Screen scene: Local film news

BAD SANTA: Pictured, a still from Terry Gilliam's Brazil, which screens Saturday, Dec. 19, at 2 p.m. as part of the North Asheville Library's “Do They Know it’s Christmas?” film series. Photo courtesy of The Criterion Collection

• The North Asheville Library’s “Do They Know it’s Christmas?” film series continues each Saturday through Dec. 26, featuring movies that — unbeknownst to many viewers — take place during the holidays. Following in the footsteps of selections In Bruges and Edward Scissorhands, Brazil will screen Dec. 19, at 2 p.m. From The Criterion Collection’s synopsis: “Jonathan Pryce plays a daydreaming everyman who finds himself caught in the soul-crushing gears of a nightmarish bureaucracy. This cautionary tale by Terry Gilliam, one of the great films of the 1980s, has come to be esteemed alongside antitotalitarian works by the likes of George Orwell, Aldous Huxley and Kurt Vonnegut Jr.”

Less Than Zero closes out the series Dec. 26, at 2 p.m. Based on the novel by Bret Easton Ellis, Marek Kanievska’s 1987 film centers on college student Clay (Andrew McCarthy) as he returns home to Los Angeles for Christmas vacation, antsy to resume his long-term romantic relationship with Blair (Jami Gertz) and his old friendship with the immature Julian (Robert Downey Jr.). Upon arrival, he discovers that the two have started a relationship of their own and developed a fondness for clubs, raucous parties and mounds of cocaine. James Spader also stars as a drug dealer. Free and open to the public.

•  The Junction hosts a free outdoor screening of The Polar Express Saturday, Dec. 19, at 8 p.m. Robert Zemeckis’ 2004 adaptation of the beloved Chris Van Allsburg book chronicles a young boy’s journey to the North Pole. The animated film was made using motion-capture technology, which allowed Tom Hanks to play six characters, including the protagonist and Santa Claus.

Pack Memorial Library will have a free showing of Princess Mononoke Wednesday, Dec. 30, at 5 p.m. as part of its Afternoon Anime series. Hayao Miyazaki’s 1997 film tracks the adventures of a young warrior named Ashitaka, who sets out for the forests of the West in search of an antidote for the deadly curse that plagues his body. There, he becomes caught up in a battle that matches Lady Eboshi and her clan of humans against the forest’s animal gods, led by the titular young woman, who was raised by wolves. The film is intended for ages 13 and older.

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About Edwin Arnaudin
Edwin Arnaudin is a staff writer for Mountain Xpress. He also reviews films for and is a member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association (SEFCA) and North Carolina Film Critics Association (NCFCA). Follow me @EdwinArnaudin

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