The Young Girls Turns 25 (Les Demoiselles Ont Eu 25 ans) (1993)

AGNES VARDA Bil’s rating (out of 5):   BBBB.5.  France, 1993.  Ciné Tamaris.  Screenplay by Agnes Varda.  Cinematography by Alexandre Auffort, Stephane Krausz, Patrick Mounoud, Georges Strouve, Agnes Varda.  Music by Michel Legrand, Jacques Loussier.  Cannes Film Festival 1993. It’s astounding how much love and affection Agnes Varda packs into 64 very short minutes. On the occasion of the 25th anniversary…

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Fiorile

BBB (out of 5) The generational saga of an Italian family, beginning with poor origins on a dirty farm through to the wealth they achieve thanks to a heartless crime. The Taviani brothers have fashioned a memorable narrative in this gentle drama that never makes a strong enough impression. French-American actor Michael Vartan plays a dual…

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Falling Down

BB.5 (out of 5) Michael Douglas is stuck in traffic on a super hot day in L.A. and decides he’s mad as hell and not going to take it anymore. Busting up after an altercation with a Korean store owner who is the victim of Douglas’ ignorant racism, our “hero” then takes to the streets, gets…

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Cliffhanger

BB.5 (out of 5) The exciting adventures of mountain climbers are rendered lifeless by Renny Harlin’s airheaded direction. Sylvester Stallone plays a jaded helicopter rescue pilot who is unable to return to his work after losing a friend on the job.  Another rescue has been phoned in from a mountain top, a group of skiiers…

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Body Snatchers

BB.5 (out of 5) Third version of the classic science-fiction thriller is the least impressive. The testosterone has been upped but all the subliminal political significance is gone, as is the fun. This time, the evil alien invaders take over an army base right as a wholesome family led by Terry Kinney and Meg Tilly move there…

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King Of The Hill (1993)

STEVEN SODERBERGH Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBBB.  USA, 1993.  Wildwood Enterprises, Bona Fide Productions.  Screenplay by Steven Soderbergh, based on the memoir by A.E. Hotchner.  Cinematography by Elliot Davis.  Produced by Albert Berger, Barbara Maltby, Ron Yerxa.  Music by Cliff Martinez.  Production Design by Gary Frutkoff.  Costume Design by Susan Lyall.  Film Editing by Steven Soderbergh.  Cannes Film Festival 1993.   Subtle, beautifully-made Steven Soderbergh drama about two…

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My Favorite Season (Ma Saison Preferee)

BBBB.5 (out of 5) Gorgeous miniature epic by Andre Techine, about the ties that are rediscovered when an estranged brother and sister connect over their mother’s failing health. Despite the fact that they have never seen eye to eye, Antoine (Daniel Auteuil) and Emilie (Catherine Deneuve) have a great affection for each other; their differing…

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Naked

BB.5 (out of 5) Brilliantly acted but numbing drama about a homeless man (David Thewlis) who wanders London in search of people upon whom he can inflict his relentlessly negative viewpoints. Mike Leigh’s improvisationally-based style of filmmaking comes through for him once again, presenting riveting characters and dialogue on the screen, but the film is…

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Farewell, My Concubine (Ba Wang Bie Ji)

BBB.5 (out of 5) If this excellent Chinese drama ended sooner it would have been a much better film, but even at its excessive running time it is an eye-popping spectacle. Leslie Cheung is excellent as an opera singer who was sold to the Peking Opera as a child and grows up to be a…

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Faraway, So Close (In Weiter Ferne, so Nah!)

BBBB (out of 5) Exquisite sequel to the even more breathtaking Wings of Desire, both directed by Wim Wenders. This time the plotting of the film is more narrative-oriented, not as waywardly poetic as the original film was. Previously, the angel played by Bruno Ganz sought to join the human race he spent all his time…

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The Piano

BBBBB (out of 5) Holly Hunter revives her career with her letter-perfect performance as a mute Scottish woman with an iron will who is sent to New Zealand as a mail-order bride for a farmer (Sam Neill), bringing along her equally fiery and imaginative daughter (Anna Paquin, debuting at the age of 11 and becoming one…

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