Hooray for Hanke

When I moved back home to Asheville after a lengthy sojourn in the [Research ] Triangle, I was thrilled to find that Asheville had its own film critic and that he actually reviewed real movies that played in real movie theaters that real people went to see. You see, in the Triangle at that time, movie criticism tended to involve extolling the virtues of such things as Iranian cinema. While I didn't begrudge the Iranians their cinema (or the Finnish theirs, for that matter), I did find hifalutin' film criticism to be haughty.

Ken Hanke never puts on airs, though. While Ken tends to love more films than I do, I have never seen a movie that Ken hated that I loved. If I am deciding how to spend entertainment dollars, a quick reference to Ken is always helpful. He is an Asheville treasure. Congratulations on your first decade, Ken, and well done, Mountain Xpress!

— J. Matthew Martin
Asheville

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7 thoughts on “Hooray for Hanke

  1. Ken Hanke

    Thank you for the letter, Mr. Martin.

    As for Mr. Bernier, he has clearly forgotten that you lose brain cells every time you type “lol.”

  2. Dionysis

    Ken’s reviews are always the first thing I read in each issue of MtXpress. As for R. Bernier’s effort at being witty, I have to disagree with Ken. I think he struggled mightily to come up with his three-letter retort, which required him to muster every available brain cell at his disposal.

  3. JonathanBarnard

    Like you Mr. Martin, I think Ken is an Asheville treasure. Unlike you, I wouldn’t mind having some recommendations about good Iranian films. Ken’s general antipathy to foreign-language films (especially Asian films) is one of his weaknesses, not one of his strengths.

  4. Ken Hanke

    Ken’s general antipathy to foreign-language films (especially Asian films) is one of his weaknesses

    “Antipathy” seems a little strong when you consider that three out of ten of my Ten Best this year are foreign language, with two more (one Asian even!) honorable mentions also not in English. Actually, while I tend to personally prefer English-language films, foreign-language films are much more likely to get good reviews, though that has a lot to do with the fact that most of the foreign-language rubbish never makes it to the States. And there’s unfortunately nothing to keep Furry Vengeance and the like from getting in.

  5. JonathanBarnard

    You’re right, “antipathy” probably is too strong a word. And true, you did include several foreign language films in your “Ten Best” list this year.

    I guess I was thinking about your “best 100 of the decade” list, in which, if I recall correctly, a Japanese animated film represented the entire continent of Asia. (I probably recall incorrectly.)

  6. Ken Hanke

    I guess I was thinking about your “best 100 of the decade” list, in which, if I recall correctly, a Japanese animated film represented the entire continent of Asia. (I probably recall incorrectly.)

    That may well be correct. And I’m willing to bet no Iranian films at all are on there. It may be partly a reaction to the business of a lot of “serious” movie fans tending to think that films with subtitles are automatically more artistic. But it’s true Asian cinema doesn’t often resonate with me. If I’d seen it at the time, Millennium Actress would have been on there.

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