Movie News & Previews

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.

New Movie Releases

Starring: Michael Douglas, Diane Keaton, Sterling Jerins, Annie Parisse, Frances Sternhagen

And So it Goes

The Story: A grumpy widower is forced to take in his estranged granddaughter, who he helps raise with a widowed neighbor. The Lowdown: An unfunny, flat piece of melodrama that wants desperately to be adult and a little bit raunchy but instead comes across as childish and boorish.
Starring: Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Ian McShane, John Hurt, Rufus Sewell, Aksel Hennie, Ingrid Bolsø Berdal


The Story: Sword-for-hire Hercules agrees to help rid Thrace of a man trying to dethrone the king. The Lowdown: No, it's not really all that good, but this latest take — revisionist in nature — on Hercules is painless fun. Well-crafted action and a strong supporting cast make a difference.
Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Morgan Freeman, Min-Sik Choi, Amr Waked, Julian Rhind-Tutt, Analeigh Tipton


The Story: A clueless young woman accidentally gets an overdose of a new drug that causes her brain capacity to expand, giving her something like superpowers. The Lowdown: Yes, it's so dumb that it ought to be kind of likable, but incoherence, lousy special effects, stretches of tedium and a ponderous tone make it just plain bad.
Starring: Brendan Gleeson, Taylor Kitsch, Liane Balaban, Gordon Pinsent

The Grand Seduction

The Story: In order to get an oil company contract, a small town has to bamboozle a young doctor into staying there. The Lowdown: It's predictable and a little pokey. It's contrived and improbable. But The Grand Seduction has its own slender charms and terrific chemistry between its leads, making it a minor pleasure.
Starring: Zach Braff, Kate Hudson, Joey King, Pierce Gagnon, Mandy Patinkin

Wish I Was Here

The Story: A struggling actor whose father is dying of cancer tries to keep his life — and family — together. The Lowdown: With a pile of needless quirk, here’s a movie that feels like rudimentary indie filmmaking from a decade ago, only more insufferable and out-of-touch.

Special Screenings This Week

Starring: Richard Thomas, Ernest Borgnine, Donald Pleasence, Ian Holm, Patricia Neal

All Quiet on the Western Front

In Brief: In 1930, Lewis Milestone made a film version of Erich Maria Remarque's All Quiet on the Western Front. It was a breakthrough in sound filmmaking and one of the most powerful anti-war films ever made. It was a film that actually added something legendary to its literary source — the business of reaching for the butterfly at the end. It remains one of the world's great films. Unfortunately, that isn't what is being shown here. Instead, this is the reasonably adequate, uninspired, superfluous 1979 TV movie. Pity that. The Hendersonville Film Society will show All  Quiet on the Western Front Sunday, Aug. 3, at 2 p.m. in the Smoky Mountain Theater at Lake Pointe Landing Retirement Community (behind Epic Cinemas), 333 Thompson St., Hendersonville.
Starring: Josef Bierbichler, Stefan Guttler, Clemens Scheitz, Sonja Skiba

Heart of Glass

In Brief: If Werner Herzog is the most idiosyncratic of all filmmakers — and the case can be made — there's a good chance that Heart of Glass (1976) is his most idiosyncratic work. Theoretically, it's the story of a late 18th century village that descends into madness when the foreman of a glassworks dies, taking the secret of how their "ruby glass" is made. But it's also a film about prophesy, about Herzog's childhood, and it's performed by a cast Herzong supposedly hypnotized before takes. There is nothing quite like it. Classic World Cinema by Courtyard Gallery will present Heart of Glass Friday, Aug. 1, at 8 p.m. at Phil Mechanic Studios, 109 Roberts St., River Arts District (upstairs in the Railroad Library).  Info: 273-3332,
Starring: James Stewart, Grace Kelly, Thelma Ritter, Wendell Corey, Raymond Burr

Rear Window

In Brief: Rear Window (1954), often cited as Alfred Hitchcock's best and most sophisticated film, is back on the big screen for one night only — Wednesday, July 30 at 7:30 p.m. at The Carolina as this month's Budget Big Screen movie. It's a chance to see the film in all the brilliance of its color detail and to immerse yourself in the world of James Stewart's convalescent photographer who becomes increasingly convinced that the man in the apartment opposite his has murdered his wife. It's as suspenseful and entertaining today as it was 60 years ago when it first appeared. Stewart was never better, Grace Kelly never more elegantly beautiful and Thelma Ritter never funnier. The Asheville Film Society is showing Rear Window Wednesday, July 30, at 7:30 p.m. in at The Carolina Asheville as part of the Budget Big Screen series. Admission is $6 for AFS members and $8 for the general public.
Starring: Val Kilmer, Bruce Dern, Elle Fanning, Ben Chaplin, Alden Ehrenreich


In Brief: Not really released in the U.S. (or much of anywhere, it seems), Francis Ford Coppola's wayward horror picture Twixt is by no means a success. In fact, it's a mess. That its sub-Stephen King story is being told, experienced or both (it's a mess, I tell you) by a writer (Val Kilmer) who is referred to as a cut-rate Stephen King, may make it seem self-aware, but it doesn't keep the whole thing from feeling like a bad King knockoff. At the same time, the film has great atmosphere and images of creepy beauty that almost make up for the frankly awful screenplay. A failure? Yes, but a fascinating one by a great filmmaker. The Thursday Horror Picture Show will screen Twixt Thursday, July 31 at 8 p.m. in Theater Six  at The Carolina Asheville and will be hosted by Xpress movie critics Ken Hanke and Justin Souther.
Starring: Gary Cooper, Paulette Goddard, Howard Da Silva, Boris Karloff, Cecil Kellaway, Ward Bond, Katherine DeMille


In Brief: It's big. It's colorful. It's longer than it needs to be. It's exciting. It's filled with movie stars who look like movie stars. It's preposterous in the way that only a Cecil B. DeMille movie can be. Essentially, Unconquered is a Western — only instead of cowboys and Indians, we have pre-Revolutionary War settlers and Indians. But it plays just like one of DeMille's Westerns with its unscrupulous white villain supplying arms to the Native Americans. Gary Cooper is ... well, Gary Cooper. (What more do you want?) Paulette Goddard is gorgeous. Boris Karloff makes for a somewhat peculiar Native American chief on the warpath. The Asheville Film Society will screen Unconquered Tuesday, Aug. 5 , at 8 p.m. in Theater Six at The Carolina Asheville and will be hosted by Xpress movie critics Ken Hanke and Justin Souther.