Altman

BBBB (out of 5) Ron Mann gives a wonderful overview of the career of filmmaker Robert Altman, the American auteur who reached his height at a time when the notable artists of singular vision were coming from Europe. Altman got involved in screenwriting and directing after serving in World War II, making industrial films before a…

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The Face Of Love

BB (out of 5) A romantic drama with so many miscalculated contrivances, it will make the worst Nicholas Sparks adaptations seem like 12 Years A Slave.  The wonderful Annette Bening and the usually reliable (if rarely likeable) Ed Harris are undone by a god-awful script and hackneyed direction.  She plays a widow who lost her husband (Harris)…

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What Dreams May Come

B.5 (out of 5) Robin Williams plays a happy family man, married to Annabella Sciorra, who tries to help a car accident victim and ends up getting himself killed in a highway tunnel. Next thing he knows he’s being escorted around an oil painting-inspired utopia by welcome wagon Cuba Gooding Jr., discovering the many wonderful things…

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The Night Listener

BB (out of 5) A radio DJ (Robin Williams) who narrates his absorbing tales over the airwaves on a late-night program is sucked into the life of an abused boy with AIDS (Rory Culkin) after reading the galleys for the boy’s autobiographical manuscript. After a series of phone conversations with both him and the adoptive…

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August Rush

B Painfully melodramatic bullshit about a little boy (Freddie Highmore) who is the love child of a rock musician (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) and a classical cellist (Keri Russell) and is being raised in an orphanage. He is determined to be reunited with his parents despite the fact that they never saw each other again after…

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Patch Adams

BB (out of 5) This shamelessly maudlin comedy/drama that is “based on a true story”.  Robin Williams gives a performance that basically copies his own formula from such hits as Dead Poets Society and Mrs. Doubtfire as a suicidal, aimless psychiatric ward inmate who decides to get out of the hospital and study to become a…

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Robots

BBB (out of 5) In a world where mechanized robots are living creatures with hearts and souls, young Rodney Copperbottom (Ewan McGregor) dreams of making it as an inventor. Growing up in a small town and watching his favourite industrialist Bigweld (Mel Brooks) on TV, an ambitious Rodney travels to Robot City where he intends…

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One Hour Photo

BB.5 (out of 5) The slick photography and crafty direction of this film are definitely reasons to admire it, but the entire story is too routine for words. Robin Williams plays a dry, lonely department store photo developer whose obsession with happiness leads him to closely follow the lives of a seemingly happy family: wealthy…

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The Aristocrats

BB.5 (out of 5) Paul Provenza interviews dozens of comedians about a famous joke, loved among comedians, that provides a sort of jazzy opportunity for performers to really shine. Each interview subject gives their own take on the anecdote, allowing for much variation in its interpretation before the purposely anticlimactic punch line. What’s most shocking,…

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Noel

B (out of 5) Chazz Palminteri directs an abysmally manipulative and forgettable ensemble comedy about lonely people looking for love on Christmas. Susan Sarandon has been left alone by tragic circumstances and has only her near-comatose mother for company; she makes friends with the family member of a patient in another room before wandering the city…

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Insomnia (2002)

CHRISTOPHER NOLAN Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB.  USA/Canada, 2002.  Alcon Entertainment, Witt/Thomas Productions, Section Eight, Insomnia Productions, Summit Entertainment.  Screenplay by Hillary Seitz, based on the 1997 screenplay by Nikolaj Frobenius, Erik Skjoldbjaerg.  Cinematography by Wally Pfister.  Produced by Broderick Johnson, Paul Junger Witt, Andrew A. Kosove, Edward McDonnell.  Music by David Julyan.  Production Design by Nathan Crowley.  Costume Design by Tish Monaghan.  Film Editing…

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The Final Cut

B (out of 5) Embarrassing film that could only have attracted its big name stars with impressive pay cheques; there’s no way that the script could have made any sense on paper, since it certainly doesn’t make much of it on the screen. Robin Williams plays a film editor in a slightly futuristic world where people…

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