Hot Fuzz (2007)

EDGAR WRIGHT Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB.  United Kingdom/France, 2007.  StudioCanal, Working Title Films, Big Talk Productions, Ingenious Film Partners.  Screenplay by Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg.  Cinematography by Jess Hall.  Produced by Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Nira Park.  Music by David Arnold.  Production Design by Marcus Rowland.  Costume Design by Annie Hardinge.  Film Editing by Chris Dickens.   The makers of Shaun Of The Dead have returned with…

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The Merchant Of Venice

BBBB (out of 5) In sixteenth century Venice, the city’s rampant anti-Semitism has its own racism bite back when a Jewish moneylender (Al Pacino) looks to be repaid for the bond he has signed with a merchant (Jeremy Irons). Joseph Fiennes plays the lovestruck Bassanio, a young man in difficult financial circumstances who longs to woo…

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102 Dalmatians

BBBB (out of 5) The smarmy, overlong and annoying 101 Dalmatians directed by Stephen Herek gets a huge lift from a highly superior sequel, this time directed by Tarzan‘s Kevin Lima. More faithful to the original animated version of the 60s than its predecessor, Lima keeps the pace going and keeps the action lively. This…

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24 Hour Party People

BBB (out of 5) The punk music scene’s emergence from Manchester in the 1970s is the main subject of this mockumentary by director Michael Winterbottom. It centres on the story of British television personality Tony Wilson, who featured such bands as the Sex Pistols and Siouxsie And The Banshees on his popular variety show program…

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Chocolat (2000)

BBBB.5 (out of 5) What threatens to be a predictable, half-baked Miramax experience turns out to be a delightful surprise as enjoyable as its titular treat. Juliette Binoche is so beautiful it’s a crime as the mysterious woman who moves to a tiny conservative town in France with her daughter (Victoire Thivisol of Ponette) to…

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The Cook, The Thief, His Wife And Her Lover

BBB.5 (out of 5) Peter Greenaway’s popularity went well beyond the arthouse circuit when this outrageous combination of colourful beauty and grotesque humanity earned plaudits from critics and a damning NC-17 rating from the MPAA.  The incendiary impact of its content has definitely dwindled in the last couple of decades (full frontal penis, who cares),…

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Quills

BBBB (out of 5) Excellent drama about the Marquis de Sade’s influence on the keepers and inmates of the madhouse Charenton, where he spent his last days after being declared criminally insane by French authorities. Geoffrey Rush lives it up as the Marquis, and Kate Winslet is letter-perfect as the charwoman he adores for her innocence….

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Peggy Sue Got Married

BBBBB (out of 5) Kathleen Turner gives one of the best performances ever committed to film as the title character, a forty-something woman who experiences a fainting spell at her twenty-fifth year high school reunion and dreams she goes back to her teenage days (only this time knowing what she knows from her adult life). She’s…

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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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Charlotte Gray

BBBB (out of 5) Exciting World War II drama about a young Scottish woman (Cate Blanchett) who follows her pilot lover (Rupert Penry-Jones) to France only to become so enrapt in her work with the French Resistance that she grows beyond her love for him. While staying with a fellow resistance fighter (Billy Crudup), the…

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Secrets And Lies

BBBBB (out of 5) Working from a script Mike Leigh wrote based on his performers’ improvisational work in rehearsals, actors Brenda Blethyn and Marianne Jean-Baptiste come as close to true-to-life acting as can be expected; you might sometimes feel like you’re watching a documentary. Blethyn plays Cynthia, an aging, working-class white woman who is found by Hortense…

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