AWFJ Movie of the Week, September 12 – September 16: Bridget Jones’s Baby

bridget jones's baby posterBridget Jones, patron saint of single ladies is back. Long before the film entered theatres, it had picked up a small firestorm of controversy over its star’s changed appearance. Variety critic Owen Gleiberman shot himself, repeatedly, in the foot as he tried to maintain that Zellweger’s face was, in some fashion, a betrayal of ordinary beauty that had vaulted her to fame in the first two films. Read On…

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CAMERAPERSON –Review by Jennifer Merin

cameraperson posterCameraperson is cinematographer Kirsten Johnson’s extraordinary meditative autobiographical retrospective of her decades-long career shooting documentaries across the US and around the world for Laura Poitras, Michael Moore, Kirby Dick and a host of other leading nonfic filmmakers. The film is not only a masterclass in documentary filmmaking, it’s a must see artistic masterpiece. Read on…

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FINDING ALTAMIRA – Review by Susan Granger

Focusing on the conflict between religion and science, this story revolves around the 1879 discovery of a cavern in Northern Spain that’s filled with pre-historic paintings of galloping bison. Jurist and amateur archeologist Marcelino Sanz de Sautuola y de la Pedrueca (Antonio Banderas) and his nine year-old daughter Maria (Allegra Allen) enjoy roaming the countryside of Cantabria, observing nature and chronicling their findings. Read on…

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MORGAN – Review by Susan Granger

It’s interesting that Luke Scott decided to make his directorial debut with this sci-fi thriller – since his father, Ridley Scott, made one of the first movies about Artificial Intelligence – “Blade Runner” (1982) – about a cop who hunts humanoid replicants. In many ways, “Morgan” resembles “Blade Runner.” Instead of a teeming metropolis, however, it’s set in a top-secret, remote facility, a decrepit mansion located deep in the woods, where a risk-management consultant, Lee Weathers (Rooney Mara), is sent to investigate and evaluate a scientific experiment that seems to have gone awry. Read on…

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AWFJ Movie of the Week, September 5 – September 9: CAMERAPERSON

cameraperson posterKirsten Johnson’s film Camerperson begins with a simple quote. “For the past 25 years I’ve worked as a documentary cinematographer. I originally shot the following footage for other films, but here I ask you to see it as my memoir. These are the images that have marked me and leave me wondering still.” Read on…

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EQUITY – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

Equity_27X40_OS_Final_061416.indd To say that Wall Street shenanigans are well storied onscreen is both an understatement and a misdirection. Sure, there have been lots of movies (and documentaries) set in the world of high finance… and as with nearly ever other human endeavor that gets depicted in film, most of them are about men. Even in movies about Big Money based on real-life events in which women played significant roles, women’s contributions tend to get glossed over or eliminated entirely; see The Big Short. We may think we’ve got a good grip on how Wall Street operates based on the movies we’ve seen, but we’ve only gotten half the story. Read more>>

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KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS — Review by Susan Granger

Beginning with the ominous warning – “If you must blink, do it now” – because “if you look away, even for an instant, our hero will surely perish.” Set in ancient Japan, this animated fantasy-adventure revolves around an 11 year-old boy named Kubo (Art Parkinson), a story-telling musician whose skill at origami (the art of paper-folding) resonates with Hosato (George Takei), Akhiro (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa) and Kameyo (Brenda Vaccaro). Read on…

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SOUTHSIDE WITH YOU, COMPLETE UNKNOWN, THE INTERVENTION, WHITE GIRL and more… — Reviews by Jennifer Merin

southside with you posterSouthside with You, a definitive date movie, centers around the first wooing of two smart young lawyers who have big dreams for the future and big demands for their budding relationship. They are Barack Hussein Obama (Parker Sawyers) and Michelle La Vaughn Robinson (Tika Sumpter), and we, of course, know how that turned out. Complete Unknown” plumbs the dark side of a relationship as a mysterious woman (Rachel Weisz) appears at a birthday party for an old,now married, flame (Michael Shannon). “The Intervention,” writer-director Clea DuVall’s first feature, is a look at the complex relationships between 30-something couples — best friends all — who go on vacation together, with the intent to advise one of the couples to divorce. “White Girl,” writer-director Elizabeth Wood’s first feature, gets tawdry with a privileged college sophomore’s summertime encounters with drugs, sex and a truly disreputable guy from her New York City neighborhood. Read the reviews…

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HANDS OF STONE – Review by Susan Granger

Evoking memories of “Raging Bull” (1980), Robert De Niro returns to the boxing ring again – this time as Ray Arcel, the legendary trainer who coached welterweight boxer Roberto Duran in the 1970s.As an impoverished 16 year-old from Panama, Roberto Duran (Edgar Ramirez) made his professional debut in 1968 and retired in 2002 at the age of 50. But his story begins at Madison Square Garden in 1971, when Arcel first saw Duran fight. Read on…

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MECHANIC: RESURRECTION – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

mechanicresurrectionposter About halfway through the idiotic dumbness that is Mechanic: Resurrection, I found myself drifting into a feminist reverie. What if (I imagined, fancying myself in a better, smarter, kinder world) Jessica Alba’s Gina here were the mastermind pulling all the strings behind the scenes? What if, instead of the damsel in distress she appears to be, she is in fact manipulating all the overgrown boys with guns who get off on throwing violent tantrums, twisting them so that instead of spewing their deep-rooted anger and otherwise unexpressed self-hatred outward at innocents, they turned it on one another for the benefit of increasing the overall happiness of the world? Read more>>

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