‘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…

Celebrate International Cat Day with ‘Kedi’

Cat owners are joyfully devoted to their four-legged companions, and their felines love them back, sometimes showing affection in their “own way”, on their own terms, of course.  ArtHouseFilmWire celebrates our pets 365 days a year, and let’s take a moment to recognize that August 8th is International Cat Day! So, why not watch a cat-movie?  We recommend the 2016 documentary “Kedi”! Set in Istanbul, director Ceyda Torun interviews residents from all walks of life who help care for the city’s huge stray cat population.   Each person lovingly describes their…

‘Maiden’ is a must-see voyage

“Maiden” – Some people reach for the stars.  Tracy Edwards reached for the ocean. Growing up in a loving household, Tracy’s sunny trajectory in the UK took a sharp and painful detour, and before one could say “troublemaker”, high school administrators suspended her 26 times.  This frustrated teenager left home, and her unlikely, winding path led her to, of all things, sailing.  In approximately eight years – and fueled by a motivated, adventurous spirit – Tracy hired a crew and captained a yacht in the 1989 Whitbread Round the World…

Hospital Ward ‘5B’ is a heartbreaking and inspirational destination

“5B” – “I was ready, but I was scared.” – Alison Moed Paolercio, Ward 5B nurse manager In 1981, the AIDS crisis frightened the nation.  San Francisco and other U.S. metropolitan centers became ground zero, and this mysterious disease – born from unknown causes – was horribly labeled Gay Cancer. Out of nowhere, young gay men developed ghastly skin lesions, as the disease pulverized their immune system into dust.  Soon after – sometimes within a month – their bodies followed suit. How is AIDS contracted?  How is it spread?  Soon,…