AWFJ Movie of the Week, Sept. 22-28: PRIDE

hr_Pride_1 copyOpening Sept. 26, the AWFJ Movie of the Week is Pride, directed by Matthew Warchus and written by Stephen Beresford. Inspired by the true story of what happened when a London-based group of gay and lesbian activists decide to raise money for mineworkers’ families during the union strike in the summer of 1984. Initially rebuffed by the Union, the group identifies a tiny mining village in Wales and sets off to make their donation in person. As the strike drags on, the two groups discover that standing together makes for the strongest union of all. The movie features Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton, Dominic West and Paddy Considine in an uplifting, crowd-pleasing story in the vein of The Full Monty and Billy Elliot. Read on…

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THE MAZE RUNNER – Review by Susan Granger

How many dystopian, young adult survival thrillers will movie-goers support? After “The Hunger Games” and “The Giver,” among others, that’s the question facing this screen adaptation of James Dashner’s post-apocalyptic adventure. Read on…

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September Opening Movies, Part Two – Reviews by Jennifer Merin

fortbliss1Fort Bliss stars Michelle Monaghan as a U.S. Army medic who returns home from deployment in Afghanistan and find it difficult to resume her life as the single mom of a 5-year-old son who’s all but forgotten her while she was away. Just as she succeeds in reestablishing their bond, she’s called to another tour of duty in Afghanistan. , a compelling war drama from writer/director Claudia Myers’s compelling war drama is a heartbreaking look at soldiering from a woman’s perspective. Read more>>

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TIFF 2014 Top Picks – Reviews by Julide Tanriverdi

My personal viewing program at TIFF 2014 included 32 films, and of those, I’ve picked five as my top favorites. Add them to your viewing list as they open in time for the upcoming awqrds season.
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MY OLD LADY – Review by Susan Granger

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At age 75, prolific playwright Israel Horovitz makes his feature film directing debut with this adaptation of his own 2002 play about a thrice-divorced, almost-60 year-old, recovering alcoholic from New York who inherits an apartment in Paris from his late father – from whom he was long estranged. Read on…

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TIFF 2014, An Overview – Julide Tanriverdi Reports

It was that time of the year again. Film lovers came in droves to Toronto to spend the last few sunny days of summer inside theaters. The Toronto International Film – TIFF for short – showed over 350 films. Usually known for their distinguished selection that paves the way to the award season, this year they were a little bit overshadowed by other festivals. Cannes, Venice and Telluride showed many of the highly anticipated films already and very few movies celebrated their world premiere on Canadian soil. Read on…

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THE BOXTROLLS — Review by Kristy Puchko

TheBoxTrollsLaika Entertainment has earned a reputation for crafting captivating handcrafted stop-motion animation with Coraline and ParaNorman. The intense detailing that goes into their films makes them an instant must-see for animation lovers. But it’s their distinctive look and challenging storytelling that capture the imagination of children of all ages. By my count, The Boxtrolls is their most daring and delightful film yet. Read more.>>

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THE BOXTROLLS – Review by Susan Granger

Like “Coraline” and “ParaNorman,” this quirky concept emanates from Laika animation studio in Oregon, where hand-drawn images are meticulously integrated with RP (rapid prototyping) and CG (computer-generated) pictures. Their painstaking stop-motion process consists of filming frame-by-frame (movies use 24 frames per second) while subtly controlling the characters, props, sets, etc. And when using 3D, each frame is manipulated twice. Eventually, the thousands of photographed frames are artfully edited and projected together sequentially, making the characters come to life. Read on…

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THE ZERO THEOREM — Review by Kristy Puchko

TheZeroTheoremThe often underfunded yet always fascinating Terry Gilliam dives back into dystopian drama with The Zero Theorem. Its central story of an outsider fighting against the oppression of a smothering society is one we’ve seen before in Brazil and Twelve Monkeys. But splattered in a vivid color palette and rich with irreverent details that sneer at everything from the Christian faith to our obsession over superheroes, Gilliam’s latest dystopian tale feels fresh and necessary. Read more.>>

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THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU — Review by Kristy Puchko

ThisiswhereILeaveYouA couple of summers ago, there was a novel that at a point made my mother-in-law laugh so hard, we feared she might pass out from lack of oxygen. Naturally, as soon as she recovered, everyone on this family vacation asked to be the next to read this dangerously hilarious book This Is Where I Leave You. Next it was my father-in-law, who guffawed so loud it scared the birds nearby into taking flight. Then it was my turn to discover the moment in its first chapter that led me to laugh so hard I teared up. Unfortunately, the first act button that involved a birthday cake being used as a weapon has been cut from the Jonathan Tropper novel’s movie adaptation. Fortunately, the blend of heartbreaking moments and hilarity that made up the other 351 other pages of This Is Where I Leave You are largely in tact.Read more.>>

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