The Party (2017)

SALLY POTTER Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BB.5.  United Kingdom, 2017.  Adventure Pictures, Oxwich Media.  Screenplay by Sally Potter.  Cinematography by Aleksei Rodionov.  Produced by Kurban Kassam, Christopher Sheppard.  Music by Matt Biffa.  Production Design by Carlos Conti.  Costume Design by Jane Petrie.  Film Editing by Emilie Orsini, Anders Refn.   Kristin Scott Thomas has just been named England’s Health Minister and has invited a few friends…

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Mr. Turner

BBBBB (out of 5) The life and work of J.M.W. Turner are visited in this impressionistic exercise in brilliance by Mike Leigh, here making yet another unforgettably perfect film.  It also marks a return to the Victorian era following his masterful Topsy-Turvy, but where that film was much more concerned with a precise recreation of…

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The Love Punch

BBBB (out of 5) A delight from start to finish, this refreshing throwback to classic comedies of remarriage isn’t as smart as Preston Sturges but is definitely as fun.  Emma Thompson, at the zenith of her fresh and funny appeal, and Pierce Brosnan, taking a wonderful jab at his own action man image, play a…

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The Last Samurai

BBB.5 (out of 5) After participating in a number of Civil War battles (many of which helped decimate the populations of natives in North America), an embittered, drunken veteran (Tom Cruise) follows his superior officers to Japan in search of big money. He has been hired by the emperor to train the country’s army in…

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Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince

BB (out of 5) Yet another academic year at the Hogwarts school as the kids grow older and their hormones start pointing them towards each other for more than just spells and potions. Newly added to the staff is Jim Broadbent (brilliant as always), come to teach the kids the ins and outs of potion-mixing but…

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Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 2

BB.5 (out of 5) Seven books, eight movies and a whole heck of a lot of merchandising finally come down to a final adventure featuring the plucky young wizard and his best friends going head to head with a noseless evil who looks like a tapeworm. After mooning about without doing anything interesting for three…

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Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 1

B.5 (out of 5) Films that began as a series of imaginative adventures have descended into self-important, jargon-spouting fan conventions that defy all manner of patience. This adaptation of half of J.K. Rowling’s final literary chapter in one of the most popular book franchises in publishing history is much ado about nothing, an opportunity to…

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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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Nicholas Nickleby (2002)

DOUGLAS McGRATH Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBBB.  United Kingdom/USA, 2002.  United Artists Film Corporation, Hart-Sharp Entertainment, Potboiler Productions.  Screenplay by Douglas McGrath, based on the novel by Charles Dickens.  Cinematography by Dick Pope.  Produced by Simon Channing Williams, John Hart, Jeffrey Sharp.  Music by Rachel Portman.  Production Design by Eve Stewart.  Costume Design by Ruth Myers.  Film Editing by Lesley Walker.  Golden Globe Awards 2002.  …

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Enchanted

BBBB (out of 5) Amy Adams simply could not be more endearing in this umpteenth sassification of classic fairy tales, as a storybook heroine who meets her handsome prince (James Marsden) in the world of Disney animation and goes to marry him the following day. Just before her wedding, however, the prince’s evil stepmother (Susan Sarandon,…

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Chicken Run

BBBB.5 (out of 5) Hilarious claymation film from the creator of the always wonderful Wallace and Gromit series, Nick Park. In his first feature film (which took seven years to develop), Park takes us into the world of a chicken coop, where pensive hens lay in wait until they can escape the harsh reality that…

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Rock Star

BBB.5 (out of 5) Delightfully committed performances make this comedy work, even when the uneven screenplay is at its weakest. Mark Wahlberg plays a die-hard heavy metal fan whose obsession with a particular band called Steel Dragon has gone as far as his fronting a tribute band. When the lead singer of the real group…

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