AWFJ Movie of the Week, Nov. 3-9: INTERSTELLAR

Opening Nov. 7, the AWFJ Movie of the Week is InterstellarChristopher Nolan’s long-awaited science fiction epic. Set in a future far-removed from the shiny, technology driven visions of most filmmakers, it stars Matthew McConaughey as Cooper, a single father trying to bring up his kids on his failing farm. He is not alone in his struggles; the Earth’s food supplies are running out fast. And so, by way of a storyline that it’s best not to reveal, former NASA pilot Cooper teams up with scientist Amelia (Anne Hathaway) to man a terrifying mission to seek out a viable home for humanity. Read on…

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SPOTLIGHT: November, 2014 – Sheila Johnson, Film Festival Founder, Entertainment Mogul

awfjspotlightsmallsmallThis month, AWFJ’s SPOTLIGHT is focused on Sheila Johnson, billionaire entrepreneur, co-founder of BET, philanthropist and the force behind the four-day Middleburg Film Festival in Virginia – which celebrates its second year this month with a slate of 20 films, including titles that are already garnering Oscars buzz. Read on…

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MR. TURNER – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

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As grand as it is — the film frequently borrows the epic look and feel of Turner’s sweeping landscapes — history and scholarship are not its concerns. This is an intimate film that says little and speaks volumes… much like, we come to see, the man himself. There’s a subtle, earthy groundedness to Mr. Turner: this is no stuffy costume drama but a richly lived-in visit to early-19th-century England that is rough, bawdy, often funny, and more often unsettling. Turner may have been a great artist — we see that even during his lifetime, his groundbreaking work has at least as many vehement supporters as scornful detractors — but he was kind of a terrible person. Read more>>

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AWFJ Movie of the Week, Oct. 27-Nov. 2: NIGHTCRAWLER

Opening Oct. 31, the AWFJ Movie of the Week is Nightcrawlerthe blistering directorial debut of screenwriter Dan Gilroy (The Fall, The Bourne Legacy). Gilroy also penned this rapid-fire satire in which the unending demands of the 24 hour news cycle are the catalyst for some seriously questionable behaviour from those who report it. One such man is former drifter – and confirmed sociopath – Lou Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal) who, after accidentally discovering his natural talent for nocturnal crime journalism, trawls the dark streets of LA searching for increasingly salacious content to satisfy network news boss Nina (Rene Russo). Read on…

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NIGHTCRAWLER – Review by Susan Granger

Jake Gyllenhaal stars in Dan Gilroy’s sinister, neo-noir crime thriller as sociopathic Louis Bloom, who prowls the streets of Los Angeles at night in his turbo-charged Dodge Challenger with a police scanner, doing accident and crime-reporting. He’s one of the many freelance video stringers, called “nightcrawlers.” Bloom routinely sells his footage to Nina (Rene Russo), a local graveyard-shift TV news director who’s desperately hungry for ratings; she tells him that viewers want to see “urban crime creeping into the suburbs.” Problem is: instead of remaining a passive bystander with a camera, Bloom brazenly begins to stage his own roadside carnage and re-arrange crime scenes – until he stumbles onto an apparent home invasion. Read on…

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HORNS –Review by Kristy Puchko

hornsMoving past family-friendly tales of witches and warlocks, Daniel Radcliffe embraces his inner demon for Horns, a horror-fantasy about revenge and the warped forms love can take. Based on the wickedly entertaining novel by Joe Hill, Horns centers on Ig Perrish (Radcliffe), a young man reeling from the horrendous murder of his first and only love Merrin Williams (Juno Temple). Making matters worse, he’s the prime suspect, which has turned the whole of his small town against him. But more than anything–even clearing his name–Ig wants to rain hell down on whoever raped and killed his beloved. When a pair of horns sprouts up on his head, giving him insight into people’s innermost thoughts, Ig turns detective, judge, and demon.Read more.>>

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Ouija –Review by Kristy Puchko

ouijaIt’s fair to say that when plans were announced to turn the Hasbro board game Oujia into a horror movie, a collective sigh rose up from the internet at large. However, as a girl who well knows the power this cardboard and plastic contraption holds at slumber parties–thanks to its promise of a link to worlds beyond our own–I had a cautious optimism that this board game movie would get it right. For the first 10 minutes of Universal Pictures’ Ouija, it does. Then the opening title card hits, and everything goes to hell.Read more.>>

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REVENGE OF THE GREEN DRAGONS –Review by Kristy Puchko

RevengeotGDChinese director Wai-keung Lau (also known as Andrew Lau) gained a reputation in the U.S. when his 2002 thriller Infernal Affairs was transformed into The Departed, a Boston-set, star-studded thriller by Martin Scorsese, modern cinema’s king of gangster movies. Now these two reteam–as director and executive producer respectively—for Revenge of The Green Dragons, a crime-drama embedded in the same mean streets where Scorsese’s Italian-Americans raised hell. But this time the focus is on Chinese immigrants looking to do whatever it takes to snare their American Dream. Read more.>>

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ST VINCENT – Review by Susan Granger

stvincentposterart160Bill Murray is sneaks into your heart as Vincent, a crusty curmudgeon who lives with his Persian cat Felix in a run-down house in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn. When Maggie (Melissa McCarthy), a newly separated mother, moves in next door, the moving van knocks down a tree branch that crashes into his ancient Chrysler convertible – and he’s furious. As it turns out, she’s a harried nurse/technician who works long hours at the hospital, so her politely precocious 12 year-old son, Oliver (Jason Lieberher), winds up spending his after-school hours with unkempt, foul-mouthed Vincent, who demands to be paid as his bracingly unorthodox baby-sitter. Read on…

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52nd New York Film Festival: TWO DAYS, ONE NIGHT – Review by Martha Nochimson

two days onenightposter160thisoneSpeaking of Two Days, One Night, the new film by the brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardennes that was part of the Main Slate offerings at this year’s New York Film Festival, “purity” is the word that comes to mind. The legendary brothers have produced a film in the tradition of Post World War II Italian neo-realism, the French New Wave of the 1950′s and 1960′s, and the Danish Dogme 95 movement—started, of course, in 1995–the more recent inheritors of the burning desire to push narrative film as far as possible away from the glamorization, fetishism and manipulations of Hollywood. Read more>>

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