Live By Night

BB.5 (out of 5) Ben Affleck returns to the writings of Dennis Lehane, whose novel Gone Baby Gone was his directorial debut nine years earlier.  He stars as a small-time Boston thug whose conflict with a powerful Irish rum runner propels him to become a big-time Florida gangster working for the Italian mob family who want to run the Irish…

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Secretary

BBB (out of 5) Maggie Gyllenhaal is an intensely self-destructive masochist who is released from a mental institution with a certificate of health that might be a bit too premature for her optimistic mother (Lesley Ann Warren). Making her way out into the world, she gets a job working as a secretary for a sheepish lawyer…

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Thank You For Smoking

BB (out of 5) Aaron Eckhart plays a lobbyist for Big Tobacco whose savvy ability to argue cigarettes to safe passage in a health-conscious America make him a national villain. He courts an ambitious reporter (Katie Holmes) whose idea of ‘off the record’ is skewed to say the least, wins over a cancer patient on the…

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Quiz Show

BBBBB (out of 5) Robert Redford directs this awe-inspiring examination of the more “innocent” days of television.  When it is revealed that a popular quiz show has been rigging its contestants with answers in order to control the outcome of the games, a nationwide court case falls upon its star player (Ralph Fiennes) who will…

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The Night We Never Met

BB.5 (out of 5) Annabella Sciorra and Matthew Broderick timeshare an apartment with a soon to be married bachelor (Kevin Anderson).  She is unhappily married and uses her two days a week in the apartment to catch up on her personal artistic pursuits, and when the other two guys switch arranged days without telling her, she thinks Broderick…

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The Velocity Of Gary * * (Not His Real Name)

BB.5 (out of 5) Appealing characters are a plus in this uneven romantic drama about two very outspoken individuals (Thomas Jane, Salma Hayek) who are both in love with terminally ill porn star Vincent D’Onofrio. When D’Onofrio isn’t in the mood for one he’s with the other, and his two lovers soon find themselves working…

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A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001)

STEVEN SPIELBERG Bil’s rating (out of 5):   BBB.  USA, 2001.  Warner Bros., DreamWorks, Amblin Entertainment, Stanley Kubrick Productions.  Screen story by Ian Watson, Screenplay by Steven Spielberg, based on the short story Supertoys Last All Summer Long by Brian Aldiss.  Cinematography by Janusz Kaminski.  Produced by Bonnie Curtis, Kathleen Kennedy, Steven Spielberg.  Music by John Williams.  Production Design by Rick Carter.  Costume Design…

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A Mighty Wind

BB (out of 5) Christopher Guest and his troupe, that naughty collective of terrific comedians who gave us Waiting For Guffman and Best In Show, have come back to rip apart another American institution, folk music.  Following the death of a pioneer folk-music producer, the deceased’s son (Bob Balaban) decides to put on a concert with…

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Little Man Tate

BBB.5 (out of 5) Jodie Foster makes her directorial debut with this admirable drama, also starring as an overworked single mother who discovers that her baby son shows signs of exceptional intelligence. Now heading towards adolescence, the boy (Adam Hann-Byrd) is being escorted around the country by the director of a program for gifted children (Dianne Wiest, exceptionally…

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The Brother From Another Planet

BBBB (out of 5) This enjoyable, low-budget science-fiction film tackles racism in a clever way. After an alien ( Joe Morton) crashes his spaceship onto planet Earth, he finds himself wandering modern day New York City in search of refuge from the evil enslavement of his home planet. What he finds in the Big Apple,…

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Passion Fish

BBBBB (out of 5) John Sayles’ masterpiece is this brilliant two-character drama that you wish could go on forever. After she is paralyzed from the waist down in an auto accident, a bitter soap opera actress (Mary McDonnell) decides to move back home to her parents’ house in Louisiana. She hires a hilarious succession of…

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City Of Hope

BBB.5 (out of 5) John Sayles’ tale of urban drama is a multi-casted tale that takes place among a group of varied characters. The centre of the story revolves around an old apartment block that a big-time contractor (Tony Lo Bianco) is planning on demolishing to make way for a more expensive, commercial development. His…

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