The Land of Steady Habits (2018)

NICOLE HOLOFCENER Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5.  USA, 2018.  Likely Story.  Screenplay by Nicole Holofcener, based on the novel by Ted Thompson.  Cinematography by Alar Kivilo.  Produced by Stefanie Azpiazu, Anthony Bregman.  Music by Marcelo Zarvos.  Production Design by Dina Goldman.  Costume Design by Alex Bovaird.  Film Editing by Robert Frazen.  Toronto International Film Festival 2018. Ben Mendelsohn is enjoying life in early retirement,…

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That Awkward Moment

BB (out of 5) Three dapper young men in the Big Apple enjoy a city full of beautiful women while determined to stay free and easy forever.  Heartbreaker Zac Efron has sex-only relationships with girls until that “awkward moment” when they wonder if there is a future in their coupling, self-deprecating Miles Teller scores girls by having…

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Salt

BBBB (out of 5) A routine corporate office building in Washington, D.C. is actually the headquarters of an elite chapter of the C.I.A., one of whose employees is about to go home to celebrate her wedding anniversary. Just as Agent Salt (Angelina Jolie) is about to leave, however, she and her superior Liev Schrieber are…

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The Notorious Bettie Page

BBB.5 (out of 5) One of the most curious careers to survive the collective memory of popular culture is that of Bettie Page, a Tennessee girl who shows up in New York in the late forties with dreams of making it as an actress. With her pretty face and fine figure, modelling is a great…

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The Devil’s Own

BB (out of 5) Much publicity was given to this Irish-American drama upon its release because of production delays escalating the costs to unreasonable proportions ($90-odd million dollars, ridiculous at the time for a drama without any significant visual effects), including endless changes to the original shooting script and a constantly postponed release date. Unfortunately,…

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Just Cause

BB.5 (out of 5) Sean Connery is a long-in-the-tooth law professor who decides to help out a death row inmate (Blair Underwood) on trial for murder because something tells him that the guy is worth helping. Searching the entire state of Florida to find clues as to the original evidence of murder, he seeks the Hannibal…

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The Bridges Of Madison County

BBBBB (out of 5) Director Clint Eastwood and cinematographer Jack N. Green do such a perfect job of filming Iowa farm life, you’ll think you can actually smell the grass blowing in the wind. Meryl Streep is perfect as Francesca Johnson, an aging war bride whose marriage to a farmer has its mutual love and…

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Beyond Rangoon

BBB (out of 5) A lot of potential is wasted in this true-life John Boorman-directed drama about a recently widowed doctor (Patricia Arquette) travelling through Burma with her globetrotting sister (Frances McDormand) as a way to deal with her grief. When her sister goes on ahead to another place, Arquette decides to stick around and…

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The Cat’s Meow

BBB.5 (out of 5) It’s 1924, and publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst (Edward Herrmann) has invited a group of guests (celebrities and mortals alike), onto his giant yacht for an off-coast California weekend (in reality the exteriors were shot in Greece and the interiors in Berlin). His own personal jealousy of his mistress Marion Davies…

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Lost Souls

BB (out of 5) Typical humdrum spiritual thriller that is a small cut above the embarrassing Bless The Child on the scarefest front but not anywhere near the level of Agnieszka Holland’s The Third Miracle when it comes to its examination of faith and redemption.  Winona Ryder is given a one-note role that she tries to…

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