AWFJ Movie of the Week, Sept. 8-14: THE SKELETON TWINS

The Skeleton Twins-Opening Sept. 12, the AWFJ Movie of the Week is The Skeleton Twins, a light-hearted drama starring Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader as estranged twins who help each other figure out why their lives turned out so poorly. Wiig and Hader both hail from Saturday Night Live and are known for their comedic talents. The Skeleton Twins is a distinct departure for them both but director Craig Johnson knows how to use their impressive skills for both comedy and drama to great effect. Read on…

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Sharon Greytak and ARCHAEOLOGY OF A WOMAN – Jennifer Merin Comments

archeology of a women poster160During my recent conversation with Sharon Greytak about her new film Archaeology of A Women, the acclaimed indie writer/director introduced the notion that films can ‘out’ social issues, secrets and taboos. That’s an idea that thoroughly intrigues and appeals to me. I find that most of the films I find most interesting — be narratives of a dramatic or documentary nature — do actually ‘out’ issues, either by introducing them to public awareness or exploring them in such a way that audiences are forced to reevaluate, rethink what they know about them. Archaeology of A Woman is just such a film. Read more>>

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BEFORE I GO TO SLEEP – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

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And here I was all excited about an stylish and elegant thriller with a woman at its center, with a vaguely science-fictional conceit that works as a potent metaphor for some women’s unpleasant romantic experience. Except that was only the first half of the movie. And then Before I Go to Sleep had to throw that all away. Read more>>

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THE LAST OF ROBIN HOOD –Review by Kristy Puchko

thelastofrobinhoodSinger/dancer/actress Beverly Aadland dreamed of stardom, but instead her name went down in infamy as the subject of scandal rags accusing her of gold-digging a beloved–albeit controversial–Hollywood icon. A May-December (or March-December) romance with the late Errol Flynn made her the subject of gossip and public scorn. Now, 54 years since his death and four since hers, a movie teases telling her side of the story. But like its title suggests, The Last of Robin Hood is far more about Flynn than the ingénue he seduced and destroyed.

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AWFJ Movie of the Week, Sept. 1-7: LAST DAYS IN VIETNAM

Last Days of VietnamOpening Aug. 29, the AWFJ Movie of the Week is Last Days in Vietnam, a new documentary from Rory Kennedy that chronicles the final days of the Vietnam War. Focusing on the dramatic events around the 1975 evacuation of Saigon, the film combines present-day interviews and archival footage to recount what happened when the North Vietnamese Army closed in on Saigon and military officials had to decide who they would help escape. Kennedy is the youngest of the eleven children of Senator Robert F. Kennedy and Ethel Kennedy. Her documentaries focus on various social issues and in 2007 she won an Emmy for Ghosts of Abu Ghraib. Read on…

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THE NOVEMBER MAN – Review by Susan Granger

november man 160 Beginning in 2008 in Montenegro on the shores of Lake Geneva, retired CIA agent Peter Deveraux (Pierce Brosnan) is recruited back into service by John Hanley (Bill Smitrovich), his former handler. When there’s a lethal glitch in the mission, Devereaux reluctantly finds himself pitted against his own trigger-happy protégé, David Mason (Aussie actor Luke Bracey), while attempting to protect a relief agency worker, Alice Fournier (Olga Kurylenko), in Belgrade. She has evidence that could jeopardize the ambitions of a misogynistic, Putin-like politician named Federov (Lazar Ristovski), who seems to be next in line for the Russian presidency. Read on…

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Roger Donaldson’s Take On Reality and Truth-Based Narratives – Jennifer Merin Interviews

roger donaldson croppedNarrative features about true events raise questions about authenticity in film. With many truth based narratives, available news coverage and documents about the actual events may help audiences to separate the film’s fiction from fact, and to know where characters have been added or axed to enhance the story, up the caper, boost the entertainment value. Roger Donaldson — who’s directed documentaries and truth-based narratives, as well as the purely fictional The November Man, takes the ‘of record’ aspect of his work seriously. My interview with Donaldson focused on how the truth-based The Bank Job (2008) was researched and its impact. Read more>>

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STARRED UP — Review by Kristy Puchko

StarredUpAs follow-up to his touching yet grungy romance Tonight, You’re Mine, English director David Mackenzie has tackled a script based on the experiences of voluntary prison therapist Jonathan Asser. It’s a radical leap in subject and tone, but one boldly and brilliantly made. Starred Upis raw, relentless and riveting.

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Jennifer M. Kroot Talks TO BE TAKEI – Michelle McCue Interviews

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TO BE TAKEI is an entertaining and moving look at the many roles played by eclectic 76-year-old actor/activist George Takei whose wit, humor and grace has allowed him to become an internationally beloved figure.

It balances unprecedented access to the day-to-day life of George and his husband/business partner Brad Takei with George’s fascinating personal journey, from his childhood in a Japanese American internment camp, to his iconic and groundbreaking role as Sulu on “Star Trek,” through his rise as an internet phenomenon with over 6-million Facebook likes. Read on…

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RICH HILL – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

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Rich Hill is the rather ironically named “city” of 1,300-someodd souls in Missouri where hopelessness appear to reign even among the cheery fireworks and patriotic parades complete with countless waving Stars and Stripes and enthusiastic but off-key high-school marching band renditions of “God Bless America.” Local filmmakers Tracy Droz Tragos and Andrew Droz Palermo won the Grand Jury Prize for Documentary at this year’s Sundance Film Festival for this portrait of a year in the life of three teenaged Rich Hill boys, and their compassion for the trials of their subjects’ lives is matched only by the unspoken but caustic undercurrent of rage at the utter collapse of the American dream. Read more>>

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