Dancer In The Dark

BBBB (out of 5) Lars Von Trier repeats his exact formula from his 1996 art house hit Breaking The Waves with one notable exception: this time the leading lady sings up a storm. Björk is phenomenal in her film debut as a young woman who is slowly going blind, working in a factory to save up…

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Malena

BBBB (out of 5) Monica Bellucci stars as the title character, the most beautiful woman in a small Italian village who is also the object of affection for a burgeoning young boy who becomes so obsessed with her that he follows her everywhere. Naturally, the dowdy women in this poor village do not take to this…

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The Cell

B (out of 5) What promised to be a fiercely imaginative thriller is a tepid serial killer yarn that badly imitates the mechanics of every other film of its kind, then spices it up with eye-popping graphics. Jennifer Lopez plays a child psychologist who has been engineering a new technology that allows her to enter the…

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Meet The Parents

BBB (out of 5) Charming little romance about a quirky nurse (Ben Stiller) who is brought to his girlfriend’s up-state, upper-class, uptight house in New England to meet her parents. Things seem fine at first, but Stiller realizes very quickly that the menacing father of the house (Robert De Niro) is after his hide. While…

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U-571

BB.5 (out of 5) Well-intentioned but boring retread of Das Boot that features hunky Matthew McConaughey and a cast of good ole boys (who mysteriously all look the same, I could never tell who was being bumped off) who are sent on a mission to steal a decoding machine from a German U-boat, then end up…

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Shadow Of The Vampire

BBB.5 (out of 5) Gorgeous film by E. Elias Merhige that fictionalizes the accounts surrounding the filming of F.W. Murnau’s German Expressionist classic Nosferatu. The real production of Nosferatu is still so fraught with myth and mystery that it lends itself perfectly to a film of this sort, and the director has all kinds of…

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The Contender

BBBB (out of 5) Joan Allen is fantastic as a woman chosen to take over for the late Vice-President, then plunged into controversy when a story surfaces that she once participated in a gang-bang in college that someone happened to photograph. Refusing to play the dirty games some politicians play, she offers no comment on the…

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102 Dalmatians

BBBB (out of 5) The smarmy, overlong and annoying 101 Dalmatians directed by Stephen Herek gets a huge lift from a highly superior sequel, this time directed by Tarzan‘s Kevin Lima. More faithful to the original animated version of the 60s than its predecessor, Lima keeps the pace going and keeps the action lively. This…

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Divided We Fall (Musime Pi Pomahat)

BBBBB (out of 5) This marvelous Czech film centres around a childless couple living in a Nazi-occupied village in the 1940s. Years after all the Jewish families in the village have been evacuated by their oppressors, the couple is surprised to discover that one man, their former employer’s son, has managed to escape and survive…

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Pollock

BBBB.5 (out of 5) Ed Harris gives his most powerful and fascinating performance in this fantastic film biography of the great Jackson Pollock. Doing double duty as star and director (a sure and fine debut), Harris gives us a better view of the conflicted artist than just about any other recent film on the subject…

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Into The Arms Of Strangers: Stories Of The Kindertransport

BBBBB (out of 5) In the months preceding World War II, the British government responded to the Nazi Jewish “Programm” by allowing thousands of Jewish children to immigrate into the country and be adopted by English families. A group of these children have been interviewed and share their experiences in this heart-rending documentary narrated beautifully…

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Chocolat (2000)

BBBB.5 (out of 5) What threatens to be a predictable, half-baked Miramax experience turns out to be a delightful surprise as enjoyable as its titular treat. Juliette Binoche is so beautiful it’s a crime as the mysterious woman who moves to a tiny conservative town in France with her daughter (Victoire Thivisol of Ponette) to…

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