The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018)

ETHAN COEN, JOEL COEN Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.  USA, 2018.  Annapurna Pictures, Annapurna Television, Mike Zoss Productions.  Screenplay by Joel Coen, Ethan Coen, segment All Gold Canyon based on a story by Jack London, segment The Gal Who Got Rattled inspired by a story by Stewart Edward White.  Cinematography by Bruno Delbonnel.  Produced by Ethan Coen, Joel Coen,…

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Paddington 2 (2017)

PAUL KING Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB.  United Kingdom/France/USA, 2017.  StudioCanal, Anton Capital Entertainment, Amazon Prime Instant Video, Canal+, Cine+, Heyday Films, Marmalade Films Ltd..  Screenplay by Paul King, Simon Farnaby, based on Paddington Bear created by Michael Bond.  Cinematography by Erik Wilson.  Produced by David Heyman.  Music by Dario Marianelli.  Production Design by Gary Williamson.  Costume Design by Lindy Hemming.  Film Editing by…

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Alone In Berlin

BB (out of 5) After losing their son in battle, a Berlin couple decide that Nazi ideology is not worth believing in if the cost is to be so high.  He (Brendan Gleeson) continues his work as a carpenter and she (Emma Thompson) maintains her position with her league of women, spreading the good word about the Fuhrer around…

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Live By Night

BB.5 (out of 5) Ben Affleck returns to the writings of Dennis Lehane, whose novel Gone Baby Gone was his directorial debut nine years earlier.  He stars as a small-time Boston thug whose conflict with a powerful Irish rum runner propels him to become a big-time Florida gangster working for the Italian mob family who want to run the Irish…

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In The Heart Of The Sea

BB.5 (out of 5) Established but not quite yet venerated author Herman Melville (Ben Whishaw) shows up at the home of an old tar (Brendan Gleeson) and begs to be told the story of a shipwreck he has heard was a near mythical adventure. Reluctant at first, Gleeson eventually spins a terrifying yarn of a…

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Calvary

BBBB (out of 5) John Michael McDonagh, brother of famed playwright Martin and a director in his own right, has made a film so unabashedly concerned with his native land’s cultural issues, hangups and history that it could just as easily be called This Is Ireland.  That said, the heart worn on the sleeve does…

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Edge Of Tomorrow (Live Die Repeat)

BBBB.5 (out of 5) Tom Cruise hits paydirt for the first time in years with this smart, genuinely fun and surprisingly funny adventure film that puts Groundhog Day into a science-fiction future. He plays a member of the military who wears a uniform on television but, when interviewed by a general with a perpetually furrowed brow…

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Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix

BBB.5 (out of 5) Year five and counting. Following the tete-a-tete between Harry Potter and Voldemort (a noseless Ralph Fiennes) and the unfortunate demise of Harry’s friend Cedric in the last installment, the magical world of witches and wizards is steeped into a frenzy of paranoid conservatism: the leader of the Ministry of Magic refuses…

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Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 1

B.5 (out of 5) Films that began as a series of imaginative adventures have descended into self-important, jargon-spouting fan conventions that defy all manner of patience. This adaptation of half of J.K. Rowling’s final literary chapter in one of the most popular book franchises in publishing history is much ado about nothing, an opportunity to…

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Mission: Impossible II

BBB (out of 5) This time the film is shorter on brains and longer on excitement, making it pretty much just as good as the original but on its own terms. Where the first Tom Cruise adventure was craftier and better at paying tribute to international spy thrillers of the sixties, this time director John…

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The Village

B (out of 5) This chapter in M. Night Shyamalan’s trove of scary tales is one of the most pretentiously idiotic pieces of tripe that you’ll ever see. It takes place in the 1890s, with citizens of a tiny village living in peaceful idyll away from the cares of the bustling towns near them. Surrounding…

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The Field

BBBB (out of 5) Exceptional drama based on the play by John B. Keane, and Jim Sheridan’s follow-up to his Oscar-winning My Left Foot. Richard Harris is superb as “Bull” McCabe, whose family has been farming a gorgeous, grassy field for generations, its lustrous green colour the result of their lugging seaweed from the ocean and…

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