Movie Reviews

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Starring: Jacques Tati, Nathalie Pascaud, Michelle Rolla, Valentine Camax, Louis Perrault

M. Hulot’s Holiday

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In Brief: As a mere boy, I bumped into Jacques Tati’s Mon Oncle on television — and didn’t like it. Many years later, I saw part of his Traffic — and didn’t like it. With that, I wrote off Tati’s work as something just not for me. And it was with that in mind that…
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Starring: Lon Chaney, Mary Philbin, Norman Kerry, Arthur Edmund Carewe, Gibson Gowland

The Phantom of the Opera

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In Brief: The Asheville Film Society continues its October celebration of spook cinema with the first true big budget American horror feature, The Phantom of the Opera (1925). While it's mostly remembered for Lon Chaney's grotesque appearance — Roger Ebert called the Phantom's unmasking scene "one of the most famous moments in silent cinema" —it's easy for modern audiences…
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Starring: Emma Stone, Steve Carell, Andrea Riseborough, Sarah Silverman, Bill Pullman, Alan Cumming, Elisabeth Shue, Austin Stowell, Natalie Morales, Jessica McNamee, Fred Armisen

Battle of the Sexes

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The Story: Female tennis champ Billie Jean King's uphill fight for gender equality leads to a climactic showdown in the form of a highly-publicized spectacle when she goes up against self-proclaimed "male chauvinist pig" Bobby Riggs in a televised exhibition match. The Lowdown: A comedy about a serious subject that proves heavy-hearted but never heavy-handed.
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Starring: Scott Avett, Seth Avett, Bob Crawford, Paul DeFiglia, Tania Elizabeth, Joe Kwon, Mike Marsh, Rick Rubin, Jennifer Carpenter

May It Last: A Portrait of the Avett Brothers

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The Story: Massively successful pop-folk act The Avett Brothers discuss their background while recording their latest hit album. The Lowdown: An endearing glimpse behind the scenes of a band rooted in its frontmen's almost implausibly close brotherly bond.
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Starring: Gillian Anderson, Hugh Bonneville, Manish Dayal, Huma Qureshi, Michael Gambon

Viceroy’s House

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The Story: The final days of British rule in India, as seen through the clashes of different ideologies happening in the country. The Lowdown: A well-made period piece that does nothing exciting, new or unexpected.
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Starring: Alycia Debnam-Carey, Liesl Ahlers, William Moseley, Brit Morgan, Brooke Markham, Connor Paolo

Friend Request

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The Story:  After being unfriended by a popular classmate, a loner with a dark past takes her own life in order to haunt the social media profiles of the friends who rejected her. The Lowdown: A darker, weirder film than it might appear, this is surprisingly fun low-budget horror.
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Starring: Colin Firth, Julianne Moore, Taron Egerton, Mark Strong, Halle Berry, Channing Tatum, Jeff Bridges, Pedro Pascal, Edward Holcroft, Hanna Alstrom, Emily Watson, Sophie Cookson, Elton John, Bruce Greenwood, Poppy Delevingne

Kingsman: The Golden Circle

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The Story: Kingsman operative Galahad (aka Eggsy) returns to save the world again, this time from a drug cartel that has poisoned its product. The Lowdown: Bond for the Twitter era returns in what feels like a perfunctory social media repost, a thoroughly unoriginal film that seems to exist solely to keep the studio accountants happy.
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Starring: Dave Franco, Justin Theroux, Jackie Chan, Fred Armisen, Kumail Nanjiani, Abbi Jacobson, Michael Peña, Zach Woods

The Lego Ninjago Movie

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The Story: Lloyd, bullied at school for being the son of a local supervillain, battles his father as The Green Ninja, part of a warrior clan led by his mentor, Master Wu. The Lowdown: The newest offering in the Lego Movie franchise is the low point of the series, dropping the ball hard by being…
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Starring: Anna Karina, Laszlo Szabo, Jean-Pierre Leaud, Marianne Faithfull, Yves Afonso, Ernest Menzer

Made in USA

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In Brief: While it sits chronologically amid the most notable period of French New Wave auteur Jean-Luc Godard's oeuvre, Made in USA (1966) isn't often mentioned alongside films like Breathless or Weekend — and that omission is not without due cause. But it is one of Godard's most overlooked and underrated works, and if it doesn't rank amongst his best-known movies…
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Starring: Basil Rathbone, Nigel Bruce, George Zucco, Ida Lupino

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

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In Brief: Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce's second pairing as Holmes and Watson, and arguably their best, Alfred L. Werker's 1939 The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes is a damned near unimpeachable mystery film. Though the plot is taken from William Gillette's play rather than any of the Arthur Conan Doyle source material, and Bruce's Watson is definitely far removed…
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Starring: Lon Chaney, Victor McLaglen, Harry Earles; Lon Chaney, Joan Crawford, Norman Kerry

Tod Browning Double Feature

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In Brief: The Asheville Film Society will kick off its month-long October celebration of horror with a double feature from one of the unrivaled greats of the early horror cinema, the legendary Tod Browning. While many are well acquainted with Browning's better known films such as 1932's Freaks or 1931's Bela Lugosi Dracula, few are as familiar with his early…
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Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris, Michelle Pfeiffer, Domhnall Gleeson, Brian Gleeson, Stephen McHattie, Kristen Wiig

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The Story: A couple trying to conceive find their bucolic life upended by unexpected guests. The Lowdown: Aronofsky goes full Buñuel in a career-defining work of symbolist genre-defiance, a polarizing magnum opus that requires an open mind and a strong constitution.  
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Starring: Martin Scorsese, Robbie Robertson, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Steven Van Zandt

Rumble

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The Story: The untold tale of Native American's influence on the history of rock 'n' roll. The Lowdown: An interesting facet of our national culture that's unfortunately hindered by its documentary format.
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Starring: Harris Dickinson, Madeline Weinstein, Kate Hodge, Nicole Flyus, Anton Selyaninov, Frank Hakaj, David Ivanov, Harrison Sheehan, Erik Potempa

Beach Rats

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The Story: A Brooklyn teen struggles to accept his homosexuality in the face of pressure from family and friends. The Lowdown: A film more interesting than enjoyable, redeemed largely by a remarkable performance from star Harris Dickinson and exceptional camera work from cinematographer Hélène Louvart.
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Starring: Ben Stiller, Austin Abrams, Jenna Fischer, Michael Sheen, Luke Wilson, Jemaine Clement

Brad’s Status

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The Story: Pushing 50 and looking back in anger, Brad takes an extended trip down not-so-good memory lane while his son is off on his first round of college interviews. The Lowdown: A good cast and an OK script are let down by directorial fumbling and an ending that leaves you wondering just what exactly,…
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Starring: Michael Keaton, Dylan O'Brien, Sanaa Lathan, Taylor Kitsch, Charlotte Vega, Shiva Negar

American Assassin

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The Story: After his girlfriend is killed in a terrorist attack, a young man joins a CIA black ops mission to take revenge on the organization responsible. The Lowdown: Brainless, heartless, and all around miserable, this is typical back-to-school studio dumping-ground fare.
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Starring: Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, Gael Garcia Bernal, Kôji Yakusho, Adriana Barraza

Babel

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In Brief: Alejandro González Iñárritu and his writing partner Guillermo Arriaga made their bid to move into the mainstream with Babel (2006), a film that was nothing if not ambitious. Taking their standard approach of multiple stories that ultimately connect to create a larger picture, they moved a step further by making the stories global…
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Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Morgan Freeman, Woody Harrelson, Mélanie Laurent

Now You See Me

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In Brief: Louis Leterrier's 2013 Now You See Me basically has all of the elements that I hate in a film — it's an exercise in style over substance with effectively no attention payed to character or story, the cinematic equivalent of a cheap off-Strip Vegas floorshow. Which is why I'm surprised that I don't hate it, at least…
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Starring: John Chu, Haley Lu Richardson, Parker Posey, Rory Culkin

Columbus

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The Story: After his father ends up on his deathbed, a son travels to a small town to look after him and ends up in a friendship with a young woman. The Lowdown: A surprising little movie, gorgeously shot and intricate, with a wonderfully genuine humanity to it.
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Starring: Menashe Lustig, Ruben Niborski, Yoel Weisshaus, Meyer Schwartz

Menashe

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The Story: A recently widowed father must prove to his orthodox Jewish community that he is fit to retain custody of his son. The Lowdown: A touching, thoughtful and frequently tragic story that transcends its religious trappings to become something universally relatable.
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Starring: Catherine Frot, Catherine Deneuve, Olivier Gourmet, Quentin Dolmaire

The Midwife

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The Story: A graveyard shift midwife at a failing Paris clinic meets a woman from her past, throwing her life into turmoil while trying to hold it all together for everyone around her. The Lowdown: Provost delivers Ozu by way of Chantal Akerman in this razor-sharp portrait of troubled, dreary, ordinary lives.