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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Darkest Hour (2017)

JOE WRIGHT Bil’s rating (out of 5):   BB.5.  Working Title Films.  United Kingdom, 2017.  Screenplay by Anthony McCarten.  Cinematography by Bruno Delbonnel.  Produced by Tim Bevan, Lisa Bruce, Eric Fellner, Anthony McCarten, Douglas Urbanski.  Music by Dario Marianelli.  Production Design by Sarah Greenwood.  Costume Design by Jacqueline Durran.  Film Editing by Valerio Bonelli.  Academy Awards 2017.  Golden Globe Awards 2017.  Toronto International Film Festival 2017. With the Nazi threat swallowing more…

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Francofonia (Francophonia)

BBB (out of 5) Alexander Sokurov returns to the world of museum filmmaking that brought him such critical acclaim with Russian Ark in 2002.  This time he looks at the Louvre as the central symbol of French cultural contribution to the arts, much of it focusing on World War II and the compromises of the…

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Big Eyes

BBB (out of 5) This movie is reviewed at Magenta Magazine. The Weinstein Company, Silverwood Films, Tim Burton Productions, Electric City Entertainment USA, 2014 Directed by Tim Burton Screenplay by Scott Alexander, Larry Karaszewski Cinematography by Bruno Delbonnel Produced by Scott Alexander, Tim Burton, Larry Karaszewski Music by Danny Elfman Production Design by Rick Heinrichs Costume Design by…

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Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince

BB (out of 5) Yet another academic year at the Hogwarts school as the kids grow older and their hormones start pointing them towards each other for more than just spells and potions. Newly added to the staff is Jim Broadbent (brilliant as always), come to teach the kids the ins and outs of potion-mixing but…

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Inside Llewyn Davis

BBBB.5 (out of 5) Another terrific example of how magical the Coen Brothers can be when they let go their desire to be cute about their favourite movie genres.  This indelibly perfect tribute to the folk music scene in 1960s Greenwich Village has a superb Oscar Isaac as the title character, struggling and failing to…

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Infamous (2006)

DOUGLAS McGRATH Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BB.  USA, 2006.  Warner Independent Pictures, Killer Films.  Screenplay by Douglas McGrath, based on the book Truman Capote: In Which Various Friends, Enemies, Acquaintances and Detractors Recall His Turbulent Career by George Plimpton.  Cinematography by Bruno Delbonnel.  Produced by Jocelyn Hayes, Christine Vachon, Anne Walker-McBay.  Music by Rachel Portman.  Production Design by Judy Becker.  Costume Design by…

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Across The Universe

B (out of 5) Julie Taymor follows her brilliant biography of Frida Kahlo with this completely soulless exercise in style, an exploration of the birth of 1960s counter-culture using songs by the Beatles as its main score. A Liverpudlian boy named Jude (get it?) jumps ship and ends up in New York City, falls in…

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Amelie (Le Fabuleux Destin D’Amelie Poulain)

BBBB (out of 5) Fans of unapologetically whimsical stories will adore this pitch-perfect French romance from Jean-Pierre Jeunet, the director behind Delicatessen and Alien Resurrection. Amelie, an introverted young woman who lives in the classic Parisian lifestyle of her mind’s own design, has her emotions put to the test when a photo-booth-snapshot enthusiast captures her…

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A Very Long Engagement (Un Long Dimanche De Fiancailles)

BBBBB (out of 5) Just after World War I, an orphan girl (Amelie‘s Audrey Tautou) believes that the orphan boy she has loved since childhood (Gaspard Ulliel) didn’t die on the battlefield as reported and is still alive waiting to be found. She investigates the lives of those who shared a trench with him and follows…

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The Cat’s Meow

BBB.5 (out of 5) It’s 1924, and publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst (Edward Herrmann) has invited a group of guests (celebrities and mortals alike), onto his giant yacht for an off-coast California weekend (in reality the exteriors were shot in Greece and the interiors in Berlin). His own personal jealousy of his mistress Marion Davies…

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Dark Shadows

BBB (out of 5) The cult classic television show of 1966 is brought to the big screen with pleasant results by Tim Burton, the master of the toothlessly delightful macabre.  Johnny Depp is a scream as a centuries-old vampire who awakens to find his once-grand fishing industry family now reduced to living the Grey Gardens way…

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