagon, John Chapman, Laurie Goode, Pam Rose

Elstree 1976

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The Story: An in-depth look at the background actors who performed in the original Star Wars trilogy and how their connection with one of the most successful properties in film history continues to affect their lives. The Lowdown: While probably only essential viewing for the Star Wars completist, Elstree 1976 is an engaging look at the…
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Starring: Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne, Zac Efron, Chloë Grace Moretz, Ike Barinholtz, Dave Franco

Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising

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The Story: Young parents, recently plagued by the ingress of a hard-playing frat into their idyllic suburban lives, now see their house sale threatened by a sorority intent on sticking it to The Man (and men in general) when they take over the neighboring domicile. The Lowdown: If you liked the first film, you’ll probably like…
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Starring: Russell Crowe, Ryan Gosling, Angourie Rice, Matt Bomer, Margaret Qualley, Yaya DaCosta, Kim Basinger

The Nice Guys

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The Story: A mismatched pair of unscrupulous private detectives find themselves embroiled in a dangerous conspiracy in 1977 Los Angeles. The Lowdown: Rude, raunchy, violent and very funny action-comedy-mystery with two great leads and a surprisingly terrific newcomer. Not for the easily offended, however.

Special Screenings This Week

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Starring: Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman, Brandon Walters, David Wenham, Bryan Brown, David Gulpilil

Australia

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In Brief: Baz Luhrmann's follow-up to Moulin Rouge! (2001), Australia (2008), was a hugely expensive flop — big enough that Luhrmann and his friend Nicole Kidman decided maybe it would better if they didn't work together again. The truth is that it's big, a bit dumb, utterly fantasticated and completely romanticized. It’s also kind of…
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Starring: Magda Vásáryová, Josef Kemr, Nada Hejna, Jaroslav Moucka, Frantisek Velecký

Marketa Lazarová

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In Brief: I have read that, in a 1998 survey of Czech critics, Frantisek Vlácil’s Marketa Lazarová (1967) was voted the greatest Czech film ever made. Setting aside the questions of how many Czech critics there are and just how much competition there is for that accolade (oh, I’ll get mail for that), I have to say…
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Starring: William Powell, Carole Lombard, Eugene Pallette, Alice Brady, Gail Patrick, Jean Dixon, Mischa Auer, Alan Dinehart

My Man Godfrey

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In Brief: The Asheville Film Society kicks off its debut at the Grail Moviehouse with Gregory La Cava’s My Man Godfrey (1936), one of the essential “screwball” comedies. It may even be the essential one. From its glossy credits (probably the most striking title design of the decade) onward, it’s a slick, rich-looking production (despite its Depression-era setting)…
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Starring: Tod Slaughter, Marjorie Taylor, John Warwick, Leonard Henry, Robert Adair, Wallace Evennett

The Face at the Window

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In Brief: The classic barnstorming melodrama The Face at the Window (1939) makes for what is probably the best of Tod Slaughter's horror output. Who is Tod Slaughter? He was England's answer to both Karloff and Lugosi — an enjoyably shameless ham who positively reveled in both his transparent, mustache-twirling villainy and his unabashed lechery. There was…