Legends Of The Fall

BBBB (out of 5) Three brothers grow up with their father on a sprawling Montana ranch, living wild, boisterous lives until tragedy strikes each of them (and all of it brought about by a woman, go figure). The middle son, played by Brad Pitt, is the heart and soul of the clan, experiencing the most…

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The Last Samurai

BBB.5 (out of 5) After participating in a number of Civil War battles (many of which helped decimate the populations of natives in North America), an embittered, drunken veteran (Tom Cruise) follows his superior officers to Japan in search of big money. He has been hired by the emperor to train the country’s army in…

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Simpatico

BB.5 (out of 5) Moderately successful character drama is actually an improvement over Sam Shepard’s talky and convoluted play. Jeff Bridges plays a successful Kentucky racehorse mogul whose dirty past is brought back to haunt him by Nick Nolte, an old high school friend who was part of the crooked deal that made Bridges wealthy.  Sharon…

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Seraphim Falls

B (out of 5) Liam Neeson and his posse chase Pierce Brosnan relentlessly through the forests and across the desert of post-Civil War USA in this uninteresting drama. Why he’s after him is left a complete mystery until long after you’ve realized that you don’t have a single emotion invested in either of these characters. Along the…

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Cloud Atlas

BB.5 (out of 5) A scientist in the late nineteenth century is beset by illness while on an ocean voyage; a composer in England in the 1930s becomes assistant to a cantankerous legend in his field; a reporter in 1970s America investigates the shady dealings of a nuclear power corporation; a struggling publisher in 2012…

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Tropic Thunder

BBBB (out of 5) Ben Stiller continues his assault on the pretensions of show business with this hilarious follow-up to Zoolander. This time Hollywood itself is the target of the acidic humour as a once-famous, now crumbling action movie star (Stiller), a drug-addicted comedian (Jack Black) and a multiple award-winning, troubled but devoted actor (Robert Downey…

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It’s Complicated

BBB (out of 5) Ten years after her husband (Alec Baldwin) left her for a much younger woman, Meryl Streep is a confident and adjusted single woman with three kids and a collection of good girlfriends. When she attends her son’s graduation in New York City and finds her ex there alone, the two of them…

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Captain Corelli’s Mandolin

JOHN MADDEN Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BB.5.  United Kingdom/France/USA, 2001.  Universal Pictures, StudioCanal, Miramax, Working Title Films, Free Range Films, Canal+.  Screenplay by Shawn Slovo, based on the novel by Louis de Bernieres.  Cinematography by John Toll.  Produced by Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Mark Huffam, Kevin Loader.  Music by Stephen Warbeck.  Production Design by Jim Clay.  Costume Design by Alexandra Byrne.  Film Editing by…

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The Odd Life Of Timothy Green

B (out of 5) A childless couple (Joel Edgerton, Jennifer Garner) are told by their doctor that there is no hope that they will ever conceive despite all the medical interventions they have attempted.  In their grief and disappointment, the pair imagine out loud the perfect child they dream of having, one who has great…

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Elizabethtown

B (out of 5) Cameron Crowe’s successor to the wonderful films Jerry Maguire and Almost Famous is this unmitigated mess that tries to capture the best of both films (basically the quirky romance and kickass soundtrack).  Orlando Bloom plays a designer for a sportswear corporation who loses his company a billion dollars when his innovative design…

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Vanilla Sky

BB.5 (out of 5) Useless remake of Alejandro Amenabar’s terrifying Spanish thriller Open Your Eyes now has Tom Cruise as a rich and handsome young man whose face is disfigured after a jealous woman (Cameron Diaz) with whom he casually trysts from time to time crashes her car and kills herself with him in it. His…

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Almost Famous

BBBB (out of 5) Cameron Crowe pays a wonderful tribute to rock-and-roll of the seventies with an ensemble cast that ranges from terrific (Fairuza Balk really stands out) to terrible (Anna Paquin really stands out). The story follows a young teenage reporter (Patrick Fugit) who writes for Rolling Stone magazine and is doing a cover…

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