JUPITER ASCENDING – Review by Susan Granger

Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis) is a lowly Chicago maid who lives with her extended Russian family and spends most of her days scrubbing toilets. Suddenly, she discovers she’s the rightful heir to an intergalactic empire. Like Anne Hathaway in “The Princess Diaries,” she’s skeptical at first. But hunky, chivalrous Caine (Channing Tatum), a wolverine space warrior wearing hover boots, literally sweeps her off her feet, soaring above the Loop to escape evil forces that are in hot pursuit. Read on…

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TALES OF THE GRIM SLEEPER – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

talesgrimsleeperposter

If the serial killer known as the Grim Sleeper had been haunting upscale neighborhoods of Los Angeles such as Coldwater Canyon or Silver Lake for a quarter of a century, it’s a safe bet we’d have heard about him before now. He’d be infamous, like San Francisco’s Zodiac Killer. But the Grim Sleeper — so called for the apparent break he took in his killing spree, though now it seems he may have just gotten better at hiding the bodies during the “lull” — stalked South Central, where poor black people live. So it wasn’t news. Read more>>

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BLACK OR WHITE — Review by Susan Granger

Writer/director Mike Binder delves into his own family history for this timely dramedy, starring Kevin Costner as a grieving widower who must fight to retain custody of the beloved bi-racial granddaughter. Still stunned over the death of his wife Carol (Jennifer Ehle) in an automobile accident, Scotch-swilling attorney Elliot Anderson (Costner) is, nevertheless, determined to continue to raise seven year-old Eloise (Jillian Estell) in Brentwood, the affluent Los Angeles suburb where she’s lived all her life. Read on…

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AWFJ Movie of the Week, Feb. 2-8: JUPITER ASCENDING

jupiterascendingposter160Opening Jan. 30, the AWFJ Movie of the Week is Jupiter Ascending, the latest offering from writer-director siblings Andy and Lana Wachowski. For their hotly anticipated new film, the Matrix filmmakers stay loyal to the genre in which they made their name with a future-set sci-fi drama that is shaping up to be one of the cinematic experiences of the year.

The brilliant Mila Kunis stars as titular hero Jupiter Jones who, despite being born under signs that depicted future greatness, has had nothing but bad luck. When Caine (Channing Tatum), a genetically engineered hunter, arrives on Earth to find her, Jupiter realizes she does indeed face a great destiny; one that could have a huge effect on the entire cosmos. Read on…

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ALIEN OUTPOST – Review by Elizabeth Whittemore

alienoutpost37The notion that we are not alone in the world is one I thrive on, as a total nerd. Now if I were actually faced with E.T (and not Spielberg‘s cute, wrinkly guy) I would most likely run screaming in the opposite direction no matter how much I know X-Files has prepared me for a close encounter. In the new IFC Midnight action/sci-fi ALIEN OUTPOST only the brave survive, if they’re lucky. The pace of the film is slow and steady, and it’s consistently eerie in that you’re constantly aware that something is not quite right. I had no idea what was coming next, which is rare these days. Read more>>

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MOMMY — Review by Susan Granger

Xavier Dolan is an incredibly talented 25 year-old French-Canadian filmmaker, who seems obsessed with the Oedipal mother/son relationship. His first film, the semi-autobiographical “I Killed My Mother,” made when he was 19, explored the betrayal he felt when his exasperated mother sent him off to boarding school. In this thematic sequel, he examines the maternal bond from a different perspective. Read on…

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THE DEVIL’S VIOLINIST – Review by Marina Antunes

devils violinist poster160The Devil’s Violinist isn’t so much a biography as it is a drama about Niccolò Paganini, a musician who we know for a fact was a talented violinist and composer, a man who lived a lavish lifestyle and who was rumoured to be associated with the devil. Writer/director Bernard Rose takes a very short list of facts and weaves a story of mystery, intrigue and of a tortured artist who sells his soul to the devil, enjoys everything the world has to offer – from women to drugs – and eventually suffers for it. Read more>>

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Dear Academy: Narrow The Best Picture Field Back to Five – Rebecca Pahle comments

oscar statuettes cropped“I really don’t give a shit about the Oscars at all!” I tell myself as I write my third Oscar-related post in a little over a week. But this post is important, Academy. I have figured out a way to fix the Oscars. Aside from “let the Muppets host it” and “let Prince present every award” and “ban Harvey Weinstein.” Read more>>

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STRANGE MAGIC – Review by Susan Granger

Supposedly inspired by Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” George Lucas’s animated story, filled with fairies, elves and goblins, is grotesquely weird. Read on…

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Unconscious Bias and Hollywood’s Arrested Development – Dr. Martha M. Lauzen comments (Exclusive)

Martha Lauzen

Martha Lauzen

As this year’s Oscar nominations attest, the film industry continues to suffer from an acute case of arrested development when it comes to gender diversity. The lack of women nominees as directors, cinematographers, and writers is a symptom of wider biases operating in the business. Read on…

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