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…

The Phoenix Critics Circle announces its 2020 Nominations

Phoenix Critics Circle members selected their nominations for the best films and performances of 2020. Leading the way is “Minari” with seven nominations.  “Nomadland” and “Mank” both received five nominations while “One Night in Miami”, and “Promising Young Woman” picked up four each. Final voting is now underway and the winners will be announced on March 18th, 2021. The nominees are… BEST PICTURE • FIRST COW • MINARI • NOMADLAND • ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI • PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN • SOUND OF METAL BEST COMEDY FILM • THE 40-YEAR-OLD VERSION…

Movie of the Week: ‘Cleo from 5 to 7’

March 8 is International Women’s Day, so it’s the perfect time to feature director/trailblazer Agnes Varda and one of her classics.  “Cleo from 5 to 7” is AHFW’s Movie of the Week! “Cleo from 5 to 7” (1962) – Florence (Corinne Marchand) – nicknamed Cleo – is a famous singer around town, and this town happens to be The City of Lights. Paris! Cleo’s tall, striking, and generally attracts double-takes or long looks from men who pass by.  On first blush, she seems to have it all, but she’s awfully…

‘Coming 2 America’ is a more of a nostalgic celebration than a winning comedy

“Coming 2 America” – It’s been 33 years since we last saw Prince Akeem (Eddie Murphy) and his best friend Semmi (Arsenio Hall) travel from The Kingdom of Zamunda to Queens, NY.  Why Queens?  By name alone, it must be the locale where Akeem can find a worthy match for a royal wedding, right? “Coming to America” arrived in theatres in June 1988, and Murphy and Hall’s buddy flick quickly became one of the most memorable comedies of the decade, at least to me, a Gen Xer, who was on…

The narrow, orderly focus trips up ‘Chaos Walking’

Tom Holland is rightfully enjoying massive success in the movie biz these days. Hear!  Hear! Holland, 24, easily fits into the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Spider-man, but he’s not just a red-and-blue superhero.  He’s starred in other big-studio films, like “In the Heart of the Sea” (2015), “The Lost City of Z” (2016), “Onward” (2020), and “The Devil All the Time” (2020). His characters handle themselves just fine when saving humanity or diving into a one-on-one scrap, and his friendly bravado translates into real-life. Holland is a certified star, but no…