‘Godzilla vs. Kong’: Ignore the brutal plot mechanics. Stay for the brutality.

“Godzilla vs. Kong” – The world has battled COVID-19 for over a year now, but in March 2021, Legendary Pictures, Warner Bros. Pictures, and Toho offer another fight, a monumental one to distract us from our torturous pandemic-troubles.  On celluloid-paper, “Godzilla vs. Kong” is the most significant cinematic clash since “Alien vs. Predator” (2004), Rocky Balboa vs. Ivan Drago in “Rocky IV” (1985), “Kramer vs. Kramer” (1979), and hey, “King Kong vs. Godzilla” (1963). Well, director Adam Wingard – who helmed the effectively creepy murder-spree horror film “You’re Next” (2011)…

Movie of the Week: ‘Wild Rose’

With the Oscars arriving rather quickly – April 25 – AHFW is looking back at some flat-out glorious films and performances that the Academy missed.   This week, we’ll turn to 2019 and “Wild Rose” (2019).  Jessie Buckley plays Rose-Lynn Harlan, a single, Scottish mom of two, and she has her hands full with raising her kids while trying to reach her dream: making a living as a country singer in Nashville. Well, Buckley delivers a dream performance in “Wild Rose”, AHFW’s movie of the week! “Wild Rose” – “Whosever heard…

AHFW’s Top Five SXSW 2021 Films

The SXSW Film Festival is an annual March tradition in Austin, TX, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced the prominent movie carnival to cancel its planned programs in 2020.  Well, don’t mess with Texas because SXSW was back in 2021 (March 16 – March 20), albeit online. We enrolled in SXSW this year and caught 18 movies, and although we didn’t see nearly everything, here are our five favorites. “Alien on Stage” – A group of enthusiastic – but sometimes apprehensive – Dorset, UK bus drivers and staff wish to put…

‘Nobody’: Suburban dads have a new action hero

“Nobody” – In many households, David Leitch’s name may not ring any bells, but look at his IMDb profile!  He has over 80 stunt credits and more than 20 acting gigs.  Leitch also directed “Atomic Blonde” (2017), “Deadpool 2” (2018), and “Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw” (2019), and he produced all three “John Wick” pictures. The man has lived and breathed action films for 26 years – including performing stunt work for Matt Damon and Brad Pitt – so Leitch knows his craft. Here, he’s a producer on…

Movie of the Week: ‘Wendy and Lucy’

The Film Independent Spirit Awards nominated Kelly Reichardt’s “First Cow” for Best Picture, Director, and Supporting Actor (Orion Lee), so let’s look back at our favorite Reichardt-film, “Wendy and Lucy” (2008). “Wendy and Lucy” (2008) – Wendy (Michelle Williams) – a 20-something hoping for a streak of good luck – is driving to Alaska to look for work, and her dog Lucy is by her side and along for the ride.  They’re taking a no-frills trip, but Wendy hasn’t received many luxuries in life, as we learn through a couple…

‘Minari’ wins the Phoenix Critics Circle’s 2020 Top Prize

The Phoenix Critics Circle proudly announces their 2020 Awards for the best films, performances, and efforts!   “Minari” wins Best Picture, along with Best Foreign Language Film, and Yuh-Jung Youn wins Best Supporting Actress. Chadwick Boseman (“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”) and Carey Mulligan (“Promising Young Woman”) win Best Actor and Actress, respectively, and the rest of the winners are included here.   BEST PICTURE First Cow Minari – Winner Nomadland One Night in Miami Promising Young Woman Sound of Metal   BEST COMEDY FILM The 40-Year-Old Version Another Round Borat Subsequent…

‘The Courier’ delivers an empathetic, personal, and true Cold War spy story

“The Courier” – “So, tell me, what do you need?” – Greville Wynne (Benedict Cumberbatch) Greville is a British businessman, and he spends his days meeting with prospective clients, taking them to lunches, dinners, and golf outings.  He’ll also miss a key putt or two on purpose to help boost his customers’ morale and, in the process, his sales commissions.  He’s middle-aged, out of shape (as described by another character), and happily married with a son. Well, relatively happy.  It’s 1960, and Greville and Sheila (Jessie Buckley) pay their bills,…

SXSW 2021: Five movies that we are excited to see!

ArtHouseFilmWire is going to SXSW 2021, virtually, of course.  Yes, despite COVID-19, this world famous film festival is on from March 16 – 20.  Rather than opening up Austin movie screens, SXSW is opening up its online screening app, so we can all watch features, docs, shorts, and Q&A sessions from home. The festival is not just open to movie critics, industry types, and publicists.  It’s open to the general public as well, and it’s not too late to sign up!   It’s an expensive ticket, and currently $399 for an…

‘Cherry’: This Holland/Russo brothers vehicle takes uninspired turns

“Cherry” – “My one true accomplishment was not dying.” – Cherry (Tom Holland) Cherry, a 21-year-old Iraq War vet, finds himself back in the U.S., and more specifically, a high school gymnasium.  A big band celebrates his and other local heroes’ return with genuine pomp and circumstance, but Cherry wasn’t impressed with his two years of service, so he broke the fourth wall and declared the aforementioned statement. Cherry breaks the fourth wall a lot in directors Anthony and Joe Russo’s adaptation of Nico Walker’s novel, a loosely-based autobiographical book,…

‘The Father’: Hopkins and Colman nurture Oscar-worthy performances in one of the year’s very best films

“The Father” – Anthony (Anthony Hopkins) and Anne (Olivia Colman) are having a rough go of it these days, but their father-daughter stress has been brewing for months or years.  Anthony – an 83-year-old retired engineer – and Anne live in a spacious London flat – with 12-foot ceilings and expensive furniture and accessories in every room – but their lives are anything but comfortable or content.  He has dementia.  In addition to his slips of memory, moments of confusion, and abrupt mood swings, he has just forced – off-camera…