‘The Devil All the Time’ is a well-crafted, exceedingly grim slow burn

“The Devil All the Time” – At the 46-minute mark of director Antonio Campos’ film adaptation of Donald Ray Pollock’s debut 2011 novel, Arvin Russell (Tom Holland) sheepishly smiles when his aunt brings out a cake with a lit candle on his birthday.  As an audience, let’s also celebrate the occasion, because this moment is one of the very few on-screen smiles offered in “The Devil All the Time”, a rough-and-tumble, exceedingly grim step into noir.  It’s a picture that might leave you depressed and reduced to near-zero hope for…

Interview with ‘The Devil All the Time’ director Antonio Campos

Director Antonio Campos (“Christine” (2016)) recruits an all-star cast – including Tom Holland, Robert Pattinson, Sebastian Stan, Mia Wasikowska, Riley Keough, Bill Skarsgard, and Jason Clarke – for his intricate noir picture “The Devil All the Time”.  This story – set in Ohio and West Virginia during the 1940s, 50s, and 60s – is adapted from Donald Ray Pollock’s debut 2011 novel with the same name.  Well, Jeff Mitchell (Phoenix Film Festival, Art House Film Wire) joined other respected names for a terrific group interview with Antonio, and we discussed…

‘Antebellum’ is an effective and challenging thriller

“Antebellum” – On June 30, 2020, Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves signed a law to remove its state flag, a decision that drew vast Magnolia State and U.S. support.  Most of the state’s emblem resembled Serbia and Montenegro’s with large horizontal bars of benign blue, white, and red; however, the top left corner featured a pronounced squared version of the Confederate battle flag.  It has a red background with a blue “X” (or cross) and 13 small white stars.  Most of us have seen this Confederate States of America symbol from…

Movie of the Week: ‘The Great Buck Howard’

John Malkovich is one of AHFW’s favorite actors, even though his characters wouldn’t be our BFFs.  For example, John has played a criminal mastermind (“Con Air” (1997)), Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (“Mary Reilly” (1996)), an assassin (“In the Line of Fire” (1993)), and many other on-screen oddities. In 2008’s “The Great Buck Howard”, however, he plays a decent fellow, a magician of sorts, but he’s not without his quirks.  A lot of them. AHFW’s Movie of the Week is the fun family comedy “The Great Buck Howard”, and we…

‘The Broken Hearts Gallery’: You may or may not buy this breezy, thin rom-com

“The Broken Hearts Gallery” – “Sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows, everything that’s wonderful is what I feel when we’re together.  Brighter than a lucky penny, when you’re near, the rain just disappears, dear, and I feel so fine just to know that you are mine.”  – Lesley Gore, “Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows” Spend five minutes with Lucy Gulliver (Geraldine Viswanathan), and Lesley Gore’s 1963 bubblegum tune might immediately pop into your head.  This 20-something is a lively, witty lass who feels lucky in life!  She lives with her two supportive best…

Movie of the Week: ‘The Past’

AHFW is an Asghar Farhadi fan, and two of the Iranian director’s movies won the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, “A Separation” (2011) and “The Salesman” (2016).  Critics often shine praise over the two aforementioned pictures (and deservedly so), but his 2013 film “The Past” doesn’t really receive much play.  It should, although the Hollywood Foreign Press nominated it for a Golden Globe, so we give them a big hand for their past recognition. “The Past” (2013) – A beautiful woman looks through a large bay window at Paris’ Charles…

Movie of the Week: ‘Babette’s Feast’

This week, AHFW hopped on a plane with a propulsion of 1.21 gigawatts to 19th century Denmark for “Babette’s Feast”, which also won the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar…during the 20th century.  1988 to be exact. “Babette’s Feast” (1987) – Director Gabriel Axel’s picture plays like a tranquil, but otherworldly, fable.  In a tiny, Danish seaside village during the 19th century, overcast skies always loom over this community of gray homes, and the residents match their houses (and the weather) by sporting gray, green and black textiles.  The locals hardly ever…

‘Words on Bathroom Walls’ draws up a compelling and empathetic story

“Words on Bathroom Walls” – Adam (Charlie Plummer) is halfway through his high school senior year, so graduation is close. Whoo-hoo! He should have the world at his feet, but a one-two-punch – emerging from a massive, unpredictable jungle, otherwise known as life – delivers a couple of near-crippling blows. First, his dad – with little warning or on-screen fanfare – leaves Adam and his mom Beth (Molly Parker).  Since Adam is taking the news better than his mother, he finds the space to prepare meals for their suddenly smaller…

Iannucci spins a classic with ‘The Personal History of David Copperfield’

“The Personal History of David Copperfield” – “I hadn’t read ‘David Copperfield’ for a long time.  I reread it about 8 or 9 years ago, and I was struck by how modern it was.  The themes in it are very, very 21st century.  It’s all about status anxiety.”  – Armando Iannucci, January 2020 I’ve read a fair share of classic literature, but sadly, I never picked up “David Copperfield”, Charles Dickens’ novel about an Englishman’s 19th-century chronicle told in the first person.  During my 20th century secondary education, either my…

‘Get Duked!’ offers regal shenanigans

“Get Duked!” – The Duke of Edinburgh Award is an outdoor adventure challenge that takes “young delinquents out of the city and into the countryside.” Misguided teens may be a more appropriate moniker for the program’s target audience, and “Get Duked!” features three perfect candidates.  Outside education teacher Mr. Carlyle (Jonathan Aris) recruits (aka forces) troublemaking teenagers Dean (Rian Gordon), Duncan (Lewis Gribben), and DJ Beatroot (Viraj Juneja) on a trip to the Scottish Highlands for four days and three nights. Hopefully, the classmates can ingest some fresh air and…