ROUGH NIGHT — Review by Susan Granger

Feminism takes a couple of steps backward with this estrogen-forced comedy in which a Miami bachelorette weekend goes awry. Trying for a gender-flipping reversal on “The Hangover” and “Very Bad Things,” blended with “Bridesmaids,” the raucous riff revolves around Jess Thayer (Scarlett Johansson), who is running for the Florida state senate. While she projects a strait-laced image, Jess wasn’t always a goody-two-shoes. Continue reading…

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ROUGH NIGHT — Review by Martha Baker

From the Changed Mind Department: “Rough Night” is not just a female version of “Hangover.” Yes, there are vulgarities, but women talk dirty, too. Yes, there is bawdiness, but women are fully capable of being nasty. Most of all, “Rough Night” is about women’s true and evolving friendships. ‘Rough Night’ involves spinsters at play. Continue reading…

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GHOST IN THE SHELL — Review by Susan Granger

If you’re into the latest whiz-bang technology, this dystopian sci-fi thriller is a live-action remake of Mamoru Oshii’s 1995 cyberpunk anime, based on Masamune Shirow’s popular 1989 manga series. Its publicity campaign has focused on Scarlett Johansson’s appearing to be ‘almost’ naked, dashing around a futuristic cityscape in a flesh-colored, skin-tight casing; she’s a cyborg law-enforcement officer known as the Major. The gimmick is that when she dons this “thermoptic” suit, she is basically invisible. Continue reading

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FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD, WELCOME TO ME and Other May 1 Openers – Reviews by Jennifer Merin

farfrommadding5In Far from the Madding Crowd, Carey Mulligan is brilliant as Bathsheba Everdene, capturing all the complexities of a character who was in her day as much an icon of feminist independence as Katniss Everdeen is in ours. Director Thomas Vinterberg’s superb take on this classic yet contemporary tale of female empowerment is bolstered by Charlotte Bruus Christensen’s brilliant cinematography, Janet Patterson’s elegant costuming and Claire Simpson’s smart editing. Award-worthy. A must see. Read more…

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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…

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LUCY – Review by Susan Granger

Starting with the provocative premise – that human beings use only 10% of their brain capacity – this is strictly science fiction. Filmmaker Luc Besson knew that this percentage figure was inaccurate, yet plunged ahead with his inventive adventure, revolving around a naïve young American named Lucy (Scarlett Johansson) who gets tricked into delivering a mysterious metal briefcase to a Taiwanese crime boss, Mr. Jang (South Korean actor Choi Min Sik), and forced to become one of his drug mules. When she’s repeatedly kicked in the gut, there’s leakage from the bag of blue crystals, a narcotic known as CPH4, that’s been surgically inserted in her abdomen, and a metamorphosis occurs: Lucy becomes superhuman. Determined not only to wreak primal revenge on her captors but also to acquire more and more knowledge, employing her increasing array of powers and skills – she contacts Professor Norman (Morgan Freeman), a neuroscientist who is lecturing about cerebral capacity at a university in Paris. Read on…

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AWFJ Movie of the Week, July 21-27: LUCY

lucyOpening July 25, the AWFJ Movie of the Week is Lucy, the latest action movie from writer-director Luc Besson, best known for The Fifth Element, La Femme Nikita and The Professional. Action It Girl Scarlett Johansson stars as a woman who gains the ability to use one hundred percent of her brain function, turning her into an unstoppable killing machine. Besson has created his share of strong, female action heroes and Johannson is turning into that rare actor who is interesting to watch in both big-budget action movies, like The Avengers, and riskier films, like Under the Skin. It will be fascinating to see what Besson and Johansson have created together in Lucy. Read on…

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AWFJ Movie of the Week, May 5-11: CHEF

CHEF_OSOpening May 9, the AWFJ Movie of the Week is Chef. In this deliciously funny comedy, writer-director Jon Favreau stars as a talented chef who quits his high-profile job at a prominent Los Angeles restaurant over creative differences regarding cuisine. His recipe to maintain his culinary integrity involves relocation to Miami, where he opens a food truck, and rekindles his passion for life and love. Favreau’s high-profile supportive cast includes Dustin Hoffman, Robert Downey, Jr., the red-hot Scarlett Johansson, John Leguizamo, Sofia Vergara and Bobby Cannavale. The comedy marks Favreau’s return to the comedic roots he planted when he launched his career back in 1996 with the breakout indie hit, Swingers, which he wrote and starred in with Vince Vaughn. Read on…

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UNDER THE SKIN – Review by Kristy Puchko

Under The Skin

In the chilling science-fiction thriller Under The SkinThe Avengers‘ Scarlett Johansson plays a black widow of another kind. She’s an extraterrestrial predator. With a camouflage of plump red lips, snug fitting acid washed jeans, a curvy figure and a battered van, she trolls the streets of Scotland looking for would-be lovers. But when she lures them back to her lair, these men discover they are just fresh meat in the literal sense. On its surface, this feature is a slick and sick bit of horror. But under the skin it is a lesson in rape culture targeted specifically at men.

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April 2014 Movies Preview, Part One – Reviews by Jennifer Merin

April 4 brings a bundle of wonderful openings: Scarlett Johansson in Under the Skin is on the prowl in Glasgow, looking for men to devour. Gina Carrano, starring in In the Blood, kicks ass to find and save her husband who disappears during their blissful Caribbean honeymoon. “The Galapagos Affair: Satan Came to Eden” is another island thriller about an unsolved mystery of missing persons, and it’s all true. That’s for starters. For details about these and other early April openers, read more>>

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April, 2014 Spotlight: Scarlett Johansson, Actress, UNDER THE SKIN

awfjspotlightsmallsmallThis month, AWFJ’s Spotlight is focused on Scarlett Johansson whose bold career choices include edgy April opener Under the Skin.

It took British director Jonathan Glazer a decade to make Under the Skin. Scarlett Johansson stuck with him all the way. Read on…

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AWFJ Women On Film – Iconic Women In Film – Diana Saenger comments

Years ago the word Hollywood conjured up images of glamour, legend and famous actresses and actors. Movie fans clamored for movie magazines that had in-depth stories about the stars’ lives and couldn’t wait to see them on the big screen. Movies were designed around star power and if the plot was exceptional – it was added value to the experience.

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