NO ESCAPE – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

noescape.poster If you took No Escape for a light action movie, something like a flick in which Liam Neeson would beat up villainous cartoon foreigners in a exotic land of generous film-production tax credits, you are forgiven. It’s certainly the way the film has been marketed. Plus it stars Owen Wilson and Lake Bell, comic actors known for lighthearted snark and offhand insouciance. What else could be on offer but popcorn violence, snarled “funny” one-liners accompanying every gruesome death, and probably some helicopters blowin’ up real good? Read more>>

read more

AWFJ Movie of the Week, August 24-30: THE SECOND MOTHER

second mother poster Opening July 1, the AWFJ Movie of the Week is The Second Mother, Brazilian writer/director Anna Muylaert’s tale of a household thrown into upheaval by the sudden arrival of the live-in housekeeper’s estranged daughter Read on…

read more

LEANING TO DRIVE, GRANDMA, AFTER WORDS and Other August 17 Openers – Reviews by Jennifer Merin

learning to drive posterThree must sees open this week. Learning to Drive is a metaphor for learning to live in filmmaker Isabel Coixet’s absolutely delightful and smart take on how a modern woman (Patricia Clarkson) survives her mid-life crisis. Grandma puts Lily Tomlin, a feisty matriarch, in the driver’s seat on a laugh-laden road trip that leads to mother-daughter reconciliations. After Words stars Marcia Gay Harden as a lonely librarian whose life shatters when she loses her job — but escapes to Costa Rica. Plus Slow Learners, Hitman: Agent 47, The Curse of Downers Grove, In the Pines and House on Rodeo Gulch. Read the reviews..

read more

DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL – Review by Susan Granger

“I just had sex!” proclaims precocious 15 year-old Minnie Goetz into her cassette-tape audio diary, as she strides through San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park in her high-waisted bell-bottoms and platform shoes. Set in 1976, as Patty Hearst’s kidnapping/bank robbery dominates TV-viewing, the story revolves around Minnie (Bel Powley), her mother Charlotte (Kristen Wiig), and Charlotte’s boy-friend Monroe (Alexander Skarsgard). Read on…

read more

ASH VS EVIL DEAD – Preview by Liz Whittemore

ash-vs-evil-dead-199x300How do you sell scary? Bringing an 80′s cult classic back to life (pun intended) is certainly one way to do it. The highly anticipated Ash Vs Evil Dead art is here! Read on, and don’t forget to watch the trailer.

read more

AMERICAN ULTRA – Review by Susan Granger

This deranged action comedy has two things going for it: Jesse Eisenberg (“The Social Network”) and Kristen Stewart (“The Twilight Saga”). They’ll probably account for more box-office clout that this dreadful stoner dirge deserves. Read on…

read more

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…

read more

THE WEEK IN WOMEN: Women Filmmakers Helm “Mankiller” Documentary, plus Jolie Pitt, Moon Girl, Dinosaurs in Heels and a New Stats Study – Brandy McDonnell comments

mankiller croppedThe upcoming PBS documentary “Mankiller,” helmed by Gale Ann Hurd and Valerie Red-Horse, is the heroic life story of the first woman elected chief of the Cherokee Nation. Angelina’s Jolie Pas Productions announces The Breadwinner to be made by women, Marvel makes Moon Girl, Jurassic Park’s dinos in heels, a NY Times stats study and more. Read this week’s The Week In Women>>

read more

STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON, MERU, MISTRESS AMERICA and other August 14 Openers – Reviews by Jennifer Merin

straight outta comptonStraight Outta Compton is explosive, relevant and brilliantly scripted by Andrea Berloff, who stands her ground in the male-dominated milieu of culture-transforming rap group N.W.A. and its talented, controversial members Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, Eazy-E, DJ Yella and MC Ren, artists in residence in (and beyond) Compton. Thrilling and visually stunning, Meru documents mountain climbers attempting the first conquest of the Shark’s Fin, a treacherous granite rock face on Mount Meru in the Himilayas. Mistress America, written by and starring Greta Gerwig, is a chatty NY comedy about two women who (sort of) become friends. Plus: Ten Thousand Saints, She’s Funny That Way, Final Girl, Return To Sender and The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Read the reviews…

read more

ROSENWALD – Review by Susan Granger

Although Julius Rosenwald was my great-grandfather, via my adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, I must confess I knew little about the extent of his amazing charitable work until I saw Aviva Kempner’s inspiring documentary. Best known as chairman of Sears, Roebuck and Company, Julius Rosenwald was born in 1862 in Springfield, Illinois. The son of German-Jewish immigrants, he grew up in a house directly across the street from Abraham Lincoln’s home. Read on…

read more