Movie of the Week: ‘Collateral’

Tom Cruise turned 59 years young on July 3, and AHFW is celebrating with a fantastic Cruise performance in director Michael Mann’s thriller, “Collateral”. “Collateral” (2004) – Mann’s crime story runs all over the vast, sprawling City of Angeles into the wee hours of the evening, but at its narrative’s core, the film pits two men in a taxing confrontation, who sit just a few feet from one another. A cab driver, Max (Jamie Foxx), picks up a real estate executive, Vincent (Tom Cruise), in front of a towering downtown…

Movie of the Week: ‘A Single Man’

“A Single Man” (2009) – Fashion designer Tom Ford steps into the world of cinema and directs and co-writes “A Single Man”, the story of an English professor (Colin Firth) mourning the loss of his partner, Jim (Matthew Goode).  Set in 1962 Los Angeles, Ford, cinematographer Edward Grau, production designer Dan Bishop, and art director Ian Phillips get all the visuals of the period exactly right, as birthday-cake-icing pinks and blues and muted browns regularly pop into the frame.  Meanwhile, George (Firth) is feeling blue and muted.  He can’t shake…

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…

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…

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…