The Brothers Bloom (2008)

RIAN JOHNSON Bil’s rating (out of 5): B.   USA, 2008.  Endgame Entertainment, Ram Bergman Productions, The Weinstein Company.  Screenplay by Rian Johnson.  Cinematography by Steve Yedlin.  Produced by Ram Bergman, James D. Stern.  Music by Nathan Johnson.  Production Design by Jim Clay.  Costume Design by Beatrix Aruna Pasztor.  Film Editing by Gabriel Wrye.  Toronto International Film Festival 2008.  Imagine a movie in which every…

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Of Time And The City

BBBB (out of 5) Terence Davies’ fictional films have often had a deep, resonant preoccupation with his beloved birthplace of Liverpool and the post-war era that he witnessed in his childhood. Coming after an eight year absence from the screen, this personal project finally comes to fruition with Davies’ further examination of the city’s survival after the war,…

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24 City (Er Shi Si Cheng Ji)

BBBB (out of 5) Fascinating quasi-documentary by that master of urban poetry, Zhangke Jia. The closing of a factory in Chengdu is a step towards modernization, the plan being to replace it with a spread of ultra-modern buildings named 24 City after a poem. The destruction of the factory, which for decades produced military aircraft, inspires nostalgia…

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Three Monkeys (Uc Maymun)

BB.5 (out of 5) Nuri Bilge Ceylan moves towards genre with a tense thriller involving human loyalty and fear. After a driver takes the fall for a politician’s culpability in a hit and run accident, his time in prison means that his wife and son are left behind to get by without him, financially supported…

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Valentino: The Last Emperor

BB.5 (out of 5) Entertaining look at the last of the giant fashion names of yore, whose solitary moniker has come to represent cutting-edge, classy style after decades in the business. The film centres around the preparation of what turned out to be Valentino’s final show, a days-long celebration of the man’s career including a…

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Lion’s Den (Leonera)

BBBB (out of 5) A pregnant woman is found near the dead body of her lover and is accused of his murder, sent away to prison where she gives birth and must raise her son behind bars for a number of years. According to the law she can keep her child with her until he…

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Il Divo (Il divo: La spettacolare vita di Giulio Andreotti)

BBB.5 (out of 5) The superbly fascinating career of Giulio Andreotti is given the impressionist treatment in this gorgeously filmed drama by Paolo Sorrentino. Toni Servillo is outstanding in the lead role, with excellent makeup work helping to transform him into the Italian Prime Minister who won seven elections before his final term ended in scandal…

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El Greco

BBB (out of 5) The life of Domenicos Theotokopoulos, the sixteenth century painter better known as El Greco, is examined in this wholly respectful but often clunky biopic.  Nick Ashdon stars as the 16th century artist who began his career in Venetian-ruled Crete, went to Venice to study under Titian then later found himself hailed as…

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Fifty Dead Men Walking

BB.5 (out of 5) Martin McGartland (Jim Sturgess) is a thug selling stolen clothing on the streets of Belfast who, along with his ruffian buddy Kevin Zegers, gets recruited into the IRA. A member of the British police (Ben Kingsley) recognizes his gusto attitude and charismatic skill and recruits him to spy on his mates…

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9.99

BB (out of 5) Claymation film that focuses on the denizens of a Sydney apartment building, inspired by the stories of Etgar Keret. Among them is a perpetual Peter Pan who lets his girlfriend walk out on him before being inundated with hallucinations of two pint-sized party animals, a workaholic who lives with his son,…

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The Sea Wall (Un Barrage Contre Le Pacifique)

BBBB.5 (out of 5) Isabelle Huppert shines in this counterpart film to Regis Wargnier’s Indochine, covering a similar epoch coming to a close for the French in southeast Asia. Huppert plays the sole matriarch of a family who has lost her husband and now runs a rice farm with her teenage son (Gaspard Ulliel) and dewy,…

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Nurse.Fighter.Boy

BB (out of 5) Three characters and their intertwining destinies are examined in this far too mellow film. Karen LeBlanc is excellent as a nurse who administers to a prizefighter who takes on illegal fights for cash. LeBlanc is suffering from a chronic illness, her persistent worry juxtaposed against the relentless optimism of her son who…

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