‘The Last Letter from Your Lover’ looks gorgeous, but we’ve ‘read’ this story before

“The Last Letter from Your Lover” (2021) –  Director Augustine Frizzell’s film – based on Jojo Moyes’ 2008 novel with the same name – is an old-fashioned romance.  Well, half of it is.  “The Last Letter from Your Lover” is rooted in present-day London, but it flashes back 56 years to 1965 to the same city, when men sported suits and ties to step out of their houses to run random 10-minute errands, and women strived to look like Jackie Kennedy or Marlo Thomas.  Perhaps not Ms. Thomas, because “That…

‘Joe Bell’: The messages ring, but the narrative structure does not

“Joe Bell” (2021) – “I’ve decided to walk across America.” – Joe Bell (Mark Wahlberg) In director Reinaldo Marcus Green’s “Joe Bell”, Joe – a working-class family man – drops his responsibilities at home and embarks on a trek from La Grande, Ore. to New York City.  Jadin (Reid Miller), his eldest son, joins his dad, and this two-person reverse Lewis & Clark journey feels entirely apropos.  Joe delivers an anti-bullying message to anyone who will listen, in response to Jadin receiving repeated torments because of his sexual orientation, both…

The avant-garde, L.A.-based ‘Summertime’ speaks universal truths

“Summertime” – “Los Angeles is a large city-like area surrounding The Beverly Hills Hotel.” – Fran Lebowitz “Don’t forget you’re young on a hot summer night.” – “Hot in the City” (1982) by Billy Idol In director Carlos Lopez Estrada’s (“Blindspotting” (2018), “Raya and the Last Dragon” (2021)) feature, he thinks way out of the box and – in some respects – bypasses traditional filmmaking.  “Summertime” is part poetry slam, part performance art, but all Los Angeles.  Check that.  This 84-minute on-screen presentation is all young people living in the…

‘Summer of Soul’: Celebrate a 20th-century landmark event with this 21st-century cinematic treasure

“Summer of Soul” – The Summer of 1969.  What’s the first image that comes to mind?  The Apollo 11 Moon landing or Woodstock (or the Woodstock Rock Festival) might be # 1 for most Americans.    For the Gen X crowd, Bryan Adams’ 1985 single “Summer of ‘69” could round out the Top 3. After watching director Questlove’s enormously entertaining and informative documentary “Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)” – the best film I’ve seen this year and the best doc since “Searching for Sugar…

‘I Carry You with Me’ thoughtfully and uniquely conveys a personal immigrant story

“I Carry You with Me” – “I had that dream again.  I have it all the time.  It’s so real.  I’m in Mexico, my home.  I’ve returned.” – Ivan For Ivan, traveling back to Mexico can only be a far-out wish that will never – foreseeably – come to fruition.  It’s present-day, and this 40-something is riding the New York City subway, staring out a window, and thinking about his journey that brought him to The Big Apple.  Director/co-writer Heidi Ewing immerses her beautifully crafted and acted “I Carry You…

Movie of the Week: ‘Blue is the Warmest Color’

“Blue is the Warmest Color” (2013) – Adèle Exarchopoulos gives one of the very best performances of 2013 as a French high school student discovering her sexuality and graduating into womanhood through a passionate love affair with an early 20-something collegiate co-ed with blue hair (Lea Seydoux). Director/co-writer Abdellatif Kechiche winds through Adèle (Exarchopoulos) and Emma’s (Seydoux) relationship for three hours of runtime, and intricately captures subtle – and not so fine – nuances which show love as extraordinary and also traumatic.  Whether Adèle eats pasta at the table or…

Celebrate age 13 with ‘Luca’, a pleasant Pixar journey

“Luca” – What’s the most challenging age during childhood?  How about age zero?  Sure, you load no responsibility, and your mom, dad, grandmother, a daycare worker, or some other parental unit feed and change you throughout your first year on Planet Earth.  Then again, your folks completely control your daily itinerary.  Walking is a problem, and so is speaking in clear, concise sentences.  Age zero is no picnic, but when looking back, 13 years young probably is – “Survey says” – the #1 answer on “Family Feud”, seven days a…

‘Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go for It’ celebrates and speaks frankly

“Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go for It” –  Rita Moreno loves to dance.  Dance, sing, and act!  At 89 years young, this entertainment legend became a household name on April 9, 1962, when she won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her treasured role as Anita in “West Side Story” (1961).  This 5’ 2” thespian – with probably the shortest speech in Academy Awards’ history – has fashioned a lasting impact on the four traditional pillars of entertainment: movies, television, theatre, and music. However, her career…

2021 Tribeca Film Festival: 10 Movies that We Will Stream

The Tribeca Film Festival has been a New York City staple since 2002, and the 2021 festival is – indeed – set in-person in The Big Apple, but online as well from June 9 – 20! The online program is called Tribeca at Home.  AHFW is not flying to NYC for the event, but we will enjoy the festival from home!  Tribeca at Home offers four ways to see their films (and note that streaming is NOT available outside the United States): Shorts Pass – $25 for access to the…

Ten movies to see in June 2021

It doesn’t seem possible, but June 2021 is here.  How did that happen?    Well, if you are looking for movies to catch in theatres or at home during the 30 days of June, here are 10 that AHFW is keen on seeing! “An American Werewolf in London” (1981) – June 1 – Amazon Prime – One of the best werewolf movies of the last 50 years, and it’s definitely the funniest.  Who knew that John Landis could make horror movies? “Blue Bayou” (2021) – June 25 – in theatres…