Movie Reviews

Ghost Rider

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The Story: Johnny Blaze sold his soul to the devil, but has a chance to cancel his Faustian pact by preventing the Son o' Satan from getting his mits on a document that would allow him to create hell on earth. The Lowdown: Yes, it's utter rubbish, but it's enjoyably silly, campy rubbish blessed with…

Factory Girl

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The Story: Biopic of professional "poor little rich girl" Edie Sedgwick, who overstayed her 15 minutes of fame at the Andy Warhol Factory in the 1960s. The Lowdown: Even assuming that Edie Sedgwick deserves a biographical film, this is not that film, despite the laudable efforts of Sienna Miller and Guy Pearce to imbue their…

Daddy’s Little Girls

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The Story: A mechanic fights to keep his children from the clutches of his evil drug-dealing ex-wife, and becomes romantically involved with the lawyer who takes his case. The Lowdown: Tyler Perry's not in his latest filmmaking effort, but his heavy-handed moralizing, dubious moral sense, ham-handed dramatics and lack of directorial skills are.

Bridge to Terabithia

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The Story: Based on Katherine Paterson's children's novel, the movie Bridge to Terabithia follows two outcast preteens as they attempt to adjust to the pains of growing up by escaping into an imaginary fantasy world. The Lowdown: A pleasant, well-intentioned family film that accomplishes exactly what it sets out to do.

Breach

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The Story: The true story of Robert Hanssen, supposedly the worst traitor in the history of the United States, and the FBI’s attempts at bringing him to justice. The Lowdown: A decent movie that is highlighted by Chris Cooper’s excellent performance, but ultimately marred by utterly lackluster execution on every other front.

God Is Brazilian

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Of the small number of actors I can think of who’ve played God over the years, my favorite is probably still Rex Ingram in The Green Pastures (1936). But having seen Antônio Fagundes as the Crafty But Benign Old Gentleman Upstairs, I think I’ve encountered His most believable screen incarnation. Fagundes’ God is an interesting […]

Siren of the Tropics

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Siren of the Tropics (1927) is a pretty bad movie. Its plot is absurd, and its structure is as ragged as the tailoring on a $12.95 tuxedo. The story jumps from situation to situation in a manner that’s almost surrealistic. While it’s tempting to think this might be deliberate given Luis Buñuel’s name on the […]

Homicide

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Homicide is very probably David Mamet’s most intriguing and complex film. It’s also his most muddled and contrived—flaws that are unfortunately the result of it being his most intriguing and complex film. Sometimes you have to pay the price for that, but in this case it’s not that heavy of a price, because of the […]

The Last Sin Eater

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The Story: A young girl living in 1850s Appalachia attempts to find help from a Sin Eater in order to gain redemption for her past mistakes. Instead, she uncovers secrets that have been haunting her community. The Lowdown: A cheap, boring, poorly acted mess that is just all-around bad filmmaking.

Norbit

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The Story: Eddie Murphy plays three roles in this saga of a nebbishy orphan with a terror of a wife, a monstrous set of brothers-in-law and a secret yearning for his childhood sweetheart. The Lowdown: A witless farce comedy with a plot that was old when the last century was new, bottom-of-the-barrel production values and…

Letters From Iwo Jima

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The Story: Clint Eastwood's companion piece to Flags of Our Fathers tells the story of the battle of Iwo Jima from the Japanese perspective. The Lowdown: An altogether more successful film than Eastwood's earlier Iwo Jima picture -- much more layered and much less obvious. It's a solidly good work, but not quite a great…

Hannibal Rising

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The Story: The tale of how young Hannibal Lecter became the serial killer/cannibal who would one day be the focus of an Oscar-winning movie. The Lowdown: A good-looking but rather suspenseless revenge story that is never scary and might have worked better on its own without any connection to the Lecter mythos.

Crimes and Misdemeanors

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

Bagdad Café

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The Hendersonville Film Society will show Bagdad Café at 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 18 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…

Notes on a Scandal

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The Story: An art teacher (Cate Blanchett) becomes romantically involved with a 15-year-old student, providing an opportunity for emotional blackmail by an older teacher (Judi Dench) who's fixated on the younger woman. The Lowdown: What could have been sensationalistic trash is elevated to penetrating observations on human behavior thanks to stunning performances, deft direction and…

O. Henry’s Full House

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The Hendersonville Film Society will show O. Henry's Full House at 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 11 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…

The Messengers

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The Story: A dysfunctional family moves to a sunflower farm in North Dakota only to discover their new home comes complete with hot and cold running ghosts. The Lowdown: Nicely made, but a completely derivative spook show that's ultimately sunk by a silly and incredibly sloppy script.
Starring: Jeroen Krabbé, Renée Soutendijk, Thom Hoffman, Dolf de Vries, Geert de Jong

The Fourth Man

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