Career Girls (1997)

MIKE LEIGH Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.  United Kingdom/France, 1997.  Channel Four Films, Thin Man Films, Matrix Films, Channel 4 Television Corporation.  Screenplay by Mike Leigh.   Cinematography by Dick Pope.  Produced by Simon Channing Williams.  Music by Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Tony Remy.  Production Design by Eve Stewart.  Film Editing by Robin Sales. Mike Leigh scores a rare misfire with this drab story…

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Distant Voices, Still Lives (1988)

TERENCE DAVIES Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBBB.  United Kingdom/West Germany, 1988.  British Film Institute, Channel Four Films, Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen.  Screenplay by Terence Davies.  Cinematography by William Diver, Patrick Duval.  Produced by Jennifer Howarth.  Production Design by Jocelyn James, Miki Van Zwanenberg.  Costume Design by Monica Howe.  Film Editing by William Diver.  Toronto International Film Festival 1988. Terence Davies follows three celebrated shorts that touched…

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Carla’s Song (1996)

KEN LOACH Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBB.5.  United Kingdom/Spain/Germany, 1996.  Alta Films, Channel Four Films, Degeto Film, Filmstiftung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Institute of Culture, Parallax Pictures, Road Movies Dritte Produktionen, Television Espanola, The Glasgow Film Fund, Tornasol Films.  Screenplay by Paul Laverty.  Cinematography by Barry Ackroyd.  Produced by Sally Hibbin.  Music by George Fenton.  Production Design by Martin Johnson.  Costume Design by Daphne Dare, Lena…

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Backbeat

BBBB (out of 5) The early days of the Beatles are definitely a part of their history that isn’t as widely celebrated as their later years of super fame. Here we get a glimpse into their humble beginnings when bass player Stuart Sutcliffe (formerly a painter) was originally with the band, and how his relationship…

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The War Zone

BB (out of 5) An English family leave the bustle of London to live in a quiet, rural home in the countryside. Father (Ray Winstone) does his best to improve the house while his wife (Tilda Swinton) tends to their newborn baby, leaving their daughter to make new friends and their son to be alone…

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The Winter Guest

BB (out of 5) Dour film concerning the lives of various residents of a tiny Scottish hamlet. The main focus of the story is the difficult relationship between an estranged daughter and mother (Emma Thompson and Phyllida Law, real-life daughter and mother). Gary Hollywood is a stand-out as Thompson’s emotionally conflicted son, and the actors…

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A Month In The Country

BBB.5 (out of 5) This mild British drama features powerful acting and a warm, enveloping storyline as it follows three post-World War I characters and their experiences in a small English village. Colin Firth is an artist who has shown up to restore a five centuries-old mural that has been hidden under layers of white paint…

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Dancing At Lughnasa

BBB (out of 5) Brian Friel’s stageplay about a family of five Irish sisters living in Donegal comes to the screen with a lot of love but not much purpose. Let yourself get carried away with the excellent performances or wonderful music or maybe just the beautiful scenery, and you’ll have a good enough time…

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Solomon And Gaenor

BB.5 (out of 5) Beautifully photographed but dull romance about the forbidden love between a Jewish rag man and a Welsh woman in turn of the century Wales. Ioan Gruffudd is excellent as Solomon, a romantic idealist who doesn’t realize how much trouble he’s getting himself into when he befriends and then courts the lovely…

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El Norte

BBBB (out of 5) Brother and sister Enrique and Rosa must flee Guatemala after their father is killed for taking part in anti-capitalist politics and their mother is hauled off to jail. They make it to Mexico before a harrowing journey takes them northward to California, where they find what they consider to be freedom:…

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Kama Sutra: A Tale Of Love

BB.5 (out of 5) Sumptuously photographed but emotionally flat love story based in Indian folklore. A servant girl named Maya is brought up in the house of princess Tara until she is rejected by her mistress (Sarita Choudhury) when Tara’s new prince husband (Naveen Andrews) has sex with Maya on their wedding night. Having to…

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Alive And Kicking (Indian Summer)

BBBB (out of 5) Vibrant, touching film about an emotionally unavailable, HIV-positive ballet dancer (Jason Flemyng) who falls in love with an insecure therapist (Antony Sher). The two meet at a dance club, and despite having absolutely nothing in common, find that they can’t resist each other. When Flemyng’s illness becomes a concern, he has…

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