Joseph Andrews

BBB (out of 5) Tony Richardson follows his Oscar winning Tom Jones with another Fielding adaptation fourteen years later.  Written by the author as a satirical piece meant to capitalize on the success of Samuel Richardson’s Pamela, the hopelessly wry story has Pamela’s brother Joseph Andrews (played by a dewy young Peter Firth) working as a footman to…

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Hedda

BBBB (out of 5) The Royal Shakespeare Company production is transferred to film with essentially the same cast and richly satisfying results by director Trevor Nunn. He also provides a smooth, beautifully written translation of the Ibsen play that posits newly married Glenda Jackson against the boredom that her world has to offer. Her husband (Peter…

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Cry Freedom

BBB (out of 5) Newspaper editor Donald Woods (Kevin Kline) considers himself a liberal with a fair and unbiased opinion about racial inequality in his native South Africa, viewing a freedom fighter like Steve Biko (Denzel Washington) as a reckless activist for an otherwise worthy cause. An article about Biko in Woods’ newspaper is seen as incendiary…

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Endgame

BBB (out of 5) The years of oppression, violence and injustice under Apartheid in South Africa have taken their toll and it is time for change.  A British company sends its representative (Jonny Lee Miller) to set up talks between the all-white government in power and members of the African National Congress, to resolve issues…

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Ever After

BBBB.5 (out of 5) Richly enjoyable reboot of Cinderella finds Drew Barrymore as a plucky young lass living with an insensitive stepmother (Anjelica Huston) and two lazy stepsisters (Megan Dodds, Melanie Lynskey). This time she’s not waiting for a prince to save her, so when she finds one we’re happy she’s getting some but not actually…

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102 Dalmatians

BBBB (out of 5) The smarmy, overlong and annoying 101 Dalmatians directed by Stephen Herek gets a huge lift from a highly superior sequel, this time directed by Tarzan‘s Kevin Lima. More faithful to the original animated version of the 60s than its predecessor, Lima keeps the pace going and keeps the action lively. This…

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Nicholas And Alexandra

B.5 (out of 5) If the real Romanovs were this boring it’s no wonder they were all shot. Michael Jayston and Janet Suzman play the famed Czar and Czarina of Russia, the last two monarchs to rule the Imperial nation before the Revolution broke out and changed the history of the world forever. The listless production starts…

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The Day Of The Jackal

BBBB (out of 5) Frederic Forsythe’s taut suspense novel comes to the screen with admirable results. Edward Fox is fantastic as the hired gun known only as “The Jackal”, enlisted by a militant faction of French loyalists who feel that de Gaulle’s allowing Algeria its independence constitutes treason to their homeland. After a failed attempt on…

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Sinbad: Legend Of The Seven Seas

BBB (out of 5) For all the effort that was put into making and marketing this grand adventure, the end result is disappointing. While the animation is some of the most beautiful drawing and effects ever seen in its medium, the story and character development leave a hell of a lot to be desired. A…

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Iris (2001)

RICHARD EYRE Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB.  United Kingdom/USA, 2001.  British Broadcasting Corporation, Fox Iris Productions, Intermedia Films, Mirage Enterprises, Miramax.  Screenplay by Richard Eyre, Charles Wood, based on the books Iris: A Memoir and Elegy For Iris by John Bayley.  Cinematography by Roger Pratt.  Produced by Robert Fox, Scott Rudin.  Music by James Horner.  Production Design by Gemma Jackson.  Costume Design by Ruth…

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Beyond Borders

BB (out of 5) Beyond boring. Angelina Jolie plays the wealthy wife of an industrialist’s son (Linus Roache) who is moved by an impassioned speech by a relief worker in Africa (Clive Owen) and decides to work with him. She shows up on foreign shores green and naive, wearing her crisp white linens and whiff of…

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Agatha

BBB (out of 5) Unfairly panned, this enjoyable film concerns the real-life mystery of the twelve days during which Agatha Christie disappeared without a trace and returned with no explanation (a secret she took to the grave).  This fictional story has director Michael Apted and his screenwriters come up with a possible explanation as to…

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