The Queen of Spain (La reina de España) (2016)

FERNANDO TRUEBA Bil’s rating (out of 5): B.5.  Spain, 2016.  Atresmedia Cine, Atresmedia, Crea SGR, Fernando Trueba Producciones Cinematográficas, Instituto de la Cinematografía y de las Artes Audiovisuales, Movistar+, The Queen Picture.  Screenplay by Fernando Trueba.  Cinematography by José Luis Alcaine.  Produced by Anne Deluz, Mercedes Gamero, Cristina Huete, Mikel Lejarza.  Music by Zbigniew Preisner.  Production Design by Juan Pedro de Gaspar. …

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Feast Of July

BBB (out of 5) Monumentally depressing Merchant Ivory drama about a mysterious stranger (Embeth Davidtz) who wanders into a small English village nine months pregnant and not a shade of a ring on her finger. A farming family take her in and take care of her after her baby is born, having no idea what…

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When A Man Loves A Woman

BB (out of 5) Alcoholism is given the shallow Ross Hunter treatment in this silly soap opera.  Meg Ryan is happily married to Andy Garcia but can’t seem to shake her addiction to the bottle. She puts her family through hell, but thankfully her hair always looks great. Beautifully photographed, it never really gets to the core…

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Europa Europa

BBBB (out of 5) The improbabilities of this film are further proof that life truly is stranger than fiction. Based on the memoirs of Solomon Perel, this powerful drama tells of a young Jewish boy (Marco Hofschneider) who manages to survive the Nazi occupation of Germany by pretending to be a Nazi himself. Separated from…

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The Secret Garden (1993)

BBBB (out of 5) Lush, sensual adaptation of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s novel is almost on par with the excellent version of A Little Princess that came out two years later.  Kate Maberly is excellent as the emotionally hardened girl who loses her parents while living out in India and is brought back to England to stay…

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Damage (Fatale)

BB.5 (out of 5) Jeremy Irons plays a successful politician with the perfect life, his gorgeous frosty wife (Miranda Richardson) the perfect companion for his ambitions, and his handsome son (Rupert Graves) making his own way in the field of journalism.  When Graves brings home a beautiful woman (Juliette Binoche) with whom he is getting…

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White (Trois Couleurs: Blanc)

BB.5 (out of 5) The least impressive of the Krzysztof Kieslowski French Flag trilogy is the middle installment, a meditation on Equality (the other two films, which comprise the colours of represent Liberty–Blue and Fraternity–Red). A Polish musician (Zbigniew Zamachowski) is thrown out on to the street by his selfish wife (Julie Delpy) and left…

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Blue (Trois Couleurs: Bleu)

BBB.5 (out of 5) The first chapter of Krzysztof Kieslowski’s French flag trilogy (followed by White and the superb Red) is this beautifully photographed drama. Juliette Binoche is excellent (as usual) as a musician’s wife who is thrust into an empty emotional void when a car accident leaves her the only survivor of her husband and…

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The Double Life Of Veronique (La Double Vie De Veronique)

BBBBB (out of 5) Every single frame of Slawomir Idziak’s superb cinematography will bowl you over with its beauty. Beyond that, it also has character, depth and a stunning sense of mystery without every going overboard in its explanations. Irène Jacob is breathtaking in an unabashedly passionate performance as one woman living two lives, one as…

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Red (Trois Couleurs: Rouge)

BBBBB (out of 5) The third part of Krzysztof Kieslowski’s Three Colours trilogy is far and away the best of the group and could survive as a film on its own. A Geneva model (Irène Jacob) becomes acquainted with a crusty old judge (Jean-Louis Trintignant) after she accidentally runs over his dog, and discovers that…

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At Play In The Fields Of The Lord

BB.5 (out of 5) This adaptation of the novel by Peter Matthiessen is epic on length but not substance. Members of the large cast include Tom Berenger as a pilot who crash lands in the middle of the Amazon and ends up adapting himself into a Native tribe; Aidan Quinn and Kathy Bates are missionaries deeply affected by…

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