49th Parallel (The Invaders)

BBBBB (out of 5) The first international hit that put the team of Powell and Pressburger on the map.  This is a scintillating adventure film about a group of Nazis who are stranded in Nova Scotia when their U-Boat is sunk off the coast and they are forced to survive in a hostile Canada that…

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A Random Desi Romance (Shuddh Desi Romance)

BB.5 (out of 5) Gayatri is a girl who has known more than her fair share of disappointment in love and now gets paid to attend weddings in order for the hosts to boost the number of celebrants.  At the wedding of Raghu and Tara, she and the entire group of guests watch in horror…

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House Of Sand And Fog

BBBB (out of 5) Following the death of her father, a house cleaner (Jennifer Connelly) is evicted from his house when she ignores her mail for too many months and leaves taxes unpaid. It is immediately bought up at a very cheap price by an Iranian immigrant (Ben Kingsley) who plans on selling it at…

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Winged Migration (Le Peuple Migrateur)

BBBB (out of 5) Filmmaker, actor and producer Jacques Perrin (Microcosmos, Z) spent four years with his film crew tracking the migratory patterns of all manner of species of birds around the world. The result is this breathtaking documentary, one which captures the full beauty of these majestic creatures as they follow their instincts back…

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Facing Windows (La Finestra Di Fronte)

BBBB.5 (out of 5) Another lovely melodrama from Ferzan Ospetek follows the equally affecting Ignorant Fairies.  Giovanna Mezzogiorno is excellent as an overworked wife and mother who works a full-time accounting job at a chicken factory five days a week, while her husband has trouble keeping down a regular job. One day while running a routine…

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7 Faces Of Dr. Lao

BBB (out of 5) Cute family film stars Tony Randall in a multitude of roles that are brought to life through his gifted performance and William Tuttle’s excellent makeup. A quiet, peaceful turn-of-the-century town has its residents awoken to their true passions when a traveling circus show arrives and gives them spectacles as they’ve never seen…

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Penelope

BB.5 (out of 5) Thanks to a curse placed upon her family centuries earlier when an ancestor impregnated and then abandoned a servant girl, young Penelope (Christina Ricci) is born with the face of a pig, including floppy ears and an adorably snouty mouth. Her aristocratic parents (Catherine O’Hara, Richard E. Grant), fearing the worst,…

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Orgazmo

0 (out of 5) Worthless comedy tries to be political satire but actually is only an excuse to show naked breasts. Trey Parker (who also wrote and directed) stars as a young Mormon boy who goes door-to-door in Los Angeles spreading the word of God. One day he comes to the door of a porn…

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Shaft (1971)

BBB (out of 5) The origin of blaxploitation in the seventies was this surprise hit thriller, the first time a notable action movie featured an African-American lead.  Shaft (Richard Roundtree) is a hip and swinging cop with a cool demeanor and a serious talent for the ladies. He finds himself in the middle of some…

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Secret Ballot (Raye Makhfi)

BBBB (out of 5) Slyly humorous film about a female elections agent in Iran who is assigned to collect votes on a remote island. Her gender is against her from the start, but even conquering that hurdle isn’t the last of her difficulties as she tries to get an overworked, underpaid population to care about…

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The Pledge

BB.5 (out of 5) Jack Nicholson plays a retiring police officer whose small town is shocked by the rape and murder of a little girl on the night of his retirement party. Deciding to go in for just one more case, he meets the parents of the victim and vows to her heartbroken mother (Patricia Clarkson)…

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The Triumph Of Love

BBB.5 (out of 5) In this sun-drenched romance adapted from Marivaux’s play, Mira Sorvino plays a princess whose father before her had usurped the throne from the king of the land she now rules. Intending to return her kingdom to its rightful heir (Jay Rodan), she finds the task complicated by the fact that she has…

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