Movie Reviews

Starring: Will Ferrell, Kevin Hart, Craig T. Nelson, Alison Brie, T.I.

Get Hard

The Story: After being framed for fraud, a millionaire hires the guy who washes his car to teach him how to survive prison. The Lowdown: A puerile mix of lazy, tasteless prison rape jokes, homophobia and occasional fits of casual racism, but with the added benefit of Will Ferrell mugging.
Starring: (Voices) Jim Parsons, Rihanna, Steve Martin, Jennifer Lopez, Matt Jones


The Story: A disgraced invading alien and a young earth girl team up to find her relocated mother. The Lowdown: Colorful, dull, unoriginal and often irritating. Strictly for younger children and Rihanna fans.
Starring: Jay Baker, Pat Barlow, Lloyd Berry, Deborah Foreman

April Fool’s Day

In Brief: This was a "fan pick" — and one that happened to fall on the right day (or close enough). Apparently, April Fool's Day is well-loved — at least by those who saw it when it came out in 1986 and were at an impressionable age. Even if I had seen it when it…
Starring: Ted Neely, Carl Anderson, Yvonne Elliman, Barry Dennen, Bob Bingham, Josh Mostel

Jesus Christ Superstar

In Brief: It's the Asheville Film Society's slightly late Easter offering — Norman Jewison's Jesus Christ Superstar, a film that has kind of fallen by the wayside over the years. I'm not sure why. Most complaints usually center on the casting of Ted Neely as Jesus — despite the fact that man has made a…
Starring: Erica Rivas, Diego Gentile, Julieta Zylberberg, Rita Cortese, Ricardo Darín, Leonardo Sbaraglia, Walter Donado

Wild Tales

The Story: Six anarchic, darkly comic tales with the unifying themes of revenge and losing control. The Lowdown: Often hilariously funny satire on human nature at its most extreme — as seen through a collection of stories. Mostly delicious in its anarchy and bleakly amused worldview, though some stories are better than others.
Starring: Christopher Gable, Judith Paris, Kenneth Colley, Vladek Sheybal, James Mellor, Otto Diamant

Dance of the Seven Veils

In Brief: Ken Russell's Dance of the Seven Veils (1970) — subtitled A Comic Strip in 7 Episodes on the Life of Richard Strauss — was his final film for the BBC Omnibus program. It was broadcast only once, followed by a hailstorm of controversy (an attempt by Britain's "Watchdog for Morality" Mary Whitehouse to…
Starring: Viacheslav Fetisov, Anatoli Karpov, Alexei Kasatonov, Scotty Bowman

Red Army

The Story: The story of the Soviet Union’s Red Army hockey team. The Lowdown: An occasionally interesting sports documentary that gives some insight into life inside the USSR and the idea of nationalism but adds little else.
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Rhys Ifans, Toby Jones, David Dencik, Sean Harris


The Story: A corrupt timber baron makes a fatal choice in marrying a mysterious woman with a murky past. The Lowdown: Chock-full of melodrama and outrageous contrivances, there's no way to call Serena good, but it's one fascinating hot mess that's entertainingly trashy.
Starring: Maika Monroe, Keir Gilchrist, Daniel Zovatto, Lili Sepe, Jake Weary, Olivia Luccardi

It Follows

The Story: An implacable, nameless monster is passed on like an STD in this original, maybe even brilliant, horror thriller. The Lowdown: Horror fans — and indeed anyone interested in quality independent film — take note, this critically-acclaimed movie is the goods in the world of truly unnerving, but surprisingly nongory, film.
Starring: Mira Sorvino, Sean Astin, Alexa PenaVega, Delroy Lindo, Ted McGinley, Brian Bosworth, Cybill Shepherd, Lee Majors

Do You Believe?

The Story: Multistory tale of characters grappling with putting faith into action. The Lowdown: Less hysterical on the topic of religion than its predecessor, God's Not Dead, this is still the same old preaching-to-the-choir stuff — only overstuffed with characters, some better actors but little actual substance.
Starring: Jon Hall, Leon Errol, John Carradine, Alan Curtis, Evelyn Ankers, Gale Sondergaard

The Invisible Man’s Revenge

In Brief: Apart from his inevitable encounters with Abbott and Costello, The Invisible Man's Revenge (1944) was the swan song for the Universal "monster" who just never really caught on. James Whale's original The Invisible Man (1933) is one of the key horror classics of all time. The rather tepid, unfocused follow-ups are another matter. The problem seems to…
Starring: Jason Robards, Richard Jordan, David Selby, Anne Archer, Alec Guinness, M. Emmet Walsh

Raise the Titanic

In Brief: It's the movie that helped drive Lew Grade — or Sir Lew Grade or Lord Grade (depending on where you are in his career) — from the film business. It's also the movie that kept writer Clive Cussler from allowing any of his novels to be filmed for the next 25 years. (He…
Starring: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Kate Winslet, Miles Teller, Jai Courtney


The Story: "Divergent" Tris must stop the evil dystopian government of future Chicago and avenge the death of her family. The Lowdown: Dull, self-serious and derivative sci-fi of the teen romance variety.
Starring: Barbara Stanwyck, Henry Fonda, Charles Coburn, Eugene Pallette, William Demarest, Eric Blore

The Lady Eve

In Brief: Preston Sturges’ The Lady Eve (1941) marked the writer-director’s move into the realm of the full-blown A picture with A-list stars — Henry Fonda and Barbara Stanwyck — and the Paramount high gloss his first two films had lacked. The result was one of Sturges’ most popular films and probably as close as he ever…
Starring: Sean Penn, Jasmine Trinca, Javier Bardem, Ray Winstone, Mark Rylance

The Gunman

The Story: A sniper, years after a life-altering job, must go on the run to save his life. The Lowdown: An occasionally interesting yet overly unimaginative action flick with a miscast lead.
Starring: (Voices) Chiara Mastroianni, Catherine Deneuve, Danielle Darrieux, Simon Abkarian, Gabrielle Lopes Benites


In Brief: Pretty amazing film version of Marjane Satrapi's autobiographical comic Persepolis, about an Iranian girl growing up in the shadow of two oppressive regimes. Though playful in tone, it's a narrative that goes much deeper than one might expect. That said, this marks the fourth time this has been shown since the film's 2008 theatrical…
Starring: Jack O'Connell, Sam Reid, Richard Dormer, Sean Harris, Charlie Murphy, Adam Nagaitis, David Wilmot


The Story: Following a botched military action in Belfast, a young Brit soldier is left behind to fend for himself as he tries to make it back to his barracks. The Lowdown: Exciting and very effective war thriller set during "The Troubles" in Northern Ireland. More thriller than political, but very well done.
Starring: Cate Blanchett, Lily James, Richard Madden, Helena Bonham Carter, Nonso Anozie, Stellan Skarsgård, Derek Jacobi


The Story: Live action version of the Cinderella story. The Lowdown: It looks terrific. It's also faithful to a fault — and that's exactly the problem, since it makes it on the dull, unadventurous side.
Starring: Liam Neeson, Ed Harris, Joel Kinnaman, Boyd Holbrook, Vincent D’Onofrio

Run All Night

The Story: A father and his estranged son must outrun his lifelong friend, a gangster whose son they had a hand in killing. The Lowdown: A competent, often entertaining action flick that gets bogged down with its need for heavy plot dynamics.
Starring: Heinrich George, Kristina Söderbaum, Horst Caspar, Gustav Diessl, Paul Wegener


In Brief: Kolberg (1945) is famous — or more properly, notorious — as Josef Goebbels' massively expensive propaganda flop. The idea behind this yarn about the town of Kolberg organizing a resistance front to Napoleon's army was that it was going to put the fight back into the German people. Well, not only was it…
Starring: Harvey Fierstein, Anne Bancroft, Matthew Broderick, Karen Young, Eddie Castrodad, Ken Page

Torch Song Trilogy

In Brief: Harvery Fierstein adapts and stars in this film of his hit play. It's often rather simply described as being about "a gay man's search for love." Well, yes, it is that, but it's a lot more. Fierstein plays Arnold Beckoff, an unattached professional drag queen with a history of failed romances that he…