The Jazz Singer (1980)

BB (out of 5) Neil Diamond makes an ill-advised acting debut in this unnecessary second remake of the corny 1927 original.  He plays a musician looking to make it as a singer/songwriter but is held back by his traditional father (Laurence Olivier), who wants Diamond to take his place in their family as the next…

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Meteor

BB (out of 5) Scientist Sean Connery is pulled away from an exciting boat race and dragged to Washington to consult on a serious matter despite the fact that he left the government’s employ ages ago. He is informed that the recent contact between a comet and a meteor has knocked the latter into a collision…

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Larry Crowne

0.5 (out of 5) A film so disastrous it has to be seen to be believed.  Tom Hanks is a longtime employee at a Walmart-like store who is devastated when he gets fired due to downsizing, told that his lack of a college education is the reason why he has not been prioritized above employees with…

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Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue Of Ignorance)

BBBB (out of 5) Alejandro Gonzalez-Inarritu recovers from the bloated mess of Biutiful with a big movie in a small space, an eccentric and deliciously funny look at the mad world of live theatre.  Michael Keaton does a wryly charismatic riff on his own career as a has-been movie star whose success as a film…

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Maid In Manhattan

BB.5 (out of 5) An honest and hardworking hotel chambermaid (Jennifer Lopez) gets the chance to be a princess for a day when she tries on the discarded clothing of a wealthy guest (Natasha Richardson) and accidentally fools a senator (Ralph Fiennes) into thinking that she is a guest at the hotel herself. She doesn’t want…

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Ask The Dust

B.5 (out of 5) Incredibly dreary, uninvolving drama set in Depression-era Hollywood. Colin Farrell plays an Italian-American writer who shows up in L.A. in the hopes of chasing the dream, but finds only a major struggle to pay the rent. When he does start to achieve some success selling his stories, he ends up feeling an…

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She-Devil

BB.5 (out of 5) This silly comedy is adapted from the novel by Fay Weldon and remade from the 1986 British miniseries. Roseanne Barr is terrific as a mistreated housewife whose social climbing husband (Ed Begley Jr.) leaves her for a sexy romance novelist (Meryl Streep, at her most breathlessly hilarious) who lives in a giant…

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Junior

BBB.5 (out of 5) When genetic scientists Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito can’t get their anti-miscarriage drug approved by the national drug board, they decide to try it out on a test subject in order to have proof that it works. They know they could never find a woman who would agree to endangering her pregnancy with…

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Where’s Poppa?

B (out of 5) George Segal made a promise to his dying father that no matter what happened, he would not put his aging mother (Ruth Gordon) in a nursing home. Living with her incredible senility is difficult, however, particularly when Segal falls in love with the new nurse (Trish Van Devere) that he has hired…

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Galaxy Quest

BBBB (out of 5) Marvelous science-fiction comedy about a troupe of has-been actors who were once stars of a Star Trek-like television show called Galaxy Quest, now making most of their money at conventions and store openings. Tim Allen accepts a job from obsessed groupies to do an event for them, not realizing that they…

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The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter

BBB.5 (out of 5) Moving film adaptation of the novel by Carson McCullers. A deaf-mute man (Alan Arkin) leaves town to follow his only friend (Chuck McCann) who has been placed in an asylum.  In his new location he rents a room in the house of an impoverished family whose father is unable to work…

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The Grass Harp

BBB (out of 5) Loving adaptation of Truman Capote’s novella about an orphan boy (Edward Furlong) who is raised by his aunts, two women as different as two sisters could ever possibly be. Verena (Sissy Spacek) is a hard-nosed businesswoman who manages the entire family estate, a sizeable one that includes most of the town’s…

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