THE FITS, HONEYGLUE and ME BEFORE YOU — Reviews by Jennifer Merin

the fits posterAnna Rose Holmer’s The Fits focuses on an inner-city tween (Royalty Hightower) whose community center workout shifts from the boxing to the girls’ dance class. Honeyglue and Me Before You are both unusual and emotionally stirring love stories between odd couples. Thea Sherrock’s Me Before You, adapted from Jojo Moyes’ eponymous novel, is a sweetly uplifting romance in which a bond forms between a receently paralyzed young man (Sam Clafin) and the earnest young woman (Emilia Clarke) who’s hired to take care of him. In Honeyglue, written and directed by James Bird, a young woman (Adriana Mather) with terminal cancer and a free wheeling guy (Zach Villa) who cross dresses fall in love and decide to live their lives together to the fullest until they can’t. Highly recommended. Read my reviews….

read more

TEENAGE MUTANT TURTLES: OUT OF THE SHADOWS — Review by Susan Granger

Filled with Michael Bay’s usual high-octane action, this new 3-D sequel in the blockbuster franchise finds Leonardo (Pete Ploszek), Raphael (Alan Ritchson), Donatello (Jeremy Howard) and Michelangelo (Noel Fisher) battling villainous Shredder (Brian Tee) and his henchwoman Karai (Brittany Ishibashi). When Shredder escapes from a police convoy, he joins forces with mad scientist, Dr. Baxter Stockman (Tyler Perry), and two idiotic ex-cons, Bebop the giant warthog (Gary Anthony Williams) and Rocksteady the rhinoceros (WWE’s Stephen ‘Sheamus’ Farrelly), to open a trans-dimensional portal to another galaxy, where the diabolical, disembodied Commander Krang (voiced by Brad Garrett) plans global domination, utilizing his Death Star-like Technodrome warship. Read on…

read more

Athina Rachel Tsangari on CHEVALIER and Competition — Pam Grady interviews

athina rachel tsangariIt takes a woman — Greek writer-director Athina Rachel Tsangari (“Attenberg”) — to take the measure of men in Chevalier, her absurd comedy set on a luxurious yacht. Six men, apparently thrown together by a blend of business and familial obligations on a spearfishing vacation, drift off the coast of Greece and come up with a game to while away the time. They will determine who is “the best in general,” a competition that pits man against man as they take the measure of absolutely everything, from sporting prowess to sleeping posture, a rivalry that undermines the group’s bonhomie and comes to consume them. “It’s almost like a likability contest. It’s almost like a floating Facebook,” said Tsangari during a visit to the Bay Area, where Chevalier screened at the San Francisco International Film Festival. “Competition is just natural,” Tsangari said. “It’s what we do from kindergarten.” Read more…

read more

LOVE SWEAT AND TEARS, THE GOD CELLS, THE WITNESS, TIME TO CHOOSE and OUT OF PRINT — Reviews by Jennifer Merin

love sweat and tears posterFive compelling documentaries shine the spotlight on important issues: on Dr. Pamela Dee’s mission to remove stigma from menopause and women’s post-menopausal sexuality, on stem cell therapy advocates who say treatment cures a wide variety of ailments ranging from diabetes to palsy, on the New York Times reportage of the 1964 brutal murder of Kitty Genovese claiming that 34 New Yorkers watched the stabbing without doing anything to help, on the rapid deterioration of our planet’s environment and possible ways to forestall it before it’s too late, and on a wonderful Los Angeles art cinema that shows revered revival films in their original 35mm format for a devoted coterie of fans and supporters that includes Hollywood celebs. Important subjects, all. And all are must-sees. Read my reviews….

read more

ME BEFORE YOU — Review by Susan Granger

Have you ever wondered why we like to cry at movies? It’s quite simple: when we’re watching a sad story, our brains cannot differentiate between actual people and the flickering images on the screen. And when we are emotionally engaged, we feel empathy, enlightenment, even empowerment. Since British novelist Jojo Moyes adapted her own best-seller for the screen, this romantic drama, directed by Thea Sharrock, stays remarkably close to the printed page, which tackles the difficult dilemma of euthanasia. That means it’s a real tearjerker. Read on...

read more

AWFJ Movie of the Week, May 30 – June 6: HONEYGLUE

honeyglueposterOpening June 3, AWFJ’s Movie of the Week is Honeyglue, the new film from young writer/director James Bird (Eat Spirit Eat) which sees a young girl face up to terminal illness with life-changing vigour Read on…

read more

THE WEEK IN WOMEN: Summer Blockbusters and Women — Brandy McDonnell reports

It already promised to be a tough summer season for women-led films, with only three of the bevy of planned blockbusters featuring female protagonists. But it got off to an especially stormy start Memorial Day weekend with the uninspiring sequel “Alice Through the Looking Glass.” Read more on The Week In Women

read more

ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS — Review by Susan Granger

Bearing little resemblance to Lewis Carroll’s literary sequel, this live-action fantasy begins in 1874 with Alice Kingsleigh (Mia Wasikowska) as an intrepid sea captain, cleverly evading pirates en route back to London – as though she’d been taught by Capt. Jack Sparrow. Arriving home, Alice must choose between losing the Wonder, her late father’s merchant vessel, or leaving her widowed mother (Lindsay Duncan) homeless. Familial business dealings grow tedious until the familiar blue butterfly, Absolem (voiced by Alan Rickman), leads Alice through a large mirror…a.k.a. Looking Glass. Read on…

read more

PRINCESS, CHEVALIER, UNLOCKING THE CAGE, PRINCESS SHAW and more May 25 openers – Reviews by Jennifer Merin

princessposterWomen in film score big in this week’s theatrical releases, including femme-helmed narrative features in Tali Shalom-Ezer’s shattering Princess and Athina Rachel Tsangari’s satirical Chevalier, plus Chris Hegedus and DA Pennebaker’s compelling animal rights documentary Unlocking the Cage. Also of special interest, the femme-centric documentary profile Presenting Princess Shaw and narrative thriller The Ones Below. Read the reviews of these and other May 25 openers.

read more

THE LOBSTER — Review by Susan Granger

Without doubt, this is one of the most bizarre films I’ve ever seen! Set in the near future in an alternate universe, it’s an existential allegory about the determination within every culture to pair people off. Whether heterosexual or homosexual, conforming means being part of a couple. When his wife leaves him for another man, David (Colin Farrell) has only 45 days to find another partner or face ‘Transformation’ into the animal of his choice. Most people want to be a dog, which is why there are so many of them. But David chooses to be re-embodied as a lobster. Read on…

read more