‘News of the World’: Hanks and his young co-star deliver a soulful western

“News of the World” – Three years ago, Tom Hanks starred as a newsman, and one of the 20th century’s most prominent, “The Washington Post” Executive Editor Ben Bradlee in “The Post”, a film about the publication’s attempt to publish the Pentagon Papers. In “News of the World”, Hanks plays another character tied to the Fourth Estate, although he’s worlds – and a century – apart from Mr. Bradlee. As the movie opens, Civil War veteran Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd (Hanks) greets an eager Wichita Falls, Texas audience in 1870 by…

Movie of the Week: ‘Wild Tales’

Our AHFW crew hasn’t traveled – like most folks – in months, but we’re happily (and virtually) trekking to Argentina for a modern-day classic….and our Movie of the Week! “Wild Tales” (2014) – Wild is the definitive word when describing this wonderfully sadistic, sarcastic, and hilarious ride into six devilish tales of revenge from the mind of writer/director Damian Szifron.  Each story opens without fanfare or opening titles, jumps right into the daily lives of ordinary people, throws them life-changing curve balls, and lets the chips fall where they may. …

In some ways, ‘Greenland’ is a surprising disaster flick, but it’s also a dull, predictable trip

“Greenland” – After discovering “Greenland” on your Video On Demand Rolodex, you might assume that the 1-hour 59-minute film is a new Disneynature documentary about the planet’s largest island.  (Greenland is over 800,000 square miles and about nine times bigger than the United Kingdom.) Perhaps, this movie is a Werner Herzog doc, but that’s not right because it would’ve been named “Greenland: The Perils and Wonders of a Massive Ice Sheet and Rectifying any Confusion or Conflation with Iceland”. No, “Greenland” is a feature, and director Ric Roman Waugh’s picture…

Movie of the Week: ‘The Concert’

Do you miss concerts?  Yea, we do too, but with a COVID-19 vaccine around the corner, perhaps your favorite musical acts will soon arrive at a venue near you!   In the meantime, here’s one of our favorites from 2009, “The Concert”, a stand-up-and-cheer crowd pleaser! “The Concert” (2009) – Sometimes, life presents opportunities for second chances, and director Radu Mihaileanu’s offbeat story features a most worthy one.  In “The Concert”, Andrey Filipov (Aleksey Guskov) has been looking for a second chance for 30 years.  Andrey currently works as a janitor…

‘Wild Mountain Thyme’: This beautiful-looking rom-com doesn’t pass the smell test

“Wild Mountain Thyme” – This tale of two families – the Reillys and the Muldoons – might be the most Irish film released in 2020 or any year in recent memory.  Gorgeous, sweeping shots of Kelly green prairies and rolling hills, crystal blue streams, winding country roads, a wandering sheep herd, and a horse or two grace the screen with proud bravado.  Accompanied by a lovely score – heavily influenced by the nation’s traditional music (the The Chieftains, perhaps?) – this welcoming Emerald Isle setting needs a few random shots…

‘Half Brothers’: This road movie has fun sibling rivalry, but we’ve seen this vehicle before

“Half Brothers” – Renato (Luis Gerardo Mendez) meets his half-brother Asher (Connor Del Rio) for the first time in Chicago, but most unexpectedly.   Renato flies to The Windy City from Mexico because his estranged father (Juan Pablo Espinosa) is nearing the end.  Flavio (Espinosa) wishes to see his son one last time before he passes. You see, 26 years ago, Flavio left San Miguel de Allende, Mexico to look for work in the U.S.  He hasn’t seen his son during all this time, so naturally, Renato carries plenty of resentment,…

‘Sound of Metal’ resonates with Ahmed’s Oscar-worthy performance

“Sound of Metal” – Director/writer Darius Marder’s feature film debut lands like a gut punch, a barrage of them.  One particular body blow confronts us very early in the first act, and for the remainder of the emotional, 15-round/two-hour runtime – led by Riz Ahmed’s Oscar-worthy performance – the audience tries to recover. Well, “Sound of Metal” doesn’t feature actual fisticuffs, but Ruben (Ahmed) fights through and for something that he lost. His hearing. Marder offers an immediate introduction to Ruben and his girlfriend Lou (Olivia Cooke) from the film’s…

Movie of the Week: ‘Queen to Play’

Netflix’s “The “Queen’s Gambit” (2020) is garnering all kinds of great press, and even though AHFW hasn’t moved quickly enough to see the new series, our Movie of the Week certainly is related. “Queen to Play” (2009) – While enjoying creature comforts and resting on our laurels have their benefits, it’s also important – in the game of life – to step outside one’s comfort zone every once in a while.  In writer/director Caroline Bottaro’s charming French import, she tells the story of late-30/early-40-something housekeeper, Helene (Sandrine Bonnaire), who tries…

‘The Croods: A New Age’ has more yabba dabba doos than yabba dabba don’ts

“The Croods:  A New Age” – “Tomorrow!  Tomorrow!  I love ya, tomorrow!  You’re always a day away!” Moms with adolescents running around their humble abodes have probably felt that their teenagers never follow the rules.  By comparison, Guy (Ryan Reynolds) is a model young man! You see, while sinking in the tarpits to their apparent demise, Guy’s parents told their son to find Tomorrow, a paradise of sorts or their version of Eden, and he respects his folks’ wish. Wait, tarpits? This animated film – “The Croods: A New Age”…

It’s best to sail away from ‘Come Away’

“Come Away” –  “They said, ‘Come sail away.  Come sail away.  Come sail away with me.’” – Styx, “Come Sail Away” (1977) Director Brenda Chapman (“Brave” (2012), “The Prince of Egypt” (1998)) helms “Come Away”, a Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland origin story, so magic and wonder should sit at the very top of this live-action, PG-rated tale.  Peter and Alice Littleton (Jordan A. Nash and Keira Chansa) are the featured children, and a grown-up Alice (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) narrates their story to her kids and looks back to a…