Paterson

BBBB (out of 5) Adam Driver plays a New Jersey bus driver whose name matches his route, his days spent traveling the same roads again and again but his mind occupied with the poetry that he writes down in his notebook.  At night he goes home to his delightful, artistic girlfriend (Golshifteh Farahani) and then takes his…

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Storytelling

BB (out of 5) Todd Solondz follows two exceptionally good features with a rare misfire, a dull and humourless examination of societal self-image split in two parts.  The first, “Fiction”, has college student Selma Blair attending a creative writing class with her boyfriend, witnessing his work savaged by students and teacher alike and having their relationship…

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Brothers

BB (out of 5) Remake of the Danish film by Susanne Bier is hampered by a dull script and painfully inappropriate casting. Siblings Jake Gyllenhaal and Tobey Maguire are complete opposites in ways that do not harm their relationship but seem to be a problem for those around them. Soldier Maguire is studious and responsible while local…

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The Namesake

BBB.5 (out of 5) Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jhumpa Lahiri’s novel is brought to the big screen by director Mira Nair with wonderfully sentimental results. A Bengali man who has been living abroad goes back to India to find a wife, brings her to New York and they raise two children. The first of them, a son,…

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Trapped

BB (out of 5) It’s Kidnap By Numbers in this humdrum thriller that never has a single scary moment. Charlize Theron plays Alpha Mother Victim, a woman whose sickeningly sweet daughter (Dakota Fanning) is kidnapped before her very eyes and one of the captors (Kevin Bacon) stays behind to keep an eye on her. Meanwhile, across…

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Synecdoche, New York

BB (out of 5) Charlie Kaufman decides to forgo the intelligent interpretations of his zany scribblings by the likes of Michel Gondry and Spike Jonze and here directs for the first time. Oddly enough, the film looks and feels exactly the way it would if it were directed by the likes of Michel Gondry or…

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River’s Edge

BB.5 (out of 5) After a disturbed teenager murders his girlfriend and leaves her body by a river, he tells his friends about it. They all decide to keep it a secret after seeing the body for themselves, completely undisturbed by the sight of murder right in front of them, but two members of the…

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Broken Rainbow

BBBB (out of 5) America’s devastating history of strife between European and native citizens is examined in this haunting, heartbreaking documentary. It concerns the controversy that arose in 1974 when the U.S. government decided that the citizens of a Navajo reservation in Arizona would be moved off their land, supposedly in the name of “bettering”…

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Trial By Jury

BB.5 (out of 5) A year after this film was released, Demi Moore starred in its carbon copy The Juror, and neither of them are particularly memorable. Joanne Whalley plays a public citizen selected to serve on a courtroom jury in a case involving a powerful mobster on trial for murder. When one of the defendant’s…

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Visions Of Light

BBBB (out of 5) Movies about movies are always entertaining, and this beautiful film about the art of cinematography is no exception. The filmmakers have interviewed a group of cinematographers from recent decades as they talk about the films that have influenced their work and the experiences that they went through on the projects they…

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Broken Flowers

BBBB (out of 5) Offbeat, dryly humorous tale in which Bill Murray is Lost In Translation-level good as an aging Don Juan (aptly named Don Johnson) whose latest girlfriend has just left him after deciding not to put up with his emotional unavailability any longer. Soon afterwards he receives an unsigned letter from a former…

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Coffee And Cigarettes

BB.5 (out of 5) Familiar faces are assembled and given the opportunity to do some riffing in this film experiment by Jim Jarmusch. Each segment has two or three characters (mostly celebrities playing fictional versions of themselves) meeting over the titular indulgence and conversing on random cares of life, with a few themes repeating themselves over…

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