Richard III (1955)

BBBB (out of 5) Once you get over the silly fake nose and wig that seems to come out of an episode of The Smurfs, you’ll thoroughly enjoy Laurence Olivier‘s full-blooded performance as the title character of Shakespeare’s bloody play. Olivier also directs this excellent production, filmed in gorgeous colour with a fantastic cast that…

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The Cheap Detective

BBB.5 (out of 5) Neil Simon wrote two hilarious spoofs of traditional murder mysteries, and both are equally funny and worth watching. The first, Murder By Death, was a clever takeoff on classic mysteries of the Agatha Christie vein. The Cheap Detective takes on the genre of forties film noir as private eye Peter Falk…

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Murder By Death

BBBB (out of 5) This film and The Cheap Detective make for a terrific pair of mystery spoofs, both filled with hilarious situations and spot-on imitations of the genres they are parodying. In this one, Agatha Christie’s style of murder mysteries are the target, with crazy old Truman Capote inviting a host of famous sleuths to…

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Swann

BB (out of 5) Dull adaptation of the novel by Carol Shields. Miranda Richardson plays a famous novelist who has decided to write a book about Saskatchewan poet Mary Swann, a woman who scribbled bits of verse down in her notebook on a regular basis before her husband murdered her and then shot himself. Swann’s memory…

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Nostalgia For The Light

BBBB (out of 5) Original title:  Nostalgia De La Luz Deep in the deserts of Chile is an astronomical observatory where scientists peer into the sky and search for the truth about the universe and its past. On a much closer scale, the desert is being scoured by a group of people, mostly women, many of…

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Judas Kiss (1998)

BBB.5 (out of 5) Adorable Jim Thompson-esque gangster film features excellent characters actors and fun twisted plot. Carla Gugino and Simon Baker take a prominent political figure’s lover (Greg Wise) for ransom, but when a shooting occurs during the kidnapping it makes the whole deal a little hairier than expected. Now the players in this game have…

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Poniente

CHUS GUTIERREZ Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBB.   A divorcee (Cuca Escribano) moves from Madrid to her tiny hometown in the west of Spain with her little daughter when she is called to her father’s funeral. Upon arrival there, she learns that she has inherited his tomato-growing business and sees it as an opportunity to make…

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Cats And Dogs

B (out of 5) Bad special effects and poor editing mar what could have been a charming family for all ages in this insipid comedy. It’s the old cat vs. dog war gone high-tech when a Beagle puppy (voiced by Tobey Maguire) accidentally takes a Doberman Pinscher spy’s job as a pet for a doctor…

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Were The World Mine

BBB.5 (out of 5) A lonely gay teenager at an all-boys’ prep school is encouraged by his enchanting English teacher to audition for their annual theatrical production and lands the role of Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  Art spills into real life when he creates his own magic love potion and sprinkles it on…

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After The Axe

BBB.5 (out of 5) This is an excellent documentary with a hilarious premise: it asks you to spare your deepest sympathy for struggling white-collar executives in the mid-80s recession who find themselves fired from their six-figure jobs. Its main protagonist is actually an actor portraying a giant food company bigwig whose clashes with his colleague…

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Rare Birds

BBBB (out of 5) With his estranged wife (Sheila McCarthy) far away and his business dwindling, William Hurt decides to sell his languishing Newfoundland restaurant until his buddy Andy Jones comes up with a brilliant plan:  why not call into a radio show that caters to bird watchers and pretend to have seen a very rare species…

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Death On The Nile

BBBB (out of 5) Like Murder On The Orient Express before it, this is an energetic and enjoyable adaptation of an Agatha Christie murder mystery. A group of strangers, old aristocrats and young lovers among them, travel on a barge down the famed Egyptian river and are shocked when one of their passengers, a beautiful…

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