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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The Founder

BB.5 (out of 5) A traveling salesman who has peddled everything possible is tired and disillusioned, trying to get drive-in burger joints to buy his multi-milkshake machine and getting nowhere until a phone call comes in that changes his life.  Two brothers running a burger joint that has endless lineups need to buy eight milkshake machines…

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Smart People

BB (out of 5) Dennis Quaid, fattened out and shaggy, plays a curmudgeony English professor who fails to communicate with either his students or his family. A widower of some years, his strait-laced daughter (Ellen Page) does everything with an air of judgement while his son (Ashton Holmes) can never say anything without judgmental menace…

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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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Lovely And Amazing

BBBB.5 (out of 5) Nicole Holofcener has fashioned a film that lives up to its title, one populated by complicated women who are notable female anti-heroes.  Brenda Blethyn is the mother of three daughters, two adults (Catherine Keener, Emily Mortimer) and one adopted ten year-old (Raven Goodwin in an excellent debut). As matriarch, Blethyn sets the pace…

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Friends With Money

BBBB (out of 5) Nicole Holofcener has created another fascinating look at women who are both challenging and challenged in this too-short but wholly engrossing character piece. Four women, three wealthy and successfully paired and one an unmarried former teacher who gave it up to be a maid, interact as their lives go haywire to…

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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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Enough Said

BBBB (out of 5) There’s no stopping Julia Louis-Dreyfus, here giving a fluidly perfect performance after years of having such exceptional success on television, and there’s no preventing Nicole Holofcener from making witty and insightful films about contemporary women.  Louis-Dreyfus plays a divorced masseuse who is dealing with an impending empty nest given that her…

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