The Life Of Jesus (La Vie de Jesus)

BB.5 (out of 5) Bruno Dumont’s directorial debut takes place in a sleepy town in northern France where not much happens.  Freddy is a member of a gang of boys who spend most of their time getting up to no good and, considering their options, it’s not like you can blame them.  When Freddy, who suffers…

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The Town (The Small Town) (Kasaba)

BBB.5 (out of 5) Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s first feature as director is a taste of things to come, a small story whose beautiful visuals make a deep impression. It follows a complete day with a young woman who attends her local village school, then goes home through the woods with her brother before an evening…

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The House Of Yes

BB (out of 5) Strange black comedy that can never decide if it wants to be a full-on political farce or a harmless comedy.  Josh Hamilton brings new girlfriend Tori Spelling home to meet his wacky Washington family, a group of misfits who live within viewing distance of the White House. His whole clan have a screw…

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Chinese Box

BBB.5 (out of 5) Touching romantic triangle set against the backdrop of an ever-changing Hong Kong preparing for the Communist takeover. Jeremy Irons gives a brilliantly understated performance as a dying journalist who hasn’t gotten over his love for the beautiful Li Gong.  Maggie Cheung is also marvelous as a street hustler with whom Irons finds himself…

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Character (Karakter)

BBB (out of 5) Imagine Dickens filmed by Steven Spielberg and starring Buster Keaton and you have this sumptuous Dutch tale that took home the Academy Award for Best Foreign-Language Film. The story is of a young man raised illegitimately in Amsterdam who grows up to become a law clerk in a prestigious law firm,…

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Clockwatchers

BBB (out of 5) Parker Posey, Lisa Kudrow, Alanna Ubach and Toni Collette all give strong performances as four temps working mundane office jobs.  Each of them has goals they’re waiting to satisfy, except for Collette, who’s only temping because she can’t figure out what she really wants to do with her life. Trouble comes when someone…

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Insomnia (1997)

BBBB (out of 5) Stellan Skarsgård plays a Swedish detective visiting Norway to head up the investigation of a murder involving a young woman in this beautifully shot cop thriller by first-time director Erik Skjoldbaerg. In a land very close to the north pole, and in a season where there is absolutely no time of day…

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Afterglow

BBB.5 (out of 5) Julie Christie  is luminous in this enjoyable character study as a lonely wife to a philandering husband (Nick Nolte) who is having an affair with a beautiful young woman (Lara Flynn Boyle) whose husband (Jonny Lee Miller) is starting up an affair with Christie. It has director Alan Rudolph’s accustomed methodically…

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Orgazmo

0 (out of 5) Worthless comedy tries to be political satire but actually is only an excuse to show naked breasts. Trey Parker (who also wrote and directed) stars as a young Mormon boy who goes door-to-door in Los Angeles spreading the word of God. One day he comes to the door of a porn…

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In & Out

BBBB (out of 5) Pointedly funny comedy by Paul Rudnick (Jeffrey, Addams Family Values) about a shy, mild-mannered high school teacher (Kevin Kline) whose life is thrown into a frenzy when a former student (Matt Dillon) wins an Academy Award and tells everyone that his favourite teacher Kline is gay (the film’s plot is a…

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Artemisia

BB.5 (out of 5) What begins as a fascinating examination of a society that won’t allow the superior talent of seventeenth-century Artemisia Gentileschi to work or study because of her gender descends into a boring courtroom drama centering around her affair with her much older mentor. Valentina Cervi gives a passionate performance, but otherwise there’s little to recommend it…

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The Twilight Of The Ice Nymphs

0 (out of 5) Pointless fantasy film directed by Guy Maddin, who seems much better suited to short films (The Heart of the World, The Eye Like A Strange Balloon) than features. Frank Gorshin and Shelley Duvall star as ostrich farmers in a mythical land who meet a stranger (played by an actor who chose to remain…

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