Pirates

B (out of 5) Roman Polanski was possibly looking to corner the family market and improve his image in his first feature film after being convicted of statutory rape (which, according to the female lead of this film, was a habit he didn’t exactly abandon).  The result is a disappointing effort for fans of the filmmaker who hadn’t…

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Sorcerer

BBBB (out of 5) William Friedkin remakes Clouzot’s Wages Of Fear and the results are surprisingly good (I say that not because it’s Friedkin but because it’s an American remake of a European film).  This time the opening act of forgotten men loafing around a South American village in the 1953 film is tweaked to…

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Miss Potter

BBB (out of 5) No, this is not a movie about J.K. Rowling’s little hero turning sassy. While not as scintillating as the events that led Isak Dinesen or Janet Frame to put pen to paper, the life of Beatrix Potter, the most successful children’s author of all time and one of England’s most prized…

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Ishtar

B (out of 5) Those expecting this movie to have unfairly garnered its reputation should be warned: it truly is as bad as you’ve heard, if not worse. Dustin Hoffman and Warren Beatty play broke, desperate songwriters who accept a gig in Morocco because they need the cash. On the way there a chance encounter with a…

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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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Papillon

BB (out of 5) Another prison movie for Steve McQueen, and once again he’s trying for the great escape. He plays a French petty criminal who is wrongly accused of murder and, after a few unsuccessful attempts to break free, is sent to a maximum security prison in Guyana. All manner of degradation is detailed…

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101 Dalmatians (1996)

BB (out of 5) Boring, unnecessarily heavy adaptation of the 1961 Disney classic animated film (which in turn was adapted from the novel by Dodie Smith) now has carefree dalmatian owner Jeff Daniels as a video game designer instead of a songwriter, and wife Joely Richardson as an employee in the fashion house of Cruella De…

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Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade

BBBB (out of 5) Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) indulges a very willing audience in an old-fashioned adventure that is full of mystery, exoticism and full-throttle excitement. He is commissioned by a religious art collector to travel to Venice and discover a missing, ancient tablet that has information as to the whereabouts of the Holy Grail,…

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Hook (1991)

STEVEN SPIELBERG Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BB.5.  USA, 1991.  Amblin Entertainment, TriStar Pictures. Screen story by James V. Hart, Nick Castle, Screenplay by James V. Hart, Malia Scotch Marmo, based on the play and books by J.M. Barrie.  Cinematography by Dean Cundey.  Produced by Kathleen Kennedy, Frank Marshall, Gerald R. Molen.  Music by John Williams.  Production Design by Norman Garwood.  Costume Design…

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Death On The Nile

BBBB (out of 5) Like Murder On The Orient Express before it, this is an energetic and enjoyable adaptation of an Agatha Christie murder mystery. A group of strangers, old aristocrats and young lovers among them, travel on a barge down the famed Egyptian river and are shocked when one of their passengers, a beautiful…

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Ragtime

BBBB (out of 5) This Milos Forman film adaptation of the E.L. Doctorow novel will be of particular interest to those who enjoyed the recent Broadway musical version (this one’s not a musical). It stars an ensemble cast whose interactions take place in turn-of-the-century America when the country was going through a major cultural upheaval…

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Travels With My Aunt

BB.5 (out of 5) Maggie Smith is fabulous-til-it-hurts in this overlong but very colourful adaptation of Graham Greene’s story. Alec McCowen is the prim and proper man who, on the day of his mother’s funeral, meets a crazy woman of ‘indeterminate age’ who claims to be his late mother’s sister. Before he knows it, he’s…

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