The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018)

ETHAN COEN, JOEL COEN Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.  USA, 2018.  Annapurna Pictures, Annapurna Television, Mike Zoss Productions.  Screenplay by Joel Coen, Ethan Coen, segment All Gold Canyon based on a story by Jack London, segment The Gal Who Got Rattled inspired by a story by Stewart Edward White.  Cinematography by Bruno Delbonnel.  Produced by Ethan Coen, Joel Coen,…

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The Lost City Of Z

BBBB (out of 5) James Gray’s Two Lovers ends with its protagonist being forced to settle for what he can have and not where his fantasies take him, realizing that life can still be bearable in such circumstances; this exquisite period film, based on the true story of early twentieth-century explorers, informs us of what happens when a person refuses…

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Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix

BBB.5 (out of 5) Year five and counting. Following the tete-a-tete between Harry Potter and Voldemort (a noseless Ralph Fiennes) and the unfortunate demise of Harry’s friend Cedric in the last installment, the magical world of witches and wizards is steeped into a frenzy of paranoid conservatism: the leader of the Ministry of Magic refuses…

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Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 1

B.5 (out of 5) Films that began as a series of imaginative adventures have descended into self-important, jargon-spouting fan conventions that defy all manner of patience. This adaptation of half of J.K. Rowling’s final literary chapter in one of the most popular book franchises in publishing history is much ado about nothing, an opportunity to…

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Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban

BBBB (out of 5) Year three has begun, and this time Harry Potter feels like he’s ready for anything.  After defeating You-Know-Who (twice!) he is suddenly back in the throes of peril when a raving madman (a wonderfully vibrant Gary Oldman) linked to the evil Lord Voldemort escapes from the seemingly inescapable Azkaban prison and…

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Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets

BBBB.5 (out of 5) It’s Year Two for your favourite little wizard, and the new term isn’t bring anything but trouble.  Initially warned against returning to the Hogwarts school of magic by a precocious little elf-servant, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) eventually makes it to the magical campus only to discover that he and his fellow students…

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