Women in the spotlight at Athena Film Festival

Melissa Silverstein (L) and Kathryn Kolbert attend the

(Credit: Melissa Silverstein, left, and Kathryn Kolbert (Robin Marchant/Getty Images))

Even within the crowded New York film calendar, the Athena Film Festival stands out.

The annual event, the city's only major festival geared toward promoting women in movies, kicks off its fourth edition at Barnard College tonight. Athena opens with a screening of the movie "Belle," about the daughter of Admiral Sir John Lindsay, and runs through Sunday.

Journalist Melissa Silverstein...

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Zoe Kazan chats about playing twins in 'The Pretty One'

Zoe Kazan and Jake Johnson in "The Pretty

(Credit: Zoe Kazan and Jake Johnson in "The Pretty One." (Dada Films))

Zoe Kazan comes from a famous family, sure, but she's adeptly made a name for herself over the course of a still-young career as an actor and a playwright.

"The Pretty One," a movie opening Friday, presents the 30-year-old granddaughter of iconic filmmaker Elia Kazan with a significant challenge. She stars as twins Laurel and Audrey in a serio-comic fable that explores the happenings when...

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Philip Seymour Hoffman: An actor of uncommon subtlety and grace

Joaquin Phoenix, left, and Philip Seymour Hoffman in

(Credit: Joaquin Phoenix, left, and Philip Seymour Hoffman in a scene from "The Master." )

When it's practiced at the highest level, acting is more than a craft or a profession. It's a spiritual pursuit, really, offering a window into our collective soul, a chance to intimately experience the world from a perspective that's not our own.

On stage and on screen, in a remarkable career spanning more than two decades, Philip Seymour Hoffman, who passed away today from an apparent drug...

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Movie review: '12 O'Clock Boys,' 3 stars

Baltimore teen Pug in "12 O'Clock Boys."

(Credit: Oscilloscope Laboratories)

The documentary "12 O'Clock Boys" is centered on the subculture of Baltimore's urban dirt bikers who ride through the streets popping wheelies and pulling other stunts, much to the chagrin of the police.

Lofty Nathan's film is filled with loving images of these cyclists making their way across the city, but the movie's interest really lies elsewhere.

Nathan's real focus is the story...

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Movie review: 'That Awkward Moment,' 1 star

From left: Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan and

(Credit: From left: Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan and Zac Efron (Focus Features/Nicole Rivelli))

The first minutes of a movie are usually a time of great hope and potential. Even if a film arrives enmeshed in bad buzz or with otherwise dubious credentials, there's always the chance of a surprise.

That brief bright moment before the fall into despair never happens in "That Awkward Moment." It's a total cinematic dead zone, deeply troubled from the get-go.

This romantic comedy for...

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Movie review: 'Labor Day,' 1.5 stars

From left: Gattlin Griffith, Josh Brolin and Kate

(Credit: From left: Gattlin Griffith, Josh Brolin and Kate Winslet (Paramount Pictures/Dale Robinette))

Even the great filmmakers have a project or two that history looks back on with an emphatic shrug. "Labor Day," a profoundly silly, weepy movie, seems destined to be director Jason Reitman's "Topaz" (Alfred Hitchcock) or "1941" (Steven Spielberg), an aberration in an otherwise successful and accomplished career.

There's no other way to rationalize Reitman's work writing and directing this...

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Movie review: 'Charlie Victor Romeo' -- 2.5 stars

Sam Zuckerman, left, Noel Dinneen, and Nora Woolley

(Credit: Collective: Unconscious)

"Charlie Victor Romeo" is among the more unlikely cinematic endeavors, a 3-D adaptation of the 1999 play taken nearly verbatim from the cockpit transcripts preceding six plane crashes. It's a fascinating experiment that doesn't quite translate to the big screen.

The film is divided into six chapters that follow the same format: title screens introduce the date and location of the crash at...

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Movie review: 'Stranger by the Lake,' 3 stars

stranger by the lake

(Credit: Christophe Paou, left, and Pierre Deladonchamps in "Stranger by the Lake.")

The worlds of sex and murder collide in “Stranger by the Lake,” a stark, explicit drama set at a lakeside gay cruising ground in France.

The film unfolds over a series of days in circular, existential rhythms, following protagonist Franck (Pierre Deladonchamps) as he falls for Michel (Christophe Paou), despite witnessing the latter murder his previous lover in the lake.

The movie is...

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Movie review: 'Run & Jump,' 2.5 stars

Will Forte and Maxine Peake in "Run &

(Credit: Samson Films)

"Run & Jump" is a sweet and sincere drama that suffers from a classic case of burying the lead.

It's the story of an American psychiatrist named Ted (Will Forte) who travels to Ireland to examine the reintegration into family life of Conor (Edward MacLiam), a 38-year-old husband and father whose personality has been transformed by a severe stroke to the point where he barely...

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Sundance Film Festival: Could these be the next film hits?

"Skeleton Twins"

(Credit: Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader in "The Skeleton Twins")

The Sundance Film Festival has reached its halfway point in Park City, Utah, and previously unknown and unseen independent films have now become household names … in the Wasatch Mountains, at least.

Here, amNewYork spotlights several of the festival premieres that seem to have a better-than-average shot at hitting it big with audiences away from Sundance.

'The Skeleton Twins' This drama...

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