On June 19, ‘They’re Trying to Kill Us’ will live on Tribeca at Home

The 2021 Tribeca Film Festival runs from June 9 through 20, and not only is the prominent movie celebration playing in New York City, but the films can be streamed anywhere in the U.S. through Tribeca at Home. One film, in particular, has a prominent Phoenix, Ariz. connection.   Phoenix Suns’ All-Star point guard Chris Paul – along with pop superstar Billie Eilish – executive produced “They’re Trying to Kill Us”, directed by John Lewis and Keegan Kuhn. This important and timely documentary tries “to find answers to why Americans of…

Movie of the Week: ‘Personal Best’

June is Pride Month, so our Movies of the Week will be LGBTQ-themed.  Let’s start the celebration with a look back at the 1980s, writer/director Robert Towne’s “Personal Best”! “Personal Best” (1982) – A few drops of water fall on the bone-dry earth, and once the camera pulls back, it reveals that a track athlete anxiously anticipates the starter’s gun to fire. With long blonde locks and dressed in tight-fitting polyester athletic wear, Chris Cahill (Mariel Hemingway) is about to race in the hurdles at Hayward Field in Eugene, OR…

‘Spirit Untamed’ is cute, but it’s also a paint-by-numbers ride

Lucky Prescott’s (Isabela Merced) name doesn’t suit her, at least for the first 10-plus years of her life.  Her mom – Milagro Navarro (Elza Gonzalez), a world-class horse rider – dies in a circus accident (within the opening few minutes of this movie).  To make matters worse, instead of her father, Jim Prescott (Jake Gyllenhaal), providing oceans of support, he unilaterally and inexplicably decides that his sister, Cora (Julianne Moore), will care for Lucky.  Cora says to Lucky, “Something broke in your father.” And how!  Jim later explains his actions. …

‘Cruella’: A film to behold rather than enjoy

“Cruella” – Cruella de Vil is one of Disney’s most feared villains, right up there with Maleficent, Ursula, and Scar.  The Hunter in “Bambi” (1942) won’t win any Man of the Year awards, especially from this critic.  “Bambi” was my first movie experience in 1975, and I remember crying my eyes out when the title character’s mom died.  I haven’t watched that film since, so yea, Disney antagonists sometimes leave a mark.  In that case, a permanent one.  Of course, Cruella originates from “One Hundred and One Dalmatians” (1961). She…

‘Those Who Wish Me Dead’ plays it safe and flatlines

“Those Who Wish Me Dead” – Connor Casserly (Finn Little) lives a comfortable, orderly existence in Jacksonville, Fla.  His attentive dad (Jake Weber) and he enjoy a strong relationship and play by the rules at home, school, and work. Connor’s about 11, an age when boys still listen to the fathers.  If need be, this particular kid will follow his pop to the ends of the earth.  In director/co-writer Taylor Sheridan’s “Those Who Wish Me Dead”, he does.  Owen (Weber) and Connor find themselves in grave danger because two assassins…

Movie of the Week: ‘Bringing Up Baby’

Katharine Hepburn was born on May 12 in 1907, 114 years ago, so AHFW wants to feature our favorite Hepburn film as our movie of the week! “Bringing Up Baby” (1938) – Dr. David Huxley (Cary Grant) is trying to use the peak of his powers, as his life is coming into focus.  He works hard at the Stuyvesant Museum of Natural History and looks for one more bone – an intercostal clavicle – to complete a monstrous brontosaurus skeleton.  Just one more!   The good paleontologist just needs to convince philanthropist…

Statham and Ritchie release keen fury in ‘Wrath of Man’

“Wrath of Man” – Meet Patrick Hill (Jason Statham).  He applies for a job at Fortico Security, a private armored car company that transports millions of dollars from casinos, private banks, and department stores to their owners or whoever in greater Los Angeles.  Twelve trucks and one central hub can sometimes circulate up to 150 million dollars on a single day, so Fortico takes precautions with fortifying its facilities, vehicles, and workforce. So, Patrick takes an 8-hour test to ensure that he has the right stuff, including a marksmanship exam,…

Five Bad Movie Moms

Here’s wishing all the moms a Happy Mother’s Day!  Certainly, cinema has offered thousands of examples of altruistic moms over the last 100 years, but not always.  Sometimes, a movie will come along, and you’ll say to yourself, “Oh, I’m glad that horrible woman is not my mother.” Here are five downright scary examples of bad moms over the last five years.  Enjoy?? Blanche Weboy (Lesley Manville), “Let Him Go” (2020) – When Margaret and George Blackledge (Diane Lane and Kevin Costner) travel from Montana to North Dakota to see…

‘The Boy from Medellin’: The J Balvin doc doesn’t hit the right notes

“The Boy from Medellin” – Medellin is the capital city of Colombia’s Antioquia province.  It has a population of just over 2.5 million, and one of its favorite sons filmed his documentary here.  International reggaetón megastar J Balvin makes a triumphant return home to put on a massive show, but then again, “the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” Director Matthew Heineman follows this chart-busting marvel to his hometown for one week leading up to the planned live spectacular, but a set of soccer-stadium-sized stumbling blocks place…

Don’t wait to see ‘Limbo’, an unconventional immigrant story

“Limbo” – Immigrant feature films frequently land in theatres and streaming services for probably a couple of reasons.  These stories are commonplace threads within societies’ fabrics, and the protagonists face built-in conflicts simply by existing in their newfound environments. In the U.S., we rightfully boast about our immigrant roots, and President John F. Kennedy said, “Everywhere, immigrants have enriched and strengthened the fabric of American life.” While the homeland may become enriched, many times, the aforementioned residents do individually struggle to find their way.  Look to “Minari” (2020) and “Brooklyn”…