Movie Reviews

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Starring: Anne Hathaway, Jason Sudeikis, Austin Stowell, Tim Blake Nelson, Dan Stevens

Colossal

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The Story: An alcoholic writer returns to her hometown after her boyfriend kicks her out, only to find that her drunken shenanigans are having real-world consequences on the other side of the globe. The Lowdown: A darkly comic story with a serious message at its core that deftly juggles its tonal shifts and disparate genre tropes while…
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Starring: Eric Ruffin, Chloe Levine, Aaron Clifton Moten, Lloyd Kaufman, Larry Fessenden

The Transfiguration

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The Lowdown: An isolated teenager with a tragic past and a vampire obsession begins acting on his murderous fantasies, until an unexpected romantic connection challenges his worldview. The Lowdown: A complex psychological portrait of trauma and violence that will be particularly appealing to devotees of vampire cinema.
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Starring: Ricardo Darin, Javier Camara, Dolores Fonzi, Oriol Pla

Truman

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The Story: A man flies to Spain to spend time with his best friend, who's dying of cancer. The Lowdown: A quiet, gentle and human film about death and friendship that manages to avoid melodrama and cheesiness.
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Starring: Marta Mazurek, Michalina Olszanska, Jakub Gierszal, Kinga Preis, Andrzej Konopka, Zygmunt Malanowicz

The Lure (Córki dancingu)

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The Story: Two mermaids come ashore in Poland looking for men to love and/or eat, only to wind up fronting a family band in an underground strip club. The Lowdown: A staggeringly strange blend of horror movie and musical that falls disappointingly short of delivering on the feminist potential of its premise.
Starring: Cillian Murphy, Brie Larson, Armie Hammer, Sharlto Copley. Michael Smiley

Free Fire

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The Story: After a gun deal goes bad, a disparate group of quirky criminals find themselves trapped in a warehouse, pitted against one another. The Lowdown: A curious concept with some entertaining characters and smart moments, but these get dragged down when the film's muddled action scenes take hold.
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Starring: Conrad Veit, Alexandra Sorina, Fritz Strassny, Paul Askenas, Carmen Cartellieri, Fritz Kortner

The Hands of Orlac (Orlacs Hände)

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In Brief: Robert Wiene never quite outgrew the shadow of his German Expressionist masterpiece The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920), but in the case of 1924's The Hands of Orlac, he did manage to come close to recapturing the magic of his earlier film. Reteaming with Caligari star Conrad Veidt, Wiene adapted a celebrated French novel about a concert pianist…
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Starring: Max von Sydow, Liv Ullmann, Bibi Andersson, Erland Josephson

The Passion of Anna

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In Brief: World Cinema is revisiting this frequently overlooked Ingmar Bergman film. The U.S. title, The Passion of Anna, or The Passion (1969) is misleading, since it’s difficult to conclude that the film is really about Anna’s (Liv Ullmann) passion. Perhaps the American distributor simply thought it sounded sexier. In any case, the film is…
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Starring: TatIana Samojlova, Aleksey Batalov, Vaseli Merkuryev, Aleksandr Shvorin

The Cranes Are Flying (Letyat zhuravli)

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In Brief: Directed by Mikhail Kalatozov (I Am Cuba), The Cranes Are Flying (1957) is the only Russian film ever to win the coveted Palme D'Or at the Cannes Film Festival — and not without good reason. This postwar melodrama eschews the traditional rigidity of Russian formalist montage techniques in favor of a more free-flowing camera, which perfectly…
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Starring: Charlie Hunnam, Robert Pattinson, Sienna Miller, Tom Holland, Angus Macfadyen, Johann Myers

The Lost City of Z

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The Story: An explorer finds the remains of an ancient civilization while mapping an uncharted river in South America and dedicates the rest of his life to finding the lost city he believes to be hidden in the jungle. The Lowdown: Writer/director James Gray relies on classical cinematic forms in his compelling adaptation of author David Grann's nonfiction best-seller…
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Starring: Pierre Niney, Paula Beer, Ernst Stötzner, Marie Gruber, Johann Von Bülow, Anton von Lucke, Cyrielle Clair, Alice de Lencquesaing

Frantz

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The Story: A mysterious young Frenchman befriends the family of a fallen German soldier following World War I. The Lowdown: Timely social commentary in a weepy melodrama's clothing, François Ozon makes a rare misstep by overreaching in both style and narrative.
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Starring: Chris Evans, McKenna Grace, Jenny Slate, Lindsay Duncan, Octavia Spencer

Gifted

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The Story: A man raising his niece, a promising young math prodigy, is drawn into a contentious legal battle when his mother challenges him for custody of the girl. The Lowdown: A predominantly unobjectionable film, but one whose only gift is a talent for emotional manipulation.
Starring: Vin Diesel, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Charlize Theron, Jason Statham

The Fate of the Furious

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The Story: After their leader is turned into their nemesis by a nefarious hacker, a crew of car-driving outlaws must save him and the world. The Lowdown: The usual nonsense, namely lots of car chases and explosions, all absurdly accomplished, but not very memorable.
Starring: Gael Garcia Bernal, Veronica Echegui, Ashley Grace, Bjorn Hlynur Haraldsson, Jadyn Wong

You’re Killing Me Susana

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The Story: A husband leaves Mexico to track down his wife, who's unexpectedly left him for a writing workshop in Iowa. The Lowdown: Despite some great performances and occasional flashes of insight, this is a generally overlong and unfortunately unlikable portrait of a failing marriage.
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Starring: Guillaume Canet, Guillaume Gallienne, Alice Pol, Deborah Francois, Sabinz Azema

Cezanne and I (Cezanne et moi)

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The Story: Paul Cezanne and Emile Zola share a turbulent friendship that spans decades and involves some of the most famous artists of late 19th-century France. The Lowdown: Watching paint dry may well be more fun, depending on the painter.
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Starring: Vincent Price, Judith Evelyn, Darryl Hickman

The Tingler

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In Brief: Quite possibly the best thing legendary schlockmeister William Castle ever turned out prior to producing Rosemary's Baby — and certainly the best remembered of his films due to its incredible theatrical gimmick (Percepto), The Tingler is an absolute must see for fans of Castle's unique brand of low-budget exploitation horror. Castle's films are generally less notable for their…
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Starring: David Alpay, Charles Aznavour, Eric Bogosian, Brent Carver, Christopher Plummer

Ararat

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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…
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Starring: Nia Vardolos, Toni Collette, David Duchovny, Stephen Spinella, Ian Gomez, Debbie Reynolds

Connie and Carla

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In Brief: Yes, it’s My Big Fat Greek Drag Queen — even if Connie and Carla might more appropriately be better dubbed Some Like It Hot Meets Victor/Victoria. No matter how you slice it, though, this is yet another vanity project for Nia Vardolos — aided and abetted by producers Rita Wilson and Tom Hanks (who…
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Starring: Harry Shearer, Christopher Guest, Michael McKean, Rob Reiner, Ed Begley Jr, Fred Willard Fran Drescher, Billy Crystal, Dana Carvey, Paul Shaffer, Anjelica Huston

This is Spinal Tap

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In Brief: One of my favorite films of all time is in a delicate position, and only you — the Asheville moviegoing community — can help me save it. Many of you have no doubt seen, or are at least aware, of 1984's This is Spinal Tap, the film that not only launched the cinematic careers…
T2: Trainspotting
Starring: Ewan McGregor, Jonny Lee Miller, Robert Carlyle, Ewen Bremner, Anjela Nedyalkova, Kelly Macdonald, Shirley Henderson, Irvine Welsh

T2 Trainspotting

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The Story: A crew of formerly drug-addled miscreants reunites after two decades of bad blood to take stock of their misspent lives. The Lowdown: A fitting follow-up to an unquestionable classic that may not please the most ardent purists but makes a moving statement on the struggles of maturity and the pitfalls of nostalgia.
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Starring: Aaron Poole, Kathleen Munroe, Ellen Wong, Kenneth Welsh, Evan Stern, Daniel Fathers, Grace Munroe

The Void

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The Story:  A small-town cop stumbles into a world of cosmic monstrosity when he encounters a blood-spattered junkie on the run from a mysterious cult. The Lowdown: A love letter to gore fanatics and one of the best films yet to come out of the current throwback-horror renaissance.
Starring: Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Alan Arkin, Ann-Margaret, Joey King

Going in Style

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The Story: Three elderly men on the verge of losing their pensions decide to rob a bank. The Lowdown: A charming cast makes the film watchable, but drab comedy and a lack of anything to actually say make the rest pretty forgettable.