Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017)

LUC BESSON Bil’s rating (out of 5):  B.  France/China/Belgium/Germany/United Arab Emirates/USA/United Kingdom/Canada, 2017.  EuropaCorpm, Fundamental Films, Grive Productions, Gulf Film, Novo Pictures, Orange Studio, River Road Entertainment, TF1 Films Production, Universum Film.  Screenplay by Luc Besson, based on the comic book series Valerian and Laureline by Pierre Christin, Jean-Claude Mezieres.  Cinematography by Thierry Arbogast.  Produced by Luc Besson, Virginie Besson-Silla.  Music by Alexandre…

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Atomic Blonde (2017)

DAVID LEITCH Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBB.5.   Germany/Sweden/USA, 2017.   87Eleven, Closed On Mondays Entertainment, Denver and Delilah Productions, Film i Vast, T.G.I.M. Films.  Screenplay by Kurt Johnstad, based on the Oni Press graphic novel series The Coldest City by Antony Johnston, Sam Hart.  Cinematography by Jonathan Sela.  Produced by A.J. Dix, Eric Gitter, Beth Kono, Kelly McCormick, Peter…

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Kong: Skull Island

BBB.5 (out of 5) Monkey trouble doesn’t even begin to describe what a scientific expedition and ists military escort experience when the assessment of the geological properties of an uncharted island reveals the place to have more than a few aggressive inhabitants.  With the Vietnam War winding down and the American government looking to increase its power in the…

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Patriots Day (2016)

PETER BERG Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BB.5.  USA, 2016.  Bluegrass Films, CBS Films, Closest To The Hole Productions, Hutch Parker Entertainment, TIK Films.  Story by Peter Berg, Matt Cook, Paul Tamasy, Eric Johnson, Screenplay by Peter Berg, Matt Cook, Joshua Zetumer.  Cinematography by Tobias A. Schliessler.  Produced by Dorothy Aufiero, Dylan Clark, Stephen Levinson, Hutch Parker, Michael Radutzky, Scott Stuber, Mark…

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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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Trumbo

BBB.5 (out of 5) Screenwriter Dalton Trumbo (played here by Bryan Cranston) easily became a prime target for the HUAC during the height of the Red Scare: gregarious, charismatic and a card-carrying Communist party member for years, Trumbo sees the congressional hearings as a blight on the First Amendment and, despite the suggestion of his peers,…

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Storytelling

BB (out of 5) Todd Solondz follows two exceptionally good features with a rare misfire, a dull and humourless examination of societal self-image split in two parts.  The first, “Fiction”, has college student Selma Blair attending a creative writing class with her boyfriend, witnessing his work savaged by students and teacher alike and having their relationship…

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One Night At McCool’s

B (out of 5) Liv Tyler gives a sexy performance in the best tradition of film noir goddesses as a double-crossing vixen who always gets her way. Paul Reiser, Matt Dillon and John Goodman are the seemingly innocent men who cross her path and fall instantly for her. The plot weaves and weaves like a spider spinning a…

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The Monuments Men

BB.5 (out of 5) Nazi Germany is destroying life in Europe and threatening to take over the world, and with America’s entry into the war, George Clooney wants to get involved.  The preservation of human life is the highest priority, but Clooney sees that without the curating of human culture, life is merely survival.  With…

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The Jungle Book 2

BBB.5 (out of 5) Following his last adventure (in 1967, this kid doesn’t age!), Mowgli (now voiced by Haley Joel Osment) feels awkward and out of place in the human village he lives in. The call of the wild comes to him and he reteams with Baloo (John Goodman) for some more jungle adventures, not…

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Evan Almighty

B (out of 5) If there is a God, he should do more to help prevent movies like these. In this semi-sequel to the box office hit Bruce Almighty, Steve Carell fills in for Jim Carrey as the next hapless boring white guy who gets a tap on the shoulder from the Almighty (Morgan Freeman, who…

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Punchline

BBB (out of 5) Sally Field gives a spirited performance as a bored housewife who realizes that her observations on suburban living make for great standup fare. She pursues a career in the field by attending amateur nights, and eventually finds herself squaring off with a failed med student turned comic (Tom Hanks) who at first…

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