Life (2017)

DANIEL ESPINOSA Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BB.5.  USA, 2017.  Columbia Pictures, Skydance Media.  Screenplay by Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick.  Cinematography by Seamus McGarvey.  Produced by Bonnie Curtis, David Ellison, Dana Goldberg, Julie Lynn.  Music by Jon Ekstrand.  Production Design by Nigel Phelps.  Costume Design by Jenny Beavan.  Film Editing by Mary Jo Markey, Frances Parker.   The crew aboard an international space station orbiting Earth capture a probe returning…

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Speed Racer

B (out of 5) A strong contender for Most Annoying Film Of All Time, adapted from the popular Japanese television series by the Wachowskis to look like a cartoon in live-action form.  What it actually looks like is a late-night commercial that you cannot escape, with constantly overlapping imagery, intentionally false backdrops and queasily colourful interiors occasionally…

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The Railway Man

BBB (out of 5) After meeting on a train, former nurse Nicole Kidman falls madly in love with train enthusiast and World War II veteran Colin Firth and feels no hesitation when he asks for her hand in marriage. After the nuptials, Firth’s behavior exhibits signs of past trauma that turns out to be the residual…

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Mr. Holmes (2015)

BILL CONDON Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BB.5.  United Kingdom/USA, 2015.  Miramax, Roadside Attractions, BBC Films, FilmNation Entertainment, Archer Gray, See-Saw Films, Twenty First City.  Screen story by Mitch Cullin, Screenplay by Jeffrey Hatcher, based on the novel A Slight Trick of the Mind by Mitch Cullin, from characters created by Arthur Conan Doyle.  Cinematography by Tobias A. Schliessler.  Produced by Iain Canning,…

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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…

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Rush Hour 3

B (out of 5) An unmitigated mess that does very little to bring back the joy and fun of the original film from 1998.  Big-mouth Chris Tucker and crazy-moves Jackie Chan are reunited once again to fight Chinese Triad gangsters, this time going from Los Angeles to Paris in their effort to uncover the identity of a…

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The Ring (Ringu)

BBBB (out of 5) The original film that the Naomi Watts vehicle was based on is a much more enjoyable chiller with a much less confusing ending. A Tokyo journalist discovers that her cousin’s recent death was possibly the result of watching a cursed videotape that kills its viewer seven days after it is first…

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The Twilight Samurai (Tasogare seibei)

BBBB.5 (out of 5) A nineteenth-century samurai guard in the employ of a local clan prince is teased for his straight-laced ways: his fellow retainers spend their evenings drinking, gambling and among loose women, while “Twilight” Seibei goes home to take care of his two daughters and aging, senile mother. Following the death of his…

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The City Of Your Final Destination

BBB (out of 5) Doctoral candidate Omar Metwally longs to write a biography on a deceased South American writer in order to earn his degree, but is thwarted by the refusal of the author’s family to allow him access to any research material.  Knowing that the denial of his project means no further funding or…

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Sunshine

BBB.5 (out of 5) Although it sags somewhat in the middle and introduces an extraneous subplot in its last third that is very much out of place, Sunshine is still a brain-powered science-fiction film that dazzles the eye and gives the brain something of a workout as well. A group of scientists travel aboard a…

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