Movie of the Week: ‘The Rider’

With writer/director Chloe Zhao winning Golden Globe Best Director and Best Picture honors on Feb. 28, AHFW wanted to feature her heartfelt 2017 feature “The Rider” as our Movie of the Week. “The Rider” (2017) – “Sometimes, dreams aren’t meant to be.” Writer/director Chloe Zhao’s beautiful but heartbreaking picture tenderly embraces this aforementioned resignation in the world of rodeo riding.  Brady Jandreau, a real-life rodeo rider suffered a brain injury on the circuit, and he plays Brady Blackburn, who suffers the same fate.  Brady’s doctors forbid him to get on…

Movie of the Week: ‘Blood Simple’

With Frances McDormand lighting up Hulu and theatres in Chloe Zhao’s heartbreaking take on 21st century America in “Nomadland“, AHFW’s Movie of the Week dials back to the 20th century, 1984 to be exact and Ms. McDormand’s feature film debut “Blood Simple”. “Blood Simple” – The Coen Brothers’ spectacular and sinister noir-offering takes big, bold steps in small-town Texas, a place where everyone knows your name, even if you wish that they didn’t. Well, Abby (Frances McDormand) wishes that she wasn’t married to Marty (Daniel Hedaya) any longer and has an…

Movie of the Week: ‘Election’

Happy Birthday, Alexander Payne!   This uber-talented writer/director turns 60 on Feb. 10, so let’s celebrate the man’s birthday by looking back at one of his very best films:  the sarcastic, cynical, and flat out hilarious dark comedy “Election”. “Election” (1999) – Pick Flick!  Tracy Flick (Reese Witherspoon), a resolute overachiever, relentlessly pushes to be picked/elected as the student government president, but history/civics/current events teacher Mr. McAllister (Matthew Broderick) tries to obstruct her seemingly-destined political culmination. Writer/director Alexander Payne’s wild, stressful ride first appears as a straight-forward, light comedy, but he…

Movie of the Week: ‘Transit’

AHFW’s Movie of the Week:  Writer/director Christian Petzold’s movie is a surreal puzzler that begins two moves ahead of us, and then we play catch-up for most of the 101-minute runtime.  Georg (Franz Rogowski) is on the run.  He’s a German living in Paris, but he needs to quickly flee the city and country.  He’s close to his escape while hiding in Marseille and waiting for his getaway-ship to arrive.  As Georg lingers in this seaside city, one might wonder why the events occur during World War II, when everything…

Movie of the Week: ‘Sweet Country’

AHFW travels all the way Down Under to find its movie of the week…the searing and unforgettable drama “Sweet Country”. “Sweet Country” – Set in 1929 Australia, director Warwick Thornton delivers a deeply affective western – which won TIFF’s 2017 Platform Prize – as it wraps its story in entrenched divides between whites and aborigines.  When Fred Smith (Sam Neill) leaves his ranch for a business trip, his hired hand Sam Kelly (Hamilton Morris) becomes embroiled in a violent incident.  Sam and his wife Lizzie (Natassia Gorey Furber) find themselves…

Movie of the Week: ‘Pariah’

Dee Rees’ (“Mudbound” (2017)) engaging feature film debut visits Alike (Adepero Oduye), a straight-A student who fails to communicate with her parents about her sexuality.  This frank drama is one of our favorite films of 2011…and is our movie of the week! “Pariah” (2011) – “Whenever the bird with no feet flew, she found trees with no limbs.” – Audre Lorde.   These words open writer/director Dee Rees’ (“Mudbound” (2017)) insightful picture, and over the course of the 86-minute runtime, Alike (Adepero Oduye) tries to find that elusive footing.  Frustrated, she…

Movie of the Week: ‘Shadowlands’

The legendary Sir Philip Anthony Hopkins turns 83 years young on Dec. 31, so AHFW just has to pick one of his great films as our movie of the week. “Shadowlands” (1993) – Hopkins stars as C.S. Lewis, and the famous writer meets and falls in love with American poet Joy Gresham (Debra Winger), who teaches this professor a thing or two about the affairs of the heart.  Based on a true story, director Richard Attenborough lets his talented actors shine, as Clive and Joy welcome their differences.  He’s eternally…

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…

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…

Movie of the Week: ‘Me and Earl and the Dying Girl’

AHFW looks back to high school, and not our teenage days, but Greg, Earl, and Rachel’s experiences in 2015.  It’s worth the trip, because “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” – and off-beat wonder – is one of the most affecting high school movies in years. “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” (2015) – A self-doubting teen (Thomas Mann) befriends a fellow student stricken with leukemia (Olivia Cooke), and the particularly well-written script provides an equally hilarious and affecting journey about teenagers coping with untimely circumstances.  Director Alfonso…