AWFJ Movie of the Week, August 29 – September 2: The Light Between Oceans

 

light_between_oceans_posterAs we wave goodbye to a truly wretched slate of summer blockbusters, the season of serious films kicks off with a new cargo of epic stories, sweeping vistas and major actors. One film has every single one of these things – Derek Cianfrance’s adaptation of M.L. Stedman’s debut novel The Light Between Oceans. The film will have its premiere at the Venice Film Festival, before its release on September 2 in the US. Read On…

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SOUTHSIDE WITH YOU — Review by Susan Granger

Aimed specifically at an audience that relishes fictionalized famous romances – Jacqueline Bouvier/John F. Kennedy and Prince Charles/Diana – this was inspired by Barack and Michelle Obama’s first date. It’s summertime, 1989, in Chicago when smart, serious, self-confident Michelle Robinson (Tina Sumpter), a second-year corporate lawyer at Sidley Austin accepts an invitation from Barack (Parker Sawyers), a junior colleague whom she’s mentoring, to attend a meeting at a low-income Southside church regarding a community center. Read on…

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THE INTERVENTION – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

interventionposterThe Intervention is the tale of four couples coming together for a party weekend, and though one is a lesbian couple, that still leaves three men in the mix whose manpain could end up dominating the story, as typically happens. Not here. This is all about the relationship problems of two women — problems they won’t even admit to themselves exist, never mind problems they’re avoiding — even as they plan to try to fix the marriage of a third woman. The wisely observant script — by star Clea DuVall, who also makes her debut as director — is all about that push-and-pull desire to help our friends while also trying to avoid hurting them in the process… Read more>>

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AWFJ Wonder Women Countdown – Characters 22 through 12

To celebrate AWFJ’s tenth anniversary and mark the movie industry’s feminist developments since our inception, we present our Wonder Women Project, a list of cinema’s top 55 female fiction characters, each one a reminder to industry insiders and movie lovers that iconic females in film have had entertainment impact and social influence since the earliest days of cinema.
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This week, our Wonder Women include some high-powered career women who have trouble with their work-life balance, a couple of New Yorkers with unique personal styles and some young women who find themselves facing dangerous enemies with determination in the face of their fears. Please meet our next group of Wonder Women, numbers 22 through 12:

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AWFJ Movie of the Week, August 21 – August 26: Southside With You

southside with you posterSouthside With You is a love song to America’s first couple, Barack and Michelle Obama. In the fall of 1989, long before history anointed them, the pair met as colleagues at a Chicago law firm. Twenty-eight-year-old Barack (Parker Sawyers), Harvard graduate, summer associate, and secret smoker, has eyes for Michelle Robinson (Tika Sumpter), second-year associate, would-be-world changer, serious woman. She is his supervisor. He is her junior. At the outset of their day, Michelle is explicitly clear that this is not a date. And so, it begins. Read on…

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A TALE OF LOVE AND DARKNESS, MAD, IXCANUL, COLLIDE and more August 19 Openers — Reviews by Jennifer Merin

tale of love and darkness posterNatalie Portman’s directorial debut, A Tale of Love and Darkness is a stunning tale of a mother who brightens trying times for her son by telling parable-like stories that counter the hardships surrounding them during turbulent times in Israel. Mad, Robert Putka’s first feature, is a mother-daughter tragicomedy with superb performances by Maryann Plunkett. Jennifer Lafleur and Ellis Cahill. In Ixcanul, a teenage girl in remote Guatemala wants more than a prearranged marriage. Collide is a non-stop action thriller with Sirs Ben Kingsley and Anthony Hopkins as rival bad guys. When Two Worlds Collide is a compelling advocacy documentary about indigenous peoples’ fight to curtail Amazonian deforestation. Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World” is Werner Herzog’s latest documentary essay about human interaction and the evolution of human society in our increasingly computer-dependent and driven universe. Read the reviews>>

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HELL OR HIGH WATER — Review by Susan Granger

Reminiscent of “Unforgiven” and “No Country For Old Men,” this gritty, contemporary Western, set in West Texas, focuses on the Howard brothers, who concoct a plan to wreak revenge on the greedy bank that swindled their dying mother out of her land. Brooding divorced dad Toby (Chris Pine) is determined that his two sons inherit the oil-rich family acreage which is under threat of foreclosure. So he turns to his sociopathic, ex-con brother Tanner (Ben Foster) for help. Read on…

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BLAIR WITCH Sequel — Preview by Liz Whittemore

blair witchThere was one movie responsible for starting the “found footage” phenomenon. Since then we’ve seen films like REC, Quarantine, V/H/S, and the Paranormal Activity franchise explode. Can anything live up the original? In high anticipation, we take a peek at a trailer that promises to be a sequel of scary. Ladies and gentlemen, enjoy a brief view of the new Blair Witch, due for release in September. Read more>>

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BEN HUR — Review by Susan Granger

Why remake “Ben Hur” (1959), the epic sword-and-sandals adventure that set an Oscar record, sweeping 11 out of the 12 categories in which it was nominated, including Best Picture, Best Director (William Wyler) and Best Actor (Charlton Heston)? This new version, produced by Mark Burnett (TV’s “Survivor,” “The Voice”) and Roma Downey (TV’s “Touched By an Angel”), the husband-and-wife team behind the 10-hour TV miniseries “The Bible,” returns Lew Wallace’s 1880 novel “Ben-Hur: A Tale of Christ” to its devoutly religious roots. Read on…

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ANTHROPOID — Review by Susan Granger

Based on the true story behind two Czechoslovakian operatives’ mission to assassinate S.S. General Reinhard Heydrich, this wannabe WW II thriller should be more suspenseful than it is. In December, 1941, when Czechoslovakian loyalists Josef Gabcik (Cillian Murphy) and Jan Kubis (Jamie Dornan) parachute from London into their Nazi-occupied homeland, they must devise a way to implement “Operation Anthropoid.” Read on…

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