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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Inherent Vice (2014)

PAUL THOMAS ANDERSON Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBB.  USA, 2014.  Ghoulardi Film Company, Warner Bros., IAC Films, RatPac-Dune Entertainment.  Screenplay by Paul Thomas Anderson, based on the novel by Thomas Pynchon.  inematography by Robert Elswit.  Produced by Paul Thomas Anderson, Daniel Lupi, JoAnne Sellar.  Music by Jonny Greenwood.  Production Design by David Crank.  Costume Design by Mark Bridges.  Film Editing by Leslie Jones.  Academy Awards 2014.  Golden Globe…

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Ned Rifle

BBB.5 (out of 5) Hal Hartley follows up Henry Fool and Fay Grim with more dark, wry explorations of his fascinating world of troubled characters. Liam Aiken is now fully grown and living in witness protection, a caution that is no longer necessary when his mother (Parker Posey) is imprisoned for terrorist activity. Aiken has taken…

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The Giver

BBB (out of 5) In this humorless update of Logan’s Run, Brenton Thwaites plays a young man who has grown up in a post-apocalyptic society, humanity having perfected cohabitation on a reduced Earth by removing all traces of emotional insecurity. Medication keeps all passions at their lowest possible levels, humans are born factory-style in labs and…

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Alfie (2004)

BB.5 (out of 5) A British limousine driver (Jude Law) living in New York plays the field of romance with a score of different women, avoiding commitment issues with each of them in an attempt to live the life of the perfect, untouchable bachelor. His game looks to end, however, when a bunch of life-changing…

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Cousin Bette

BBBB.5 (out of 5) Critics and audiences unfortunately ignored this delightful though admittedly loose adaptation of Honore de Balzac’s searing novel. Jessica Lange is excellent as Bette, the passed-over old-maid relation of an impoverished society family who decides after having her potential lover Wenceslas (Aden Young) stolen from under her nose by young cousin Hortense (Kelly Macdonald),…

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The Big Brass Ring

BB.5 (out of 5) Orson Welles’ previously unfilmed script is resurrected by George Hickenlooper, who applies his mundane talents for an uninspiring screen experience.  William Hurt is a presidential hopeful whose increasing popularity is countered with some very unfortunate skeletons in his closet: an old friend (Nigel Hawthorne) contacts an eager journalist (Irène Jacob) and…

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The Notorious Bettie Page

BBB.5 (out of 5) One of the most curious careers to survive the collective memory of popular culture is that of Bettie Page, a Tennessee girl who shows up in New York in the late forties with dreams of making it as an actress. With her pretty face and fine figure, modelling is a great…

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Kinsey

BBBB (out of 5) This film reminds me of the line that Ben Kingsley delivers in Merchant Ivory’s adaptation of E.M. Forster’s Maurice: “England has always been disinclined to accept human nature.” Substitute England for the current empire of the good ole’ US Of Bush-A, and you’ve got this film’s target in a nutshell. When…

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