Victoria and Abdul (2017)

STEPHEN FREARS Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BB.5.  United Kingdom/USA, 2017.   BBC Films, Cross Street Films, Perfect World Pictures, Working Title Films.   Screenplay by Lee Hall, based on the book by Shrabani Basu.  Cinematography by Danny Cohen.  Produced by Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Beeban Kidron, Tracey Seaward.  Music by Thomas Newman.  Production Design by Alan MacDonald.  Costume Design by Consolata Boyle.  Film Editing by…

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Passengers

BB (out of 5) Chris Pratt is on a spaceship holding hundreds of crew and thousands of passengers bound for Homestead II, a colonized planet that is among the many that exist as relief for overcrowded Earth.  Like all other humans on board, he has been in deep hypersleep to deal with the more than…

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The Judge

BB (out of 5) Robert Downey Jr. is a high-powered shark of a lawyer who interrupts his life of ruthlessly defending Wall Street crooks when he gets a call that his mother has died.  Going back to his small town means having to face off with his elderly father (Robert Duvall), a judge with whom Downey has not spoken in…

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Finding Dory

BBBB (out of 5) Pixar returns to one of its most adored tales for a sequel to Finding Nemo, the story of a loving clownfish (Albert Brooks) who crossed the ocean to find his missing son.  On that voyage he was accompanied by a blue tang with a short-term memory problem named Dory (Ellen DeGeneres), whose own origins…

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Bridge Of Spies (2015)

STEVEN SPIELBERG Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB.  USA/Germany, 2015.  DreamWorks, Fox 2000 Pictures, Reliance Entertainment, Participant Media, TSG Entertainment, Amblin Entertainment, Marc Platt Productions, Studio Babelsberg.  Screenplay by Matt Charman, Ethan Coen, Joel Coen.  Cinematography by Janusz Kaminski.  Produced by Kristie Macosko Krieger, Marc Platt, Steven Spielberg.  Music by Thomas Newman.  Production Design by Adam Stockhausen.  Costume Design by Kasia Walicka-Maimone.  Film Editing by…

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Spectre

BBB.5 (out of 5) A trip to Mexico City has Bond chase down a bad guy who leaves him with a token that speaks volumes: a ring with a symbol on it that he knows he has seen before. Back home, headquarters is still putting itself together under the new M (a spry and sympathetic…

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The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

BB.5 (out of 5) The surprise runaway box office success of the first film draws the entire cast back to India for another visit to the titular establishment, where retired Brits on a fixed income can live their last days in a kind of luxury that England could never provide.  Judi Dench is now established as…

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Phenomenon

B (out of 5) John Travolta plays a sweet simpleton living in a rural farming community who goes idiot savant when magical powers begin to overcome him and affect the lives of those living near him. After a near-miraculous bolt of lightning touches him, Travolta can move objects with his mind, learn languages at lightning-bolt speed…

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The Rapture

BBBB (out of 5) Mimi Rogers plays a swinging single telephone operator who has grown weary of going out with her male friend in search of couples for partner-swapping sex parties. Feeling hollowed out by her concentration on the carnal, she ends up joining a small cult of Christians who are waiting for the Rapture…

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The Help

BB.5 (out of 5) Racism is given the soft-shoe Hollywood treatment with a view of the south on par with Gone With The Wind in this wan adaptation of the best-selling novel by Kathryn Stockett. As films about the birth of the civil rights movement go, it has nothing on better movies like Corrina Corrina…

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Lemony Snicket’s A Series Of Unfortunate Events

BBBB (out of 5) The influence of Tim Burton’s work can be felt on every inch of this thoroughly enjoyable children’s horror film, so much so that you’ll wonder if Burton had anything to do with the production (he didn’t, but the production designer, costume designer and cinematographer of Sleepy Hollow are employed here which…

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Brothers

BB (out of 5) Remake of the Danish film by Susanne Bier is hampered by a dull script and painfully inappropriate casting. Siblings Jake Gyllenhaal and Tobey Maguire are complete opposites in ways that do not harm their relationship but seem to be a problem for those around them. Soldier Maguire is studious and responsible while local…

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