MOVIE OF THE WEEK March 24 – 31, 2017: THEIR FINEST

motw logo 1-35Mix a few dashes of “Argo,” a smidge of “Monuments Men” (admittedly, there’s not all that much worth taking), and a hearty dollop of “Hope and Glory,” and you’ll start to get an idea of what to expect from “Their Finest.” This World War II-set romantic dramedy follows a scrappy group of British filmmakers/propagandists who find themselves scrambling to make a morale-boosting movie based on an inspiring true story … sort of. Read on…

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Oscars 2017: A Compendium of AWFJ Members’ Views — Jennifer Merin reports

oscar trophyOur goal is to present a compendium of AWFJ members’ perspectives on Oscars 2017. Not surprisingly, the views vary widely from utter enthusiasm to complete dismay, with mix of meh in between. Quite a few of our members opted out of the project, claiming awards burn out, indicating frustrations with the Academy’s new press procedures and/or stating that this year’s entire awards campaign and media buildup was either too political or not political enough. Read what Jeanne Wolf, Susan Wloszczyna, Moira Sullivan, Diana Saenger, Sheila Roberts, Nell Minow, Brandy McDonnell, Michelle McCue, Karen Martin, Kimberly Lindbergs, Leba Hertz, Candice Frederick, Marilyn Ferdinand, Chaz Ebert, Katherine Brodsky, Liz Braun, Betsy Bozdech and Erica Abeel have to say about Oscar 2017 on AWARDS INTELLIGENCER…

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK March 3 – 10: THE LAST WORD

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Where would we be without Shirley MacLaine? Ever since her first appearance in cinema (Hitchcock’s The Trouble with Harry), the woman has proven to be a wild card in the best sense of the term. Think of the jilted office girl that captivates Jack Lemmon in The Apartment, the ripeness and sass of Sweet Charity, or the remarkable mother from hell in Terms of Endearment. La MacLaine injects a tartness, intelligence and slyness into her performances that elevates even the most well-trod of narrative tropes. Read on…

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AWFJ Movie of the Week, January 6 to 12: HIDDEN FIGURES

hiddenfigures-pHistory has a way of disappearing women. This is particularly true when it comes to women of colour. Based on the book by Margot Lee Shetterly, Hidden Figures interweaves the stories of Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson. The film’s title is a gentle nod to the math necessary to plot the orbital trajectory of a rocket, but also to the women who helped to build the American space program. Read on…

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AWFJ Movie of the Week, July 24 – July 30: EQUITY

Equity_27X40_OS_Final_061416.inddOpening July 22, AWFJ’s Movie of the Week is Equity, the new film from Meera Menon (Farrah Goes Bang) which shines a damning light on what it means to be female in the cut-throat world of Wall Street. Read on…

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AWFJ Movie of the Week, July 17 – July 23: ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS THE MOVIE

absolutely fabulous posterOpening July 22, AWFJ’s Movie of the Week is Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie, the big-screen adaptation of the hit UK TV show starring Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley as fashionista best friends Eddie and Patsy Read on…

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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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AWFJ Movie of the Week, February 15-19: RACE

raceposterOpening Feb. 19, AWFJ’s Movie of the Week is Race, a remarkably well-crafted and long overdue biopic about Jesse Owens, the legendary Olympian who broke not only set track and field records but exposed and challenged the racism that permeated the sport. The film, directed by Stephen Hopkins and co-written by Anna Waterhouse and Schrapnel, follow’s Owens’ evolution as a racer, leading up to the 1936 Olympics, when he had to decide whether it was nobler to boycott Hitler’s spectacle or race to win it. The story is gripping, and Stephan James, starring as Owens, brilliantly fills the athlete’s huge shoes. The film is releasing at a time when Hollywood’s diversity issues are under scrutiny and this very watch-worthy film is clearly an Owens-worthy leap in the right direction. Read on…

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AWFJ Movie of the Week, January 25-31: JANE GOT A GUN

Jane Got a Gun poster Opening Jan. 29, AWFJ’s Movie of the Week is Jane Got a Gun, the long-gestating Western starring Natalie Portman as a high plains woman seeking to save her husband from the outlaw gang who are after his blood. Read on…

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AWFJ Movie of the Week, December 1 – December 7: HITCHCOCK/TRUFFAUT

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Opening Dec. 2, AWFJ’s Movie of the Week is Hitchcock/Truffaut, filmmaker Kent Jones’ documentary about director Francois Truffaut’s 1966 book Cinema According to Hitchcock, and how it has influenced the work of myriad filmmakers. Read on…

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AWFJ Movie of the Week, November 17-November 23: CAROL

carol posterOpening Nov. 20, AWFJ’s Movie of the Week is Carol, director Todd Haynes (Far From Heaven, I’m Not There) sumptuous new drama staring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara as two women who are drawn to each other in the strict moral landscape of 1950s New York.

Adapted by debut feature screenwriter Phyllis Nagy from the novel by Patricia Highsmith, Carol is an exquisite example of an awards contender which more than lives up to the high expectations of the season. This is thanks to both the quality of the material and its telling; Nagy’s script is perfectly pitched, as is Haynes masterful direction, but the real strength – and joy – of this film is found in its two lead performances. Read on…

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AWFJ Movie of the Week, November 10-November 16: INGRID BERGMAN: IN HER OWN WORDS

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Opening Nov. 13, AWFJ’s Movie of the Week is Ingrid Bergman: In Her Own Words, the intimate biopic of the legendary siren of the silver screen by Swedish writer, director and film critic Stig Bjorkman. Read on…

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AWFJ Movie of the Week, November 3-November 9: MISS YOU ALREADY

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Opening October 23, the AWFJ Movie of the Week is Miss You Already, director Catherine Hardwicke’s (Thirteen, Twilight) drama about a lifelong female friendship put to the test by serious illness starring Drew Barrymore and Toni Collette. Read on…

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AWFJ Movie of the Week, October 27-November 2: OUR BRAND IS CRISIS

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Opening October 23, the AWFJ Movie of the Week is Our Brand Is Crisis, director David Gordon Green’s new comedy drama based on Rachel Boynton’s 2006 documentary of the same name which looked at the tactics and consequences of American political campaigns. Read on…

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AWFJ Movie of the Week, October 20-26: SUFFRAGETTE

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Opening October 23, the AWFJ Movie of the Week is Suffragette, British director Sarah Gavron’s phenomenal portrait of the brave women at the vanguard of the rights to vote campaign in the early 20th century in Britain. Specifically, Gavron and master screenwriter Abi Morgan (Shame, The Iron Lady) have chosen to set their film in the seminal year of 1912 when, disheartened by the lack of progress, movement leader Emmeline Pankhurst (a commanding cameo by Meryl Streep) decreed that words should become action. And so it was that peaceful protest and political machinations turned into guerilla warfare, bands of women creating civil unrest to draw attention to their cause; and, often, ending up behind bars, isolated from their families, subject to the most heinous public shame and physically tortured. Read on…

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AWFJ Movie of the Week, October 12-19: A BALLERINA’S TALE

abt_poster_copyOpening October 14, the AWFJ Movie of the Week is A Ballerina’s Tale, a stirring documentary about the life and career of African-American prima ballerina Misty Copeland. Documentarian Nelson George (Finding the Funk, Top Five) uses archival and new footage, and camera interviews with Copeland, other ballet stars and cognoscenti to chronicle Copeland’s career arc from her discovery of ballet at the age of 13, through her fascination with the dance and studies pursued with extraordinary self-discipline, her acceptance into a ballet company where she grand jeted herself from the corps de ballet into the spotlight, followed by unceasing determination to overcome an injury that could have summarily ended her days of dance. Read on… Read on…

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AWFJ Movie of the Week, September 28-October 4: FREEHELD

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Opening October 2, the AWFJ Movie of the Week is Freeheld, starring Julianne Moore as a terminally ill police officer fighting to ensure that her pension goes to her same-sex partner (Ellen Page). Read on…

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AWFJ Movie of the Week, September 21-27: THE KEEPING ROOM

the-keeping-room-posterThe Keeping Room, director Daniel Barber’s powerful Civil War drama which sees three women fighting to defend their isolated home from a pair of desperate rogue soldiers. Read on…

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AWFJ Movie of the Week, September 7-September 13: MEET THE PATELS

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Opening September 2, the AWFJ Movie of the Week is Meet The Patels, the new documentary from filmmaker Geeta Patel (Project Kashmir) which tells the story of her family’s involvement in her 29-year-old Ravi brother’s romantic relationships. Read on…

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AWFJ Movie of the Week, Aug 17 – Aug 23: LEARNING TO DRIVE

learning to drive posterOpening August 21, the AWFJ Movie of the Week is Learning to Drive, the new film from veteran Spanish director Isabel Coixet. Based on the New Yorker essay by Katha Pollitt, it stars Patricia Clarkson as a New York writer who works to get her first driver’s license after her marriage breaks down. Read on…

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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…

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AWFJ Movie of the Week, July 13-19: THE STANFORD PRISON EXPERIMENT

Opening July 17, the AWFJ Movie of the Week is The Stanford Prison Experimentthe dramatisation of events which occurred at Stanford University in 1971. Professor Philip Zimbardo (played by Billy Crudup, Almost Famous) cast 24 of his students in the roles of prisoners and guards in a mocked up prison in the university’s basement; an experiment to examine human behaviour under such circumstances. Despite the students’ initial camaraderie, it doesn’t take long for them for friendships to break down and extreme behaviours to emerge. Read on…

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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…

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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…

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AWFJ Movie of the Week, May 4-10: HOT PURSUIT

Opening May 8, the AWFJ Movie of the Week is Hot Pursuit, which teams Reese Witherspoon (Wild, InherentVice) and Sofia Vergara (TV’s Modern Family, Wild Card) as a by-the-book career cop and drug boss widow being pursued across Texas by a menagerie of crooked cops and gun wielding criminals, all out to get their hands on some cash. Read on…

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