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…

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…

Movie of the Week: ‘The Straight Story’

AHFW’s Movie of the Week is a David Lynch’s film, but not a typical one.  “The Straight Story” (1999) is based on a true tale of an elderly man traveling from Iowa to Wisconsin on a John Deere lawn mower.  No, this movie doesn’t feel like one of Lynch’s projects, but “The Straight Story” rightfully earns high critical praise alongside “Mulholland Drive” (2002) and “Blue Velvet” (1986).  In fact, it’s our favorite Lynch picture! Richard Farnsworth’s performance as Alvin Straight earned him a Best Actor Oscar nomination in a poignant…

Movie of the Week: ‘Burning’

Bong Joon-ho and his landmark film “Parasite” (2019) made Oscar history with his Best Picture Oscar win on Feb. 9, 2020, the first foreign language movie to win the award. South Korea has a long, fruitful history in cinema, and this week, AHFW looks to a brilliant film from Bong’s countryman Lee Chang-dong.  “Burning” (2019) is potent drama that sparks unconventional mysteries. “Burning” (2018)– Director Lee Chang-dong’s picture – which is South Korea’s 2019 Best Foreign Language Film Oscar entry – is about haves and have-nots, belief and uncertainty, clear direction…

Movie of the Week: ‘Two Days, One Night’

With millions and millions out of work, AHFW looks to Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne’s gripping masterpiece about one woman’s (Marion Cotillard) struggle to keep her job in “Two Days, One Night” (2014). “Two Days, One Night” (2014) – Rightfully nominated for a Best Actress Oscar, Marion Cotillard plays Sandra, a woman in dire emotional and financial stress.  Her employer lets her go (under conflicting circumstances), but she reluctantly fights to keep her job and pleads her case to 16 co-workers over the course of a weekend.  Writers/directors Jean-Pierre and Luc…

Movie of the Week: ‘Waking Ned Devine’

Do you need an escape?  With COVID still disrupting nearly everything these days, why not virtually get away to Ireland?  Tullymore, actually, and you can meet Jackie, Michael and the whole town in “Waking Ned Devine” (1999).  This hilarious and heartwarming comedy is AHFW’s Movie of the Week! “Waking Ned Devine” (1998) –  In the little Irish town of Tullymore (population: 52), someone won the national lottery!  But who?  Jackie (Ian Bannen) did not strike gold, but he hopes that the lucky ticket holder will share some of the winnings…

Movie of the Week: ‘Shadow of the Vampire’

AHFW takes a trippy trip to 2000 and a look back at E. Elias Merhige’s highly memorable “Shadow of the Vampire” starring Willem Dafoe and John Malkovich.  Merhige’s flick is part-drama, part-comedy and part-horror, as it retells director F.W. Murnau’s (Malkovich) making of “Nosferatu” (1922).  The wrinkle is that Murnau personally hires actor Max Schreck (Dafoe) to play Count Orlok, but this unknown thespian displays bizarre behavior and – for some reason – never removes his makeup. Mmm, it makes you think that maybe….. Well, don’t speculate, we recommend that…

Movie of the Week: ‘Animal Kingdom’

AHFW’s Movie of the Week inspired a vastly successful television show, sort of like “MASH” (1970) did.  Robert Altman’s comedy classic, however, and “Animal Kingdom” (2010) have very little in common, except blood is spilled in both films…and television shows. “Animal Kingdom” (2010) – The walls of justice close in on a Melbourne (Australia) bank-robbing family within a cloudy, confusing Shakespearean atmosphere.  Led by matriarch Janine Cody (Jacki Weaver), she and her kin decide to fight back with methods that they understand: revenge and betrayal. At the center of the storm…

Movie of the Week: ‘Toni Erdmann’

AHFW’s Movie of the Week reaches across the pond to Germany and the Oscar-nominated “Toni Erdmann” (2016).  Who is Toni Erdmann?  Well, no character in the movie is officially named Toni Erdmann, but Winfried (Peter Simonischek) – a father desperately seeking attention from his daughter Ines (Sandra Huller) – actually creates an alter-ego with the said moniker. Really?  Yes, and AHFW not only thinks that Huller deserved the 2016 Best Actress Oscar, but director Maren Ade’s picture is one of the very best of the decade! Here’s our full review:…