Marlene

BBBB (out of 5) The life, career, myth and mystery of the great Marlene Dietrich are examined in this cinematic fan letter by Oscar-winning actor Maximilian Schell.  Schell puts together a vortex trip through the early years of Dietrich’s life before showing us the many iconic images that made her such a subject of fascination for…

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The River (1984)

BBBB (out of 5) The life of a rural family and their trials and tribulations are captured in this wonderful film that rises above soap opera trappings through steady performances and great direction. Sissy Spacek and Mel Gibson are trying to raise their family on their farm, but natural disasters and unpredictable circumstances cause them hardships and…

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The Pope Of Greenwich Village

BBB.5 (out of 5) Great character study whose shoddy plotting and weak direction is overcome by two sterling performances. Mickey Rourke and Eric Roberts are terrific as New York City tough guys who desperately want to be worthy of a Martin Scorsese gangster epic but can only manage to barely make an impression on their…

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Ghostbusters (Ghost Busters)

BBBB (out of 5) After three scientists (Bill Murray, who is terrific, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis) investigating supernatural phenomena are fired from their university and have their grants taken away, they set up shop in an old fire hall and sell themselves as ‘ghost busters’. New York City, as it turns out, is a giant…

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The Muppets Take Manhattan

BBBB (out of 5) The Muppets are back, and this adventure is just as delightful as the previous ones. The cute and adorable puppet-marionettes have decided to stage their own Broadway show, and so head off to New York with dreams of making it on the Great White Way. When they get there, they must…

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El Norte

BBBB (out of 5) Brother and sister Enrique and Rosa must flee Guatemala after their father is killed for taking part in anti-capitalist politics and their mother is hauled off to jail. They make it to Mexico before a harrowing journey takes them northward to California, where they find what they consider to be freedom:…

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Purple Rain

BB.5 (out of 5) Prince makes his big screen debut in this poorly scripted fable about a rock musician who longs to become famous. Working at a popular nightclub, The Kid (Prince) plays his kickass tunes to thunderous applause but can’t manage to win the same respect in his personal life. His new girlfriend (Apollonia…

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2010 (1984)

PETER HYAMS Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB.  USA, 1984.  Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.  Screenplay by Peter Hyams, based on the novel by Arthur C. Clarke.  Cinematography by Peter Hyams.  Produced by Peter Hyams.  Music by David Shire.  Production Design by Albert Brenner.  Costume Design by Patricia Norris.  Film Editing by Mia Goldman, James Mitchell.  Academy Awards 1984.   Superb sequel to Stanley Kubrick’s milestone classic, but if you’re expecting…

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A Passage To India

BBBB.5 (out of 5) The failure of Ryan’s Daughter in 1970 was so hard on director David Lean that it took fourteen years for him to produce another film. The result was this sturdy, admirable adaptation of E.M. Forster’s novel about the evils of colonialism in British-ruled India. Judy Davis is excellent as a young British…

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Splash

BBBB.5 (out of 5) One of Ron Howard’s best movies and a wonderful opportunity to see Daryl Hannah at her most charming. She plays a mermaid who wanders out of the sea and straight into the life of New York City businessman Tom Hanks.  At first not knowing the language, she learns English from television and…

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Footloose

BBBB (out of 5) Kevin Bacon leaves the big city of Chicago and comes to live in a small town with his family. He’s shocked by the change of culture, but is truly appalled when he learns that the town forbids music and dancing under the stricture of the local conservative minister (John Lithgow). Youthful…

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Greystoke: The Legend Of Tarzan, Lord Of The Apes

BBBB (out of 5) I haven’t seen enough Tarzan movies to say for sure that this one is the best, but it should definitely rank in the top five. Christopher Lambert plays the man who grew up in the jungles of Africa after losing his nobly-born British parents in the events following a shipwreck. Raised by gorillas,…

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