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: ‘Wild Tales’

Our AHFW crew hasn’t traveled – like most folks – in months, but we’re happily (and virtually) trekking to Argentina for a modern-day classic….and our Movie of the Week! “Wild Tales” (2014) – Wild is the definitive word when describing this wonderfully sadistic, sarcastic, and hilarious ride into six devilish tales of revenge from the mind of writer/director Damian Szifron.  Each story opens without fanfare or opening titles, jumps right into the daily lives of ordinary people, throws them life-changing curve balls, and lets the chips fall where they may. …

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: ‘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…

Movie of the Week: ‘Audition’

AHFW’s Movie of the Week is “Audition”, director Takashi Miike’s ghoulish modern classic. “Audition” (1999) – The dating world isn’t easy.  Just ask anyone trying meet their soulmate on Match.com.  Hey, it may work out for a few lucky singles, but more often than not, it’s a minefield. Well, back in 1999, dating apps didn’t exist, and Aoyama (Ryo Ishibashi) – a widower for seven years – cannot seem to meet anyone.  His friend Yoshikawa (Jun Kunimura) suggests that he advertise and hold a fake audition for a movie.  Then, he…

Movie of the Week: ‘The Vanishing’

AHFW continues its October journey into horror with “The Vanishing” (1988), a frightening Dutch/French thriller that inspired a 1993 American remake. “The Vanishing” (1988) – A young, attractive Dutch couple, Rex (Gene Bervoets) and Saskia (Johanna ter Steege), are on holiday and traveling to France.  With a pair of bikes on the roof and plenty of snacks in the back seat, this loving unmarried pair seem to have plenty of bright years ahead of them.  Ah, the future is unknown, but most suddenly and unexpectedly, Saskia vanishes into thin air during…

Movie of the Week: ‘It Follows’

AHFW’s Movie of the Week is another one of our favorite horror films, David Robert Mitchell’s sensational and scary “It Follows”. “It Follows” (2015) – Writer/director David Robert Mitchell creates a horror film masterpiece with a story of a mysterious being who singularly follows an ordinary student through the Detroit suburbs.  Mitchell’s movie offers an obscure late 70s/early 80s vibe with the period’s cars, clothes, and living room decors while accompanying the landscape with a synthesizer-filled soundtrack and hand-wringing sequences reminiscent of 1978’s “Halloween”.  With its unsettling creepiness and a…

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,…

Movie of the Week: ‘The Great Buck Howard’

John Malkovich is one of AHFW’s favorite actors, even though his characters wouldn’t be our BFFs.  For example, John has played a criminal mastermind (“Con Air” (1997)), Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (“Mary Reilly” (1996)), an assassin (“In the Line of Fire” (1993)), and many other on-screen oddities. In 2008’s “The Great Buck Howard”, however, he plays a decent fellow, a magician of sorts, but he’s not without his quirks.  A lot of them. AHFW’s Movie of the Week is the fun family comedy “The Great Buck Howard”, and we…