MOVIE OF THE WEEK July 28-August 4: STEP

motw logo 1-35An inspiring documentary about a group of African-American teen girls who find success through a mix of hard work, grit, high expectations, and dedicated mentorship, Amanda Lipitz’s Step is both engaging and uplifting. It follows the competitive step-dancing team at the Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women, a public charter school with a very ambitious goal: that all of its graduates attend college. Continue reading…

read more

THE WEEK IN WOMEN: Hollywood’s sexist ways and box-office prospects — Brandy McDonnell comments

It’s been a lackluster summer at the domestic box office, and it may just be that Hollywood’s failure to adapt to the reality that women moviegoers want to see more movies starring women that has at least in part caused this summer’s blahs. Warner Bros. Pictures, however, reached a rare milestone this weekend by exceeding the $1 billion mark at the domestic box office. The studio owes a lot of its 2017 success to the superheroic performance of Wonder Woman, which surpassed Disney/Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” to become the summer’s highest-grossing film with $389 million. Continue reading on THE WEEK IN WOMEN…

read more

MOVIE OF THE WEEK July 21-28: 500 YEARS

motw logo 1-35

500 Years is the third film in director Pamela Yates’ trilogy about Guatemala. Expansive in its coverage, and impassioned about its subject, the film is very much a classic social justice documentary, right down to the final scenes of enormous crowds thronging the city streets, demanding change. Continue reading…

read more

MOVIE OF THE WEEK July 7 – 14: LETTERS FROM BAGHDAD

motw logo 1-35

The word indefatigable may well have been fashioned for the likes of Gertrude Bell. At a time, when women were largely confined to the domestic sphere, Bell climbed mountains, rode camels, palled about with Lawrence of Arabia, and penned letters, mountains of them, all the while dressed in impeccable fashion.Continue reading…

read more

THE WEEK IN WOMEN: ‘Where Are The Women?’ Project, plus Geena Davis, Elizabeth Moss and Suzy Amis Cameron — Brandy McDonnell Reports

It costs Hollywood nothing to make movies that treat women well, and in fact, those films are less risky business. That’s one of the many interesting conclusions MaryAnn Johanson came to after spending 16 months crunching the numbers for her ‘Where Are the Women?’ project. Plus the latest news on Geena Davis, Elizabeth Moss and Suzy Amis Cameron. Read more in THE WEEK IN WOMEN.

read more

AWFJ Movie of the Week, Aug 3 – Aug. 9: THE DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL

thediaryofateenagegirl_poster copy Opening August 7, the AWFJ Movie of the Week is The Diary of a Teenage Girl, the directorial debut of actress/writer Marielle Heller (A Walk Amongst The Tombstones ). British actress Bel Powley (A Royal Night Out ) plays headstrong 17-year-old artist Minnie, living with her mother Charlotte (Kristen Wiig) in 1970s San Francisco and indulging in a sexual relationship with Charlotte’s boyfriend Monroe (Alexander Skarsgård). Read on…

read more

AWFJ Movie of the Week, June 22-28: A LITTLE CHAOS

Opening June 26, the AWFJ Movie of the Week is A Little Chaosactor Alan Rickman’s second directorial feature after 1997’s The Winter Guest. Set in 17th Century France, it stars the ever-glorious Kate Winslet as Sabine De Barra, a landscape gardener chosen to help design and construct the immense gardens of King Louis XIV’s palace at Versaille. It’s a gargantuan task that brings her up against famed gardener Andre Le Notre (Matthias Schoenaerts) and, while the two initially butt heads amongst the hellebores, a shared passion for the natural world soon sees attraction blossom. Read on…

read more

AWFJ Movie of the Week, June 8-14: JURASSIC WORLD

Opening June 12, the AWFJ Movie of the Week is Jurassic Worldone of the most hotly anticipated movies of the year. An astonishing 22 years after the original film wowed us with its cutting edge special effects – which still hold up today – and 14 after Jurassic Park III, we return to the dinosaur theme park Isla Nebular to find it fully operational and pulling in visitors. Technology, it seems, has evolved to such an extent that safety is guaranteed; but, when a new attraction malfunctions, things go very bad, very quickly. Read on…

read more

AWFJ Movie of the Week, June 1-7: TESTAMENT OF YOUTH

Opening June 5, the AWFJ Movie of the Week is Testament of Youth, featuring a stunning central performance from up-and-coming star Alicia Vikander (Son of a Gun, Ex_Machina) as a headstrong young British woman suddenly having to cope with major changes to her life brought on by the outbreak of World War I. Read on…

read more

AWFJ Movie of the Week, May 25-31: SAN ANDREAS

Opening May 29, the AWFJ Movie of the Week is San Andreas, is this year’s requisite big-budget visual effects extravaganza from director Brad Peyton (Journey 2: The Mysterious Island). Starring Dwayne Johnson as a helicopter pilot struggling to reach his daughter after a massive earthquake rips through California, the real star of the show will surely be those edge-of-the-seat FX effects which showcase large-scale devastation in all its eye-popping glory. Read on…

read more

AWFJ Movie of the Week, May 18-24: TOMORROWLAND

Opening May 22, the AWFJ Movie of the Week is Tomorrowlandthe new summer family blockbuster from Disney and director Brad Bird (The Iron Giant, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol), who co-writes with Damon Lindelof (Prometheus, World War Z) and newcomer Jeff Jensen. Inspired by the ever-popular Tomorrowland segment of Disney’s theme parks, the story follows teen science geek Casey (Britt Robertson, TV’s Under the Dome) as she discovers the existence of a secret, futuristic world hidden in the midst of time and space that may hold the fate of humankind. Teaming up with mysterious Tomorrowland inhabitant Athena (Raffey Cassidy, TV’s Mr Selfridge)  and former boy genius turned miserable grown up Frank (George Clooney), Casey must draw on all her knowledge, ambition and positivity if she is to realize her full potential and make a real change. Read on…

read more

AWFJ Movie of the Week, May 11-17: MAD MAX: FURY ROAD

Opening May 15, the AWFJ Movie of the Week is Mad Max: Fury Roaddirector George Miller’s high octane reboot of his 1979 post apocalyptic action classic. Tom Hardy (Locke, Child 44) steps into the lead role that originally made a star of Mel Gibson, his Max Rockatansky becoming a figurehead for revolution in a world where humanity has completely broken down. As gangs roam the arid desert landscape, fighting to the death for basic supplies, Max and fellow traveller Furiosa (Charlize Theron) pose an unlikely challenge to the blood-thirsty, sociopathic status quo. Read on…

read more

AWFJ Movie of the Week, April 27-May 3: AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON

Opening May 1, the AWFJ Movie of the Week is Avengers: Age of Ultron, the latest installment in the box office beating superhero franchise from writer-director Joss Whedon. This time around, Tony Stark’s (Robert Downey Jr.) attempts to reactivate an old peace keeping programm go terribly awry, and the Avengers must re-team to defeat the villainous Ultron (voiced by James Spader) in his nefarious plan to take over the world. Read on…

read more

AWFJ Movie of the Week, March 16-22: KUMIKO, THE TREASURE HUNTER

Opening March 18, the AWFJ Movie of the Week is Kumiko, The Treasure Hunterthe beguiling new film from actor-writer-director David Zellner and his co-writer brother Nathan Zellner. Their story is simple, yet brilliant. Lonely Japanese worker Kumiko (Rinko Kikuchi; The Brothers Bloom, Pacific Rim) finds a VHS copy of the Coen Brothers’ classic 1996 crime caper Fargo and, convinced by the title card assertion that it’s a true story, believes it to be a genuine treasure map that will lead her to a large stash of cash buried beneath the Minnesota snow. Read on…

read more

AWFJ Movie of the Week, March 9-15: CINDERELLA

Opening March 13, the AWFJ Movie of the Week is Cinderellaa live-action retelling of the classic fairy tale from actor/director Kenneth Brangh, who follows up previous films Jack Ryan:Shadow Recruit and Thor with something altogether more gentle. Read on…

read more

AWFJ Movie of the Week, Feb. 23-March 1: MAPS TO THE STARS

Opening Feb. 27, the AWFJ Movie of the Week is Maps to the Starsthe new film from director David Cronenberg (Videodrome, Cosmopolis, Maps to the Stars). The screenplay by Bruce Wagner (Scenes from the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills) takes a deeply satirical look at the inner workings of the LA film industry. Mia Wasikowska takes the role of Agatha, a new arrival in Hollywood, who finds herself working as a personal assistant to the unhinged actress Havana (Julianne Moore), who is haunted by the ghost of her dead mother and never far away from a complete breakdown. Read on…

read more

AWFJ Movie of the Week, Feb. 9-15: WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS

Shadows AWFJ posterOpening Feb. 13, the AWFJ Movie of the Week is What We Do in the Shadows, the hilarious vampire mockumentary from writer-directors Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi. The comedy pair have already proved they are masters of spoof with their hit TV show Flight of the Conchords, and here turn their attention to the shadowy world of the undead with similarly side-splitting results. Read on…

read more

AWFJ Movie of the Week, Feb. 2-8: JUPITER ASCENDING

jupiterascendingposter160Opening Jan. 30, the AWFJ Movie of the Week is Jupiter Ascending, the latest offering from writer-director siblings Andy and Lana Wachowski. For their hotly anticipated new film, the Matrix filmmakers stay loyal to the genre in which they made their name with a future-set sci-fi drama that is shaping up to be one of the cinematic experiences of the year.

The brilliant Mila Kunis stars as titular hero Jupiter Jones who, despite being born under signs that depicted future greatness, has had nothing but bad luck. When Caine (Channing Tatum), a genetically engineered hunter, arrives on Earth to find her, Jupiter realizes she does indeed face a great destiny; one that could have a huge effect on the entire cosmos. Read on…

read more

AWFJ Movie of the Week, Jan. 12-16: PADDINGTON

Opening Jan. 16, the AWFJ Movie of the Week is Paddington, the live action adaptation of the beloved children’s stories by Michael Bond. Written and directed by Paul King (TV’s The Mighty Boosh, Bunny and the Bull), the film combines his irreverent sense of humour with the books’ inherent charm to entirely wonderful effect. Read on…

read more

AWFJ Movie of the Week, Dec. 29-Jan. 4: A MOST VIOLENT YEAR

Opening Jan. 2, the AWFJ Movie of the Week is A Most Violent Year, the latest work from writer/director J.C. Chandor (Margin Call, All is Lost). It takes place in New York City in 1981, the most crime-ridden year in the history of the Big Apple, and stars Oscar Isaac as immigrant and heating oil company boss Abel Morales. Along with his wife Anna (Jessica Chastain), Abel works hard to make his business a success, but is beset by challenges including hijackers who steal the oil from from his trucks and a vindictive district attorney (David Oyelowo) seemingly hell bent on destroying the company. And so, as the city erupts into violence behind him, Abel embarks on a mission to turn his luck around. Read on…

read more

AWFJ Movie of the Week, Dec. 22-28: BIG EYES

Opening Dec. 25, the AWFJ Movie of the Week is Big Eyes, the latest film from director Tim Burton (Corpse Bride, Alice in Wonderland, Frankenweenie). Here, he shifts his focus from the fantastical and otherworldy to real life 1950s housewife-turned-artist Margaret Keane (Amy Adams), who enjoyed huge success during the period with her paintings depicting spellbinding big-eyed children. The caveat, however, was that her husband Walter (Christoph Waltz) took credit for the work, arguing that paintings would sell better with a male signature attached. While Margaret first accepted his thieving of her talent, the pair would later enter into a vicious lawsuit. Read on…

read more

AWFJ Movie of the Week, Dec. 15-21: MR. TURNER

Opening Dec. 19, the AWFJ Movie of the Week is Mr. Turner, the latest work from celebrated British writer/director Mike Leigh (Secrets and Lies,Vera Drake, Another Year). A look at the last 25 years of the life of artist JMW Turner, his screenplay highlights the master as man, detailing both his prodigious artistic talent and the emotional vulnerability that defined his character. Read on…

read more

AWFJ Movie of the Week, Dec. 8-14: INHERENT VICE

Opening Dec. 12, the AWFJ Movie of the Week is Inherent Vice, the latest work from writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson (There Will Be Blood, The Master). An adaptation of Thomas Pynchon’s novel – Anderson being a self-confessed mega fan of the author – the film reunites Anderson with his Master star Joaquin Phoenix, who here takes the lead role of cop Larry ‘Doc’ Sportello. Working in LA in 1970, Sportello is fuelled – like most of the city – by a heady mix of drink and drugs, and finds himself rather over his head while investigating the disappearance of ex-girlfriend Shasta (ethereal newcomer Karen Waterston). Read on…

read more

AWFJ Movie of the Week, Dec. 1-7: WILD

Opening Dec. 3, the AWFJ Movie of the Week is WildJean-Marc Vallee’s follow-up to 2013′s Dallas Buyers Club, which won stars Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto Academy Awards for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor respectively (and was also nominated for Best Picture). Expect similar accolades for Reese Witherspoon, as critics are calling her lead performance one of the best of her career. She takes the role of real-life hiker Cheryl Strayed, who embarked on an 1,100 mile solo trek along the challenging Pacific Crest Trail in a bid to overcome the untimely death of her mother. It’s a raw and honest turn from Witherspoon, who also produced the film, showcasing both her natural talent and impressive dramatic range. Read on…

read more

AWFJ Movie of the Week, Nov. 3-9: INTERSTELLAR

Opening Nov. 7, the AWFJ Movie of the Week is InterstellarChristopher Nolan’s long-awaited science fiction epic. Set in a future far-removed from the shiny, technology driven visions of most filmmakers, it stars Matthew McConaughey as Cooper, a single father trying to bring up his kids on his failing farm. He is not alone in his struggles; the Earth’s food supplies are running out fast. And so, by way of a storyline that it’s best not to reveal, former NASA pilot Cooper teams up with scientist Amelia (Anne Hathaway) to man a terrifying mission to seek out a viable home for humanity. Read on…

read more