The Family Fang (2015)

JASON BATEMAN Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBB.  USA, 2015.  Aggregate Films, Red Crown Productions, Blossom Films, ML Film Productions, Olympus Pictures, Papagjika Salloway Productions, QED International.  Screenplay by David Lindsay-Abaire, based on the novel by Kevin Wilson.  Cinematography by Ken Seng.  Produced by Jason Bateman, James Garavente, Nicole Kidman, Riva Marker, Per Saari, Daniela Taplin Lundberg, Leslie Urdang, Dean Vanech.  Music by…

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Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017)

MARTIN McDONAGH Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BB.  United Kingdom/USA, 2017.  Blueprint Pictures.  Screenplay by Martin McDonagh.  Cinematography by Ben Davis.  Produced by Graham Broadbent, Peter Czernin, Martin McDonagh. Music by Carter Burwell.  Production Design by Inbal Weinberg.  Costume Design by Melissa Toth.  Film Editing by Jon Gregory.  Academy Awards 2017.  Golden Globe Awards 2017.  Toronto International Film Festival 2017. The sleepy little town of Ebbing, Missouri…

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Wonderstruck (2017)

TODD HAYNES Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BB.  USA, 2017.  Amazon Studios, Cinetic Media, FilmNation Entertainment, Killer Films, Picrow.  Screenplay by Brian Selznick,  based on his book.  Cinematography by Edward Lachman.  Produced by Pamela Koffler, John Sloss, Christine Vachon.  Music by Carter Burwell.  Production Design by Mark Friedberg.  Costume Design by Sandy Powell.  Film Editing by Affonso Goncalves.  Cannes Film Festival 2017.   A little boy (Oakes Fegley) in 1970s…

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The Founder

BB.5 (out of 5) A traveling salesman who has peddled everything possible is tired and disillusioned, trying to get drive-in burger joints to buy his multi-milkshake machine and getting nowhere until a phone call comes in that changes his life.  Two brothers running a burger joint that has endless lineups need to buy eight milkshake machines…

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Hail, Caesar!

B.5 (out of 5) It’s 1951 and the post-war boom that has made America the leading industrial country in the world is reflected in the glorious movies being made in Hollywood. Josh Brolin plays the problem solver for a fictional movie studio whose job is to keep stars in line and their projects on track,…

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The Finest Hours (2016)

CRAIG GILLESPIE Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBB.  USA, 2016.  Walt Disney Pictures, Whitaker Entertainment.  Screenplay by Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy, Eric Johnson, based on the book by Casey Sherman, Michael J. Tougias.  Cinematography by Javier Aguirresarobe.  Produced by Dorothy Aufiero, James Whitaker.  Music by Carter Burwell.  Production Design by Michael Corenblith.  Costume Design by Louise Frogley.  Film Editing by Tatiana S. Riegel. The true…

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Anomalisa

BBBB (out of 5) Leave it to Charlie Kaufman to find in animation the opportunity to describe the limits of the imagination. David Thewlis voices the character of a motivational speaker who is spending a dull evening in a Cincinnati hotel before having to give a presentation the next morning. He decides to ring up an…

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Carol (2015)

TODD HAYNES Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBBB.  United Kingdom/USA, 2015.  The Weinstein Company, Film4, Number 9 Films, StudioCanal, HanWay Films, Killer Films, Goldcrest Films International, Dirty Films, Infilm, Larkhard Films.  Screenplay by Phyllis Nagy, based on the novel The Price Of Salt by Patricia Highsmith.  Cinematography by Edward Lachman.  Produced by Elizabeth Karlsen, Tessa Ross, Christine Vachon, Stephen Woolley.  Music by…

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Mr. Holmes

BB.5 (out of 5) Arthur Conan Doyle’s eternal detective hero has seen better days when this film begins, a now frail old man (portrayed by Ian McKellen) who has left Baker Street and installed himself in a Sussex home with a stiff-backed housekeeper (Laura Linney, playing unconvincing Britishness) and her adoring, Holmes-expert son (Milo Parker,…

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The Fifth Estate

BB.5 (out of 5) The saga of Julian Assange is given the cinematic treatment by Bill Condon, with Benedict Cumberbatch doing an uncanny riff on the man and an excellent Daniel Brühl as his sidekick, Daniel Berg. The two of them start as journalists with a conscience when their first major project, to reveal the identities of crooked financiers…

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Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus

BB.5 (out of 5) Steven Shainberg follows up his breakout success Secretary with another film that promises to bring life on the margins to the forefront but is not nearly as boundary-busting as it thinks it is.  It’s a fictional story set amid a real one, at the point of famed photographer Diane Arbus’s early…

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The General’s Daughter

B (out of 5) The worst film of the year is this blundering psychological murder mystery starring John Travolta (in a hackneyed performance) and Madeleine Stowe (looking like she wandered onto the set by accident). Travolta plays a military officer who is assigned to investigate the occurrences surrounding a young female officer found bound, gagged, raped and…

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