Evil (Ondskan)

BBBB.5 (out of 5) Young Torless meets Full Metal Jacket in this riveting look at the world of elite boarding schools set in the 1960s.  After getting into too many fights and being expelled too many times from local schools, Erik is sent to a prestigious school after his sympathetic mother sells a number of heirlooms to pay his tuition.  Getting…

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The Last Samurai

BBB.5 (out of 5) After participating in a number of Civil War battles (many of which helped decimate the populations of natives in North America), an embittered, drunken veteran (Tom Cruise) follows his superior officers to Japan in search of big money. He has been hired by the emperor to train the country’s army in…

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Girl With A Pearl Earring

BBBB.5 (out of 5) A young Dutch girl (Scarlett Johansson) from an impoverished family is sent to work as a maid in the house of painter Johannes Vermeer in 17th century Holland. She is immediately treated with ignorance from the lady of the house (Essie Davis) and cruelty from one of the painter’s children (Alakina…

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Pirates Of The Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl

BB.5 (out of 5) A young woman (Keira Knightley) grows up in British-controlled Jamaica hoping for all the things that “modern” women in period movies long for: a marriage to someone with integrity (i.e. he’s not as rich as her but doesn’t mind), lots of crazy adventure and the chance to reject nasty men. She…

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Zelary

BBBB (out of 5) A young woman working for the Czech resistance in Nazi-occupied Prague is in danger when she and her surgeon lover are close to being exposed. A man whose life she saved through a blood transfusion agrees to take her with him to his mountain village of Zelary to hide her there…

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Twin Sisters (De Tweeling)

BBBB (out of 5) Fascinating drama, based on a true story, about fraternal twin sisters who are separated after the death of their parents. One is sent to live with wealthy relatives in Holland, while the other stays in Germany to live an abused life with her mean-spirited farmer relatives. Years later, the Dutch sister…

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Seabiscuit

BBB.5 (out of 5) What do an abandoned horse jockey, a grieving millionaire car manufacturer and an unemployed horse whisperer have in common? Fate, for it seems that it will bring them together to be a part of the success of a racehorse who will symbolize the hope of Depression-era America. After losing his son…

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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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The Fog Of War: Eleven Lessons From The Life Of Robert S. McNamara

BBBB.5 (out of 5) In this captivating documentary, former United States Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara details in lengthy interviews his involvement in the wars of the last century. Starting with his experiences in World War II, he moves on to his participation in Vietnam when he held the Secretary of Defense position, first under…

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Something’s Gotta Give

BBBB (out of 5) Jack Nicholson is vacationing with much younger girlfriend Amanda Peet at her Hamptons home when he collapses and has a heart attack. Forced to stay at her getaway until he recovers, he ends up stuck with her Broadway playwright mother (Diane Keaton) and the two fall in love. It then remains to be…

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City Of God (Cidade de Deus)

BBBB.5 (out of 5) Excellent, totally realistic film set in the hopeless slums of Rio De Janeiro. It follows the true life story of a photographer named Rocket who grows up amid the abject poverty and shocking crime that inhabit the City Of God (the name for the poor areas of Rio). He tries to…

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The Cooler

BBBB (out of 5) Bust out the cigars, folks, cause Mr. Scorsese’s Casino just got itself a brand new baby brother. Three of the most impressive performances of 2003 sparkle in this nifty little gem, overcoming the most familiar aspects of their stock character types and overused setting. The deliciously whimsical storyline stars William H….

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