The Land of Steady Habits (2018)

NICOLE HOLOFCENER Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5.  USA, 2018.  Likely Story.  Screenplay by Nicole Holofcener, based on the novel by Ted Thompson.  Cinematography by Alar Kivilo.  Produced by Stefanie Azpiazu, Anthony Bregman.  Music by Marcelo Zarvos.  Production Design by Dina Goldman.  Costume Design by Alex Bovaird.  Film Editing by Robert Frazen.  Toronto International Film Festival 2018. Ben Mendelsohn is enjoying life in early retirement,…

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Private Life (2018)

TAMARA JENKINS Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.   USA, 2018.  Likely Story, Netflix.  Screenplay by Tamara Jenkins.  Cinematography by Christos Voudouris.  Produced by Stefanie Azpiazu, Anthony Bregman, Tamara Jenkins.  Production Design by Ford Wheeler.  Costume Design by Leah Katznelson.  Film Editing by Brian A. Kates.  Toronto International Film Festival 2018. Tamara Jenkins returns to filmmaking eleven years after her masterful The Savages, directing Kathryn Hahn and…

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Begin Again (Can A Song Save Your Life) (2013)

JOHN CARNEY Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBB.5.  USA, 2013.  Exclusive Media Group, Sycamore Pictures, Apatow Productions, Likely Story.  Screenplay by John Carney.  Cinematography by Yaron Orbach.  Produced by Judd Apatow, Tobin Armbrust, Anthony Bregman.  Music by Gregg Alexander.  Production Design by Chad Keith.  Costume Design by Arjun Bhasin.  Film Editing by Andrew Marcus.  Academy Awards 2014.  Toronto International Film Festival 2013.   Lonely souls meet over music once again…

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The Circle (2017)

JAMES PONSOLDT Bil’s rating (out of 5):  B.  United Arab Emirates/USA, 2017.  1978 Films, Imagenation Abu Dhabi FZ, Likely Story, Parkes+MacDonald Image Nation, Playtone, Route One Entertainment.  Screenplay by James Ponsoldt, Dave Eggers, based on the novel by Dave Eggers.  Cinematography by Matthew Libatique.  Produced by Anthony Bregman, Gary Goetzman, James Ponsoldt.  Music by Danny Elfman.  Production Design by Gerald Sullivan.  Costume Design by…

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Sing Street (2016)

JOHN CARNEY Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB.  Ireland/United Kingdom/USA, 2016.  Cosmo Films, Distressed Films, FilmNation Entertainment, FilmWave, Likely Story, PalmStar Media.  Screenplay by John Carney.  Cinematography by Yaron Orbach.  Produced by Anthony Bregman, John Carney, Martina Niland.  Music by Becky Bentham.  Production Design by Alan MacDonald.  Costume Design by Tiziana Corvisieri.  Film Editing by Andrew Marcus, Julian Ulrichs.  Golden Globe Awards 2016.   Conor is loaded with…

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Foxcatcher

BBBB (out of 5) The true story of wrestling champions Mark and David Schultz is brought to the screen by Bennett Miller, reuniting with Capote writer Dan Futterman (here sharing credit with E. Max Frye) for another grisly fact-based crime film told with unnerving simplicity.  The brothers were both Olympic gold medalists at the 1984…

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Our Idiot Brother

BBB.5 (out of 5) Paul Rudd plays a good-hearted, almost simple-minded hippie whose pure faith in human nature finds him selling weed to a cop and getting himself thrown into prison for a number of months. When he gets out, his place on his commune has been replaced, his girlfriend doesn’t want him around and, most…

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Thumbsucker

BB (out of 5) Unlikable, randomly plotted film based on the cult novel by Walter Kirn about a teenager (Lou Taylor Pucci) who continues to suck his thumb despite the fact that he’s about to graduate high school and should be well over the habit by now. His competitive father (Vincent D’Onofrio) is ashamed of…

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Synecdoche, New York

BB (out of 5) Charlie Kaufman decides to forgo the intelligent interpretations of his zany scribblings by the likes of Michel Gondry and Spike Jonze and here directs for the first time. Oddly enough, the film looks and feels exactly the way it would if it were directed by the likes of Michel Gondry or…

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Lovely And Amazing

BBBB.5 (out of 5) Nicole Holofcener has fashioned a film that lives up to its title, one populated by complicated women who are notable female anti-heroes.  Brenda Blethyn is the mother of three daughters, two adults (Catherine Keener, Emily Mortimer) and one adopted ten year-old (Raven Goodwin in an excellent debut). As matriarch, Blethyn sets the pace…

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Friends With Money

BBBB (out of 5) Nicole Holofcener has created another fascinating look at women who are both challenging and challenged in this too-short but wholly engrossing character piece. Four women, three wealthy and successfully paired and one an unmarried former teacher who gave it up to be a maid, interact as their lives go haywire to…

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Please Give

BBBB (out of 5) Nicole Holocener returns with yet another compelling examination of complicated women. Rebecca Hall is excellent as a health care worker who takes care of her mean, cantankerous grandmother while her callous sister (Amanda Peet) just waits for her to die. Their grandmother’s apartment is owned by their neighbours, two vintage furniture dealers…

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