Movie of the Week: ‘Wild Rose’

With the Oscars arriving rather quickly – April 25 – AHFW is looking back at some flat-out glorious films and performances that the Academy missed.   This week, we’ll turn to 2019 and “Wild Rose” (2019).  Jessie Buckley plays Rose-Lynn Harlan, a single, Scottish mom of two, and she has her hands full with raising her kids while trying to reach her dream: making a living as a country singer in Nashville. Well, Buckley delivers a dream performance in “Wild Rose”, AHFW’s movie of the week! “Wild Rose” – “Whosever heard…

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…

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…

Movie of the Week: ‘The Rider’

With writer/director Chloe Zhao winning Golden Globe Best Director and Best Picture honors on Feb. 28, AHFW wanted to feature her heartfelt 2017 feature “The Rider” as our Movie of the Week. “The Rider” (2017) – “Sometimes, dreams aren’t meant to be.” Writer/director Chloe Zhao’s beautiful but heartbreaking picture tenderly embraces this aforementioned resignation in the world of rodeo riding.  Brady Jandreau, a real-life rodeo rider suffered a brain injury on the circuit, and he plays Brady Blackburn, who suffers the same fate.  Brady’s doctors forbid him to get on…

Movie of the Week: ‘Blood Simple’

With Frances McDormand lighting up Hulu and theatres in Chloe Zhao’s heartbreaking take on 21st century America in “Nomadland“, AHFW’s Movie of the Week dials back to the 20th century, 1984 to be exact and Ms. McDormand’s feature film debut “Blood Simple”. “Blood Simple” – The Coen Brothers’ spectacular and sinister noir-offering takes big, bold steps in small-town Texas, a place where everyone knows your name, even if you wish that they didn’t. Well, Abby (Frances McDormand) wishes that she wasn’t married to Marty (Daniel Hedaya) any longer and has an…

Movie of the Week: ‘Election’

Happy Birthday, Alexander Payne!   This uber-talented writer/director turns 60 on Feb. 10, so let’s celebrate the man’s birthday by looking back at one of his very best films:  the sarcastic, cynical, and flat out hilarious dark comedy “Election”. “Election” (1999) – Pick Flick!  Tracy Flick (Reese Witherspoon), a resolute overachiever, relentlessly pushes to be picked/elected as the student government president, but history/civics/current events teacher Mr. McAllister (Matthew Broderick) tries to obstruct her seemingly-destined political culmination. Writer/director Alexander Payne’s wild, stressful ride first appears as a straight-forward, light comedy, but he…

Movie of the Week: ‘Transit’

AHFW’s Movie of the Week:  Writer/director Christian Petzold’s movie is a surreal puzzler that begins two moves ahead of us, and then we play catch-up for most of the 101-minute runtime.  Georg (Franz Rogowski) is on the run.  He’s a German living in Paris, but he needs to quickly flee the city and country.  He’s close to his escape while hiding in Marseille and waiting for his getaway-ship to arrive.  As Georg lingers in this seaside city, one might wonder why the events occur during World War II, when everything…

Movie of the Week: ‘Sweet Country’

AHFW travels all the way Down Under to find its movie of the week…the searing and unforgettable drama “Sweet Country”. “Sweet Country” – Set in 1929 Australia, director Warwick Thornton delivers a deeply affective western – which won TIFF’s 2017 Platform Prize – as it wraps its story in entrenched divides between whites and aborigines.  When Fred Smith (Sam Neill) leaves his ranch for a business trip, his hired hand Sam Kelly (Hamilton Morris) becomes embroiled in a violent incident.  Sam and his wife Lizzie (Natassia Gorey Furber) find themselves…

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…