Louder Than Bombs

BB (out of 5) A family is in shreds following the death of their matriarch (Isabelle Huppert), a photographer famous for her unflinching images of conflict zones who gave up war zones for suburbia and died in a car accident.  Her husband (Gabriel Byrne) is at a loss as to how to communicate with his angst-ridden…

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The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

BB.5 (out of 5) The surprise runaway box office success of the first film draws the entire cast back to India for another visit to the titular establishment, where retired Brits on a fixed income can live their last days in a kind of luxury that England could never provide.  Judi Dench is now established as…

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The Tempest (2010)

BB.5 (out of 5) There is such promise in the pairing of Julie Taymor’s ripe visual style with one of Shakespeare’s most wondrous fantasies, and yet this one does not measure up to the power of her adaptation of Titus.  Helen Mirren is excellent as the gender-switched Prospera, who rules the rocky outpost she has lived…

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Godzilla (2014)

BB (out of 5) With the disappointment of the easily fun but canonically unfaithful Roland Emmerich adaptation of 1998 well behind it, the monster from beneath the sea has returned to Pacific shores looking like his old self again, ready to terrify thousands of screaming extras and destroy entire cities in the name of saving…

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My Blueberry Nights

BB (out of 5) Following the international success of In The Mood For Love and the critical adoration of 2046, it could come as no surprise that Wong Kar Wai’s next move would be to break into the English market. It was a project highly anticipated given the combination of his genius directorial power combined…

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Sneakers (1992)

PHIL ALDEN ROBINSON Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBB.  USA, 1992.  Universal Pictures.  Screenplay by Phil Alden Robinson, Lawrence Lasker, Walter F. Parkes.  Cinematography by John Lindley.  Produced by Lawrence Lasker, Walter F. Parkes.  Music by James Horner.  Production Design by Patrizia von Brandenstein.  Costume Design by Bernie Pollack.  Film Editing by Tom Rolf.   Robert Redford stars as a computer hacker turned security expert who is…

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Bob Roberts

BBB (out of 5) Tim Robbins stars and directs for the first time in this moderately enjoyable political comedy about a senator looking to make it big while playing folk music on his guitar. It’s an ample skewering of the world of politics, but nothing like the far superior Primary Colours would be a few years later….

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Blue Car

BB.5 (out of 5) Agnes Bruckner plays a teenage girl who is having a spectacularly difficult time adjusting to her parents’ bitter divorce while also trying to keep up with her studies in order to survive the friction that has developed between herself, her little sister and her mother (Margaret Colin). Her English teacher (David Strathairn)…

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A League Of Their Own

BBBB (out of 5) With most able-bodied men off fighting in the trenches during World War II, professional baseball team owners turn to creating a women’s league in order to keep the game alive.  A documentary about the All Girl League that lasted into the fifties has been turned by Penny Marshall into a very entertaining comedy…

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Simon Birch

BBBB (out of 5) Sweet adolescent tearjerker about a young boy (Joseph Mazzello) growing up with a warm hearted single mother (a perfectly cast Ashley Judd) and an iron-willed grandmother (Dana Ivey).  He befriends an unusually small boy (Ian Michael Smith) and experiences all sorts of crazy adventures with him. Loosely inspired by John Irving’s…

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William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream

B.5 (out of 5) Uneven adaptation of Shakespeare’s classic fantasy play that will seem choppy and badly edited even to those completely unfamiliar with the original. Director Michael Lehmann has eliminated so much of Shakepeare’s original plot that no character stands out (Puck, for instance, is rendered a sideline character who occasionally pops up) and…

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Fracture

BB (out of 5) Selling your soul for cash is not without consequences, as Ryan Gosling learns in this tepid thriller.  It’s a film mainly designed to give Gosling another opportunity to rub his eyes and chin for two hours and let Anthony Hopkins phone in his Silence Of The Lambs performance from a faraway vacation spot….

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