Movie Reviews

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Starring: Ben Whishaw, Hugh Grant, Sally Hawkins, Hugh Bonneville, Brendan Gleeson, Julie Walters, Jim Broadbent, Peter Capaldi

Paddington 2

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The Story: Paddington becomes embroiled in a mysterious treasure hunt when a deluded actor steals a book the young bear cub intended to purchase as a birthday gift for his beloved aunt. The Lowdown: Atypically palatable children's fair that shows an uncommon degree of respect for its audience as well as its source material.
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Starring: Liam Neeson, Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Sam Neill, Jonathan Banks

The Commuter

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The Story: A man on a commuter train gets entangled in a mysterious criminal plot that he must unravel. The Lowdown: A watchable, somewhat entertaining thriller with few thrills and nothing exciting about it.
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Starring: Taraji P. Henson, Danny Glover, Billy Brown, Jahi Di'Allo Winston

Proud Mary

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The Story: Mary, a mob assassin who takes in a young boy she made into an orphan, threatens to kick off a full-fledged street war when her motherly instincts turn deadly and she murders the boy's abusive guardian. The Lowdown: Don't lose any sleep worrying about the way things might've been.
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Starring: Macha Méril, Philippe Leroy, Bernard Noël

A Married Woman (Une Femme Mariée)

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In Brief: After my first viewing of Une Femme Mariée (1964), I recall being struck by the fact that it was not so much a strange film as it was a strange film for Godard to have made at the height of his mid-'60s prowess. It's a relatively conventional love triangle, following a repressed married woman whose dalliances with…
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Starring: Judi Dench, Billy Connolly, Geoffrey Palmer, Anthony Sher, David Westhead

Mrs. Brown

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In Brief: An early starring turn for Judi Dench and a precursor of things to come for director John Madden (Shakespeare in Love, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel), Mrs. Brown (1997) is a decidedly offbeat period piece exploring the platonic love affair between Queen Victoria and Scotsman John Brown (Billy Connolly). Dench is characteristically fantastic, and Connolly more than…
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Starring: Tom Neal, Ann Savage, Claudia Drake

Detour

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In Brief: Some have called Edgar G. Ulmer’s Detour (1945) the ultimate example of film noir. While I wouldn’t necessarily go that far, it is unquestionably a tour de force and a nigh-unassailable classic of the genre. A Poverty Row cheapie shot in six days on a practically nonexistent budget, Detour bears all the hallmarks of…
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Starring: Ai Weiwei

Human Flow

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The Story: A overview of the worldwide refugee crisis that travels the globe, attempting to show the true scope and the horror of the situation. The Lowdown: A truly exhausting and massive documentary that attempts to remind us of the human lives behind conflict and politics which, despite some flaws, succeeds.
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Starring: Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Bob Odenkirk, Tracy Letts, Bradley Whitford, Bruce Greenwood, Matthew Rhys

The Post

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The Story: The Washington Post's publisher must decide whether or not she will publish the Pentagon Papers at great personal and professional expense.  The Lowdown: Spoiler alert: She does.
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Starring: Jessica Chastain, Idris Elba, Michael Cera, Kevin Costner, Chris O'Dowd

Molly’s Game

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The Story: An Olympic skier's plans for law school are derailed when she gets sucked into the lucrative world of high-stakes poker. The Lowdown: The only thing Aaron Sorkin leaves out of his directorial debut is something to be desired.
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Starring: Lin Shaye, Spencer Locke, Caitlin Gerard, Angus Sampson, Leigh Whannell

Insidious: The Last Key

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The Story: Time-hopping from the 1950s to the film's version of the present day, we witness series star Elise grow up and come to grips with her burgeoning powers while years later confronting the truth about her own past during an investigation at the house where she grew up. The Lowdown: While adding little to…
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Starring: Max von Sydow, Birgitta Valberg, Gunnel Lindblom, Birgitta Pettersson

The Virgin Spring

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In Brief: Highly regarded, but little loved, Ingmar Bergman's The Virgin Spring (1960) was a title the director himself seems to have had little fondness for. I tend to agree with that. The fact that it was successfully marketed on the exploitation value of its story — rape and revenge — should perhaps tell you that…
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Starring: Orson Welles, Oja Kodar, Joseph Cotten

F for Fake

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In Brief: The Hendersonville Film Society returns this week with Orson Welles' F for Fake (1973), the great filmmaker's last properly completed work. Welles' look at two famous fakes is a playful film — as much a feat of cinematic sleight-of-hand, laced with autobiography as anything else. At the time, Welles thought he'd found a brand-new…
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Starring: Frank Sinatra, Sterling Hayden, James Gleason, Nancy Gates

Suddenly

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In Brief: An obscure but enjoyable bit of film noir role-reversal, Suddenly (1954) sees Sterling Hayden and Frank Sinatra flip the script slightly. We've all seen Sinatra as the conflicted hero trying to stop an assassination in The Manchurian Candidate, but here he's a deranged psychopath trying to murder the president — and Hayden, having played killers and madmen in movies…
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Starring: Michelle Williams, Christopher Plummer, Mark Wahlberg, Charlie Plummer, Andrew Buchan

All the Money in the World

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The Story: When the heir to the vast Getty fortune is abducted, his mother must negotiate his release — both with the boy's captors, and with his notoriously penny pinching grandfather who refuses to part with the ransom money. The Lowdown: A compelling story delivered as overblown melodrama, weighed down by a handful of conspicuously weak performances, threadbare…
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Starring: Raymond Massey, Edward Chapman, Ralph Richardson, Margaretta Scott, Cedric Hardwicke

Things to Come

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In Brief: Visionary author H.G. Wells may have vacillated between optimism and cynicism throughout his career as a sci-fi prophet, and both ends of that spectrum are encompassed in his script for Things to Come (1936). adapting from his own essay, Wells paints a bleak picture of a not-to-distant future decimated by war and returned to a primitive…