Ironically, ‘The Glorias’ works too hard

“The Glorias” –  “The path up is always a jagged line, not a straight one.” – Gloria Steinem “Roam if you want to.  Roam around the world.  Roam if you want to, without wings, without wheels.” – The B-52s, “Roam” Most folks probably know feminist icon Gloria Steinem from “Ms.” (magazine) and her trademark glasses, but this influential trailblazer is a whole lot more than her 49-year-old publication and fancy spectacles. There’s only one Gloria Steinem.  That’s true, except in writer/director Julie Taymor’s “The Glorias”, a Steinem biopic with four…

Movie of the Week: ‘Once’

AHFW’s Movie of the Week is a beloved Irish flick that we’ve seen several times!  “Once” (2007), starring Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, is an 86-minute arthouse musical that you might watch twice in one night. “Once” (2007) –  Writer/director John Carney shoots his no-frills musical in dimly-lit rooms and on bustling Dublin sidewalks, while the audience follows a friendship and possible romance between Guy (Glen Hansard) and Girl (Marketa Irglova).  Guy suffers from a broken heart, and he can be often found crying out his songs on Grafton Street…

Movie of the Week: ‘Wadjda’

AHFW’s Movie of the Week is a thoughtful, groundbreaking drama out of Saudi Arabia about Wadjda (Waad Mohammed), a 12-year-old girl and her singular pursuit! “Wadjda” (2012) – In Saudi Arabia, women are not allowed to drive, and apparently, girls are not allowed to ride bikes.  Don’t tell that to Wadjda (Waad Mohammed).  This 12-year-old girl is happy to question – like a preteen-Gloria Steinem – societal laws and rules assigned to women and is determined to own and ride a bike. Writer/director Haifaa Al-Mansour must be determined as well,…

‘The Devil All the Time’ is a well-crafted, exceedingly grim slow burn

“The Devil All the Time” – At the 46-minute mark of director Antonio Campos’ film adaptation of Donald Ray Pollock’s debut 2011 novel, Arvin Russell (Tom Holland) sheepishly smiles when his aunt brings out a cake with a lit candle on his birthday.  As an audience, let’s also celebrate the occasion, because this moment is one of the very few on-screen smiles offered in “The Devil All the Time”, a rough-and-tumble, exceedingly grim step into noir.  It’s a picture that might leave you depressed and reduced to near-zero hope for…

‘Antebellum’ is an effective and challenging thriller

“Antebellum” – On June 30, 2020, Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves signed a law to remove its state flag, a decision that drew vast Magnolia State and U.S. support.  Most of the state’s emblem resembled Serbia and Montenegro’s with large horizontal bars of benign blue, white, and red; however, the top left corner featured a pronounced squared version of the Confederate battle flag.  It has a red background with a blue “X” (or cross) and 13 small white stars.  Most of us have seen this Confederate States of America symbol from…

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…

‘Get Duked!’ offers regal shenanigans

“Get Duked!” – The Duke of Edinburgh Award is an outdoor adventure challenge that takes “young delinquents out of the city and into the countryside.” Misguided teens may be a more appropriate moniker for the program’s target audience, and “Get Duked!” features three perfect candidates.  Outside education teacher Mr. Carlyle (Jonathan Aris) recruits (aka forces) troublemaking teenagers Dean (Rian Gordon), Duncan (Lewis Gribben), and DJ Beatroot (Viraj Juneja) on a trip to the Scottish Highlands for four days and three nights. Hopefully, the classmates can ingest some fresh air and…

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…

‘Chemical Hearts’ has some magic

“Chemical Hearts” – “You’re never more alive than when you’re a teenager.” – Henry Page (Austin Abrams) Raise your hand if you’ve heard a version of Henry’s aforementioned statement during your teenage years.  Parents, teachers, or older brothers or sisters are usually the main prophets to bestow this wisdom, but in this case, Henry is narrating his story, as he looks back on his high school senior year.  Before meeting Grace (Lili Reinhart), Henry never really believed it, though. He never felt it. Nothing emotionally noteworthy rocked Henry’s universe, but…

Here’s an enthusiastic vote for ‘Boys State’

“Boys State” –  “Political parties are likely to become potent engines by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government.” – George Washington, 1796 The aforementioned quote appears at the beginning of “Boys State”, a highly compelling documentary – from directors Amanda McBaine and Jesse Moss – that presents Texas Boys State, an American Legion-promoted event in which over 1,000 teenage boys descend on Austin to engage in a government simulation. Given the…