Begin Again (Can A Song Save Your Life) (2013)

JOHN CARNEY Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBB.5.  USA, 2013.  Exclusive Media Group, Sycamore Pictures, Apatow Productions, Likely Story.  Screenplay by John Carney.  Cinematography by Yaron Orbach.  Produced by Judd Apatow, Tobin Armbrust, Anthony Bregman.  Music by Gregg Alexander.  Production Design by Chad Keith.  Costume Design by Arjun Bhasin.  Film Editing by Andrew Marcus.  Academy Awards 2014.  Toronto International Film Festival 2013.   Lonely souls meet over music once again…

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Words And Pictures (2013)

FRED SCHEPISI Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BB.  United Kingdom/Canada/Australia, 2013.  Latitude Productions, Lascaux Films, American Entertainment Investors.  Screenplay by Gerald Di Pego.  Cinematography by Ian Baker.  Produced by Curtis Burch, Gerald Di Pego, Fred Schepisi.  Music by Paul Grabowsky.  Production Design by Patrizia von Brandenstein.  Costume Design by Tish Monaghan.  Film Editing by Peter Honess.  Toronto International Film Festival 2013.   Clive Owen is an English teacher…

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The French Minister (Quai D’Orsay) (2013)

BERTRAND TAVERNIER Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBB.  France, 2013.  Little Bear, Pathé, France 2 Cinéma, CN2 Productions, Alvy Développement, Canal+, Ciné+, Site 4 View Productions.  Screenplay by Abel Lanzac, Christophe Blain, Bertrand Tavernier, based on the comic book Quai d’Orsay-Chroniques Diplomatiques by Abel Lanzac, Christophe Blain.  Cinematography by Jerome Almeras.  Produced by Frederic Bourboulon, Jerome Seydoux.  Music by Philippe Sarde.  Production Design…

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The Railway Man

BBB (out of 5) After meeting on a train, former nurse Nicole Kidman falls madly in love with train enthusiast and World War II veteran Colin Firth and feels no hesitation when he asks for her hand in marriage. After the nuptials, Firth’s behavior exhibits signs of past trauma that turns out to be the residual…

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The Missing Picture (L’Image Manquante)

BBBB (out of 5) Rithy Panh adapts his own memoir about surviving the Khmer Rouge for a moving and powerful film. File footage of battle and hardship are interspersed with dramatic recreations of Panh’s experiences using wooden figurines to represent the characters in his narrative; it sounds twee but there is a haunting quality to…

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Night Moves

BB.5 (out of 5) Jesse Eisenberg and Dakota Fanning star in Kelly Reichardt’s moody drama as dedicated environmentalists who are determined to blow up a dam that they believe is ecologically damaging.  Teaming up with a shadier and even more militant activist (Peter Sarsgaard), this rag-tag, small time version of the Earth Liberation Front put together the…

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The Fifth Estate

BB.5 (out of 5) The saga of Julian Assange is given the cinematic treatment by Bill Condon, with Benedict Cumberbatch doing an uncanny riff on the man and an excellent Daniel Brühl as his sidekick, Daniel Berg. The two of them start as journalists with a conscience when their first major project, to reveal the identities of crooked financiers…

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The Last Of Robin Hood

BB.5 (out of 5) Errol Flynn was already a notorious ladies man with a few statutory rape trials under his belt when he met teenager Beverly Aadland, beginning an affair with her that took up the last two years of his rather short life. Following his death was an eruption of scandal and gossip, criticized…

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Blue Ruin

BBBB (out of 5) A shaggy, unkempt man lives in his wreck of a car, seemingly homeless and without any possessions to his name.  When he gets news about a tragedy from his past coming back into the world, he hits the road with provisions he has been storing up, seeking vengeance for a past…

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Ida

BBBB.5 (out of 5) A girl raised from infancy in a convent is preparing to take her vows in mid-sixties Poland when a woman shows up claiming to be a relative.  It turns out the visitor is her aunt Wanda, who reveals that the future Sister Anna is actually a Jewish girl named Ida, placed…

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Moebius (Moebiuseu)

BBBB (out of 5) It’s just not every day that your mother cuts off your penis and eats it, but that’s how this darkly humorous tale of scorned love begins, right after a woman discovers her husband is cheating on her and decides to get revenge.  The poor young man who suffers this cruelty then…

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Lucky Them

BBBB (out of 5) Toni Collette plays a columnist for a Seattle music magazine whose lifestyle of getting drunk with rockers and infuriating her boss with her inability to meet deadlines is starting to get old. She isn’t getting any younger herself, and her editor (Oliver Platt) is having a difficult time keeping her on staff…

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