The Last Samurai

BBB.5 (out of 5) After participating in a number of Civil War battles (many of which helped decimate the populations of natives in North America), an embittered, drunken veteran (Tom Cruise) follows his superior officers to Japan in search of big money. He has been hired by the emperor to train the country’s army in…

Rate this:

The Return (Vozvrashchenie) (2003)

ANDREY ZVYAGINTSEV Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB.  Russia, 2003.  Ren Film.   Screenplay by Vladimir Moiseenko, Aleksandr Novototskiy-Vlasov.  Cinematography by Mikhail Krichman.  Produced by Dmitriy Lesnevskiy.  Music by Andrey Dergachev.  Production Design by Zhanna Pakhomova.  Costume Design by Anna Bartuli.  Film Editing by Vladimir Mogilevskiy.  Golden Globe Awards 2003.  Toronto International Film Festival 2003. Adolescent brothers growing up in the starkness of a Russian coastal village are bowled over when…

Rate this:

Under The Tuscan Sun

BBBB (out of 5) After barely surviving a nasty and devastating divorce, a literary critic (Diane Lane) goes on an Italian vacation on the suggestion of her best friend (Sandra Oh) and ends up falling in love with the Tuscan countryside. Despite its being a risky idea, Lane purchases a rundown villa and decides to…

Rate this:

Girl With A Pearl Earring

BBBB.5 (out of 5) A young Dutch girl (Scarlett Johansson) from an impoverished family is sent to work as a maid in the house of painter Johannes Vermeer in 17th century Holland. She is immediately treated with ignorance from the lady of the house (Essie Davis) and cruelty from one of the painter’s children (Alakina…

Rate this:

Freaky Friday

BBBB (out of 5) Surprisingly terrific adaptation of the comedy that originally starred Jodie Foster and Barbara Harris. Jamie Lee Curtis plays an overworked therapist and mother who is about to get married to her boyfriend (Mark Harmon), despite the emotional objections of her difficult teenaged daughter (Lindsay Lohan). The two fight about various mother-daughter conflict…

Rate this:

Pirates Of The Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl

BB.5 (out of 5) A young woman (Keira Knightley) grows up in British-controlled Jamaica hoping for all the things that “modern” women in period movies long for: a marriage to someone with integrity (i.e. he’s not as rich as her but doesn’t mind), lots of crazy adventure and the chance to reject nasty men. She…

Rate this:

Bad Santa

BBB (out of 5) Billy Bob Thornton plays an alcoholic, foul-mouthed, angry thief who gets jobs in department stores during the Christmas season as Santa Claus in order to crack into store safes. On their latest gig, he and his assistant, a pint-sized fellow with an equally colourful vocabulary, risk losing it all when Thornton…

Rate this:

Veronica Guerin

BBBB (out of 5) Cate Blanchett is mesmerizing in this tragic true story of a journalist whose work helped turn the tide of drug-related crime in Dublin in the mid-1990s. Veronica Guerin works for the Sunday Independent as a lightweight feature editor until she convinces her editor to let her pursue heavier subject matter, eventually coming…

Rate this:

Seabiscuit

BBB.5 (out of 5) What do an abandoned horse jockey, a grieving millionaire car manufacturer and an unemployed horse whisperer have in common? Fate, for it seems that it will bring them together to be a part of the success of a racehorse who will symbolize the hope of Depression-era America. After losing his son…

Rate this:

House Of Sand And Fog

BBBB (out of 5) Following the death of her father, a house cleaner (Jennifer Connelly) is evicted from his house when she ignores her mail for too many months and leaves taxes unpaid. It is immediately bought up at a very cheap price by an Iranian immigrant (Ben Kingsley) who plans on selling it at…

Rate this:

Something’s Gotta Give

BBBB (out of 5) Jack Nicholson is vacationing with much younger girlfriend Amanda Peet at her Hamptons home when he collapses and has a heart attack. Forced to stay at her getaway until he recovers, he ends up stuck with her Broadway playwright mother (Diane Keaton) and the two fall in love. It then remains to be…

Rate this:

School Of Rock

BBBB (out of 5) An immature, overgrown rocker (Jack Black) gets a wake-up call when his failing rock band fires him and he is need of quick cash to pay the rent. Deciding to take advantage of an opportunity that comes his way, he poses as his substitute teacher roommate (Mike White, who also wrote…

Rate this: