Movie Reviews

Epic Movie

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The Story: Following a loose, insignificant plotline surrounding four orphans, Epic Movie is an attempt at satirizing so-called "epic" movies, which, by this movie's definition, is anything that happens to be popular. The Lowdown: Bad in every conceivable sense of the word, this film manages the holy trinity of all terrible comedies: It's boring, obvious…

Catch and Release

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The Story: A young woman learns much about her late fianc/(c) when she has to piece her life together after he is killed. The Lowdown: An overlong and overly ambitious romantic comedy that isn't unlikable, but is ultimately disposable and forgettable. Playing at Epic of Hendersonville, Hollywood-Regal Cinema 14, United Artists Beaucatcher 7.

Gentleman’s Agreement

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Gentleman's Agreement is being presented by the Jewish Community Center, 236 Charlotte Street, at 2 p.m., Sunday Feb. 4 as part of a series of films from the Jewish Heritage Video Collection at UNCA's Ramsey Library. The weekly series will continue with Daniel (Feb. 11), Crimes and Misdemeanors (Feb. 18) and Homicide (Feb. 25).

Blood and Chocolate

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The Story: An itinerant comic book writer falls for a pretty chocolatier in Bucharest, who, unfortunately, is also a werewolf (sort of). The Lowdown: A mind-numbing array of bad ideas are badly executed in this low-wattage horror flick. Playing at Carmike Cinema 10, Hollywood-Regal 14.

Volver

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The Story: When the dotty aunt of two sisters dies, the ghost of their mother (who's come back from the dead to take care of the aunt) sneaks into Madrid in the trunk of a car to take a hand in her daughters' lives. The Lowdown:The great fabulist Pedro Almod/>=var returns with another outrageous comedic…

Baby Face

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The Hendersonville Film Society will show Baby Face at 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 28 in the Smoky Mountain Theater at Lake Pointe Landing Retirement Community, 333 Thompson St., Hendersonville. (From Asheville, take I-26 to U.S. 64 West, turn right at the third light onto Thompson Street. Follow to the Lake Point Landing entrance and park…

Pan’s Labyrinth

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The Story: In 1944 Spain, a young girl, obsessed with fairy tales, travels with her pregnant mother to be with her stepfather, a fascist captain in Franco's army trying to quell a liberal uprising in the mountains. There she finds an imaginary world that both counters and mirrors the horrors around her. The Lowdown: Guillermo…

The Jazz Singer

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The Jazz Singer is being presented by the Jewish Community Center, 236 Charlotte Street, at 2 p.m., Sunday Jan. 28 as part of a series of five films from the Jewish Heritage Video Collection at UNCA's Ramsey Library. The weekly series will continue with Gentleman's Agreement (Feb. 4), Daniel (Feb. 11), Crimes and Misdemeanors (Feb.…

The Hitcher

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The Story: A young couple on college break pickup a psychotic hitchhiker, and homicidal high jinks ensue. The Lowdown: A young couple on college break pickup a psychotic hitchhiker, and homicidal high jinks ensue.

Good Bye, Lenin!

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Goodbye, Lenin! is part of a series of Classic Cinema From Around the World being presented at 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 26 at Courtyard Gallery, 9 Walnut St. in downtown Asheville (enter at Walnut next to Scully's or at 13 Carolina Lane).

Stomp the Yard

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I suppose if the cliched, uplifting sports drama had a little cousin, it would be the cliched, uplifting dance drama. The latest entry is Stomp the Yard, or as I like to call it You Got Served the Last Step Up Footloose Dirty Flashdance 2: Electric Boogaloo (or Y.G.S.L.S.U.F.D.F.2.E.B for short). Actually, the best description […]

Stevie

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Made in 1978, but not released in the U.S. till 1981 (it was thought there wasn’t a market for a film about British poet Stevie Smith), Stevie is most assuredly a movie for specialized tastes. It’s essentially a two-woman show — with occasional appearances by Trevor Howard and Alec McCowen — and theatrical to the […]

Primeval

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I knew this was going to be a stinker when I saw the trailer for it. The people who cut the trailer also knew it, bending over backwards to try not to tell the viewer that Primeval was about a giant crocodile. (It’s the same approach the folks who make trailers employ on 99 percent […]

The Painted Veil

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I admit to having approached this third film version of Somerset Maugham’s The Painted Veil with reservations. I’d disliked John Curran’s previous film, We Don’t Live Here Anymore (2004), and the trailer for this one looked too much like ersatz Merchant-Ivory for its own good. However, as a huge admirer of the writings of once […]

The Last King of Scotland

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There’s no denying that Forest Whitaker’s portrayal of the blood-soaked Ugandan dictator Idi Amin in Kevin McDonald’s The Last King of Scotland is mesmerizingly brilliant (even if I think Peter O’Toole’s turn in Venus edges him out of the year’s top spot). It’s gripping in that it catches the charisma, the self-delusion, the madness and […]

Dreamgirls

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Bill Condon’s Dreamgirls poses an interesting problem for me. I think it’s wonderful filmmaking. I think it has some very fine performances. Its story is engaging (if a little — OK, a lot — on the standard backstage bio side) and its characters are interesting and generally sympathetic. I find its musical numbers very nicely […]

Curse of the Golden Flower

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Curse of the Golden Flower is easily the most visually sumptuous film around. It’s also the most sublimely silly one. That’s not to say that it isn’t entertaining, or that it isn’t well made. It is both. It is also one of the most jaw-droppingly spectacular things you’re likely to see. It’s “art fu” filmmaking […]

Bliss

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Back in 1985, Ray Lawrence’s Bliss was the art house sensation. It had created quite a stir at Cannes — as much for the fact that about 400 viewers walked out of the movie in disgust (mostly at the same moment — the film’s notorious “sardine scene”) as from the accolades it drew. No Australian […]

Alpha Dog

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I’m convinced that there is a good movie — a fast-paced, tense crime drama rife with social commentary that examines the consequences behind the glamorization of violence and crime — buried somewhere underneath the mess that is Alpha Dog. The only problem is that director Nick Cassavettes didn’t make that movie. Instead, he made this […]