The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018)

ETHAN COEN, JOEL COEN Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.  USA, 2018.  Annapurna Pictures, Annapurna Television, Mike Zoss Productions.  Screenplay by Joel Coen, Ethan Coen, segment All Gold Canyon based on a story by Jack London, segment The Gal Who Got Rattled inspired by a story by Stewart Edward White.  Cinematography by Bruno Delbonnel.  Produced by Ethan Coen, Joel Coen,…

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The Big Sick (2017)

MICHAEL SHOWALTER Bil’s rating (out of 5):   BBBB.  Apatow Productions, FilmNation Entertainment, Story Ink.  USA, 2017.  Screenplay by Emily V. Gordon, Kumail Nanjiani.  Cinematography by Brian Burgoyne.  Produced by Judd Apatow, Barry Mendel.  Music by Michael Andrews.  Production Design by Brandon Tonner-Connolly.  Costume Design by Sarah Mae Burton.  Film Editing by Robert Nassau.  Academy Awards 2017.   Gotham Awards 2017 Real-life couple Kumail Nanjiani and Emily Gordon have…

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Our Brand Is Crisis

BB.5 (out of 5) Sandra Bullock plays a political consultant who is hired to go to Bolivia and help presidential candidate Joaquim de Almeida get elected, learning once she arrives that her fierce nemesis (Billy Bob Thornton) has been hired by her boss’s rival. Bullock shows up in a bad mood and is immediately beset by altitude…

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It’s Complicated

BBB (out of 5) Ten years after her husband (Alec Baldwin) left her for a much younger woman, Meryl Streep is a confident and adjusted single woman with three kids and a collection of good girlfriends. When she attends her son’s graduation in New York City and finds her ex there alone, the two of them…

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The Savages

BBBB (out of 5) Two siblings, long estranged from their parents, are reunited when their aging father (Philip Bosco) is left to deal with his dementia alone after his girlfriend dies. It couldn’t come at a more inconvenient time as drama professor Philip Seymour Hoffman is working on his book on Bertold Brecht and office temp…

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Fracture

BB (out of 5) Selling your soul for cash is not without consequences, as Ryan Gosling learns in this tepid thriller.  It’s a film mainly designed to give Gosling another opportunity to rub his eyes and chin for two hours and let Anthony Hopkins phone in his Silence Of The Lambs performance from a faraway vacation spot….

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Me And Orson Welles

BBBB (out of 5) Memorably enjoyable comedy about a “never the same again after that summer” loss of innocence. Zac Efron is terrific as a young man in the 1930s who lets high school fall by the wayside when he gets the opportunity to be in a Mercury Theatre production of Julius Caesar and work…

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In The Valley Of Elah

BBB.5 (out of 5) Ex-army sergeant Tommy Lee Jones gets a phone call informing him that his son, just returned from service in Iraq, has disappeared from his army base and has been missing for days. Jones, immediately knowing something is wrong, travels two days across states to investigate his son’s disappearance himself, devastated when he…

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Meek’s Cutoff

BBBB.5 (out of 5) Kelly Reichardt abandons the modern simple realism of Wendy and Lucy and plunges into the past for a fascinating, austere western about early settlers surviving the harsh Midwestern terrain. Three couples being lead across Oregon find themselves at the very edge of their own survival when their guide (Bruce Greenwood) gets…

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Revolutionary Road

BBB (out of 5) WARNING! The suburbs are bad for you–I know, I know, you might not know this despite the fact that it’s been dealt with in only seven hundred million other movies. What’s even stranger is that the film this one rips off, American Beauty, was directed by Sam Mendes, who is also…

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