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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SNOWPIERCER – Review by Kristy Puchko

Snowpiercer posterAfter much debate about what cut American audiences would see of Bong Joon-ho’s English language debut, Snowpiercer is here and it’s chilling, mesmerizing, and absolutely sensational.

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MANAKAMANA – Review by Jennifer Merin

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Manakamana is the third documentary release from the Harvard Sensory Ethnography Lab, a group that’s having major impact on contemporary nonfiction filmmaking. Taking viewers on a journey into the jungles of Nepal, This rare example of documentary pushes the cinema verite experience to new heights. Read more>>

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AWFJ Movie of the Week, June 23-29: YVES SAINT LAURENT

Yves Saint LaurentOpening June 25, the AWFJ Movie of the Week is French director Jalil Lespert’s Yves Saint Laurent, a richly evocative period piece that chronicles the life of the legendary fashion designer. The film stars Pierre Niney as Saint Laurent. At the age of 21, none other than Christian Dior appointed Saint Laurent to take over as head designer for his line. His first collection for Dior debuted in the spring of 1958 and instantly catapulted him to the heights of haute couture’s elite class. At that show he would also meet Pierre Bergé (Guillaume Gallienne), patron of the arts, future love of his life and lifelong business partner. Three years later, the two founded the Yves Saint Laurent Company, which would rapidly become one of the biggest luxury powerhouses on the planet. Read on…

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THE FAULT IN OUR STARS – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

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Yes, it’s a teenaged girl’s romantic fantasy. And some of it might be in a secret code for young women. Imagine that. Read more>>

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