New Movie Releases

Starring: Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, Gary Oldman, Joel Kinnaman, Paddy Considine, Jason Clarke, Vincent Cassel

Child 44

The Story: A Russian secret police agent becomes increasingly disillusioned with Stalin's Russia, especially concerning a series of child murders. The Lowdown: As a mystery, there's not much here. Also, it's too long and on the slow side. But as an examination of the grim final days of Stalinism, it's often fascinating.
Starring: Stanton Glantz, Jamy Ian Swiss, Bob Inglis, Frederick Singer, Tim Phillips, Marc Morano, Naomi Oreskes

Merchants of Doubt

The Story: Documentary about "experts" whose job is to cast doubt on scientific findings at the behest of their employers. The Lowdown: It probably won't change many minds — do these things ever? — and it may not tell you much you don't know, but this is a solid and surprisingly effective activist documentary.
Starring: Kevin James, Raini Rodriguez, Eduardo Verástegui, Neal McDonough, David Henrie

Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2

The Story: Mall cop Paul Blart returns, clumsily fighting crime in Las Vegas during a convention. The Lowdown: A tired and embarrassing comedy that’s based on a grotesque view of everyday people and a penchant for the cheapest of jokes.
Starring: Jonah Hill, James Franco, Felicity Jones, Ethan Suplee, Robert John Burke

True Story

The Story: A disgraced journalist has the story of a lifetime fall into his lap when a fugitive accused of murdering his family turns up in Mexico pretending to be him. The Lowdown: A self-serious crime drama that’s impossible to actually take seriously, one that’s too straight-faced and thematically droll.
Starring: Shelley Hennig, Moses Jacob Storm, Renee Olstead, Will Peltz, Jacob Wysocki


The Story: Some overage teenagers run afoul of a vengeful spirit online. The Lowdown: A strong contender for Worst Movie of 2015. This isn't even bargain-basement horror of the so-bad-it's-funny school. This is so-bad-it's-awful. That said, some have called it brilliant.

Special Screenings This Week

Starring: David Alpay, Charles Aznavour, Eric Bogosian, Brent Carver, Christopher Plummer


In Brief: To commemorate Armenian Genocide Day, World Cinema is showing Atom Egoyan's much misunderstood Ararat (2002), which deals with the Turkish government's 1915 genocide of its Armenian population. This is heady stuff. It's also heavily layered and told in an unusual manner, presenting the story from the perspective of an Armenian filmmaker and linking past…
Starring: Fredric March, Evelyn Venable, Sir Guy Standing, Katharine Alexander, Gail Patrick, Kent Taylor, Helen Westley

Death Takes a Holiday

In Brief: More a dark fantasy than an outright horror movie (though it has been claimed by the horror community), Death Takes a Holiday (1934) is the kind of film that could only have been made by Paramount Pictures and could only have been made at the time it was. Mitchell Leisen’s surprisingly complex (especially with its…
Starring: William Powell, Kay Francis, Scott Kolk, William B. Davidson, Thomas E. Jackson, Harry Walker

For the Defense

In Brief: For the Defense (1930) is a rare (I think TCM has played it once) early sound film starring William Powell and Kay Francis made while both were still under contract to Paramount, and while it's not up to their more famous Warner Bros. duo — One Way Passage and Jewel Robbery (both 1932) — it's a surprisingly…
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Starring: Robert Powell, Georgina Hale, Lee Montague, Rosalie Crutchley, Antonia Ellis


In Brief: The Asheville Film Society's Budget Big Screen series returns with Asheville's own Lisi Russell introducing Ken Russell's Mahler — her late husband's brilliant biographical film on composer Gustav Mahler, a film conductor Klaus Tennstedt said was "the best film ever made about music." I'm not about to argue with him. Mahler is from the richest period…
Starring: Edward Fox, Terence Alexander, Michel Auclair, Alan Badel, Tony Britton

The Day of the Jackal

In Brief: It's big. It's glossy. It's competently professional. It rarely thrills, and it goes on for an unconscionable 143 minutes. In other words, it's a Fred Zinnemann film. Zinnemann is probably the last person I'd approach to make a thriller — and this movie illustrates why. What this shaggy yarn about an assassination attempt…