Your guide to Asheville's vibrant and diverse movie offerings.

The Week in Film: 4/6/17

Here's what's coming to Asheville area movie theaters this week, including at the former Carmike, which now goes by the name AMC Classic River Hills. All told, seven new releases and one returning Oscar nominee hit the screens, representing nearly as many unique genres.

The Case for Christ

Just in time for Palm Sunday, the latest offering from faith-based distributor Pure Flix centers on an atheist investigative journalist (Mike Vogel, Blue Valentine) who makes it his mission to disprove the existence of God after his wife (Erika Christensen, TV’s Parenthood) becomes a Christian. Faye Dunaway and Robert Forster also star in what from the trailer appears to be a more exciting film than the bulk of its genre brethren and one with higher production value.

See it starting April 7 at AMC Classic.

Going in Style

Zach Braff directing Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman and Alan Arkin as three friends who decide to rob the bank that stole their pensions? You had me at “Zach Braff directing.”

See it starting with evening shows April 6 at AMC Classic, Biltmore Grande and Carolina Cinemark.

Land of Mine

A worthy nominee for Best Foreign Language film at this year’s Academy Awards, this Danish film chronicles the little known story of young German soldiers forced to clear Denmark’s beaches of land mines buried by their countrymen. For a dangerous task that’s nonetheless fairly singular, writer/director Martin Zandvliet varies its possibilities with great suspense and imbues it with rich humanity as the Sergeant in charge of the POWs believably comes to respect them as fellow humans.

See it starting April 7 at Grail Moviehouse.

Smurfs: The Lost Village

Mixing live-action and animation in bringing Smurfs to the big screen failed – twice – so now we get a purely animated take on the little blue creatures. The latest attempt finds Smurfette (voiced by Demi Lovato) leading an expedition to a long-fabled additional Smurf settlement before the evil Gargamel (Rainn Wilson) gets there first. Julia Roberts, Mandy Patinkin, Ellie Kemper and Jack McBrayer round out the respectable vocal cast.

See it starting with evening shows April 6 at AMC Classic, Biltmore Grande and Carolina Cinemark.

T2 Trainspotting

20 years after Renton (Ewan McGregor) double-crossed his Edinburgh junkie friends and ran off to start a new, clean life, Danny Boyle checks back in with his beloved characters and finds them in various mid-life crises. Robert Carlyle, Ewan Bremner, Jonny Lee Miller, Shirley Henderson and Kelly Macdonald are among other original cast members returning for round two.

See it starting April 7 at the Fine Arts Theatre.

The Void

A veteran of Fantastic Fest and TIFF’s After Dark programming, this independent horror film with a big crush on John Carpenter’s The ThingAssault on Precinct 13 and various portals-to-alternate-dimension movies is easily the year’s wildest release yet. Despite some amateur acting and so-so dialogue, its handmade special effects and professional-grade sound and editing more than make up the difference.

See it starting April 7 at Grail Moviehouse.

Your Name

Having amassed the seventh highest global box office numbers of 2017 to date, Makoto Shinkai’s anime makes its way to U.S. theaters. Whether domestic audiences similarly embrace the story of Japanese high schoolers who mysteriously switch places remains to be seen, but viewers who give it a shot are in for gorgeous, inventive visuals and ambitious storytelling that will linger for days.

See it starting April 7 it at the Fine Arts Theatre.

They’re ba-aaack

Lion, the film everyone likes more than I do, returns to town for a one-week engagement at the Grail.

The Bottom Line

The week’s three new indies are all worth seeing and cover a range of underrepresented genres, but if you must choose one, make it Land of Mine. Families who’ve yet to catch Kedi have at least one more week to do so at The Grail, after which last week’s box office champ The Boss Baby is well worth a look.

Fleeing the scene

The Fine Arts cleans house, sweeping out the wonderful The Sense of an Ending, the pleasant The Last Word and Personal Shopper, which won’t be missed. A few streets over, the Grail tells Get Out (still at Biltmore and Carolina) to you know what and does the same with Julieta and the Donnie Darkoanniversary re-release, while a few miles away the AMC Classic proves prejudiced against one-name male titles by tossing away Wilson (also out at the Carolina) and Logan (still at Biltmore).

On DVD

Unless you have a true home theater of your own, Rogue One is sure to suffer a bit away from the big screen, but remains top-notch entertainment. On the opposite end of mainstream but no less wonderful is Jim Jarmusch’s Paterson, the cherry on the top of an impressive 2016 by Kylo Ren himself, Adam Driver. And swinging the pendulum back to the masses is the star-studded laugh-fest Office Christmas Party, part of Kate McKinnon’s post-July atonement for Ghostbusters.

Among the unseen titles are Newtown, a documentary on the Connecticut school shooting’s aftermath; Actor Martinez, about a Denver-based performer who hires two indie filmmakers to make a film with him as the star; and The Book of Love, a drama whose all-star cast (Jason Sudeikis, Jessica Biel, Maisie Williams, Mary Steenburgen, Orlando Jones and Paul Reiser) and original score by Justin Timberlake weren’t enough to score it a wide release.

Streaming

Having already added Sally Field’s Hello, My Name Is Doris (April 2) and the decent found-footage horror of The Last Exorcism (April 4), the oft overlapping Hulu and Amazon Prime bring aboard solid sequel Barbershop: The Next Cut(April 8) and the charming comedy about voiceover performers, In A World…(April 9). Showtime Anytime has The Beach Boys: Making Pet Sounds (April 7) and the surprisingly well-made 2016 creeper The Boy (April 8).

Elsewhere, HBO NOW uploaded the Oakland-set teen adventure KicksAbsolutely Fabulous: The Movie and head-scratching animated flick The Wild Life on April 1 and loops in the darkly hilarious War Dogs (April 8) and the critically-skewered comedy Search Party (April 11), whose inclusion may or may not be out of loyalty to its Silicon Valley stars T.J. Miller and Thomas Middleditch. Lastly, Netflix has two of last year’s best family films, The BFG(April 6) and Kubo and the Two Strings (April 8), and an opportunity to see and hear people laugh for 90 minutes without performing such actions yourself, Kevin Hart: What Now (April 11)

The Week in Film: 4/13/17

The Designs of Santo Loquasto

The Designs of Santo Loquasto