The Hobbit: The Battle Of the Five Armies

BB.5 (out of 5) More bloated mayhem from the imagination of J.R.R. Tolkien as yet another trilogy comes to a close. The film opens with the messiness of Smaug setting Laketown on fire, which strands a group of humans and leaves them without homes, while in the distance Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) becomes ill with…

Rate this:

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…

Rate this:

The Last Samurai

BBB.5 (out of 5) After participating in a number of Civil War battles (many of which helped decimate the populations of natives in North America), an embittered, drunken veteran (Tom Cruise) follows his superior officers to Japan in search of big money. He has been hired by the emperor to train the country’s army in…

Rate this:

The Impostors

BBB.5 (out of 5) Stanley Tucci’s tribute to silent-era filmmaking is an art-deco delight, one that is short on substance but long on rollicking humour. Tucci and Oliver Platt play two down-and-out unemployed actors who find themselves stowing away on an ocean liner when they have to hide out from an esteemed actor (Alfred Molina) they…

Rate this:

Lemony Snicket’s A Series Of Unfortunate Events

BBBB (out of 5) The influence of Tim Burton’s work can be felt on every inch of this thoroughly enjoyable children’s horror film, so much so that you’ll wonder if Burton had anything to do with the production (he didn’t, but the production designer, costume designer and cinematographer of Sleepy Hollow are employed here which…

Rate this:

The Aristocrats

BB.5 (out of 5) Paul Provenza interviews dozens of comedians about a famous joke, loved among comedians, that provides a sort of jazzy opportunity for performers to really shine. Each interview subject gives their own take on the anecdote, allowing for much variation in its interpretation before the purposely anticlimactic punch line. What’s most shocking,…

Rate this:

Beautiful Joe

BBB (out of 5) Don’t be fooled by the slick heist-film-like appearance of the video cover: this one’s all heart. Billy Connolly stars as a terminally ill man who decides his life as an Irish New York City florist hasn’t been adventurous enough, so he takes to the road. Along the way, he stumbles upon a…

Rate this:

Indecent Proposal (1993)

ADRIAN LYNE Bil’s rating (out of 5):  B.  USA, 1993.  Paramount Pictures.  Screenplay by Amy Holden Jones, based on the novel by Jack Engelhard.  Cinematography by Howard Atherton.  Produced by Sherry Lansing.  Music by John Barry.  Production Design by Mel Bourne.  Costume Design by Beatrix Aruna Pasztor, Bernie Pollack, Bobbie Read.  Film Editing by Joe Hutshing.   Demi Moore and Woody Harrelson play a couple whose plans to get ahead…

Rate this:

Mrs. Brown

JOHN MADDEN Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBB.5.  United Kingdom/Ireland/USA, 1997.  BBC Scotland, Ecosse Films, Irish Screen, WGBH.  Screenplay by Jeremy Brock.  Cinematography by Richard Greatrex.  Produced by Sarah Curtis.  Music by Stephen Warbeck.  Production Design by Martin Childs.  Costume Design by Deirdre Clancy.  Film Editing by Robin Sales.  Academy Awards 1997.  Cannes Film Festival 1997.  Golden Globe Awards 1997.  The beautifully languid performances by Judi Dench and Billy Connolly are…

Rate this:

White Oleander

BBB (out of 5) Janet Fitch’s best-selling novel reaches the big screen with unexceptional results, making for the second time that Michelle Pfeiffer has adapted an Oprah book selection for the big screen (the first time was The Deep End of the Ocean).  Pfeiffer plays a headstrong, charismatic visual artist whose cutthroat moralizing gets her…

Rate this:

Brave

BBBB (out of 5) The King of a Scottish clan is delighted by his spunky, rebellious daughter Merida (voiced by Kelly Macdonald), but her mother (Emma Thompson) is appalled that she does not behave like a proper princess.  With her perpetually tousled hair and her insistence on improving her bow and arrow techniques, Merida shocks…

Rate this:

Pocahontas

BB.5 (out of 5) Captain John Smith (Mel Gibson) lands in America with Sir Walter Raleigh’s team in order to find the gold that everyone is so sure is to be found in the land that is now Virginia. Smith meets a young Native girl and, in befriending her, gets to know her tribe and…

Rate this: