First Man (2018)

DAMIEN CHAZELLE Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBB.5.  USA/Japan, 2018.  Universal Pictures, DreamWorks, Perfect World Pictures, Temple Hill Entertainment, Georgia Film, Music & Digital Entertainment Office, Dentsu, Fuji Television Network.  Screenplay by Josh Singer, based on the book by James R. Hansen.  Cinematography by Linus Sandgren.  Produced by Marty Bowen, Damien Chazelle, Wyck Godfrey, Isaac Klausner.  Music by Justin Hurwitz.  Production Design by…

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The Birth Of A Nation (2016)

NATE PARKER Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5.  USA/Canada, 2016.  Bron Studios, Creative Wealth Media Finance, Follow Through Productions, Hit 55 Ventures, Infinity United Entertainment, Juniper Productions, Mandalay Pictures, Novofam Productions, Oster Media, Phantom Four, Point Made Films, Tiny Giant Entertainment.  Story by Nate Parker, Jean McGianni Celestin, Screenplay by Nate Parker.  Cinematography by Elliot Davis.  Produced by Jason Michael…

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Furious Seven (Fast & Furious 7)

BBB.5 (out of 5) Yet another powerful gadget acts as the silly excuse for the old gang to get together again, a few years older but just as fun as they were the last time around.  This time it’s a “God’s eye” device created by an expert hacker (Nathalie Emmanuel) that enables the user to observe anyone, anywhere…

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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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The Conjuring 2

BB.5 (out of 5) The powerhouse team who cleaned out a rural American family’s poltergeist infestation is back at it for another ghostbusting adventure, this time taking them as far as England where an impoverished single mom (Frances O’Connor) and her four children are being terrorized by moving furniture and strange apparitions.  Ed and Lorraine Warren…

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A Time To Kill

BB.5 (out of 5) One of the most overproduced John Grisham film adaptations is taken from his first book.  It would be far too easy to point out the drawbacks of this dramatic debacle (overly long running time, deceptively simple political issues dressed up as complex themes), so we’ll concentrate on the positive: this was…

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The Hunger Games

BBB.5 (out of 5) Deliverance and Westworld are combined for the teen set in this terrific adaptation of the popular novel by Suzanne Collins. It takes place in the chillingly not-so-distant future, where humanity’s crimes against itself have resulted in an authoritative government that chooses to control the need for violent expression in an unusual…

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Flight

BB.5 (out of 5) Denzel Washington is a coke-snorting, booze-guzzling airline pilot whose excellent track record easily covers up his bad habits and helps him forget the trouble he left behind when he lost his marriage and son to his addictions.  A mechanical fault on a plane he is flying across the country nearly crashes…

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The Conjuring

BB.5 (out of 5) The hope is for a thriller as juicy as Insidious combined with the classic dread and suspense of The Exorcist, but really it’s just slightly above the campy idiocy of The Amityville Horror. Ron Livingston and Lili Taylor and their five daughters, a nobly struggling middle-class family with oodles of charm, move…

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The Odd Life Of Timothy Green

B (out of 5) A childless couple (Joel Edgerton, Jennifer Garner) are told by their doctor that there is no hope that they will ever conceive despite all the medical interventions they have attempted.  In their grief and disappointment, the pair imagine out loud the perfect child they dream of having, one who has great…

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