MOVIE OF THE WEEK June 30-July 6: THE BEGUILED

motw logo 1-35With her sixth feature, director Sofia Coppola can no longer be denied the appellation of auteur… if she ever could. The lush visuals, sultry atmosphere, and almost serene sense of the sinister that infuses The Beguiled add intriguing new layers to the distinctive signature approach to cinematic storytelling Coppola has been developing since her debut with 1999’s The Virgin Suicides. Continue reading…

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK June 23-30: BAND AID

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“Love is hell” might very well be the title of one of the original songs featured in the new romantic comedy Band Aid, this week’s Movie of the Week. Although in the parlance of Zoe Lister-Jones’ directorial debut, calling the song “Love is heck” might actually be more fitting. Continue reading…

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK June 16 – 23: MAUDIE

motw logo 1-35 Director Aisling Walsh’s film Maudie centres around the life and work of Nova Scotia folk artist Maud Lewis. Lewis is familiar to Canadians and to art lovers around the world from her iconic paintings, made during the latter part of her life, but the film actually begins with the portrait of the artist as a young woman. Continue reading…

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK June 9 – 16: MEGAN LEAVEY

motw logo 1-35A film about a woman and a dog already has one at a distinct advantage. Critical faculties are of little avail against the soulful eyes of an adorable canine. Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s film Megan Leavey (opening June 9, 2017) pulls at the heartstrings with near shameless abandon, and for the most part it works. – Continue reading…

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK, May 26 to June 2, 2017: THE FIFTH ELEMENT

motw logo 1-35Twenty years after it cleaned up at the box office while simultaneously polarizing critics, Luc Besson’s colorful, action-packed sci-fi extravaganza is as bonkers as ever. It has elements that are reminiscent of both “Total Recall” (1990) and “Stargate” (1994), but “The Fifth Element” is loudly, proudly its own beast — and it all hinges on Milla Jovovich’s iconic performance. Continue reading…

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK May 19-26: THE WEDDING PLAN

motw logo 1-35An earnest drama about faith and love, “The Wedding Plan” follows Michal (Noa Koler), a thirtysomething Orthodox Israeli woman who’s ready — more than ready, really — to get married and build a life with her new husband. Things seem to be on the right track until her fiance, Gidi (Erez Drigues), calls things off just a month before their wedding. To the surprise of her friends and family, Michal moves forward with plans to be married in 30 days; invitations are sent, the hall is booked, the dress is bought. Continue reading…

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK May 12- 19: PARIS CAN WAIT

motw logo 1-35If you’re looking for an escape from the stress of everyday life (especially these days) — and who isn’t? — you could do far worse than joining star Diane Lane and director Eleanor Coppola for a food-, wine-, and scenery-filled road trip through France in “Paris Can Wait.” Reminiscent of both “A Good Year” and Lane’s own “Under the Tuscan Sun,” this is the kind of sun-kissed cinematic respite that we all need sometimes. Continue reading…

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK April 28 – May 5: TOMORROW EVER AFTER

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The notion of time travel is almost as old as time itself. Ever since we humans invented the idea, we’ve been struggling against it, wanting to go forwards, and then backwards, anywhere but the oppressive present. Director Ela Thier takes this conceit, and tips it gently on its head in her remarkable new film Tomorrow Ever After. Continue reading…

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK April 7 – 14, 2017: CARRIE PILBY

motw logo 1-35She may be a genius, but Carrie Pilby (Bel Powley) still has a lot to learn about human nature — and herself. This Manhattan-set indie comedy follows 19-year-old Harvard graduate Carrie as she navigates life and love, which isn’t easy, given that she overthinks literally everything. Like a distaff Holden Caulfield, Carrie is frequently trapped in her own head, suspicious of others’ motives and so many steps ahead of everyone she interacts with that she’s virtually incapable of things like casual conversation and dating. Read on…

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK March 31- April 7, 2017: THE ZOOKEEPER’S WIFE

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The Zookeeper’s Wife is a powerful, emotional ​fact-based ​drama about both the depth of human suffering experienced during World War II and the remarkable courage and strength of character that ordinary women and men demonstrated when their friends’ and neighbors’ lives were in danger. Jessica Chastain stars as Antonina Zabinska, a warm, gentle wife, mother, and animal lover who helps her husband, Jan (Johan Heldenbergh), run the Warsaw Zoo in late-1930s Poland. Read on…

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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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