Career Girls (1997)

MIKE LEIGH Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.  United Kingdom/France, 1997.  Channel Four Films, Thin Man Films, Matrix Films, Channel 4 Television Corporation.  Screenplay by Mike Leigh.   Cinematography by Dick Pope.  Produced by Simon Channing Williams.  Music by Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Tony Remy.  Production Design by Eve Stewart.  Film Editing by Robin Sales. Mike Leigh scores a rare misfire with this drab story…

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Before The Rain

BBB (out of 5) Inspired setup suffers from not having enough substance at its core. The film is told in three stories, the third completing the missing link to the first, mostly centring around a Macedonian filmmaker (Rade Serbedzija) and his British girlfriend (Katrin Cartlidge). Milcho Manchevski’s film debut, the first major film from the…

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From Hell

BB.5 (out of 5) Annoyingly boring movie about Jack The Ripper that was intended by directors Allen and Albert Hughes to be the definitive movie on the world’s premier and most mysterious serial killer, but is really just another lame gorefest. By trying to incorporate all aspects of Victorian England (the Queen and her iron…

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The Cherry Orchard

BBB (out of 5) Michael Cacoyannis directs this exquisitely shot adaptation of Chekhov’s play, starring Charlotte Rampling as a Russian aristocrat who fled home for Paris after the accidental death of her son and is now returning to her two daughters (Tushka Bergen, Katrin Cartlidge) and brother (Alan Bates) years later. Her estate has fallen on…

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Naked

BB.5 (out of 5) Brilliantly acted but numbing drama about a homeless man (David Thewlis) who wanders London in search of people upon whom he can inflict his relentlessly negative viewpoints. Mike Leigh’s improvisationally-based style of filmmaking comes through for him once again, presenting riveting characters and dialogue on the screen, but the film is…

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Topsy-Turvy

BBBBB (out of 5) You will not find a more convincing film that depicts the Victorian age: every single time a beautifully crafted character in Mike Leigh’s latest addition to his brilliant oeuvre enters a room, you are swept over with the feeling that someone has pored over every detail of production and costume design….

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No Man’s Land

BBBB.5 (out of 5) Two soldiers, one Serbian, the other Bosnian, end up together in an empty trench between their two fronts in the middle of a ceasefire in Bosnia. A third man, Bosnian, lies patiently on a land mine until someone can help him off of it without the whole area exploding. Soon the…

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Tranceformer: A Portrait Of Lars Von Trier

BBB (out of 5) The impressive life and career of celebrated filmmaker Lars Von Trier is examined in this mini-documentary by Stig Bjorkman. Von Trier’s family life and upbringing are detailed to a satisfying degree before we find out about his unorthodox training in cinema, both in film school as well as his own personal…

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The Weight Of Water (2000)

KATHRYN BIGELOW Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBB.5.  USA/France, 2000.  StudioCanal, Manifest Film Company, Palomar Pictures, Miracle Pictures, Imagex, Nova Scotia Film Industry Tax Credit.  Screenplay by Alice Arlen, Christopher Kyle, based on the novel by Anita Shreve.  Cinematography by Adrian Biddle.  Produced by A. Kitman Ho, Sigurjon Sighvatsson, Janet Yang.  Music by David Hirschfelder.  Production Design by Karl Júlíusson.  Costume Design by Marit Allen.  Film…

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Searching For Debra Winger

BBB.5 (out of 5) Alternately fascinating and disappointingly shallow, this terrific concept has Rosanna Arquette interviewing successful women in Hollywood about being female in the male-dominated movie business. Her inspiration was the news that Debra Winger announced her retirement from the movies in her mid-thirties, and Arquette found herself wanting to know more about why she did…

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Breaking The Waves

BBBBB (out of 5) At the same time fascinating and repulsive, Lars Von Trier’s groundbreaking psychodrama is one of the most truly original films you’ll have the privilege to see. Set in a tiny conversative Calvinist village in Scotland, it stars Emily Watson (in the film that made her famous, though apparantly Von Trier originally offered…

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