The Joy Luck Club

BBBB (out of 5) Amy Tan’s bestselling novel of intergenerational Asian women is brought to the big screen with its excellent story intact. A group of young Chinese-American women are in one way or another at a crossroads in their lives, until their mothers come along and tell them stories of their pasts that help…

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The Bride With White Hair (Bai fa mo nu zhuan)

BBB.5 (out of 5) Stunning Hong Kong action-fantasy about a powerful swordsman who teams up with a young, beautiful witch to fight the forces of evil. He’s a high-ranking member of the Wu-Tang clan who is tired of his responsibilities, but once he teams up with the woman who fights for a renegade cult his…

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Dazed And Confused

BBBB (out of 5) Richard Linklater followed his breakout success Slacker with another look at a variety of characters, this time a group of teenagers on the last day of school in Austin, Texas in 1976.  There are initiation rituals to be survived by the freshmen, there are mean seniors running around looking for junior…

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A Dangerous Woman

BB (out of 5) A great deal of publicity preceded this film, mainly pushing Debra Winger for awards consideration; ultimately the film made little impact and she got all her nominations for Shadowlands that year instead. She’s effective as a mentally challenged woman who lives with her patient aunt (Barbara Hershey) and is known for always being completely honest. Her…

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Romeo Is Bleeding

BB (out of 5) Unattractively violent film has a crooked cop (Gary Oldman) meet his match in a sexy hit woman (Lena Olin). It’s nonsense, and I can hardly remember it because it was too boring to pay attention to. Fans of the cast might want to take a look, but otherwise I don’t think…

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Zero Patience

BBB.5 (out of 5) To hear someone say that they just saw a great musical comedy about AIDS might sound like the rock bottom of taste, but this adorable Canadian film is actually charming, enjoyable, and politically correct. Patient Zero is now a spirit wandering the baths of Toronto in search of some meaning to…

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Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould

BBBBB (out of 5) The title literally describes this film in a nutshell: it is comprised of thirty-two films, some only seconds in length, others going on for several minutes, describing various aspects of the life of foremost Canadian pianist Glenn Gould. His personal relationships, his need for solitude, his dependence on prescription medication are…

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Wittgenstein

BBB (out of 5) Derek Jarman’s second-to-last film is another film biography of a famous artist, this time focusing on the life and work of twentieth century philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. Told in a very abstract style with bare sets and opulent costumes (much like Jarman’s previous Edward II), it is narrated by a young Ludwig who…

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Cronos (1993)

GUILLERMO DEL TORO Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBB.5.  Mexico, 1993.  CNCAIMC, Fondo de Fomento a la Calidad Cinematográfica, Grupo Del Toro, Guillermo Springall, Iguana Producciones, Instituto Mexicano de Cinematografía, Servicos Filmicos ANC, Universidad de Guadalajara, Ventana Films.  Screenplay by Guillermo del Toro.  Cinematography by Guillermo Navarro.  Produced by Arthur Gorson, Bertha Navarro.  Music by Javier Álvarez.  Production Design by Tolita Figuero.  Costume Design…

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M. Butterfly

BB (out of 5) Reunite brilliant auteur David Cronenberg with his Dead Ringers star Jeremy Irons and you should have another classic, but this time the story just doesn’t play out all that well. Based on factual events, it stars Irons as a British diplomat in China during the eighties who strikes up an affair with…

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