Movie Reviews

Millennium Actress

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The Asheville Film Society will screen Millennium Actress Tuesday, Nov. 23, at 8 p.m. in the Cinema Lounge of The Carolina Asheville. Hosted by Xpress movie critics Ken Hanke and Justin Souther. Hanke is the artistic director of the Asheville Film Society.

Tamara Drewe

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The Story: Tamara Drewe -- and her sexy new look -- returns to her hometown where she proceeds to wreak havoc on the locals. The Lowdown: A funny, insightful, stylish and charming look at modern -- often gentrified -- life in rural England. A must-see picture.

Fair Game

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The Story: The story of Joseph Wilson, who blew the whistle on the Bush administration for ignoring evidence that Iraq had no nuclear weapons program -- and the fallout that occurred when it was leaked that his wife, Valerie Plame, was a CIA agent. The Lowdown: An incendiary film about the duplicity of the Bush administration's machinations to wage war on Iraq. It will undoubtedly polarize audiences.

Unstoppable

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The Story: A conductor and an engineer must stop a runaway train carrying toxic materials before it derails and causes untold death and destruction. The Lowdown: Stuff blows up real cool, so at least it's not boring -- just pretty dumb.

Skyline

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The Story: A group of vapid twentysomethings are terrorized by alien invasion on a massive scale. The Lowdown: The poor man's Micheal Bay: A movie with a small budget mixed with dumbed-down ideas from every popular sci-fi film from the last decade or so.

Conviction

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The Story: A fact-based story of a woman who put herself through law school in order to attempt to get her brother out of prison on a wrongful murder conviction. The Lowdown: A very serious-minded, extremely earnest and probably well-intended film that is somehow less compelling than it should be.

Morning Glory

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The Story: A young woman takes the seemingly impossible job of revitalizing a failing morning TV program. The Lowdown: A solid comedy that's seriously impeded by the apparent need to make it into a romantic comedy. It's certainly watchable, and it's three stars are fine, but it could have been great.

Nowhere Boy

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The Story: Biopic focusing on the middle teenage years of John Lennon and the forces and people that shaped him. The Lowdown: A lovely little movie that rings true and is surprisingly emotionally effective. If you're keen on Lennon, it's a must-see.

Shadow of the Vampire

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The Asheville Film Society will screen Shadow of the Vampire Tuesday, Nov. 16, at 8 p.m. in the Cinema Lounge of The Carolina Asheville. Hosted by Xpress movie critics Ken Hanke and Justin Souther. Hanke is the artistic director of the Asheville Film Society.

Four Lions

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The Story: The film concerns itself with the efforts of a spectacularly inept group of terrorists out to make their mark on Britain. The Lowdown: A genuine take-no-prisoners satire that's one of of the most bitterly funny -- and disturbing -- comedies to come along in a while. It's in the must-see realm for those who can take it.

Inside Job

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The Story: A documentary examining how the recession came to be through corrupt banking practices and the control of the government. The Lowdown: An angry, dispiriting film about the state of the economy and the need for serious economic reform in this country -- reform that goes beyond lip-service. You won't have a good time, but this should be seen.

The Tillman Story

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The Story: The tale of Pat Tillman, a former NFL player killed by friendly fire in Iraq and his family's struggle to keep the U.S. military from turning his death into a PR campaign. The Lowdown: A documentary that's unlikely to open any eyes, but does take a different approach to criticizing our government's involvement in Iraq.

Megamind

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The Story: A super villain finds life without point or meaning when he vanquishes his nemesis. The Lowdown: Professionally done all the way with strong voice casting, but lacking anything new or compelling.

Due Date

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The Story: Two ill-paired men end up driving across the country together. The Lowdown: A badly conceived comedy that tries to cash in on the talents of Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifianakis without giving them anything to do.

For Colored Girls

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The Story: The prize-winning play fitted with a melodramatic narrative that attempts to set the stage for the play's poetic monologues. The Lowdown: Easily the best film Tyler Perry has made, which may not be saying much. It's a mixed bag that's apt to polarize viewers, but it's definitely a brave attempt.