AWFJ Movie of the Week, April 7-11: ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE

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For this week’s pick, AWFJ Movie of the Week panelists found Jim Jarmusch’s Only Lovers Left Alive to be deeply romantic, stylishly delicious, hilarious, gloriously photographed, sublime and a bitingly perfect fresh take on a worn out genre.

All that, plus superb performances by Tilda Swinton and Tim Hiddleston as stunningly humane vampire soul mates who face the extinction of their species due to the toxic contamination of their essential and no longer pure liquid of life. This brilliant film infuses the vampire genre with new life, however, and will surely last through the ages. Read on…

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UNDER THE SKIN – Review by Kristy Puchko

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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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20 FEET FROM STARDOM – Review by Jennifer Merin

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Morgan Neville’s Oscar-winning music documentary follows the ups and downs in the careers of several exceptionally talented backup singers, and gives us a behind-the-scenes glimpse of what their lives are like after the show. The backup singers — including Merry Clayton, Lisa Fischer and others — speak frankly about their aspirations and disappointments. Most of them are women! They’re gifts are acknowledged by the likes of Bette Midler and Bruce Springsteen, among others. But of their number, Darlene Love is the only one to step into the center stage spotlight. The documentary delivers great rock and soul! Read more>>

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SABOTAGE – Review by Susan Granger

Arnold Schwarzenegger plays John “Breacher” Wharton, veteran leader of a dauntless squad of grubby undercover DEA agents, who discovers, after effectively hiding the 10 million dollars they skimmed off after a massive raid of the “money room” at a Mexican drug cartel safe house, that someone has heisted the cash which was hidden inside a sewer line, leaving a single bullet in its place. During the subsequent official inquiry by the FBI, they’re all suspended from duty. Read on…

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LE WEEK-END – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

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Nick and Meg have been married a long time. We’re not sure how long, as Le Week-end opens with them on the train from London to Paris for a getaway, but the practiced ease of their togetherness, all reflexive sniping and easy intimacy, is plain. You know these people… but you don’t see them in movies often. Apart from the simple pleasure of spending cinematic time with intriguing yet realistic people exploring the conundrums of life in an engaging and sympathetic way, we have here the pleasure of seeing a couple of fresh, funny 60somethings having little adventures — Meg comes up with a rather daring one — enjoying the world, and trying to figure out their places in it. Read more>>

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CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER – Review by Susan Granger

Marvel’s new cinematic adventure not only continues the superhero saga but also plunges into a Cold War conspiracy which could deliver covert technology into the hands of an enemy agent. Set two years after The Avengers alien attack in New York, U.S. Army Officer Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans) becomes a target when he makes a discovery that could endanger the entire planet. Read on…

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AWFJ Movie of the Week, March 31 to April 4: THE UNKNOWN KNOWN

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Directed by Academy Award-winning documentarian Errol Morris, The Unknown Known focuses on former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, one of the leading architects of the Iraq War. In the guise of a friendly, almost casual conversation, Morris conducts a hard core interrogation of Rumsfeld, asking what he and other power players knew, and when, and how they decided to send Americans to war. The result is a revealing unraveling of bureaucratic knots and double-speak that characterized the Bush administration. AWFJ Movie of the Week panelists felt that The Unknown Known is one of this year’s scariest horror films to date. To see what AWFJ members have to say about the film, read on…

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NOAH – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

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Darren Aronofsky has made a Biblical action disaster fantasy epic that is completely bonkers, endlessly entertaining, and actually religious in that inspiring-and-instructional way that you don’t need to take as literal truth to see the wisdom of. “Don’t break the planet, humans,” is the message here, “or you will get a smack upside the head, big time.” It’s like an ancient The Day After Tomorrow. It’s The Day Before Yesterday. Or maybe The Day After Old Testament? Whatever you want to call it, it’s kind of awesome. You don’t even need to believe in Aronofsky’s The Creator to see this as good advice. Read more>>

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NOAH – Review by Diana Saenger

Stormy Truths and Untruths bowl over in a good epic production that intrigues most of the time, but sometimes results in a “whatttt?” Read more>>.

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