Little Dieter Needs To Fly (1997)

WERNER HERZOG Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB. Germany/United Kingdom/France, 1997.  Werner Herzog Filmproduktion, Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen, ZDF Enterprises, British Broadcasting Corporation, Arte, Media Ventures, Outpost Studios.  Screenplay by Werner Herzog.  Cinematography by Peter Zeitlinger.  Produced by Lucki Stipetic.  Film Editing by Joe Bini, Glen Scantlebury, Rainer Standke.   Werner Herzog investigates the life of Dieter Dengler, shot down over Laos…

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The Trip To Italy

BB.5 (out of 5) After touring restaurants of the Lake District was such a hit, featuring spirited conversation over gourmet meals, best mates and, more subtly, professional rivals Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon have been assigned to do more of the same, but this time are being sent abroad.  Not only is there more eating and celebrity…

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If A Tree Falls: A Story Of The Earth Liberation Front

BBBB (out of 5) Searing documentary that looks at the history and activities of a political movement aimed at punishing those whose greed is ecologically destructive, with the focus on one member whose activity caught up with many years after a number of crimes were committed.  Co-workers were shocked when police officers entered the workplace…

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In The Shadow of the Sun

BBBB (out of 5) People born with albinism in Tanzania are the focus of this powerful documentary, featuring a group of individuals whose lives are observed while suffering prejudice and threat of death.  While their physical condition leaves them vulnerable to the blazing sun of Africa and poor vision, albinos in Tanzania are also the…

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Sweet Sixteen (2002)

KEN LOACH Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB.  United Kingdom/Germany/Spain, 2002.  Alta Films, British Broadcasting Corporation, Road Movies Filmproduktion, Scottish Screen, Sixteen Films, Tornasol Films.  Screenplay by Paul Laverty.  Cinematography by Barry Ackroyd.  Produced by Rebecca O’Brien.  Music by George Fenton.  Production Design by Martin Johnson.  Costume Design by Carole K. Millar.  Film Editing by Jonathan Morris.  Cannes Film Festival 2002.  Toronto International Film Festival 2002.   Just shy of…

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Roman Polanski: Wanted And Desired

BBB.5 (out of 5) It’s one of the most notorious celebrity-related crime cases in history, so confused by rumour and hearsay that this film’s desire to set the record straight is admirable to say the least. Roman Polanski was already an established superstar filmmaker when police arrested him for unlawful sexual intercourse with a thirteen…

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Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001)

SIMON WEST Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BB.5.  USA/United Kingdom/Japan/Germany, 2001.  Paramount Pictures, Mutual Film Company, British Broadcasting Corporation, Lawrence Gordon Productions, Marubeni, Eidos Interactive, KFP Produktions GmbH & Co. KG, Tele München Fernseh Produktionsgesellschaft, Toho-Towa.  Story by Sara B. Cooper, Mike Werb, Michael Colleary, Screenplay by Patrick Massett, John Zinman, Adaptation by Simon West.  Cinematography by Peter Menzies Jr..  Produced by Lawrence…

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Bedrooms And Hallways

BB.5 (out of 5) Often amusing examination of the nature of love and lust in modern British Singleton society. Leo (Kevin McKidd) has just turned 30 and is invited by a friend to join a straight men’s therapy group led by Simon Callow.  While there, he falls for a member of the ensemble (James Purefoy)…

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Different For Girls

BBB.5 (out of 5) Motorcycle courier Paul Prentice (Rupert Graves) accidentally runs into his old friend Karl (Steven Mackintosh), the boy he used to protect from bullies when they were younger. To Paul’s surprise, Karl is now Kim after a sex-change operation and, following their reunion, they find that trying to connect on any possible…

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Mansfield Park

BBBB (out of 5) Patricia Rozema directs this adaptation of Jane Austen’s dark novel, which also features plot elements taken from Austen’s letters and diaries.  Frances O’Connor makes a star of herself as Fanny Price, who is taken from a life of poverty and installed in her uncle’s giant mansion. The usual Austentatious complications ensue, with…

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A Simple Plan

BBBB.5 (out of 5) Superb thriller that takes an examination of human greed to its most terrifying extreme.  Bill Paxton and Billy Bob Thornton are brothers who, along with pal Brent Briscoe, discover a few million dollars stashed away in a stranded plane that crashed in the woods near their small town. They decide to hide the…

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My Son The Fanatic

BBB (out of 5) Om Puri is excellent in this touching British drama.  He plays a rebellious Muslim Indian taxi driver living in London who enjoys his brandy and jazz music.  His son turns fanatically religious and starts participating in violent protests and inviting religious leaders to live in their home, which provides no end of…

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