DARK HORSE: THE INCREDIBLE TRUE STORY OF DREAM ALLIANCE — Review by Susan Granger

Set for release on the day before the Kentucky Derby, Louise Osmond’s uplifting, feel-good film shows how sometimes ordinary gals-and-guys can not only compete but win at the elitist “sport of kings.” The story begins when a middle-aged barmaid, Janet Vokes, in a South Wales workingman’s pub gets an over-the-rainbow notion to breed a steeplechase racehorse. Knowing, she’ll need financial support, she rallies her friends and neighbors, including a local tax adviser, Howard Davies, who forms a “syndicate.” Read on…

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REQUIEM FOR THE AMERICAN DREAM and THE DIVIDE – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

requiemamerdreamposter Are you angry? Are you angry about everything? Are you angry about how you haven’t had a real raise in 10 years yet the price of everything keeps going up? Are you angry because it feels like you will never pay off your student loans? Are you angry because there’s no way in hell you will ever enjoy the same standard of living as your parents did? Are you angry because all of our public endeavors and infrastructures seem to be falling apart, with no way to fix them in sight? Are you angry that it seems like you don’t have a voice in how the world is run and yet you’re made to pay, in all sorts of ways, for its failures? Read more>>

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MOTHER’S DAY – Review by Susan Granger

Perhaps the best that can be said about this cringe-worthy rom-com is that octogenarian Garry Marshall has assured his continuing Academy membership by staying ‘active’ in an industry that could all-too-soon forget he once directed hits like “Pretty Woman,” “Runaway Bride,” “Beaches” and “The Princess Diaries,” not to mention creating TV’s “Happy Days” and “Laverne & Shirley.” Read on…

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AWFJ Movie of the Week, April 25 – May 1: KEANU

324941id1_Keanu_AdvanceUnrated_27x40_1Sheet.inddOpening April 29, AWFJ’s Movie of the Week is Keanu, the new comedy from director Peter Antencio (TV’s Key and Peele) about two friends who attempt to recover a stolen kitten by posing as drug dealers for a street gang. Written by Alex Rubens and Jordan Peele, the latter of whom also stars alongside Keegan Michael Key (the popular pair, of course, play Fargo’s hilarious FBI agent duo), the screenplay makes the most of the comedic talent of the naturally funny pair, along with their super-cute feline co-star. Read on…

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THE MEDDLER, SWORN VIRGIN, ELVIS & NIXON, QUEEN MIMI and More April 22 Openers — Reviews by Jennifer Merin

meddler poster artThe Meddler is a satisfying serving of giddily compassionate mother-daughter comedy. Sworn Virgin is about a woman escaping social repression. Elvis & Nixon dramatizes the impromptu meeting between the two famous men. Queen Mimi documents the life of an elderly woman who lives in a Santa Monica laundromat. Plus The Huntsman: Winter’s War, Tale of Tales, Hockney and Nina. Read the reviews…

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A HOLOGRAM FOR THE KING — Review by Susan Granger

Divorced, broke and unable to pay his daughter’s college tuition, Alan Clay (Tom Hanks) is introduced in an angst-filled, fantasy dream sequence, singing Talking Head’s “Once in a Lifetime.” Apparently chosen for this job because of some vague connection to the Royal family, Clay is an affable, middle-aged American businessman who arrives in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, determined to sell a 3D holographic communications system to King Abdullah. Read on…

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: Amy Schumer Talks Body Image, Glamour Mag and People Pleasing — Brandy McDonnell Interviews

amy-schumer-2013-smallIn between uproariously raunchy jokes about feminine hygiene, sexual preferences and shady massage parlors, Amy Schumer delivers pointed messages about body image, extreme dieting and double standards for men and women, hot-button issues she also covers in her TV show and movies. “I think with the women we’re exposed to so constantly in media – movies, magazines, TV – they’re so thin. And they look beautiful, and most of them are healthy and good. I also know that the majority of them are hungry,” Schumer told me in a phone interview. Read more on THE WEEK IN WOMEN…

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ELVIS & NIXON — Review by Susan Granger

Chronicling an amusing historical anecdote, Liza Johnson’s droll reminiscence shows how Elvis Presley (Michael Shannon) met President Richard M. Nixon (Kevin Spacey) in the Oval Office one afternoon. In late 1970, watching the news at Graceland, Presley becomes so infuriated with the growing drug problem and moral decline in the United States that he shoots out the TV set with a .45. That’s his first reaction. Read on…

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THE SYNDROME – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

syndromeposter We’re all familiar with “shaken baby syndrome” from fictional crime dramas and the 1997 Boston trial of nanny Louise Woodward, convicted of killing an infant in her care by, allegedly, shaking him so hard it caused severe brain injury. But does SBS even exist as a scientifically valid phenomenon? Or is it hysteria built on junk science? Award-winning journalist Susan Goldsmith, who has specialized in covering child abuse and larger societal issues surrounding the treatment of children, teams up with first-time filmmaker Meryl Goldsmith for a film that may lack the slickness we’ve come to expect from modern newsy documentaries but makes up for that with its smartly dispassionate and skeptical look at SBS. Read more>>

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AWFJ Movie of the Week, April 18 – April 24: THE HUNTSMAN WINTER’S WAR

Huntsman winters war posterOpening April 22, AWFJ’s Movie of the Week is The Huntsman: Winter’s War, the lavish sequel to 2012 fantasy Snow White and the Huntsman. Charlize Theron returns as evil queen Ravenna, who is locked in a bitter war with her sister Freya (Emily Blunt). Chris Hemsworth also returns as The Huntsman, part of an army sworn to protect Freya, who falls for fellow hunter Sara (Jessica Chastain). Read on…

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