The Land of Steady Habits (2018)

NICOLE HOLOFCENER Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5.  USA, 2018.  Likely Story.  Screenplay by Nicole Holofcener, based on the novel by Ted Thompson.  Cinematography by Alar Kivilo.  Produced by Stefanie Azpiazu, Anthony Bregman.  Music by Marcelo Zarvos.  Production Design by Dina Goldman.  Costume Design by Alex Bovaird.  Film Editing by Robert Frazen.  Toronto International Film Festival 2018. Ben Mendelsohn is enjoying life in early retirement,…

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The Family Fang (2015)

JASON BATEMAN Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBB.  USA, 2015.  Aggregate Films, Red Crown Productions, Blossom Films, ML Film Productions, Olympus Pictures, Papagjika Salloway Productions, QED International.  Screenplay by David Lindsay-Abaire, based on the novel by Kevin Wilson.  Cinematography by Ken Seng.  Produced by Jason Bateman, James Garavente, Nicole Kidman, Riva Marker, Per Saari, Daniela Taplin Lundberg, Leslie Urdang, Dean Vanech.  Music by…

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That Awkward Moment

BB (out of 5) Three dapper young men in the Big Apple enjoy a city full of beautiful women while determined to stay free and easy forever.  Heartbreaker Zac Efron has sex-only relationships with girls until that “awkward moment” when they wonder if there is a future in their coupling, self-deprecating Miles Teller scores girls by having…

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Year Of The Dog

B (out of 5) Molly Shannon loses her beloved beagle to an accidental poisoning and is devastated. When she meets a pet clinic employee (Peter Sarsgaard) with a love for animals equal to hers, she thinks she has found the perfect replacement relationship until she discovers that he is celibate. Settling for the next best thing,…

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A Civil Action

BBB (out of 5) True story of a small law firm that takes on a giant corporation when it is suspected that a tannery has been allowing contaminants into the drinking water of a small town. John Travolta and an excellent William H. Macy are among the good guys who are constantly forced to come up with…

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Phone Booth

BB.5 (out of 5) Colin Farrell plays a self-important, cocky celebrity publicist who acts like he’s a hot shot but is really just a bottom feeder. Thinking the world is completely taken in by his act, he is shocked into a reality check when a pay phone rings and a strange voice tells him that he…

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It Runs In The Family

BBB (out of 5) Once again returning to the classy New York film genre that he handled so well in Six Degrees of Separation, Australian-born Fred Schepisi ably directs this enjoyable comedy-drama. It centres around the men of a privileged family who can’t seem to stop performing well below their levels of potential. Kirk Douglas (giving…

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Leaves Of Grass

BB (out of 5) Classics professor Edward Norton has worked hard to make himself the foremost scholar on ancient Greek philosophy, so much so that top Ivy League schools are starting to court him for their faculty. The future is threatened when he gets a phone call telling him that his decidedly opposite-personality but identical…

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Adventureland

BB.5 (out of 5) After his parents reveal to him that they’ve suffered a financial loss thanks to his father’s having been demoted at work, Jesse Eisenberg is devastated to learn that he cannot have his dreamed-of European vacation before beginning graduate school. Instead, he has to spend the summer working at a crummy Pennsylvania…

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The Station Agent

BBBBB (out of 5) A train enthusiast (Peter Dinklage, who effortlessly carries the entire film) finds himself alone in the world when his aging employer and best friend suddenly dies and leaves him an abandoned railway station in his will. Moving to a tiny New Jersey town to live in his new home, Dinklage, who…

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Synecdoche, New York

BB (out of 5) Charlie Kaufman decides to forgo the intelligent interpretations of his zany scribblings by the likes of Michel Gondry and Spike Jonze and here directs for the first time. Oddly enough, the film looks and feels exactly the way it would if it were directed by the likes of Michel Gondry or…

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Please Give

BBBB (out of 5) Nicole Holocener returns with yet another compelling examination of complicated women. Rebecca Hall is excellent as a health care worker who takes care of her mean, cantankerous grandmother while her callous sister (Amanda Peet) just waits for her to die. Their grandmother’s apartment is owned by their neighbours, two vintage furniture dealers…

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