cranky hanke Articles
Genre: Art-House Horror
Director: Jim Mickle (Stake Land)
Starring: Julia Garner, Ambyr Childers, Bill Sage, Kelly McGillis, Michael Parks, Wyatt RussellThe Story: When the matriarch of a strange religious sect dies, it falls to her not-entirely-willing daughters to carry on their grim tradition. The Lowdown: This arty horror film is definitely something unusual and worthy. However, it may have trouble finding an audience, being too slow in its buildup for the horror crowd and too horrific for the art crowd. Not for the impatient or the squeamish.
Director: Jonathan Levine (Warm Bodies)
Starring: Amber Heard, Anson Mount, Whitney Able, Michael WelchThe Story: Cult hit -- at least on the horror festival circuit -- about a girl who seems to bring death to anyone who gets too near her. The Lowdown: Despite its reputation (legend almost) and the fact that it looks nice and is competently made, this is basically a pretty standard dead teenager movie with two fairly transparent twists.
Genre: Absurd Action Fantasy
Director: Robert Rodriguez
Starring: Danny Trejo, Michelle Rodriguez, Mel Gibson, Demian Bichir, Carlos Estevez (aka Charlie Sheen)The Story: Machete is back in another outrageous exploitation action picture — this time saving the world from mad Mel Gibson. The Lowdown: It's not high art and it's not quite as good as the first film, but it's pretty safe to say that if you liked Machete you'll enjoy Machete Kills. I had a good time with it, which is all I wanted.
Genre: Fact-based Thriller
Director: Paul Greengrass (Green Zone)
Starring: Tom Hanks, Barkhad Abdi, Barkhad Abdirahman, Michael Chernus, Catherine KeenerThe Story: The true story of a sea captain who’s taken captive by Somali pirates. The Lowdown: A shallow thriller that’s bogged down by attempts at grandeur and the distinct odor of Oscar bait.
Director: Jacob Kornbluth
Starring: Robert ReichThe Story: Documentary about the way economics work — and don't work. The Lowdown: Sure to be divisive, which is to say that people who believe the rich should be taxed less will hate it. Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich proves an engaging personality as he explains how the economy relies on a prosperous middle class.
Director: Pedro Almodovar
Starring: Javier Cámara, Lola Dueñas, Cecilia Roth, Raúl Arévalo, Carlos ArecesThe Story: On a plane with mechanical failures, a crew of quirky flight attendants and passengers deal with imminent doom in their own melodramatic and perverse ways. The Lowdown: Minor Almodovar that’s nevertheless wonderfully absurd and constantly in bad taste, and one of the year’s funniest films when it’s on its game.
Starring: Metallica, Green Day, Anvil, Spinal TapThe Story: A collection of four music-oriented films: music documentaries, concert films and even a mockumentary. The Lowdown: The first week of a two week mini festival of music movies. The first week features excellent films on Anvil and Green Day, an unseen Metallica concert movie and the ever-popular This Is Spinal Tap. It's a fresh idea for local movie booking that could pay dividends in terms of what we get here.
Genre: Shakespearean Romantic Tragedy
Director: Carlo Carlei (Fluke)
Starring: Hailee Steinfeld, Douglas Booth, Paul Giamatti, Lesley Manville, Kodi Smit-McPheeThe Story: Surely, you know the story by now. The Lowdown: Deadly dull, emotionally empty, woefully miscast, indifferently directed and just plain not good.
Genre: Comedy with Music
Director: Julian Jarrold (Brideshead Revisited)
Starring: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Joel Edgerton, Sarah-Jane Potts, Nick Frost, Linda BassettIn Brief: Effortlessly charming musical comedy about a young man who tries to save the family shoe business by focusing on the drag queen niche market — with shoes that exude sexiness but can withstand the weight of a man. Calling on the aid of a drag queen to help design the shoes — a not entirely welcome presence at the factory — he sometimes feels he's gotten more than he bargained for. A delight of a little movie pushed to something like greatness by Chiwetel Ejiofor as Lola — a performance of humor, power and considerable complexity.
Director: Robert Altman
Starring: Neve Campbell, Malcolm McDowell, James Franco, Barbara Robertson, William DickIn Brief: Robert Altman's penultimate feature, The Company, is a disappointment any way you slice it (thank goodness he went out with A Prairie Home Companion). It is, in fact, the only Altman film I've seen that came close to boring me. That it didn't is a testament to Altman as a filmmaker, because this dramatically neutral movie about a ballet company rarely escapes the sense of being a vanity project for Neve Campbell. If you're interested in ballet or Altman, it's worth a look, but don't set your expectations too high.
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