AWFJ Movie of the Week, May 4-10: HOT PURSUIT

Opening May 8, the AWFJ Movie of the Week is Hot Pursuit, which teams Reese Witherspoon (Wild, InherentVice) and Sofia Vergara (TV’s Modern Family, Wild Card) as a by-the-book career cop and drug boss widow being pursued across Texas by a menagerie of crooked cops and gun wielding criminals, all out to get their hands on some cash. Read on…

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Michael Sheen on FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD, Female Characters and Female Directors – Jennifer Merin interviews (Exclusive Video)

michael sheen croppedIn Far From The Madding Crowd, Michael Sheen portrays one of three male suitors to the fiercely independent Bathsheba Everdene (Carey Mulligan), and he’s played opposite strong leading female characters in other films, as well. In this exclusive, uncut interview, Sheen talks about the female focus of Far From The Madding Crowd, the need for balance and complexity in women’s roles in movies and a living female icon he’d like to see portrayed on screen. Watch the video…

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‘Madding’ lack of women in business on screen, and behind the camera – Brandy McDonnell comments

farfrommadding13largeI was intrigued by a quote AWFJ’s Jennifer Merin shared that Michael Sheen gave at the press day for Far From The Madding Crowd. In a bit of spot-on insight, Sheen commented that “There are not many films about women who run businesses, not even in contemporary narratives. Unless they’re villains, that is. Bathsheba is unique.” Think about it. Typically, women in charge of on-screen businesses are heavies. It’s more than a little scary and sad a Thomas Hardy novel published in 1874 is the source of this unusual cinematic narrative of a woman owning a business and running it smartly. Read on…

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FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD – Review by Erica Abeel

Far from the Madding Crowd, a new film adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s beloved classic, works its magic on multiple fronts. Helmed by Danish Thomas Vinterberg, it’s one of those escapist movies with a great romantic sweep, set among the lime-green hills of Dorset (which Hardy famously named Wessex). By exalting such old-school values as steadfastness and goodness, it offers the perfect antidote to the prevailing cynicism. Read more…

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FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD, WELCOME TO ME and Other May 1 Openers – Reviews by Jennifer Merin

farfrommadding5In Far from the Madding Crowd, Carey Mulligan is brilliant as Bathsheba Everdene, capturing all the complexities of a character who was in her day as much an icon of feminist independence as Katniss Everdeen is in ours. Director Thomas Vinterberg’s superb take on this classic yet contemporary tale of female empowerment is bolstered by Charlotte Bruus Christensen’s brilliant cinematography, Janet Patterson’s elegant costuming and Claire Simpson’s smart editing. Award-worthy. A must see. Read more…

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PAUL BLART: MALL COP 2 – Review by Susan Granger

Since Kevin James’ “Paul Blart: Mall Cop” (2009) earned $146 million in the US alone, a slapstick sequel seemed inevitable. No longer prowling the New Jersey shopping center, roly-poly, buffoonish Paul Blart (James) is now on patrol at the Wynn Las Vegas & Encore Resort. But he’s suffered some hard times. Read on…

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AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON – Review by Susan Granger

Good News: If you’re looking for POW! BAM! SMASH! cartoonish action, you get your money’s worth. Bad News: Juggling a kaleidoscope of superheroes, as Tony Stark/Iron Man says, “It’s long – Eugene O’Neill long.” You’d better know your “Avengers” franchise history because this new installment begins mid-mission, Read on…

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FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

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The novel it’s based on is a century and a half old, but this new cinematic adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s Far from the Madding Crowd is more modern, more progressive, and even just plain more grownup that half the movies thrown at us in our stodgy convention-bound movie landscape. And it’s not always modern in positive ways! The challenges faced by its female protagonist as she navigates a man’s professional realm and the assholery she encounters as she navigates a woman’s romantic options are barely distinguishable from what women are still putting up with today. Read more>>

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Thomas Vinterberg on FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD, Dogme and Feminism – Jennifer Merin interviews (Exclusive Audio)

vinterbermaddingcrowdIn this exclusive audio interview, Vinterberg chats about FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD and cinematic truth beyond dogme, feminism and the under-acknowledged importance of devotion, and what is today’s madding crowd. To listen to the interview, click here

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AWFJ Movie of the Week, April 27-May 3: AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON

Opening May 1, the AWFJ Movie of the Week is Avengers: Age of Ultron, the latest installment in the box office beating superhero franchise from writer-director Joss Whedon. This time around, Tony Stark’s (Robert Downey Jr.) attempts to reactivate an old peace keeping programm go terribly awry, and the Avengers must re-team to defeat the villainous Ultron (voiced by James Spader) in his nefarious plan to take over the world. Read on…

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