Movie of the Week: ‘A Single Man’

“A Single Man” (2009) – Fashion designer Tom Ford steps into the world of cinema and directs and co-writes “A Single Man”, the story of an English professor (Colin Firth) mourning the loss of his partner, Jim (Matthew Goode).  Set in 1962 Los Angeles, Ford, cinematographer Edward Grau, production designer Dan Bishop, and art director Ian Phillips get all the visuals of the period exactly right, as birthday-cake-icing pinks and blues and muted browns regularly pop into the frame.  Meanwhile, George (Firth) is feeling blue and muted.  He can’t shake…

Celebrate age 13 with ‘Luca’, a pleasant Pixar journey

“Luca” – What’s the most challenging age during childhood?  How about age zero?  Sure, you load no responsibility, and your mom, dad, grandmother, a daycare worker, or some other parental unit feed and change you throughout your first year on Planet Earth.  Then again, your folks completely control your daily itinerary.  Walking is a problem, and so is speaking in clear, concise sentences.  Age zero is no picnic, but when looking back, 13 years young probably is – “Survey says” – the #1 answer on “Family Feud”, seven days a…

‘Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go for It’ celebrates and speaks frankly

“Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go for It” –  Rita Moreno loves to dance.  Dance, sing, and act!  At 89 years young, this entertainment legend became a household name on April 9, 1962, when she won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her treasured role as Anita in “West Side Story” (1961).  This 5’ 2” thespian – with probably the shortest speech in Academy Awards’ history – has fashioned a lasting impact on the four traditional pillars of entertainment: movies, television, theatre, and music. However, her career…

Hayek, Jackson, and Reynolds can’t save ‘The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard’

“The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard” – Salma Hayek, Ryan Reynolds, and Samuel L. Jackson are three of the biggest movie stars working today, and hey, all three are big-screen comic book characters, to boot.  Don’t forget that Jackson played a Jedi too. So, after assessing their remarkable acting resumes, let’s all recite this together:  “We’re not worthy!  We’re not worthy!” Well, in 2017, this superhero triad starred in the sophomoric action-comedy “The Hitman’s Bodyguard”, and when a film rakes in 176 million dollars worldwide on a budget of “only” 30 big…

Movie of the Week: ‘The Birdcage’

“The Birdcage” (1996) – Mike Nichols’ remake of “La Cage aux Folles” (1978) is a landmark LGBTQ film in American cinema, although looking back, this hit comedy – which raked in 185 million dollars worldwide – does have a troubling premise.  The mid-90s and 1978 were different times, so the story of a 20-year-old son asking his gay fathers, Armand (Robin Williams) and Albert (Nathan Lane), to act straight for one night to fool his fiancée’s conservative parents – perhaps – seemed like a semi-reasonable request to the American public…

‘In the Heights’ is a satisfying musical that sometimes soars to spectacular highs

“Tell me something I don’t know.” – “No Me Diga” For those who love Broadway musicals (and are deeply familiar with Lin-Manuel Miranda’s work), there’s probably not a whole lot of new information that I can write about in his and Quiara Alegria Hudes’ film adaptation of their Tony award-winning hit “In the Heights” – which won four statues in 2008 – that you don’t already know.   Admittedly, the word of this stage triumph or its transformation to a theatrical release was first-time news to this film critic. I never…

On June 19, ‘They’re Trying to Kill Us’ will live on Tribeca at Home

The 2021 Tribeca Film Festival runs from June 9 through 20, and not only is the prominent movie celebration playing in New York City, but the films can be streamed anywhere in the U.S. through Tribeca at Home. One film, in particular, has a prominent Phoenix, Ariz. connection.   Phoenix Suns’ All-Star point guard Chris Paul – along with pop superstar Billie Eilish – executive produced “They’re Trying to Kill Us”, directed by John Lewis and Keegan Kuhn. This important and timely documentary tries “to find answers to why Americans of…

‘Loki’ (S1E1-E2) offers wonder and glorious purpose

“Loki S1 E1 & 2” (2021) – The “Dr. Strange” (2016) feature is an obvious origin story about the title character.  Still, the movie revolves around the Eye of Agamotto and the Time Stone which this critic usually refers to as the Green One. Well, the Disney+ series “Loki” series revolves, orbits, and embraces time, and there’s also a quick nod to the Green Guy (a.k.a. The Hulk).  During “Avengers: Endgame” (2019), Loki (Tom Hiddleston) found a lucky happenstance when the other Avengers force The Hulk to take the Stark…

2021 Tribeca Film Festival: 10 Movies that We Will Stream

The Tribeca Film Festival has been a New York City staple since 2002, and the 2021 festival is – indeed – set in-person in The Big Apple, but online as well from June 9 – 20! The online program is called Tribeca at Home.  AHFW is not flying to NYC for the event, but we will enjoy the festival from home!  Tribeca at Home offers four ways to see their films (and note that streaming is NOT available outside the United States): Shorts Pass – $25 for access to the…

Movie of the Week: ‘Personal Best’

June is Pride Month, so our Movies of the Week will be LGBTQ-themed.  Let’s start the celebration with a look back at the 1980s, writer/director Robert Towne’s “Personal Best”! “Personal Best” (1982) – A few drops of water fall on the bone-dry earth, and once the camera pulls back, it reveals that a track athlete anxiously anticipates the starter’s gun to fire. With long blonde locks and dressed in tight-fitting polyester athletic wear, Chris Cahill (Mariel Hemingway) is about to race in the hurdles at Hayward Field in Eugene, OR…