Serenity (2019)

STEVEN KNIGHT Bil’s rating (out of 5): B.  USA, 2019.  Global Road Entertainment, IM Global, Shoebox Films, Starlings Entertainment.  Screenplay by Steven Knight.  Cinematography by Jess Hall.  Produced by Guy Heeley, Steven Knight, Greg Shapiro.  Music by Benjamin Wallfisch.  Production Design by Andrew McAlpine.  Costume Design by Danny Glicker.  Film Editing by Laura Jennings. Matthew McConaughey has an Ahab-level obsession with catching a giant tuna…

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Quartet (2012)

BB.5 (out of 5) A retirement home for successful classical musicians is the setting for this comedy adapted from Ronald Harwood’s play, which also marks the directorial debut of actor Dustin Hoffman.  Maggie Smith plays a world-famous opera singer who has decided to enter her dotage, made worse when it turns out that her ex-husband (Tom…

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Aeon Flux

BB.5 (out of 5) Visually impressive but narratively anaemic science-fiction film about a futuristic society populated by survivors of an apocalyptic virus that wiped out ninety percent of humanity. Those left alive since the deadly outbreak live in a walled city that is viciously lorded over with an iron fist by leaders who can make…

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The Sentinel

B (out of 5) Michael Douglas plays a veteran Secret Service agent who once took a bullet for President Reagan. Now in the employ of the current (fictitious) leader (David Rasche), he discovers a plot to kill the president that involves a mole from within his ranks. A lie detector test reveals that all agents come…

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Deceived

BB.5 (out of 5) Goldie Hawn made a great decision in opting to momentarily leave her bubbly blonde persona behind and indulge in some Hitchcockian thrills for this murder mystery. Unfortunately, the film lets her down and is basically something Farrah Fawcett could have slept through on a Friday night network special. Hawn plays a successful…

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Home For The Holidays

BBB.5 (out of 5) Jodie Foster makes her second film as director with this heartwarming but uneven family comedy/drama. Holly Hunter plays an art restorer who gets fired from her swanky California job and then has to spend Thanksgiving weekend in the Midwest being raked over hot coals by her family. Mom Anne Bancroft has never…

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The Recruit

BB (out of 5) Thank God for Al Pacino, Dustin Hoffman and Gene Hackman; where would sexy young protégés in need of mentors go if it were not for them? This time Pacino plays a CIA recruiter who spots Colin Farrell working behind a bar and immediately pegs him for CIA work: he has that…

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Clockers (1995)

SPIKE LEE Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBB.  USA, 1995.  Universal Pictures, 40 Acres & A Mule Filmworks.  Screenplay by Richard Price, Spike Lee, based on the book by Richard Price.  Cinematography by Malik Hassan Sayeed.  Produced by Jon Kilik, Spike Lee, Martin Scorsese.  Music by Terence Blanchard.  Production Design by Andrew McAlpine.  Costume Design by Ruth E. Carter.  Film Editing by Samuel D. Pollard.  …

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Sid And Nancy

BBB.5 (out of 5) One of the most famous romances in rock history, the relationship between The Sex Pistols’ Sid Vicious and the New York punk scene’s luminary Nancy Spungen has gone down in history as one of the scariest combinations of carbon-based chemicals ever witnessed. Vicious (played with terrifying accuracy by Gary Oldman) is…

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The Piano

BBBBB (out of 5) Holly Hunter revives her career with her letter-perfect performance as a mute Scottish woman with an iron will who is sent to New Zealand as a mail-order bride for a farmer (Sam Neill), bringing along her equally fiery and imaginative daughter (Anna Paquin, debuting at the age of 11 and becoming one…

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The Beach

BBB (out of 5) It has gorgeous cinematography of exotic locations and an excellent soundtrack; it also has a cast of sniveling teenagers who think that acting like hippies and smoking reefer on a beach that never ends is the equivalent to living a free-spirited life away from the concerns of a terrifying, modern world….

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An Education (2009)

LONE SCHERFIG Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB.  United Kingdom, 2009.  BBC Films, Finola Dwyer Productions, Wildgaze Films, Endgame Entertainment, An Education Distribution.  Screenplay by Nick Hornby, based on the memoir by Lynn Barber.  Cinematography by John de Borman.  Produced by Finola Dwyer, Amanda Posey.  Music by Paul Englishby.  Production Design by Andrew McAlpine.  Costume Design by Odile Dicks-Mireaux.  Film Editing by Barney Pilling.  Academy Awards 2009.  Golden…

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