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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Live By Night

BB.5 (out of 5) Ben Affleck returns to the writings of Dennis Lehane, whose novel Gone Baby Gone was his directorial debut nine years earlier.  He stars as a small-time Boston thug whose conflict with a powerful Irish rum runner propels him to become a big-time Florida gangster working for the Italian mob family who want to run the Irish…

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Hail, Caesar!

B.5 (out of 5) It’s 1951 and the post-war boom that has made America the leading industrial country in the world is reflected in the glorious movies being made in Hollywood. Josh Brolin plays the problem solver for a fictional movie studio whose job is to keep stars in line and their projects on track,…

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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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Inside Llewyn Davis

BBBB.5 (out of 5) Another terrific example of how magical the Coen Brothers can be when they let go their desire to be cute about their favourite movie genres.  This indelibly perfect tribute to the folk music scene in 1960s Greenwich Village has a superb Oscar Isaac as the title character, struggling and failing to…

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Baby Mama

BB (out of 5) A highly successful business woman (Tina Fey) finds herself anxious to become a mother but unwilling to wait for her Prince Charming. Deciding to have a child on her own, she is frustrated by adoption waiting lists and her own oddly-shaped uterus, and so turns to the next logical solution: surrogacy….

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Moneyball

BBB (out of 5) With the Oakland Athletics soon to suffer the loss of star players and the ball club not in its pinkest years, general manager Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) has to find a way to put together a crack team of athletes on a constricted budget that will hopefully yield results on the…

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Capote

BBBB (out of 5) Amid the successes of his first novel Other Voices, Other Rooms and short stories (including Breakfast At Tiffany’s), Truman Capote (Philip Seymour Hoffman) takes a strange turn in his career by insisting to his New Yorker editor (Bob Balaban) that he must cover the police investigation and subsequent trial of two…

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Fair Game (2010)

BBBB (out of 5) Riveting true story of Valerie Plame, a CIA operative whose cover was blown by the Bush administration in an effort to further their cause to invade Iraq.  Naomi Watts is compelling as Plame, a woman whose work in the field is key in sending back information as to the nature of the…

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The Devil Wears Prada

BBBB (out of 5) This movie is fabulous with a capital snap! Adapted from Lauren Weisberger’s popular novel, it features Meryl Streep as an Anna Wintour-esque magazine editor (commonly referred to as ‘Dragon Lady’) who makes life hell for a young journalist (Anne Hathaway) looking to survive her first big job in the Big Apple. Hathaway…

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True Grit (2010)

BBBB (out of 5) Hailee Steinfeld is excellent as a fourteen year-old girl who leaves her rural county to head to the big city and find the man who shot her father. Having deduced his name and the direction in which he has headed, this young spitfire works a miraculous deal with a banker in order…

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Away We Go

BBBB (out of 5) Maya Rudolph and John Krasinski are approaching one of life’s most dangerous adventures—parenthood. Well into their pregnancy, the couple are devastated when his free-wheeling parents (Jeff Daniels, Catherine O’Hara) announce that they have decided to finally follow their dreams, sell their house and move to Europe. This leaves our heroic duo feeling like…

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