‘Thunder Force’ doesn’t push the cinematic needle

“Thunder Force” – Marvel Studios made 20 feature films that eventually led to directors Anthony and Joe Russo’s beyond-massive two-movie epic, “Avengers: Infinity War” (2018) and “Avengers: Endgame” (2019) with a combined 5 ½ hours of screen time.  The cosmic storyline needed every single one of those 330 minutes because Thanos (Josh Brolin) – the chief antagonist – wiped out half of the universe’s population, and The Avengers attempted to bring trillions of living creatures back from oblivion. Talk about big stakes! Well, “Thunder Force” is a superhero comedy set…

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…

‘French Exit’ loses its way

“French Exit” – Frances Price (Michelle Pfeiffer), a New York socialite, isn’t feeling very sociable these days.  She’s depressed, frustrated, and broke. Well, not completely broke.  Frances sells off her jewelry and art to collect a tidy sum of cash.  It’s not enough to live on, but Frances and her son Malcolm (Lucas Hedges) won’t go hungry next week. Next year?  That’s a different story. You see, her late husband’s estate has become insolvent, and she has nowhere to live.  Frances isn’t the type to ask for help, but her…

‘Godzilla vs. Kong’: Ignore the brutal plot mechanics. Stay for the brutality.

“Godzilla vs. Kong” – The world has battled COVID-19 for over a year now, but in March 2021, Legendary Pictures, Warner Bros. Pictures, and Toho offer another fight, a monumental one to distract us from our torturous pandemic-troubles.  On celluloid-paper, “Godzilla vs. Kong” is the most significant cinematic clash since “Alien vs. Predator” (2004), Rocky Balboa vs. Ivan Drago in “Rocky IV” (1985), “Kramer vs. Kramer” (1979), and hey, “King Kong vs. Godzilla” (1963). Well, director Adam Wingard – who helmed the effectively creepy murder-spree horror film “You’re Next” (2011)…

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…

‘Nobody’: Suburban dads have a new action hero

“Nobody” – In many households, David Leitch’s name may not ring any bells, but look at his IMDb profile!  He has over 80 stunt credits and more than 20 acting gigs.  Leitch also directed “Atomic Blonde” (2017), “Deadpool 2” (2018), and “Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw” (2019), and he produced all three “John Wick” pictures. The man has lived and breathed action films for 26 years – including performing stunt work for Matt Damon and Brad Pitt – so Leitch knows his craft. Here, he’s a producer on…

‘The Courier’ delivers an empathetic, personal, and true Cold War spy story

“The Courier” – “So, tell me, what do you need?” – Greville Wynne (Benedict Cumberbatch) Greville is a British businessman, and he spends his days meeting with prospective clients, taking them to lunches, dinners, and golf outings.  He’ll also miss a key putt or two on purpose to help boost his customers’ morale and, in the process, his sales commissions.  He’s middle-aged, out of shape (as described by another character), and happily married with a son. Well, relatively happy.  It’s 1960, and Greville and Sheila (Jessie Buckley) pay their bills,…

‘Cherry’: This Holland/Russo brothers vehicle takes uninspired turns

“Cherry” – “My one true accomplishment was not dying.” – Cherry (Tom Holland) Cherry, a 21-year-old Iraq War vet, finds himself back in the U.S., and more specifically, a high school gymnasium.  A big band celebrates his and other local heroes’ return with genuine pomp and circumstance, but Cherry wasn’t impressed with his two years of service, so he broke the fourth wall and declared the aforementioned statement. Cherry breaks the fourth wall a lot in directors Anthony and Joe Russo’s adaptation of Nico Walker’s novel, a loosely-based autobiographical book,…

‘The Father’: Hopkins and Colman nurture Oscar-worthy performances in one of the year’s very best films

“The Father” – Anthony (Anthony Hopkins) and Anne (Olivia Colman) are having a rough go of it these days, but their father-daughter stress has been brewing for months or years.  Anthony – an 83-year-old retired engineer – and Anne live in a spacious London flat – with 12-foot ceilings and expensive furniture and accessories in every room – but their lives are anything but comfortable or content.  He has dementia.  In addition to his slips of memory, moments of confusion, and abrupt mood swings, he has just forced – off-camera…

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…