Seek out ‘The Truffle Hunters’

“The Truffle Hunters” – Have you ever hunted for truffles?  It’s not that difficult.  Over the weekend, I strolled down a Trader Joe’s aisle and reached for a box of 16 Belgian truffles – an assortment of dark, milk, and white chocolates – sitting on an ordinary shelf about five feet off the ground.  The 7.05-ounce package cost about six dollars and was draped in decorative green and white wrapping paper because purchasing and devouring such a delicacy denotes a celebratory event, right?  Finding this particular sugary luxury burned about…

AHFW’s Top 20 Films of 2020: #2 ‘Gunda’

2. “Gunda” –  Have you ever lived on a farm?  Have you ever spent a few hours on one?  Well, director Viktor Kosakovskiy – inspired by his childhood pet piglet – places his camera on a small Norwegian homestead and follows the stories of a mama pig named Gunda, her piglets, nearby cows, and a one-legged chicken in a 93-minute documentary sans dialogue.  Shot in dreamy black and white, Kosakovskiy frames his friendly subjects at exceptionally close range and watches them stroll through their days.  While some carefree moments trigger…

AHFW’s Top 20 Films of 2020: #16 ‘Athlete A’

16. “Athlete A” – Directors Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk’s explosive, distressing documentary clarifies a horror show:  the sexual abuse and its cover-up at USA Gymnastics.  Cohen and Shenk interview “The Indianapolis Star” reporters who broke the story in 2016, as well as the survivors – the former gymnasts – who speak out against their abuser.  Heartbreaking but also empowering, “Athlete A” is a thorough 103-minute record of tenacious investigative journalism and the brave women who found their voices. ⭐⭐⭐ 1/2  out of  ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Image and Trailer credits:  Netflix

‘The Dissident’ sheds light on a pitch-black murder

“The Dissident” – “The Washington Post” journalist Jamal Khashoggi perished in a Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018, and the details of his murder are brutal. Sick. So sick that this critic won’t delve into the ugly specifics.  Well, director Bryan Fogel’s documentary does explain the man’s end in frank, grisly terms, but he thankfully spares his audience from photos or audio recordings.  Fogel makes a similar choice as director Werner Herzog did in “Grizzly Man” (2005), a film about the late Timothy Treadwell and his demise…

Movie of the Week: ‘Searching for Sugar Man’

AHFW’s Movie of the Week isn’t a feature but a documentary, a remarkable one.  We urge you to see “Searching for Sugar Man”! “Searching for Sugar Man” (2012) – Director Malik Bendjelloul’s film about folk singer Sixto Rodriguez won the Best Documentary Oscar in February 2013, and this critic thought “Searching for Sugar Man” was the best film – feature or doc – of 2012.   Who is Sixto Rodriguez?  He made two albums in 1970 and 1971, respectively, but this talented singer-songwriter’s career didn’t take off in the U.S.  It…

‘Time’ is sometimes off, but the punctual, personal messages resonate

“Time” – “If you fall, I will catch you.  I will be waiting, time after time.” – Cyndi Lauper, “Time After Time” Sibil Fox Richardson (a.k.a. Fox Rich) has been waiting for her husband’s return for just over 20 years.  Fox and her high school sweetheart Rob are not legally separated but remain physically apart. The couple is legally separated but in an altogether different way.  You see, in 1999, a Louisiana court sentenced Rob to 60 years in prison for armed robbery, and Fox was not an unknowing party. …

Watch Oscar-winner ‘The Cove’ on Marine Mammal Rescue Day

Hey, Happy Marine Mammal Rescue Day!   Since we are big Ric O’Barry fans, April 27 is an important day. If animal rescue is your thing, or if you are in the mood for a heart-stopping and heartbreaking documentary, then “The Cove” (2009) is a must-see.   Winning the 2010 Best Documentary Oscar, director Louie Psihoyos’ film follows Ric O’Barry – the former “Flipper” trainer – as he travels to Taijii, Japan to chronicle and hopefully stop a brutal, seasonal dolphin slaughter. Psihoyos’ film feels like an espionage movie, as O’Barry and…

‘All the Wild Horses’ wins by a comfortable margin

“All the Wild Horses” – The Kentucky Derby began in 1875, and this 1.25-mile race is dubbed the most exciting two minutes in sports. On the other side of the world, Mongolia hosts an altogether different event.  The Mongol Derby is one thousand kilometers long and runs across the country’s prairies.  The contest takes eight days to complete and is known as the longest and toughest horse race in the world. If the Run for the Roses is an ultra-brisk sprint, then the Mongol Derby is a marathon of the…

‘The Booksellers’ is a celluloid page-turner

“The Booksellers” – According to a 2019 Pew Research Center study, 73 percent of U.S. adults have started at least one book in the past year, but this is down from a 2005 Gallup News Service poll, in which 83 percent did. Why the drop?  Well, one can point to several factors:  longer work hours, shorter attention spans, social media’s rise, instant gratification needs, home streaming services, and the Joe Exotic documentary series.  Actually, Netflix released “Tiger King” in 2020, a year after the 2019 findings, so we can’t blame…

Celebrate Chocolate Cake Day with ‘Kings of Pastry’

Who doesn’t like chocolate cake?  Well, those with allergies, perhaps and those who don’t like chocolate.  Then again, who doesn’t like chocolate? Anyway, Jan. 27 is none other than Chocolate Cake Day, and Art House Film Wire recommends to hit up your local bakery, pick out a humongous slice of chocolate cake, bring it home, and dive into the sugary, buttery goodness while digesting the apropos documentary “Kings of Pastry” (2009). This terrific behind the scenes doc pits several world class bakers and their push to win the coveted Meilleur…