Movie Reviews

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Starring: Elizabeth Reaser, Annalise Basso, Lulu Wilson, Henry Thomas, Parker Mack, Doug Jones

Ouija: Origin of Evil

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The Story: A widowed medium and her two daughters get more than they bargained for when they incorporate a Ouija board into their seance con. The Lowdown: Surprisingly solid spook cinema that won't disappoint those in need of a Halloween fright fix.
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Starring: Tyler Perry, Cassi Davis, Patrice Lovely, Diamond White

Boo! A Madea Halloween

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The Story: Tyler Perry’s recurring characters must babysit teenage Tiffany and prevent her from sneaking out of the house to attend a Halloween frat party. The Lowdown: Fairly predictable seasonal TV special stretched into a big-screen special for stereotypical middlebrow laughs.
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Starring: Tom Cruise, Cobie Smulders, Danika Yarosh, Aldis Hodge, Patrick Heusinger

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back

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The Story: Ex-military drifter Jack Reacher is back, but his plan for a hot date with an Army major he's never met goes awry when she's charged with treason and he's saddled with an unexpected paternity suit. The Lowdown: A painfully predictable and redundant revisitation of the Jack Reacher character that lacks the charm and off-kilter sensibility of…
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Starring: Sasha Lane, Shia LaBeouf, Riley Keough

American Honey

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The Story: A young girl flees a life of desperation and poverty to join a band of other disaffected teens selling magazine subscriptions door-to-door, a life she finds to be largely characterized by desperation and poverty. The Lowdown: Showcasing the worst proclivities of art house cinema, American Honey is a painfully overlong meditation on youthful irresponsibility that never…
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Starring: Anthony Perkins, Janet Keigh, Vera Miles, John Gavin, Martin Balsam

Psycho

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In Brief: Just when you thought it was over, the AFS extends its grisly reach into November for one last Halloween horror film. Join us for a very special Budget Big Screen ticketed presentation of Alfred Hitchcock's perennial classic, Psycho. It's a definitive work in both Hitchcock's oeuvre and the genre as a whole, and opportunities to see it…
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Starring: Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing/Duane Jones, Judith O'Dea

Satanic Rites of Dracula/Night of the Living Dead

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In Brief: Halloween is upon us, which means it's time for the Asheville Film Society's month of monstrosities to draw its dying breath with one last double feature, and in memoriam I've scheduled an undisputed classic alongside a heavy dose of classic camp. First up we have the final Hammer pairing of Christopher Lee's Dracula with Peter Cushing's Van Helsing,…
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Starring: John Huston (narrator)/Lon Chaney Jr., John Carradine, Onslow Stevens

Battle of San Pietro/House of Dracula

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In Brief: The Hendersonville Film Society will be hosting a double feature this week starting with John Huston's second foray into Frank Capra's Why We Fight series of WWII documentaries, The Battle of San Pietro. If you've never seen any of Huston's documentary work this is great place to start, and it might have been seasonally appropriate had…
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Starring: Udo Kier, Joe Dallesandro, Arno Juerging, Maxime McKendry, Milena Vukotic

Blood for Dracula

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In Brief: It's the X-rated classic where Dracula becomes spectacularly unwell whenever he drinks the blood of anyone who's not a virgin (prompting the magnificent outburst, "The blood of these whores is killing me!") — and if that appeals to you (and it should), this movie is right up your alley. It's all about Dracula going…
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Starring: Harry de Leyer, Snowman, Harriet de Leyer, Andre de Leyer

Harry and Snowman

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The Story: A working-class immigrant rescues a retired plow horse bound for the dog food factory, and together they take the aristocratic world of competitive horse jumping by storm. The Lowdown: This straightforward documentary showcases the touching partnership between a unique man and his remarkable horse as they overcome long odds, a genuinely moving story that will inspire even…
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Starring: Rachel Weisz, Tom Wilkinson, Timothy Spall, Andrew Scott

Denial

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The Story: An American professor of Jewish history must confront a Holocaust denier in the British legal system, where the burden is on her to prove that his denials are false. The Lowdown: Based on a true story, Denial boasts a few outstanding performances but doesn't quite do its subject justice.
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Starring: Ben Affleck, Anna Kendrick, Jon Bernthal, J.K. Simmons, Cynthia Addai-Robbinson, Jeffery Tambor, John Lithgow

The Accountant

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The Story: An autism-spectrum assassin with a knack for numbers finds himself between a rock and a hard place when a routine job goes awry, while federal agents close in on his carefully concealed identity. The Lowdown: An action flick simultaneously worse than it could've been and better than it has any right to be, The Accountant is fun but…
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Starring: Ben Winchell, Josh Brener, Maria Bello, Andy Garcia, Ana Villafañe

Max Steel

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The Story: Teenager awakens his superpowers and embarks on a quest to find out what happened to his deceased father and the scientific work that killed him. The Lowdown: Predictable, almost humorless superhero movie that is neither super nor heroic.
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Starring: Edith Scob, Pierre Brasseur, Alida Valli

Eyes Without a Face

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In Brief: The Asheville Film Society keeps on creepin' on with our October schedule of historic horror. Next up is Georges Franju's poetic masterpiece of fairy-tale fright, 1960's Eyes Without a Face. A film of almost unparalleled aesthetic beauty (within the genre, at least), this is possibly the best-remembered work of Cinematheque Française co-founder Franju despite being almost…
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Starring: Candace Hilligoss, Frances Feist, Herk Harvey

Carnival of Souls

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In Brief: The Asheville Film Society enters the final week of its month-long horror retrospective with Herk Harvey's under-seen cult classic, Carnival of Souls. This gem of low-budget ingenuity wrings every last drop from its almost laughably minuscule $30,000 budget, creating an intensely eerie atmosphere through its minimalistic style. The film's plot places it squarely on the existential…
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Starring: Al Pacino, Jeremy Irons, Joseph Fiennes

The Merchant of Venice

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In Brief: I was surprised to find that this is the first talkie ever made of The Merchant of Venice, though television — mostly the BBC — has offered it up several times. The reason for the lack of actual films of the play is not hard to fathom, since the inherent anti-Semitism of the subject matter…
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Starring: Pascal Greggory, Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi, Charles Berling, Jean-Louis Trintignant

Those Who Love Me Can Take the Train

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In Brief: My entire familiarity with Patrice Chéreau prior to seeing Those Who Love Me Can Take the Train (1998) rested on seeing the video presentation of his famous (or infamous, depending on whom you ask) 1976 staging of Richard Wagner’s Ring cycle at Bayreuth. In terms of his talents as a filmmaker this told…
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Starring: Maria Mercedes Coroy, Maria Telon, Manuel Antun, Justo Lorenzo, Marvin Coroy, Leo Antun

Ixcanul

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The Story: A young Guatemalan peasant girl is torn between an arranged marriage and her dreams of a life with her lover in America. The Lowdown: A devastating story of youthful ignorance and cultural exploitation, Ixcanul will haunt audiences with its beauty and brutality.
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Starring: Bethany Whitmore, Harrison Feldman, Matthew Whittet, Amber McMahon, Eamon Farren

Girl Asleep

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The Story: An young girl clinging to her childhood is drawn into a bizarre fantasy world when her parents host a party for her fifteenth birthday. The Lowdown: Girl Asleep pulls off a delicate balancing act between fun and poignancy, dealing with a sensitive subject without condescension or cloying sentimentality.
Starring: Connor Jessup, Aaron Abrams, Aliocha Schneider, Joanne Kelly, Sofia Banzhaf

Closet Monster

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The Story: A young gay man struggles with accepting his sexuality in the face of past trauma and an unwelcome family life. The Lowdown: A occasionally fascinating piece of filmmaking that's both flawed in its general execution and lacking a firm emotional center — two things that stunt its impact.