The Blue Bird

B (out of 5) The first Soviet-American co-production, meant to outwit the political battles of the Cold War by showing the unifying nature of art; the effort was something of a failure since reports were that there was no peace on the film’s set and, more telling, it did not lead to more projects of…

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The Beguiled (2017)

BB.5 (out of 5) A little girl collecting mushrooms just beyond the grounds of her plantation in Civil War-ravaged Virginia discovers a severely injured Irish mercenary turned Yankee soldier (Colin Farrell) lying in the grass.  The plantation house is actually being used as a girls’ school, run by Nicole Kidman, who oversees the few remaining…

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Older Brother, Younger sister (Ani Imoto)

BBBB (out of 5) Yoshiko Kuga is excellent as a young woman in a remote village who cannot marry her sweetheart because her elder sister (played by megastar Machiko Kyô) has a bad reputation as a loose woman.  Kyo has left home and refuses to give her family her address, which causes her loving sister great…

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My Cousin Rachel (2017)

BBBB (out of 5) Orphaned Sam Claflin was raised by his loving, older cousin (also played by Claflin) who, once his ward has arrived at adulthood, spends his last few years in southern Europe for the good of his health.   Knowing that his guardian took a wife before dying, the younger Claflin is determined to…

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Graduation (Bacalaureat)

BBBB (out of 5) Just before writing her final exams, Eliza is assaulted on the street by an unseen attacker; her father Romeo, a doctor who deals with his estranged marriage from his unhappy wife by trysting with a younger teacher in secret, is devastated by the event and determined that she get whatever she…

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Paris Can Wait

BB.5 (out of 5) Diane Lane has accompanied movie producer husband Alec Baldwin to the Cannes Film Festival and is now about to fly with him to the location of a film he is producing, but her earache is too painful for her to get on a plane.  They were to fly to Paris after…

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Wonder Woman

BBBB (out of 5) On the enchanted island of Themyscira, a race of godlike Amazons train for battle in their female-only paradise, led by an awe-inspiring Connie Nielsen, placed there by Zeus as protectors of the world from the forthcoming return of the malevolent god of war, Ares.  The only child of the island is…

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Their Finest

BBBB.5 (out of 5) Gemma Arterton rules this tribute to the spirit of British filmmaking and the spirit of Britain itself during World War II.  She plays a newspaper copy editor who is advanced to script doctor when the Ministry of Information is looking to bolster the war effort through cinema but needs women to write…

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Miss Sloane

BBBB (out of 5) Political lobbying is a cutthroat business in Washington, a job that involves winning at all costs and Jessica Chastain is proud doing just that with impressive consistency.  When the firm she works for is approached to help defeat a gun bill that would add reasonable restrictions for potential buyers of firearms, she balks at…

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Ill Met By Moonlight

BBB.5 (out of 5) True story of the kidnapping of Germany’s General Kreipe (played here by Marius Goring) by British soldiers stationed on the Greek island of Crete.  Patrick Leigh Fermor, later to become a famed travel writer and played here by Dirk Bogarde, gets the inspired idea to cut into Nazi power on the island by…

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King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

BBB (out of 5) Guy Ritchie’s surprisingly energetic and inventive action film is never light or fun enough to make up for the fact that it is completely unimportant.   After the noble Uther Pendragon (Eric Bana) is betrayed and murdered by his evil brother Vortigem (Jude Law), young Arthur is whisked away to safety and…

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Shark! (Man Eater)

0 (out of 5) Legendary filmmaker Samuel Fuller demanded his name be taken off the credits of this disaster thanks to re-edits by the producers which he (rightfully) said made the film incomprehensible, compounded by his disagreement with their tasteless decision to incorporate the on-set shark-related death of a stunt man into the film’s promotion.  His…

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