DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES – Review by Susan Granger

Set 10 years after “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” (2011), this sci-fi adventure takes place in California’s Bay Area, where genetically-enhanced, now-mature Cesar (Andy Serkis), is living in a thatched village with his mate (Judy Greer), who has just given birth, and their older son (Nick Thurston). Statesmanlike, Cesar has established a primitive, familial society, governed by strict cultural rules, like “Ape no kill ape,” taught by the wise orangutan Maurice (Karin Konoval). Read on…

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TAMMY – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

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Well, it’s a step in the right direction. I suppose. A tiny one. Goddammit. *sigh* There are a lot of women onscreen in Tammy. In the same way that most movies feature a ton of men onscreen doing stupid shit for an hour and half with only occasional interruptions from women. That’s what Tammy is. It’s dumb, pointless, unentertaining crap. But at least it’s about women. Yay? Read more>>

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TAMMY – Review by Susan Granger

Having catapulted to stardom in “The Bridesmaids,” “The Heat” and “Identity Thief,” Melissa McCarthy has enough clout within the industry to co-write, produce and star in this ridiculously contrived comedy, collaborating with her husband, director Ben Falcone. Once again, she plays a brash, trash-talking woman whose arrogance conceals vulnerability and need for love and acceptance. Read on…

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Filmmaker Heddy Honigmann Honored by IDFA 2014!

heddy honigmannGood news, Heddy Honigmann fans! IDFA 2014 is headlining the world renowned Dutch documentary filmmaker and honoring her highly acclaimed oeuvre at the festival’s 27th edition, taking place in Amsterdam from November 19 – 30.

IDFA 2014 will open with Honigmann’s most recent film, Around the World in 50 Concerts, a striking tour de force in which the filmmaker underscores the positive power of music in various cultures around the globe as she accompanies the Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra on its worldwide tour. Read on…

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LAND HO – Review by Susan Granger

C.S. Lewis once wrote: “You are never too old to set another goal or dream a new dream.” So when a pair of curious, 60-something ex-brothers-in-law set off on a road trip, they’re determined to reclaim their youthful exuberance and enthusiasm. Read on…

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THE UNKNOWN KNOWN – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

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As Iraq disintegrates before our eyes, it’s suddenly even more vital to listen to what Donald Rumsfeld, one of the architects of the mess in the Middle East, has to say for himself. This feature-length interview with documentary filmmaker Errol Morris is horrifying for how it demonstrates Rumsfeld’s complete lack of awareness of the enormity of his own actions. Read more>>

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EARTH TO ECHO – Review by Susan Granger

For family fun at the movies, you can’t beat this shameless sci-fi update of Steven Spielberg’s “E.T.” It begins with three preteens, inseparable friends, whose families are being forced to move out of their middle-class neighborhood in suburban Nevada because of a highway construction project. There’s tech-savvy Tuck (Brian “Astro” Bradley), who documents his every waking moment on a video camera; Alex (Teo Halm), an earnest foster kid with sensitive separation issues; and nerdy Munch (Reese Hartwig), whose awkwardness adds comic relief. Read on…

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AWFJ Movie of the Week, June 30-July 6: LIFE ITSELF

Life ItselfOpening July 4, the AWFJ Movie of the Week is Life Itself, a moving tribute to America’s favorite critic, Roger Ebert, from acclaimed director Steve James and executive producers Martin Scorsese and Steven Zaillian. Ebert was a Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic for the Chicago Sun-Times who became a household name when he starred opposite Gene Siskel on the PBS show Sneak Previews, which popularized the phrase “Two thumbs up!” Ebert passed away on April 4, 2013 after battling cancer of the thyroid and salivary glands, which robbed him of his ability to speak but never slowed him down in terms of writing. James’ documentary, which is based on Ebert’s memoir of the same name, recounts Ebert’s life with reverence and a deep respect. It’s a must-see for anyone who loves movies. Read on…

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TRANSFORMERS 4: AGE OF EXTINCTION — Review by Kristy Puchko

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There are some movies where it’s best to shut your brain off to enjoy them. Michael Bay’s Transformers: Age of Extinction is definitely one of them. A pseudo-reboot that features much of the same elements of the first Transformers trilogy but none of its established human characters, the fourth entry in this franchise is bloated with plotlines, characters, and action sequences that push its running time to 165 minutes of nonsensical madness.

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CHEF – Review by Susan Granger

The popularity of movies featuring delectable food perhaps began with “Tom Jones” (1963) and has continued with “Babette’s Feast” (1987), “Like Water for Chocolate” (1992), “Big Night” (1996) and “Ratatouille” (2007), among others. More recently, there’s Jon Favreau’s “Chef” (2014) – which is remarkably similar to this story in plot.

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