Selma (2014)

AVA DuVERNAY Bil’s rating (out of 5):   BBB.5.  United Kingdom/USA, 2014.  Cloud Eight Films, Celador Films, Harpo Films, Pathe, Plan B Entertainment.  Screenplay by Paul Webb.  Cinematography by Bradford Young.  Produced by Christian Colson, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Oprah Winfrey.  Music by Jason Moran.  Production Design by Mark Friedberg.  Costume Design by Ruth E. Carter.  Film Editing by Spencer Averick.  Academy Awards 2014.  Golden Globe Awards 2014.   By 1964, the…

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Rat Race

BB.5 (out of 5) A host of stars (including three Academy Award winners) wasted their time to appear in this so-so rehash of It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. Hotel manager John Cleese is constantly looking for new ways to entertain his bored billionaire clients who are willing to bet money on anything, so he…

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What Dreams May Come

B.5 (out of 5) Robin Williams plays a happy family man, married to Annabella Sciorra, who tries to help a car accident victim and ends up getting himself killed in a highway tunnel. Next thing he knows he’s being escorted around an oil painting-inspired utopia by welcome wagon Cuba Gooding Jr., discovering the many wonderful things…

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Men Of Honor

BBBB (out of 5) Exceptionally well-made movie about Carl Brashear, the very first African-American Navy diver. Cuba Gooding Jr. gives a sturdy and unsentimental performance as the man who overcame personal and political obstacles, withstood the tests of many individuals who preferred to shut him out because of his race and endured many setbacks along…

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Zoolander

BBB (out of 5) Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson couldn’t be funnier in this one-joke film that will guarantee some worthwhile chuckles. They play dimwitted male supermodels who are being brainwashed, Manchurian Candidate-style, by a syndicate of fashion powermongers who want to assassinate a third world prime minister intent on abolishing the child labor that produces their…

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Boyz N The Hood

BBBBB (out of 5) Director John Singleton knocked the socks off the movie industry when he directed this poignant, intelligent and unforgettable drama at the age of 23. It stars Cuba Gooding Jr. as a young man growing up in the ‘hood’ of Los Angeles after his parents divorce and he goes to live with his…

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Norbit

0 (out of 5) Eddie Murphy has had a few dogs in his highly successful career, but it’s still surprising to think that this piece of garbage could involve him. Teaming up with makeup wizard Rick Baker, Murphy plays three characters: the title role, a soft-spoken dweeb who is raised in an orphanage, an (offensively stereotyped)…

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Boat Trip

B.5 (out of 5) And the Please Give Back Your Oscar Award goes to: Cuba Gooding Jr.! Okay, I’ll be fair: Are things more difficult in Hollywood for an African-American actor than they are for a white one, even an Oscar winner? Yes. Should a character actor take advantage of just about every lead offer…

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The Fighting Temptations

BB (out of 5) Years after he and his mother were kicked out of their small community in Georgia because she sang ‘the devil’s music’, a flailing New York executive (Cuba Gooding Jr.) is called back home for his aunt’s funeral. He finds out that she has left him sizeable stock options in her will,…

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Outbreak

BBBB (out of 5) When an adorable simian is brought to America from Africa illegally on a barge, it spreads a terrible virus in a small American town that kills residents and calls for a massive quarantine. Deadly Disease experts Dustin Hoffman and Rene Russo are called in to help control and understand the situation,…

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Coming To America

JOHN LANDIS Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBB.5.  USA, 1988.  Paramount Pictures, Eddie Murphy Productions.  Directed by John Landis.  Story by Eddie Murphy, Screenplay by David Sheffield, Barry W. Blaustein.  Cinematography by Sol Negrin, Woody Omens.  Produced by George Folsey Jr., Robert D. Wachs.  Music by Nile Rodgers.  Production Design by Richard Macdonald.  Costume Design by Deborah Nadoolman.  Film Editing by Malcolm Campbell, George Folsey…

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Losing Isaiah

BB.5 (out of 5) Somehow these made-for-television movies make it to the big screen. Jessica Lange plays a hospital staffer who takes a baby home after she finds it abandoned in a trash bin. After raising it for a few years, she is requested to give it back to its birth mother (Halle Berry), a former…

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