A Star Is Born (2018)

BRADLEY COOPER Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.5.  USA, 2018.  Warner Bros. Pictures, Live Nation Productions, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Peters Entertainment, Gerber Pictures, Joint Effort, Malpaso Productions, Thunder Road Pictures.  Screenplay by Eric Roth, Bradley Cooper, Will Fetters, based on the screenplay by Moss Hart, the screenplay by John Gregory Dunne, Joan Didion and Frank Pierson, and the story by William…

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Joy

BBB (out of 5) Joy is at a point in her life where everyone is wearing her out: her mother (Virginia Madsen) watches soap operas all day and lives in a dream world, her ex-husband (Edgar Ramirez) is living in the basement, her father (Robert De Niro) has been dumped by his girlfriend and needs…

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Foxcatcher

BBBB (out of 5) The true story of wrestling champions Mark and David Schultz is brought to the screen by Bennett Miller, reuniting with Capote writer Dan Futterman (here sharing credit with E. Max Frye) for another grisly fact-based crime film told with unnerving simplicity.  The brothers were both Olympic gold medalists at the 1984…

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Fury

BBBB.5 (out of 5) The feeling that you have already seen every possible take on World War II is forgotten within minutes of this exceptional drama, one whose scenes of graphic war violence make Saving Private Ryan look like a Disney cartoon. Its gory details aside, it is also a powerful character piece about survival…

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Bodies, Rest & Motion

BB.5 (out of 5) Living in the barren landscape of Arizona, Bridget Fonda and boyfriend Tim Roth have decided to leave their life behind and make a new start in Montana.  Over the course of the next two days, they will come into contact with characters that will alter the outcome of their plans, with Roth wandering…

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Albino Alligator

BB (out of 5) Kevin Spacey’s directorial debut is this dour film about a seedy bar in New Orleans that has the night of its life when robbers hold it hostage. Presumably, we’re led to believe that watching these characters interact under stressful circumstances is the dramatic crux; unfortunately, they’re not much more interesting than…

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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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American Hustle

BB.5 (out of 5) The Abscam affair of the late seventies is reenacted in this middling comedy, one with a few laughs and some enjoyable caricatures to punctuate a slow pace and uneven direction.  Christian Bale is a career con artist who stows young wife Jennifer Lawrence at home while parading around town with his partner in…

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Into The Wild

BBBB (out of 5) Heartbreaking examination of the true story of Chris McCandless, a college graduate from a well-to-do family who decides to drop it all and head for the wilderness. Abandoning his car in the desert and hitchhiking west, McCandless (who now calls himself Alexander Supertramp) encounters kind-hearted hippies Brian H. Dierker and Catherine…

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The Crossing Guard

BBBB (out of 5) Powerful drama from director Sean Penn about a grieving father (Jack Nicholson) who is caught in a moral dilemma when the man responsible for his daughter’s death (David Morse) in a drunk driving accident is about to be released from jail. Anjelica Huston is fantastic as Nicholson’s ex-wife, who was driven away…

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The Pledge

BB.5 (out of 5) Jack Nicholson plays a retiring police officer whose small town is shocked by the rape and murder of a little girl on the night of his retirement party. Deciding to go in for just one more case, he meets the parents of the victim and vows to her heartbroken mother (Patricia Clarkson)…

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The Assassination Of Richard Nixon

BB (out of 5) It’s 1974, and Samuel Bicke (Sean Penn) is sick and tired of not being respected. His ex-wife (Naomi Watts) treats him like he’s invisible, his boss (Jack Thompson) at the furniture store he works at puts ridiculous pressure on him to make sales, and the bank is stalling on whether or…

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