13 Going On 30

BBBB (out of 5) It’s 1987, and 13 year-old Jenna Rink is desperate to fit in with the cool kids at school. She even goes as far as alienating her geeky best friend Matt at her birthday party in order to impress ‘in-crowd’ ringleader Lucy. When she’s sprinkled with some birthday wishing dust and announces…

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Judy Berlin

BBBB (out of 5) There’s a sleepy, quiet quality about this film that is irresistible. Eric Mendelsohn makes a strong directorial debut with this tale of dreams and longings in tiny little Babylon, Long Island. A very funny Aaron Harnick stars as David Gold, a young man just returned from California after failing to make it…

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Angela’s Ashes

BBBB (out of 5) Strong adaptation of Frank McCourt’s autobiography about growing up poor in 1940s Ireland.  It’s an uplifting and touching trip back in time through McCourt’s eyes as he sees himself and his siblings growing up with a lonely mother (Emily Watson, who very much steals the show) and an insecure father (Robert…

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This Is My Life

BB.5 (out of 5) Julie Kavner stars as a single mother who is struggling to make a life for herself as a stand-up comedian.  Samantha Mathis and Gaby Hoffmann are terrific as her confused daughters experiencing the worst ravages of growing pains, but what really makes this film memorable is that the fantastic Kavner finally gets…

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L.I.E.

BBBB (out of 5) Disturbing, dramatically intense film about a fifteen year-old boy whose entire world leaves him prey to destruction in a very short period of time. After an accident on the Long Island Expressway takes his mother, young Howie Blitzer (Paul Dano) is further upset by his father taking up a sexual affair…

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Picture Perfect

BBB (out of 5) Jennifer Aniston is delightful in this romantic comedy as a ladder-climbing advertising executive who gets wedding photographer Jay Mohr to pose as her fiance to impress her employers and stimulate the man of her dreams (Kevin Bacon). It’s not hard to see where this clutzy little arrangement will take these two, but at…

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Extreme Measures

BBB (out of 5) This unusual thriller starts off murky and interesting but ends up boiling down to the usual typical Hollywood conclusion, complete with countless red herrings and a doubt-free ending. Hugh Grant plays an ER doctor who examines a homeless man in the hospital one night and finds his symptoms so bizarre that they…

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The Truman Show (1998)

PETER WEIR Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBBB.  USA, 1998.  Paramount Pictures, Scott Rudin Productions.  Screenplay by Andrew Niccol.  Cinematography by Peter Biziou.  Produced by Edward S. Feldman, Andrew Niccol, Scott Rudin, Adam Schroeder.  Music by Burkhard von Dallwitz.  Production Design by Dennis Gassner.  Costume Design by Marilyn Matthews.  Film Editing by William M. Anderson, Lee Smith.  Academy Awards 1998.  Golden Globe Awards 1998.   Perfectly written, acted, directed…

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Whatever Works

BBB.5 (out of 5) Southern Christian conservatism meets New York Jewish cynicism in this sweet, winsome comedy by Woody Allen. Hypochondriac misanthrope Larry David, in a role that Allen usually reserves for himself but has cast perfectly all the same, is surprised one night by the appearance of a teenage runaway (Evan Rachel Wood) in…

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