‘Palm Springs’ interview with Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti

“Palm Springs” is a hilarious, wondrous comedy about two strangers meeting at a Palm Springs wedding, but due to a pair of bizarre, out-of-this-world of mishaps, Nyles (Andy Samberg) and Sarah (Cristin Milioti) are stuck with one another and need a miracle to free themselves.  This film gifts more surprises, chuckles, and genuine smiles than a Times Square New Year’s Eve celebration filled with laughing gas.  Samberg and Milioti share boundless chemistry and comedic timing in a film – directed by Max Barbakow and written by Andy Siara – that…

AHFW’s Top 20 Films of 2020: #5 ‘David Byrne’s American Utopia’

5. “David Byrne’s American Utopia” – With a minimalist stage design of hundreds of slender, elegant metal chains hanging from the rafters, 68-years-young David Byrne and 11 talented musicians/singers perform a film version of their successful show at New York City’s Hudson Theatre.  Spike Lee’s clever camerawork captures Byrne and his harmonious compadres – who all don matching gray suits – as they strut, tap, and twirl barefoot to lively, bouncy tracks and ballads from the lead artist’s new album and some absolute classics from yesterdecade, including this critic’s favorite…

AHFW’s Top 20 Films of 2020: #15 ‘I’m Thinking of Ending Things’

15. “I’m Thinking of Ending Things” – Anyone semi-coerced into meeting their boyfriend’s or girlfriend’s parents will painfully relate to Jessie Buckley’s character in director/writer Charlie Kaufman’s uncomfortable feature.  This 20-something (Buckley) is “thinking of ending things” with her relatively-new beau Jake (Jesse Plemons), but she agrees – for some reason – to have dinner with his mom (Toni Collette) and dad (David Thewlis) after a long, sketchy drive in the driving snow.  Jake and his folks don’t offer much comfort at their homestead, as Kaufman introduces idiosyncrasies, fears, and…

AHFW’s Top 20 Films of 2020: #16 ‘Athlete A’

16. “Athlete A” – Directors Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk’s explosive, distressing documentary clarifies a horror show:  the sexual abuse and its cover-up at USA Gymnastics.  Cohen and Shenk interview “The Indianapolis Star” reporters who broke the story in 2016, as well as the survivors – the former gymnasts – who speak out against their abuser.  Heartbreaking but also empowering, “Athlete A” is a thorough 103-minute record of tenacious investigative journalism and the brave women who found their voices. ⭐⭐⭐ 1/2  out of  ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Image and Trailer credits:  Netflix

AHFW’s Top 20 Films of 2020: #17 ‘Minari’

17. “Minari” – Director/writer Lee Isaac Chung helms an autobiographical feature of his childhood – or a small sliver of it – from the 1980s.  Jacob (Steven Yeun) leads his family to the middle of nowhere in Arkansas to start a farm and grow Korean vegetables.  Without much of an economic safety net, he realizes the slim chances of actually lassoing the American dream.  His wife Monica (Yeri Han), her mother, and their two kids feel the monetary friction in a frank, authentic struggle within the home.  “Minari” feels similar…

AHFW’s Top 20 Films of 2020: #18 ‘I’m Your Woman’

18. “I’m Your Woman” – Director Julia Hart’s atmospheric noir lives and breathes in the 1970s, as Rachel Brosnahan helps navigate this cinematic time machine to a seedy Pittsburgh crime world.  Jean (Brosnahan) finds herself on the run, crossing into the unknown without grasping the reasons.  Since she’s managing a baby in tow, Jean is more vulnerable than Bambi on the first day of hunting season.  Her limited options are a microcosm of women’s rationed opportunities during that period, but co-stars Marsha Stephanie Blake and Arinze Kene play hopeful allies. …

AHFW’s Top 20 Films of 2020: #19 ‘The Climb’

19. “The Climb” – Real-life pals Michael Angelo Covino and Kyle Marvin star in a “Sideways” (2004)-like comedy on an indie budget about two loveable losers who wrestle with life in Upstate New York.  Actually, Covino – who directed the picture – had enough cash to film in France as well.  His character – Mike – isn’t very amiable because he regularly sabotages his best buddy Kyle (Marvin), but hey, what are friends for?  “The Climb”, with an awfully witty script and a pitch-perfect supporting cast, proves that friendship is…

AHFW’s Top 20 Films of 2020: #20 ‘Boys State’

AHFW is counting down its Top 20 films of 2020, and last year was so taxing in countless ways, but we were also challenged to narrow down our favorite movies.  After much blood, sweat, and some tears too…here’s the beginning of our Top 20 films! 20. “Boys State” – “You have no time to take it all in. (On the) first day, they throw you into that arena, and it’s like a battle royale. It’s crazy,” Steven Garza says.  Steven is a high school student, one of about 1,000 teens…