Movie Reviews

Starring: Dakota Johnson, Tilda Swinton, Mia Goth, Angela Winkler, Chloe Grace Moretz


The Story: A young American enrolls at a prestigious German dance academy, only to find herself ensnared in a murderous conspiracy carried out by a coven of witches. The Lowdown: With this turgid attempt to reboot Dario Argento's vaunted Three Mothers trilogy, director Luca Gudagnino has delivered nothing more than a cinematic stillbirth.
Starring: Lubna Azabal, Mélissa Désormeaux, Maxim Gaudette, Rémy Girard, Abdelghafour Elaaziz


In Brief: Denis Villeneuve’s Incendies is the most intense film I’ve seen all year. It’s also one of the most compelling — and, in its own way, one of the most entertaining. The brilliance of Incendies lies in its fragmented presentation of the story as a mystery. This provides the film with that rarest of qualities —…
Starring: Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains, Conrad Veidt, Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre


In Brief: Possibly the most beloved of all movies, Michael Curtiz's Casablanca (1942) is a combination of happy accidents, studio professionalism and plain dumb luck that came together to create the most perfect of all Hollywood studio movies, a perfect blend of studio system efficiency that still allowed for personal creativity. It has more quotable…
Starring: Sunny Suljic, Katherine Waterston, Lucas Hedges, Na-kel Smith, Olan Prenatt, Ryder McLaughlin, Gio Galicia


The Story: A young boy comes of age in the ’90s California skateboarding scene. The Lowdown: A solid feature debut for Jonah Hill as writer/director, if one that will predominantly appeal to a very specific demographic and falls short of greatness in the end.
Starring: Anjali Chadha, Ryan Folz, Harsha Paladugu, Abraham Riedel-Mishaan, Kashfia Rahman

Science Fair

The Story: A diverse group of international high school students vies for recognition and academic opportunity at the world's most prestigious science fair. The Lowdown: A lightly likable doc that shines an overdue light on on the pursuits of some very, very smart kids.
Starring: Gerard Butler, Gary Oldman, Common, Michael Nyqvist, Linda Cardellini

Hunter Killer

The Lowdown: The captain of a U.S. submarine must prevent World War III when Russian political intrigue threatens to trigger a large-scale nuclear conflict. The Lowdown: They should've let this one sink with all hands.
Starring: Kåre Hedebrant, Lina Leandersson, Per Ragnar, Henrik Dahl, Karin Bergquist

Let the Right One In

In Brief: What a relief — and what a delight — it is to be able to praise a horror film without a string of qualifiers and excuses! Sure, there’ve been a handful of horror pictures in the past few years that deserved a look, but all required caveats about how this or that or the…
Starring: Lionel Atwill, Fay Wray, Glenda Farrell, Frank McHugh, Allen Vincent, Arthur Edmund Carewe

Mystery of the Wax Museum

In Brief: Michael Curtiz returned to the horror genre with Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933), which was only natural since the previous year's Doctor X  had been the film that had put the horror genre on the map at Warner Bros. Again, Curtiz was working in two-strip Technicolor, with the same stars — Lionel…
Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer, Andi Matichak, Will Patton, Virginia Gardner, Nick Castle


The Story: After 40 years of training and preparation, Laurie Strode finally gets the chance to confront mass murderer Michael Meyers once and for all. The Lowdown: The first entry in the franchise that comes anywhere close to measuring up to the original. David Gordon Green has delivered a sequel with enough tricks to be a real treat.
Starring: Robert Redford, Casey Affleck, Danny Glover, Tom Waits, Sissy Spacek, Elisabeth Moss

The Old Man and the Gun

The Story: A charming stickup man continues his crime spree long after retirement age.  The Lowdown:  Robert Redford's allegedly final film doesn't quite send him out with a bang, but it's not exactly a whimper either.
Starring: John C. Reilly, Joaquin Phoenix, Jake Gyllenhaal, Riz Ahmed, Rutger Hauer

The Sisters Brothers

The Story: Two brothers set out on a mission to torture and assassinate a chemist with a secret. The Lowdown: A particularly odd film, as internally incongruous as its juxtaposition of a title would suggest.
Starring: Amandla Stenberg, Regina Hall, Russell Hornsby, Algee Smith, Lamar Johnson, Issa Rae, K.J. Apa, Common, Anthony Mackie

The Hate U Give

The Story: A young black girl faces a difficult decision when she witnesses the killing of her unarmed friend at the hands of a police officer. The Lowdown: A well-intentioned and timely film, the effect of which is diminished by a predictable plot that talks down to its intended audience.
Starring: Julian West, Maurice Schutz, Rena Mandel, Sybille Schmitz, Jan Hieronimko, Henriette Gérard


In Brief: The Asheville Film Society returns to Black Cloud with a very special event just in time for Halloween — a screening of Carl Theodor Dreyer's Vampyr (1932) with a live musical accompaniment from local musician Transformation Rite, who has composed a score specifically for the occasion. Dreyer's film, based very loosely on Bram Stoker's Dracula and J. Sheridan Le…
Starring: Léa Seydoux, Adèle Exarchopoulos, Salim Kechiouche, Aurélien Recoing, Catherine Salée

Blue is the Warmest Color

In Brief: Make no mistake, the four-star rating given to Blue Is the Warmest Color is both guarded and calculated. I can see that this is a film of some merit and that it’s seriously intended. Technically, it is well-made and Léa Seydoux (the girl Owen Wilson ended up with in Midnight in Paris) is very…
Starring: Kirk Douglas, Burt Lancaster, Charles Durning, Eli Wallach, Dana Carvey

Tough Guys

In Brief: As much as the idea of Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas reteaming for a buddy comedy might appeal to the film historian in me, Tough Guys (1986) really isn't a film that should have been introduced into the cinematic record. It's not that it's necessarily bad, it's just not as good as it could have or…
Starring: Charles Chaplin, Paulette Goddard, Jack Oakie, Henry Daniell, Reginald Gardiner, Billy Gilbert

The Great Dictator

In Brief:  As Mark Twain may or may not have said: “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes.” Given the resurgence of fascism across the globe, and considering the strained and divisive political climate here in the States, The Asheville Film Society has partnered with the Fine Arts Theatre to lighten things up a bit…
Starring: Alex Honnold

Free Solo

The Story: Rock climber Alex Honnold achieves the unthinkable by scaling the 3,000-foot El Capitan with no ropes. The Lowdown: A visually stunning and almost unbearably tense documentary that chronicles one of the greatest accomplishments in the history of rock climbing.
Starring: Keira Knightley, Dominic West, Denise Gough, Fiona Shaw, Al Weaver


The Story: The early life and career of French writer Colette and her marriage to the author Willy. The Lowdown: What could've been a simple biopic instead becomes a tale of art, authorship, love, sexuality and gender, with a wonderful cast and a thoughtful approach.
Starring: Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, Eileen Atkins, Joan Plowright

Tea With the Dames

The Lowdown: Dames Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, Eileen Atkins and Joan Plowright sit down for tea and gossip. The Lowdown: A fun little doc that gives viewers some quality time with a quartet of charming ladies, even if it's too slight to be considered essential cinema.
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Cynthia Erivo, Dakota Johnson, Jon Hamm, Cailee Spaeny, Lewis Pullman, Chris Hemsworth, Nick Offerman

Bad Times at the El Royale

The Story: A group of strangers converges on a motel hiding almost as many secrets as its guests. The Lowdown: It's a Royale with plenty of cheese, but I wouldn't call it a bad time.
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy, Jason Clarke, Kyle Chandler, Corey Stoll, Patrick Fugit

First Man

The Story: Neil Armstrong's triumphant journey to the moon is marred by tragic loss and personal struggles. The Lowdown: A significantly overlong biopic that lacks a clear thematic stance or well-established emotional heart.