BEIRUT — Review by Susan Granger

Charismatic Jon Hamm (TV’s “Mad Men”) is such a good actor that it’s a shame his considerable talents are wasted on this disjointed political thriller, set in war-torn Lebanon in 1982. Hamm plays Mason Skiles, a top U.S. diplomat, happily married to Nadia (Leila Bekhti) and living in Beirut. Having no children of their own, they’ve taken in Karim (Yoav Sadian Rosenberg), a 13 year-old Palestinian refugee, treating him like “part of the family.” Continue reading…

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AWFJ Movie of the Week, July 6-12: MINIONS

Opening July 10, the AWFJ Movie of the Week is Minionsthe inevitable spin-off from hit animations Despicable Me and Despicable Me 2. It puts the eponymous, scene-stealing yellow critters firmly in the spotlight, telling the story of their evolution and their inability to keep hold of any of their evil masters. When Kevin, Stuart and Bob (all voiced by co-director Pierre Coffin) embark on a mission to find a new master, they come across supervillain Scarlett Overkill (a brilliant Sandra Bullock) who is attempting to take over the world along with her husband Herb (John Hamm). Read on…

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AWFJ Movie of the Week, Aug. 25-31: THE CONGRESS

The CongressOpening Aug. 29, the AWFJ Movie of the Week is The Congress, from visionary writer-director Ari Folman, whose 2008 animated film Waltz with Bashir was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film. The Congress, based on Solaris author Stainslav Lem’s The Futurological Congress, combines live action and animation to present a unique premise set in a world in the not-too-distant future. It stars Robin Wright, Harvey Keitel, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Danny Huston, Paul Giamatti, and Jon Hamm. Wright, playing a version of herself, accepts a deal brokered by her loyal, longtime agent (Keitel) whereby her digital image will be controlled by one studio for use in any films of their choice, in perpetuity. The compensation allows her to care for her ailing son, but her decision has unforeseen consequences. Read on…

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