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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Miss Potter

BBB (out of 5) No, this is not a movie about J.K. Rowling’s little hero turning sassy. While not as scintillating as the events that led Isak Dinesen or Janet Frame to put pen to paper, the life of Beatrix Potter, the most successful children’s author of all time and one of England’s most prized…

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Mrs. Brown

JOHN MADDEN Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBB.5.  United Kingdom/Ireland/USA, 1997.  BBC Scotland, Ecosse Films, Irish Screen, WGBH.  Screenplay by Jeremy Brock.  Cinematography by Richard Greatrex.  Produced by Sarah Curtis.  Music by Stephen Warbeck.  Production Design by Martin Childs.  Costume Design by Deirdre Clancy.  Film Editing by Robin Sales.  Academy Awards 1997.  Cannes Film Festival 1997.  Golden Globe Awards 1997.  The beautifully languid performances by Judi Dench and Billy Connolly are…

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Johnny English

B (out of 5) Rowan Atkinson, playing a character who is basically Mr. Bean with dialogue, is a low-level employee of MI-6 who is recruited into action when every single agency spy is mysteriously murdered and he is the only person left to defend Her Majesty’s crown. It turns out to be a literal assignment…

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Last Chance Harvey

BB (out of 5) Dustin Hoffman is barely holding onto his commercial jingle-writing career as he gets off a plane in London to attend the wedding of his estranged daughter (Liane Balaban). Ignored at the pre-party and ceremony, he goes to return to the U.S. to save his job when he finds out he’s been fired…

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Swann

BB (out of 5) Dull adaptation of the novel by Carol Shields. Miranda Richardson plays a famous novelist who has decided to write a book about Saskatchewan poet Mary Swann, a woman who scribbled bits of verse down in her notebook on a regular basis before her husband murdered her and then shot himself. Swann’s memory…

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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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The Upside Of Anger

BB.5 (out of 5) Imagine if All That Heaven Allows was remade as a contemporary story, with the wealthy housewife being a divorcee instead of a widow and turning to an aging drunk baseball player for comfort instead of a strapping young gardener, and you basically have the bare bones of this film’s plot.  Joan Allen plays…

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