Boxing Helena

B (out of 5) The controversy surrounding this film is a hell of a lot more interesting than the product itself. Kim Basinger decided six months after being committed to the project that she no longer wanted to be a part of it and broke her verbal contract with the producers, prompting one of the…

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Impromptu

BBBB (out of 5) For some, the idea of making up a story that involves great historical figures of the art world might seem like total sacrilege, but in James Lapine’s delightful romantic comedy the experiment is the stuff of movie magic.  Judy Davis is indomitable as author Georges Sand, who vacations with a group of…

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Vibes

BB.5 (out of 5) Cyndi Lauper and Jeff Goldblum play dueling psychics who are hired by Peter Falk to help him find his son. He says that his boy was lost somewhere in South America and he needs their mental powers to help locate him. When they arrive at their destination, they discover that Falk has actually…

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Gothic

B (out of 5) As in Haunted Summer and Rowing With The Wind, the famed gathering of notable historical figures at the house of Lord Byron is once again the subject of a film. This time, however, a film has taken the basic premise and come up with a completely fictitious story, one that ends…

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Vatel

BB.5 (out of 5) Roland Joffe produces a visually stunning but shallow period piece involving an eighteenth century French prince (Julian Glover) who puts on a lavish spectacle when the Sun King, Louis XIV (Julian Sands), visits his chateau to discuss possible war with Holland. The task of keeping the entire mansion running smoothly during…

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The Killing Fields

BBBBB (out of 5) Right up there with Missing among the handful of brilliant political thrillers made in the early 80s, starring Sam Waterston as Sydney Schanberg, whose writings for the New York Times inspired the film. Schanberg was trapped in Cambodia during Pol Pot’s “Year Zero” genocide, teaming up with Cambodian contact Dith Pran (Haing S….

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Timecode

BB.5 (out of 5) Director Mike Figgis (Leaving Las Vegas) sends out four video cameras on a Los Angeles afternoon to film various actors improvising to a pre-arranged story, interacting at various times and switching over story lines at some points. Great idea, but why is it so boring? The characters mostly mumble and shuffle…

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Leaving Las Vegas

BBBB (out of 5) Performances couldn’t possibly be better in this incredible love story. Nicolas Cage plays an alcoholic, washed-up screenwriter who gets fired from his job in Hollywood, sells everything he owns, buys as much booze as he can afford and moves into a sleazy hotel room in Las Vegas. While there he meets…

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Naked Lunch

BBBB (out of 5) David Cronenberg freely adapts the novel by William S. Burroughs, taking his prose and incorporating aspects of Burroughs’ own biography as the guide for its interpretation.  Peter Weller plays a blocked writer whose wife (Judy Davis) convinces him that the bug spray he uses in his day job is terrific for getting…

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A Room With A View

BBBBB (out of 5) Merchant Ivory earned their first major international attention with this inspiring adaptation of E.M. Forster’s novel, the first of three of the author’s works that the group would make and the team’s first Oscar nomination for Best Picture. While on vacation in Italy, young Lucy (Helena Bonham Carter) and her spinster cousin…

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The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

BBB.5 (out of 5) David Fincher adapts Stieg Larsson’s phenomenally successful novel, hot on the heels of the Swedish trilogy of films that were made in 2009-2010 for an almost on-par experience. Daniel Craig plays a magazine journalist whose career is nearly destroyed by a libel suit brought about by his maligning a corporate bigwig…

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The Medallion

B.5 (out of 5) Routine action flick is the kind of thing Jackie Chan can do in his sleep. With bigger budgets and the progress of age to consider, Chan’s films are involving more and more visual effects and less of his impressive stunt work, making us wonder why we should sit through drivel like this…

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