A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2014)

BBBB (out of 5) Not a film adaptation but a filmed performance of Julie Taymor’s production for Theatre For A New Audience, arranged especially for cinematic adaptation.  Taymor recorded a number of performances, including one with an invited audience that situated the camera on stage and, as a result, keeps the performance situation intact but allows it…

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The Naked Gun: From The Files Of Police Squad

BBBB (out of 5) The first entry of the popular comedy series is definitely the best. Based on the television show Police Squad!, it actually achieved much more fame as a film series than it ever did on the small screen.  Leslie Nielsen is terrific as the deadpan policeman who somehow manages to solve cases without…

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13 Going On 30

BBBB (out of 5) It’s 1987, and 13 year-old Jenna Rink is desperate to fit in with the cool kids at school. She even goes as far as alienating her geeky best friend Matt at her birthday party in order to impress ‘in-crowd’ ringleader Lucy. When she’s sprinkled with some birthday wishing dust and announces…

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The Out-Of-Towners

BB.5 (out of 5) Remarkably unremarkable comedy that should have been better considering the talent involved; on the other hand, Neil Simon’s original script didn’t exactly turn heads when it was first filmed in 1969, so why on earth would doing it again make it any better?  Goldie Hawn and Steve Martin ably fill in for Jack…

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Batman Forever

BBB (out of 5) Gone are the good old days of Tim Burton’s menacingly creepy Gotham City. Director Joel Schumacher has turned the Caped Crusader’s hometown into a bloated colour parade, beautifully designed but also a bit ridiculous. This time, Batman (Val Kilmer filling in for Michael Keaton) must tackle two new villains, the Riddler (a…

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The Client

BBBB (out of 5) The best John Grisham novel adaptation made so far (and most likely ever) is this excellent thriller starring newcomer Brad Renfro as a young Louisiana pre-teen who witnesses a suicide by a prominent big city lawyer. It turns out that the victim in question was the advocate for a known leader of…

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Auto Focus

BB.5 (out of 5) Paul Schrader has once again delved into the seedier side of life in this marginally successful biopic about Bob Crane (Greg Kinnear), most famous for his leading role on the television series Hogan’s Heroes. What most fans didn’t know about him until after his mysterious murder in the mid-seventies was that…

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The Pope Of Greenwich Village

BBB.5 (out of 5) Great character study whose shoddy plotting and weak direction is overcome by two sterling performances. Mickey Rourke and Eric Roberts are terrific as New York City tough guys who desperately want to be worthy of a Martin Scorsese gangster epic but can only manage to barely make an impression on their…

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Beaches

BBB.5 (out of 5) Bette Midler‘s career as producer got off to a terrific start with this smash box office success. She plays a brash, charismatic singer, Jewish from humble New York  beginnings, who maintains a close friendship with a conservative Connecticut WASP (Barbara Hershey) from childhood through to their adult years. In between their…

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Splash

BBBB.5 (out of 5) One of Ron Howard’s best movies and a wonderful opportunity to see Daryl Hannah at her most charming. She plays a mermaid who wanders out of the sea and straight into the life of New York City businessman Tom Hanks.  At first not knowing the language, she learns English from television and…

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Changing Lanes

BBBB (out of 5) Compelling Hollywood thriller with Ben Affleck and Samuel L. Jackson as random strangers thrown together by destiny when their cars collide on a New York Freeway. Jackson is on his way to divorce court, while Affleck, a hotshot lawyer from a giant Manhattan firm, is late for a court date of…

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Presumed Innocent

BBB.5 (out of 5) Harrison Ford plays a well-respected prosecutor (with a geeky buzz cut) whose girlfriend (Greta Scacchi) is viciously murdered shortly after he has seen her. The fact that he already has a wife (Bonnie Bedelia) spells very bad trouble for him, and he immediately becomes the prime suspect in the case. Raul Julia is…

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