Movie Reviews

Starring: Steve Carell, Timothee Chalamet, Maura Tierney, Amy Ryan, Stefanie Scott

Beautiful Boy

The Story: A father struggles with his son's unexpected addiction to drugs and a seemingly impossible recovery. The Lowdown: While there are some interesting stylistic flourishes here, a lack of an emotional linchpin, uneventful performances and a narrow view of addiction keep the movie from being something more impressive.
Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Rashida Jones, Kenan Thompson, Pharrell Williams, Cameron Seely

The Grinch

The Story: The Grinch who stole Christmas is back on the scene, prowling and scowling on big silver screens. The Lowdown: While it's beautiful, bouncy and bright, the book or the short are your best bets tonight.
Starring: Claire Foy, Sylvia Hoeks, Lakeith Stanfield, Sverrir Gudnason, Vicky Krieps, Stephen Merchant

The Girl in the Spider’s Web

The Story: Hacker Lisbeth Salander is drawn into a convoluted plot to recover a computer program designed to hijack nuclear missiles around the world so that her estranged sister can claim some amorphous revenge. The Lowdown: A regrettably rushed reboot of Stieg Larsson's "Millennium" stories that fails to do justice to its iconic protagonist and doesn't live up…
Starring: Min-sik Choi, Ji-tae Yu, Hye-jeong Kang


In Brief: It's no surprise that Korean director Chan-wook Park's 2003 masterpiece Oldboy took home the Grand Prix from Cannes in 2004. What is somewhat surprising is just how well it has held up in the intervening decade and a half. For an unflinchingly brutal film rife with excessive violence, Oldboy has been an incredibly influential film and one with a…
Starring: Joan Crawford, Ann Blyth, Jack Carson, Zachary Scott, Bruce Bennett, Eve Arden

Mildred Pierce

In Brief: Definitely not the best Michael Curtiz movie, but potentially one of the best Joan Crawford vehicles, Mildred Pierce (1945) skirts the line between soap-opera melodrama and hard-boiled film noir without coming down definitively on either side. Its plot, based on a James M. Cain novel of the same name, often strains credulity even as it…
Starring: Mackenzie Foy, Keira Knightley, Helen Mirren, Jayden Fowora-Knight, Morgan Freeman

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms

The Story: A young girl travels to a whimsical fantasy world in an attempt to solve a puzzle left behind for her by her late mother. The Lowdown: A pleasant, well-meaning family film that hits all the right notes for this type of film, yet never quite raises itself toward anything greater.
Starring: Rami Malek, Lucy Boynton, Gwilym Lee, Ben Hardy, Joseph Mazzello

Bohemian Rhapsody

The Lowdown: Stadium-rock superstars Queen rise from obscurity to global dominance before lead singer Freddie Mercury's tragic demise from AIDS. The Lowdown: Another Bryan Singer film bites the dust.
Starring: Tika Sumpter, Tiffany Haddish, Omari Hardwick, Whoopi Goldberg

Nobody’s Fool

The Story: When her sister Danica is catfished, newly released ex-con Tanya goes to great lengths to help her solve the mystery. The Lowdown: An extremely raunchy, emotionally dead and typically tone-deaf Tyler Perry comedy.
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…