THE SHALLOWS — Review by Susan Granger

Still grieving over the death of her mother, Nancy (Blake Lively) is a medical school drop-out who decides to pay an homage visit and surf on her mother’s favorite Mexican beach: a remote, jungle-enshrouded crescent-shaped cove that’s almost totally deserted. After making a few phone calls to check-in with her dad and younger sister in Galveston, Texas, Nancy zips on the top of her wetsuit, tethers her foot to her surfboard and wades into the waves. Read on…

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THE NEON DEMON, NUTS!, THE SHALLOWS, SEPTEMBERS OF SHIRAZ, and other June 24 Openers — Reviews by Jennifer Merin

neon demon posterThe Neon Demon stars Elle Fanning as a young model caught up in the frightful ambitions of LA’s runway realm. In The Shallows, Blake Lively plays a surfer who’s under shark attack. Septembers of Shiraz is about a Jewish Iranian family who must flee Shiite fundamentalist rule. In The Last Treasure Hunt, an estranged sister and brother must come together to decipher their recently deceased father’s will. This week’s documentaries include Penny Lane’s Nuts!, about a quack who claimed he could cure male impotence with goat testicle transplants, and Sharon Shattuck’s From This Day Forward, a filmmakers personal documentary about her transgender dad, plus Jessica Yu’s Misconception, delving into overpopulation, and How Do You Like Me Now?, T-Rex and Garn (aka Yarn). Read the reviews…

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THE CONJURING 2 – Review by Susan Granger

Renowned Connecticut demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga) return with another ‘documented’ case, this time set in 1977 in England. After their Amityville debacle, clairvoyant Lorraine insists that they take a break from their demanding case work. While working on that notorious investigation at the Lutz home on Long Island, New York, she had a profoundly disturbing vision of a horrifying nun – shown in the opening séance sequence.

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AWFJ Movie of the Week, June 20 – June 26: THE NEON DEMON

neon demon posterOpening June 24, AWFJ’s Movie of the Week is The Neon Demon, the striking new film from Danish writer/director Nicolas Winding Refn (Bronson, Only God Forgives) featuring an unforgettable central performance from Elle Fanning. Read on…

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FINDING DORY, BANG GANG, ARGENTINA, THE NIGHT STALKER and HONEYBEE — Reviews by Jennifer Merin

dory posterFinding Dory is Pixar’s latest, a buoyant, neon-color deep sea animated adventure. Bang Gang sees affluent French hormonal teens left to their own devices in the home of a peer whose parents are on vacation. ‎Argentina, aka Zonda, folclore argentino, is a beautifully crafted compilation film of stirring folkloric dance performances without voice over interruption. The Night Stalker is a gripping cat and mouse drama in which 1980s SoCal serial killer Richard Richard Ramirez is questioned by a woman lawyer who wants him to confess to another murder. ‎HoneyBee is a femme-helmed, femme-centric horror flick about what happens when a seductive but creepy family moves to a small town. Read the reviews…

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MARGARITA WITH A STRAW – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

margaritastrawposter I first saw the wonderful Margarita with a Straw at London Film Festival in 2014, and it has stuck with me in a way that few films do. So while I’m hugely disappointed that the film has not gotten the significant theatrical release that it deserves, I’m delighted that it is now available on demand… and particularly just at this moment, because Margarita is the absolutely perfect antidote to the disability pity porn that is Me Before You. Read more>>

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CASTING BY – Review by Jennifer Merin

casting by poster artCasting Director Marion Dougherty didn’t invent Al Pacino or Bette Midler, but she certainly helped shape their careers. Dougherty may be the central character in Casting By…, but director Tom Donahue calls on Pacino, Midler and a long list of other Hollywood A-list actors and directors, including Martin Scorsese, Robert Redford, Woody Allen and Clint Eastwood to appear in his star-studded documentary about the queen of casting. Donahue has now signed Geena Davis, a self-proclaimed icon of advocacy for women in film, to produce his next feature, a documentary about women’s struggle for equality in Hollywood. So this seems a good time to take another look at what Dougherty did with women in casting. Read more on CINEMA CITIZEN…

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: Geena Davis and Hollywood Gender Equality — Brandy McDonnell reports

geena-davisAfter more than a decade of commissioning research and advocating for change through her Institute on Gender and Media, Geena Davis says that she believes Hollywood may be at a “turning point” regarding gender equality. Speaking at Fast Company’s recent FCLA event, Davis said there has been a “tonal shift” over the last few years, especially with stars like Patricia Arquette, Jennifer Lawrence, and Natalie Portman showing they’re unafraid to speak up on the issue. Read more on THE WEEK IN WOMEN…

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CENTRAL INTELLEGENCE –Review by Susan Granger

If you’re really desperate for yet another odd-couple caper, consider this fast-paced froth that’s almost immediately forgettable. Mild-mannered Calvin Joyner (Kevin Hart) is a disgruntled accountant who married his teenage sweetheart Maggie (Danielle Nicolet) yet yearns for the glory days when he was Senior Class President and the town’s most popular jock.

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AWFJ Movie of the Week, June 13 – June 19: FINDING DORY

rsz_findingdoryposterOpening June 17, AWFJ’s Movie of the Week is Finding Dory, Pixar’s long awaited sequel to their 2003 hit animation Finding Nemo, which places Nemo’s forgetful blue fish friend Dory (voiced by Ellen DeGeneres) at the centre of the action Read on…

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