Leave No Trace (2018)

DEBRA GRANIK Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5.  USA/Canada, 2018.  Bron Studios, Creative Wealth Media Finance, Harrison Productions, Topic Studios.  Screenplay by Debra Granik, Anne Rosellini, based on the novel My Abandonment by Peter Rock.  Cinematography by Michael McDonough.  Produced by Anne Harrison, Linda Reisman, Anne Rosellini.  Music by Dickon Hinchliffe.  Production Design by Chad Keith.  Costume Design by Erin Alridge Orr.  Film…

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Hell Or High Water

BBBB (out of 5) Two brothers rob a series of banks in quick succession, taking small bills from the front desks of small, poorly guarded branches in dusty Texan towns to avoid stealing traceable money and pulling off their heists with very few problems (at least at first).  They spark the interest of a sheriff about…

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The Program

STEPHEN FREARS Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BB.5.   Stephen Frears applies his elegant style to a biography of Lance Armstrong, following a similar narrative structure to The Queen and Philomena with results that go nowhere near those films.  Armstrong is by now infamous as the cyclist who won the Tour de France seven consecutive times before being disgraced by revelations…

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The Finest Hours (2016)

CRAIG GILLESPIE Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBB.  USA, 2016.  Walt Disney Pictures, Whitaker Entertainment.  Screenplay by Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy, Eric Johnson, based on the book by Casey Sherman, Michael J. Tougias.  Cinematography by Javier Aguirresarobe.  Produced by Dorothy Aufiero, James Whitaker.  Music by Carter Burwell.  Production Design by Michael Corenblith.  Costume Design by Louise Frogley.  Film Editing by Tatiana S. Riegel. The true…

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Lone Survivor

BBB (out of 5) Four Navy SEALs stationed at Bagram Airfield are sent to take out Ahmad Shah, a key figure of the Taliban with a secret base in the mountains of Afghanistan.  Camouflaging themselves into the trees high above the target’s location, the soldiers have no reason to worry about pulling off their mission…

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Big Trouble

BB (out of 5) Delayed after September 11th because it dealt with a terrorist bomb on an airplane, this film wouldn’t have been missed had it been left on the shelf forever. A failing advertising executive (Tim Allen) is somehow given a second chance at life when he has to save his prankster son (Ben…

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X-Men: The Last Stand

BB.5 (out of 5) After the enjoyment of the first installment and the thrilling adventure of the fantastic sequel, this third entry in the X-Men series is a letdown. Weak character development, unimaginative direction and a very cheap-looking production are to blame for this limp experience, in which the mutant superheroes are under threat from…

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Northfork

BB.5 (out of 5) Style overcomes substance in this passable drama by the Polish brothers in which Northfork, Montana is being evacuated after the government decides to flood the valley that the town is situated in. A group of suits have been sent in to help the residents evacuate, though depending on the case the task…

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Get Over It

BBB (out of 5) Musical numbers are the best thing about this witty little teenage romance. Ben Foster is a high-schooler who has just been dumped by his longtime girlfriend and, in his misery, avoids Kirsten Dunst and her obvious attraction to him…oh that I were in high school again. Martin Short gives a funny performance as the…

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The Messenger

BBBB (out of 5) Ben Foster returns from Iraq with a severe injury to his eye. After being welcomed home by his ex-girlfriend (Jena Malone) who is now engaged to someone else, Foster is assigned to join Gulf War veteran Woody Harrelson on a pretty hairy assignment: notifying soldiers’ Next Of Kin when they are killed in…

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Kill Your Darlings

BBB.5 (out of 5) Allen Ginsberg (Daniel Radcliffe) is accepted into Columbia University to follow in his poet father’s footsteps and, upon arrival, is immediately swept up in the counter-culture of one student.  Lucien Carr (Dane DeHaan), a blond, blue-eyed beauty, immediately bewitches Ginsberg with his rebellious streak and lax moral code, introducing his greener…

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3:10 To Yuma (2007)

BBBB (out of 5) Struggling farmer and Civil War veteran Christian Bale needs 200 dollars to save his farm from greedy businessmen who would turn it into railway property. When a legendary gunman (Russell Crowe) is arrested and transported to another town’s train station to meet lawmen taking him to his trial, Bale signs up…

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