Movie Reviews

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Starring: Matthias Schweighöfer, David Howard Thornton, Kaya Yanar, Ilka Bessin

The Wild Life

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The Story: Based on Daniel Defoe's classic Robinson Crusoe, a cartographer is stranded on a deserted island with a motley troupe of animals as his only companions. The Lowdown: A inert, dull and cheap animated film with bad visuals, uninspired voice acting and a mess of a drawn-out plot.
COMPLETE UNKNOWN
Starring: Rachel Weisz, Michael Shannon, Kathy Bates, Danny Glover

Complete Unknown

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The Story: As a man contemplates moving to a new state with his wife when an old flame (under a new identity) reenters his life at a birthday dinner party. The Lowdown: A decidedly ponderous film with an intriguing premise, it takes forever to get going and never delivers much beyond that conceit.
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Starring: Tom Hanks, Aaron Eckhart, Laura Linney, Anna Gunn, Mike O'Malley

Sully

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The Story: An experienced airline pilot averts disaster by making an emergency water landing, only to be confronted by nefarious bureaucrats in search of a scapegoat. The Lowdown: Clint Eastwood's latest fact-based tale of derring-do doesn't disastrously disappoint.
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Starring: Morris Chestnut, Regina Hall, Jaz Sinclair, Romany Malco, Michael K. Williams

When the Bough Breaks

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The Story: A surrogate mother for a couple becomes obsessed with the soon-to-be father and threatens to upset their happy New Orleans home. The Lowdown: Very few surprises or inventive performances make this a tepid TV-movie blown up for the big screen.  
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Starring: Vincent Price Carol Ohmart Richard Long Alan Marshal Carolyn Craig Elisha Cook Jr

House on Haunted Hill

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William Castle's 1959 Vincent Price-vehicle, House on Haunted Hill, may well be my favorite of the director's pictures. It's got the right mix of Castle camp and general creepiness to satisfy the schlock-seekers that Castle catered to, but it also coheres better than many of his other films. It's well constructed, dynamically paced and thoroughly unashamed…
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Starring: Peter Lorre, Otto Wernicke, Theodor Loos, Ellen Widmann

M

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In Brief: Yes, Fritz Lang’s first sound film, M (1931), has a few awkward moments, in which Lang hasn’t quite mastered the new medium, but this old warhorse of art cinema works more than it doesn’t, and still registers as a compelling work by one of the undisputed masters of film. And calling it an old…
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Starring: Robin Williams, Gene Hackman, Nathan Lane, Dianne Wiest, Hank Azaria, Christine Baranski, Calista Flockhart

The Birdcage

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In Brief: A faithful Americanization of La Cage Aux Folles, The Birdcage (1996) may lack some of the outlandish charm of the original, but it doesn't miss the mark by much. Written by Elaine May and directed by Mike Nichols, the reunion of this former standup comedy duo after some 30 years paid significant dividends with this film's…
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Starring: Bruce Spence, Wandjuk Marika, Roy Marika, Roy Barrett, Norman Kaye

Where the Green Ants Dream

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In Brief: Minor Werner Herzog, but make no mistake, Where the Green Ants Dream (1984) is still Herzog, and any movie by cinema's most idiosyncratic — sometimes just short of lunatic — filmmaker is worth at least one look. It's a kind of shaggy tale of the crimes against the Aborigines by the Australian government…
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Starring: Burghart Klaussner, Ronald Zehrfeld, Robert Atzorn, Lilith Stangenberg, Jörg Schüttauf

The People vs. Fritz Bauer

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The Story: German prosecutor Fritz Bauer hunts high-ranking Nazis in defiance of a government that would rather see their crimes forgotten. The Lowdown: One of the most cogent and entertaining films to deal with Nazi ratlines since 1978's The Boys from Brazil, The People vs. Fritz Bauer probably tops that movie in my estimation. Not to be missed.
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Starring: Keegan-Michael Key, Gillian Jacobs, Mike Birbiglia, Kate Micucci, Chris Gethard, Tami Sagher

Don’t Think Twice

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The Story: A New York improv comedy troupe is thrown into turmoil when one of its members gets a shot at success. The Lowdown: A poignant take on a perennial problem, Don't Think Twice doesn't shy away from difficult issues like jealousy and existential doubt while still retaining a sly sense of humor.
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Starring: Edgar Ramírez, Robert De Niro, Usher Raymond, Ana de Armas, Rubén Blades

Hands of Stone

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The Story: Biopic covering the life and 34-year career of legendary boxer Roberto Durán. The Lowdown: A flat-footed attempt to lionize a worthy subject, Hands of Stone falters under the weight of its own inconsistencies.
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Starring: Michael Fassbender, Alicia Vikander, Rachel Weisz, Jack Thompson, Bryan Brown

The Light Between Oceans

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The Story: After a lighthouse keeper and his young bride suffer two miscarriages, they think their prayers have been answered when a rowboat carrying a dead man and his decidedly living infant daughter miraculously washes ashore on their remote Australian island. But then the child's biological mother turns up. The Lowdown: A three-tissue, period-melodrama awash in a sea of grandiose…
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Starring: Kate Mara, Anya Taylor-Joy, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Michelle Yeoh, Toby Jones

Morgan

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The Story: A risk assessor for a shadowy corporation is taken to a remote location where an experiment in creating an artificial humanoid has gone horribly awry. Once there, she must decide if the subject of the experiments needs to be terminated. But will she be able to pull it off? The Lowdown: You can probably figure out…
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Starring: Boris Karloff, Jack Nicholson, Sandra Knight

The Terror

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In conjunction with the Hendersonville Film Society’s Sept. 11 screening of Peter Bogdanovich's Targets, the Thursday Horror Picture Show will feature the film from which Targets borrowed much of its Boris Karloff footage, Roger Corman’s The Terror, on Sept. 8. Like much of Corman’s canon, The Terror (1963) is often uneven, but never uninteresting. This…
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Starring: Boris Karloff, Tim O'Kelly, Nancy Hsueh, Peter Bogdanovich, Arthur Peterson

Targets

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While it lacks the style and polish of the films that come after it, Peter Bogdanovich’s debut film, Targets (1968), is a first feature of note — one that still packs a punch (maybe a punch that hits even harder in contemporary times). Its history is part of movie legend, but it’s worth remembering that…
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Starring: Harold Lloyd, Frances Ramsden, Jimmy Conlin, Rudy Vallee, Margaret Hamilton

The Sin of Harold Diddlebock

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Director Preston Sturges drew silent-comedy star Harold Lloyd out of retirement for this 1947 sequel to The Freshman (possibly Lloyd’s best-known feature), picking up over 20 years after that film left off. The Sin of Harold Diddlebock may not be Lloyd’s funniest work, and it certainly doesn’t represent a career zenith for Sturges either. But…
CIAO, PROFESSORE! (aka IO SPERIAMO CHE ME LA CAVO), Paolo Villaggio (center),  (l-r): Luigi Lastorina, Carmela Pecoraro, Pier Francesco Borruto, Adriano Pantaleo, 1992, (c)Miramax
Starring: Paolo Villaggio, Isa Danieli, Gigio Morra, Sergio Solli, Ester Carloni, Paolo Bonacelli

Ciao, Professore!

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For a time in the 1970s, Italian filmmaker Lina Wertmüller was the bee's knees of critical darlings — even managing to snare the admiration of that most hateful and hated critic John Simon (who makes Armond White look like a dilettante in the troll department). One wag even commented that had Wertmüller not existed, Simon…
Dont-Breathe
Starring: Jane Levy, Dylan Minnette, Daniel Zovatto, Stephen Lang

Don’t Breathe

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The Story: Three young thieves attempt to go out on one last big score by robbing a blind Iraq War vet of $300,000 dollars stashed in his Detroit home. What they find within is far more insidious than they could ever have expected. The Lowdown: A nerve-wracking psychological thriller that hits all the right notes, Don't Breathe delivers chills without…
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Starring: Markees Christmas, Craig Robinson, Carla Juri, Lina Keller

Morris from America

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The Story: A black teenager from the Bronx must navigate adolescence and ill-advised love in unfamiliar territory when his soccer-coach dad relocates the family to Germany. The Lowdown: A genuinely moving film with heart to spare, Morris from America avoids coming-of-age clichés to deliver a unique and compelling story.
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Starring: Michael Barbieri, Theo Taplitz, Greg Kinnear, Jennifer Ehle, Paulina García

Little Men

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The Story: Two artsy New York teens form a fast friendship, but when their parents enter into a property dispute, their bond is threatened. The Lowdown: A moving human drama with implications that far outstrip its simple premise, Little Men speaks to broader social issues through an appealingly low-key story.
Starring: Jason Statham, Jessica Alba, Tommy Lee Jones, Michelle Yeoh, Sam Hazeldine

The Mechanic Resurrection

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The Story: In order to save the life of a woman, a retired hit man is drawn back into duty by a shifty arms dealer. The Lowdown: A flat, brain-dead action flick with a few moments of energy and creativity buried beneath too much senseless plotting.