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…

Movie of the Week: ‘The Past’

AHFW is an Asghar Farhadi fan, and two of the Iranian director’s movies won the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, “A Separation” (2011) and “The Salesman” (2016).  Critics often shine praise over the two aforementioned pictures (and deservedly so), but his 2013 film “The Past” doesn’t really receive much play.  It should, although the Hollywood Foreign Press nominated it for a Golden Globe, so we give them a big hand for their past recognition. “The Past” (2013) – A beautiful woman looks through a large bay window at Paris’ Charles…

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…

Movie of the Week: ‘Two Days, One Night’

With millions and millions out of work, AHFW looks to Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne’s gripping masterpiece about one woman’s (Marion Cotillard) struggle to keep her job in “Two Days, One Night” (2014). “Two Days, One Night” (2014) – Rightfully nominated for a Best Actress Oscar, Marion Cotillard plays Sandra, a woman in dire emotional and financial stress.  Her employer lets her go (under conflicting circumstances), but she reluctantly fights to keep her job and pleads her case to 16 co-workers over the course of a weekend.  Writers/directors Jean-Pierre and Luc…

Movie of the Week: ‘Waking Ned Devine’

Do you need an escape?  With COVID still disrupting nearly everything these days, why not virtually get away to Ireland?  Tullymore, actually, and you can meet Jackie, Michael and the whole town in “Waking Ned Devine” (1999).  This hilarious and heartwarming comedy is AHFW’s Movie of the Week! “Waking Ned Devine” (1998) –  In the little Irish town of Tullymore (population: 52), someone won the national lottery!  But who?  Jackie (Ian Bannen) did not strike gold, but he hopes that the lucky ticket holder will share some of the winnings…

Movie of the Week: ‘Shadow of the Vampire’

AHFW takes a trippy trip to 2000 and a look back at E. Elias Merhige’s highly memorable “Shadow of the Vampire” starring Willem Dafoe and John Malkovich.  Merhige’s flick is part-drama, part-comedy and part-horror, as it retells director F.W. Murnau’s (Malkovich) making of “Nosferatu” (1922).  The wrinkle is that Murnau personally hires actor Max Schreck (Dafoe) to play Count Orlok, but this unknown thespian displays bizarre behavior and – for some reason – never removes his makeup. Mmm, it makes you think that maybe….. Well, don’t speculate, we recommend that…

Movie of the Week: ‘Toni Erdmann’

AHFW’s Movie of the Week reaches across the pond to Germany and the Oscar-nominated “Toni Erdmann” (2016).  Who is Toni Erdmann?  Well, no character in the movie is officially named Toni Erdmann, but Winfried (Peter Simonischek) – a father desperately seeking attention from his daughter Ines (Sandra Huller) – actually creates an alter-ego with the said moniker. Really?  Yes, and AHFW not only thinks that Huller deserved the 2016 Best Actress Oscar, but director Maren Ade’s picture is one of the very best of the decade! Here’s our full review:…