The Happy Prince (2018)

RUPERT EVERETT Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.  United Kingdom/Belgium/Italy/Germany, 2018.  Maze Pictures, Entre Chien et Loup, Palomar, Cine Plus Filmproduktion, Robert Fox Limited, BBC Films, Centre du Cinéma et de l’Audiovisuel de la Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles, Daryl Prince Productions, Heimatfilm, Raindog Films.  Screenplay by Rupert Everett.  Cinematography by John Conroy.  Produced by Sebastien Delloye, Philipp Kreuzer, Jörg Schulze.  Music by Gabriel…

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It’s Only The End Of The World (Juste La Fin Du Monde)

BB (out of 5) Gaspard Ulliel is heading home to his exasperating mother (Nathalie Baye), boorish brother (Vincent Cassel) and rebellious sister (Léa Seydoux) to deliver some big news: he is dying.  When he arrives, he meets his sister in law (Marion Cotillard) and is immediately set upon by the others who have a world’s worth…

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Map Of The Human Heart

BBB (out of 5) In Vincent Ward’s lush romantic drama, a young Inuit boy is sent down to Montreal from the Arctic Pole in order to survive a battle with tuberculosis. While staying at the hospital he meets and falls in love with a half-Native, half-French Canadian girl who is soon afterwards sent away. Years…

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City Of Angels

BBB.5 (out of 5) Stylish and poetic remake of Wim Wenders’ classic Wings of Desire, featuring Nicolas Cage as the wandering angel in search of his own humanity, and Meg Ryan as the love interest (now a surgeon instead of a circus performer) who inspires him to fall to earth and be a mortal. Cage takes the…

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Camille Claudel

BBBB (out of 5) Like many female classical artists of yesteryear, Camille Claudel was a talented, gifted sculptor whose work has long been ignored or (mistakenly?) attributed to a male artist who worked near her. In Claudel’s case, it was the sculptor Rodin, who was a lifelong colleague, friend and sometimes lover who was an…

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A Promise

0.5 (out of 5) A waste of time if ever there was one, from a director capable of far more and a cast of actors who are not usually this lifeless.  Patrice Leconte’s foray into English-language storytelling adapts Stefan Zweig’s novel to ill effect, as young Richard Madden begins working in the factory of ailing…

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Amelia

BBBB (out of 5) Absorbing biopic of famed aviation legend Amelia Earhart (Hilary Swank) that improves greatly on the TV movie The Final Flight starring Diane Keaton. Director Mira Nair wisely touches on aspects of Earhart’s biography without going into unnecessary detail as she covers the period from the relationship between her subject and George…

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Agent Trouble

BBBB (out of 5) A hitchhiker travelling through the snowy regions of northern France comes across a tour bus packed with tourists who all turn out to be dead. He comes back to Paris and tells his museum librarian aunt (Catherine Deneuve, hilarious in curly red wig and glasses) before being brutally murdered. Convinced his…

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Manolete (Blood & Passion) (A Matador’s Mistress) (The Passion Within)

BB.5 (out of 5) Weak attempt at a film biopic of famous bullfighter Manuel Sanchez, starring a miscast Adrien Brody as the torero and Penelope Cruz as the woman blamed for his downfall. Nationally famous for his skills at taking out his four-legged opponents in the ring, Manolete is bewitched by Lupe (Cruz) and begins to romance…

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Message In A Bottle

BBB.5 (out of 5) Poetic cinematography and an unapologetically hammy romantic feel will go over extremely well with those in the mood for melodrama. Robin Wright is excellent as a single woman who discovers a bottle on the beach with a letter inside. After much extensive research she traces the bottle back to a seashore-abiding widowed…

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Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky

BBB.5 (out of 5) The lesser known of the two big-screen Coco Chanel films of 2009 is not as accessible but is sexier than Coco Before Chanel (a year before, an unwatchable TV-movie biopic was also made starring Shirley MacLaine). Here, Anna Mouglalis plays the architect of the twentieth-century fashion industry past the point of emotional…

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Possession (2002)

BBB (out of 5) A.S. Byatt’s richly romantic novel has been adapted to the big screen with partially successful results. An American research assistant (Aaron Eckhart) comes across evidence that the 19th-century poet he is studying (Jeremy Northam) could have possibly had a romance with a contemporary colleague (Jennifer Ehle). He teams up with the…

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