THE ONE I LOVE — Review by Kristy Puchko

theoneIloveThe One I Love is a movie with a strange and brilliant plot twist that kicks off its second act. But being unaware of the specifics of this twist beforehand definitely enhanced my enjoyment of the film. The surprise was terrific and thrilling. However, it’s almost impossible to thoroughly review the film without getting into the details of this twist.

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AWFJ Movie of the Week, Aug. 18-24: ABUSE OF WEAKNESS

Abuse of WeaknessOpening Aug. 22, the AWFJ Movie of the Week is Abuse of Weakness, by French writer-director Catherine Breillat. The film was inspired by Breillat’s own experiences after she suffered a debilitating stroke and fell prey to a notorious con man. Isabelle Huppert stars opposite French rapper Kool Shen. Strong-willed filmmaker Maud (Huppert) suffers a stroke that leaves her paralyzed on her left side. Determined to pursue her latest film project she sees Vilko (Shen), a con man who swindles celebrities, on a talk show and proceeds to offer him a role in her next movie. Soon Vilko is using the same manipulative charm that he used to con celebrities to get thousands from Maud. While she sees what he’d doing she also feels powerless to do anything about it. Read on.

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THE EXPENDABLES – Review by Susan Granger

This latest installment in Sylvester Stallone’s action franchise is filled with beefy heroes, a really bad guy and an endless barrage of bullets as the murder and mayhem continues. Read on…

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AWFJ Movie of the Week, Aug. 11-17: THE TRIP TO ITALY

Trip to Italy posterOpening Aug. 15, the AWFJ Movie of the Week is The Trip to Italy, a follow-up to Michael Winterbottom’s 2010 film, The Trip, which reunites comedians Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon for another gastronomic tour around Europe. This time the two cranky comedians are retracing the steps of the Romantic poets’ grand tour of Italy. Following the successful formula of the first film, Winterbottom focuses as much attention on the mouth-watering meals as he does the impersonation-laced banter between the two stars. They enjoy culinary delights in gorgeous settings from Liguria to Capri while riffing on subjects as varied as Batman’s vocal register, the artistic merits of Jagged Little Pill, and, of course, the virtue of sequels. The Trip to Italy melds the brilliant comic interplay between Coogan and Brydon into quieter moments of self-reflection, letting audiences into their insightful ruminations on the nuances of friendship and the juggling of family and career. The result is a biting portrait of modern-day masculinity. Read on…

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WELCOME TO NEW YORK – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

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This may be one of the most repulsive movies I’ve ever seen. Its protagonist is a sociopathic narcissist who sees women as playthings, who takes advantage of his power, privilege, and money to — literally — bail himself out when he is unable to tell the difference between ambitious young women who tell him to his face that they’re sleeping with him because they’re turned on by his standing, professional sex workers paid to put on a show of pretending to like him, and uninterested female passersby screaming bloody hell for him to stop assaulting them. Read more>>

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LILTING – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

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Oh dear, what a heartbreakingly lovely — and just plain heartbreaking — film. Elderly Chinese-Cambodian immigrant Junn (Pei-pei Cheng) never quite assimilated into life in London, and now that her only child, 20something Kai (Andrew Leung), is gone, taken in an unnamed tragedy, she is lost not only in grief but in isolation. With her husband also long dead, Kai was only her only connection to the world — she never learned to speak English — and now she is truly adrift and alone. And it’s really hard for her to accept help from Kai’s friend Richard (Ben Whishaw), because she’s jealous of their relationship… and she doesn’t even know that they weren’t simply good friends but a couple. Read more>>

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AWFJ Movie of the Week, Aug. 4-10: THE HUNDRED-FOOT JOURNEY

100 Foot Journey posterOpening Aug. 8, the AWFJ Movie of the Week is The Hundred-Foot Journeya film adaptation of the beloved novel by Richard C. Morais. The film stars Dame Helen Mirren as Madame Mallory, the acclaimed French chef and restaurateur of the Micehelin-starred Le Saule Pleureur who finds that her culinary dominance in the quaint French tourist town of Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val is challenged when an Indian bistro, Maison Mumbai, opens across the street. Her new rival is young chef Hassan Kadam (Manish Dayal), a culinary wunderkind blessed with the gastronomic equivalent of perfect pitch. He’s backed by his tenacious father (Om Puri) and family, all recently resettled in the South of France from their distant homeland. The culinary and cultural rivalry contretemps is eventually quelled by their mutual love of haute cuisine and a budding romance between Hassan and Madame Mallory’s charming sous chef (Charlotte Le Bon). Everything about this film is delicious. Read on…

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PAYBACK – DVD Review by Jennifer Merin

paybackposter160Using Margaret Atwood’s fascinating treatise titled Payback: Debt And The Shadow Side of Wealth as a point of departure, acclaimed Canadian filmmaker Jennifer Baichwal engages a compelling cast of renown commentators to expound on the notion of debt and its wide ranging implications about human civilization and the future. Not all debt is economic. There is environmental debt, too. And, when has someone guilty of a crime paid his or her ‘debt to society?’ This compelling documentary leads to essential and urgently needed consideration of public policy. Concerned citizens, see this film! Read more>>

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GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY – Review by Susan Granger

guardians of the galaxy Marvel expands its cinematic clout to encompass another colorful franchise, encompassing a rag-tag team of intergalactic adventurers. Headed by Peter Quill, a.k.a. Star Lord (Chris Pratt), the quintet includes the green-skinned warrior Gamora (Zoe Saldana), vengeance-seeking Drax the Destroyer (WWW champ Dave Bautista) and two endearing CG characters: clever, cybernetically-enhanced, gun-slinging Rocket Raccoon, voiced by Bradley Cooper, and Groot, a humanoid, self-regenerating tree whose one line of dialogue (“I am Groot”) is uttered repeatedly – but with different intonations – by Vin Diesel. Read on…

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Documentaries Opening August 1-12, 2014 – Reviews by Jennifer Merin

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To be seen on big screens from August 1 to 12 are fine non-fic features that explore the lives and hard times faced by troubled youth in small town USA and throughout China, offer up the expressions of Iranian artists in exile, deliver inspiration via the ‘play it forward’ mentorship of a jazz icon and his protege, and reveal discoveries in the ocean’s depths. Check out my reviews of Rich Hill, Web Junkie, Fifi Howls From Happiness, Keeo On Keepin’ On and DeepSea Challenger 3D, and for maximum non-fic cool, see them all! Read more>>

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