AWFJ Movie of the Week, Oct. 20-26: FORCE MAJEURE

Opening Oct. 24, the AWFJ Movie of the Week is Force Majeure, Swedish writer-director Ruben Ostlund’s dark comedy about a family skiing trip that goes horribly awry. The picture-perfect foursome are enjoying lunch one day when a controlled avalanche threatens to put them in serious danger. While the snow stops short, however, the reactions of the family’s patriarch, Tomas (Johannesburg Kuhnke) reveal a cold, hard truth about his priorities, which creates an almighty schism between himself and his wife (Lisa Loven Kogsli). As their arguments about what exactly happened escalate, the dynamic of their shifting relationship become utterly fascinating to behold. Read on…

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52nd New York Film Festival: IRIS – Review by Kathleen Carroll

In the ever so posh world of high fashion and design, Iris Apfel has always been thought of as a true original. In her view basic black is for sissies unless you add a vibrantly colored jacket. She simply adores Moroccan jewelry but just one necklace would never do for her. She loves to pile on her amber necklaces and bold cuff bracelets. Her signature look, which includes a huge pair of black-rimmed eye glasses (the kind of glasses the late Carol Channing used to use as her favorite accessory) is truly unique which is why she is still at age 98 a fashion icon. Read on…

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BIRDMAN — Review by Kristy Puchko

birdmanAfter a barrage of cinema brilliant, bizarre and occasionally boring, the New York Film Festival drew to a close this year with Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Birdman: The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance, which has been driving the internet into an anticipatory frenzy since its first trailer hit. It quick became my most anticipated movie of the year because it brought the spotlight back to an icon of my childhood, the one and only Michael Keaton. After a film fest that was studded with disappointments, I was a bit desperate for Birdman to live up to my expectations. Little did I expect it to far exceed them. Read more.>>

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LISTEN UP PHILIP — Review by Kristy Puchko

listenupphilipMaybe it’s my fault. I saw the teaser for Listen Up Philip, saw Jason Schwartzman would be applying his neurotic electricity to the role of a socially awkward novelist, and expected Bored to Death. Well, not expected. Hoped for. I hoped this New York Film Festival entry would have the kind of generous self-mocking and silly satire of the HBO series where Schwartzman played a bored novelist turned detective. Instead, I got Alex Ross Perry’s acidic brand of comedy that made me twitch far more than laugh.  Read more.>>

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THE BOOK OF LIFE — Review by Kristy Puchko

bookoflife Guillermo del Toro has brought us the gorgeous and gruesome horror-filled fable Pan’s Labyrinth, the eccentric and eerie superhero story Hellboy, and the stunning sci-fi spectacle that is Pacific Rim. Now, the writer-director has played producer to transform Mexico’s Day of the Dead into a charming cinematic spectacle called The Book of Life. Read more.>>

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52nd New York Film Festival: Provocation and Pleasure – Rania Richardson Comments

Many of the films in the recently concluded 52nd New York Film Festival will fill theaters, fuel discussions, and collect awards for months to come. Topping the list is Citizenfour, a late edition to the tightly edited festival’s main slate of 31 features. Read on…

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AWFJ Movie of the Week, Oct. 13-19: BIRDMAN

Opening Oct. 17, the AWFJ Movie of the Week is Birdman, which sees the very welcome return of Michael Keaton to leading man status. He takes the deliciously knowing role of a washed up actor who found fame playing a superhero some years before, and is now attempting to recapture those former glories by staging a play on Broadway. Critics are calling it a virtuoso, powerhouse performance and a career highlight for Keaton, who both embraces and commands a dramatic role which allows him to showcase a range of emotions. Read on…

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MEN, WOMEN & CHILDREN – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

menwomenchildrenposter

Jason Reitman is way too young to have produced a work of such fuddy-duddy handwringing over These Kids (And Adults) Today and how we play with our e-toys. Read more>>

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THE JUDGE – Review by Susan Granger

Teaming up together for the first time, Robert Duvall (Oscar winner for “Tender Mercies”) and Robert Downey Jr. (two-time Oscar nominee for “Chaplin” and “Tropic Thunder”) play father-and-son at-odds in this poignant courtroom psychodrama. Read on…

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AWFJ Movie of the Week, Oct. 6-12: WHIPLASH

Opening Oct. 10, the AWFJ Movie of the Week is Whiplash, writer/director Damien Chazelle’s adaptation of his Sundance winning short film. At 29, Chazelle is carving out an interesting career; his eclectic resume already features the screenplay for recent Hitchcockian thriller Grand Piano, starring Elijah Wood, and Whiplash has been attracting high critical praise from all corners.

It stars Miles Teller (The Spectacular Now, Project X) as a promising young drummer who enrolls at a prestigious music academy. His burning desire to make music is put to the test, however, when he comes up against a tutor (JK Simmons) whose virulent desire to push his students to success borders on the sadistic. Read on…

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