Romance

[6.0] Writer Audrey Wells (Under the Tuscan Sun) and director Michael Lehmann (Heathers, Hudson Hawk) deliver a better-than-average romantic comedy about a radio show host (Janeane Garofalo) who uses her fashion model neighbor (Uma Thurman) to get to know a handsome Australian dude (Ben Chaplin) who thinks the model is the radio show host he’s falling in love with. The Truth About Cats & Dogs …

[8.0] Behold the glory of Barbara Stanwyck. One of classic Hollywood’s sassiest broads makes a big splash in this early talkie that’s leagues ahead of other early 30s flicks in terms of story, craftsmanship, and performance. Babs plays a “party girl” (we know them as escorts now) who serendipitously winds up hitching a ride in the middle of the night with a fuddy-duddy artist. Both …

[2.0] This is the worst adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma I’ve seen, with Gwyneth Paltrow’s middling 1996 version coming in ahead, and Amy Heckerling’s Clueless easily taking the crown. This newest incarnation is directed by Autumn de Wilde, a first-time feature director with a string of music videos in her filmography. But don’t expect any visual or aural panache on that account. This Emma suffers …

[6.5] Writer/director Joseph L. Mankiewicz (All About Eve, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir) won his first two Academy Awards for writing and directing this drama about three wives who reflect on their marriages when they learn a fourth woman has just left town with one of their husbands. Mankiewicz can always be relied upon for great dialogue and pitch-perfect casting. All six principles (the fourth …

[5.0] Dorothy Mackaill stars as a young woman strung along by a wealthy suitor who eventually declines to marry her, souring her relationship with any man until a rich artist comes along and strikes her fancy. The Reckless Hour is cut from a well-used cloth, but moves briskly for an early talkie and features a couple of colorful supporting performances, namely Joan Blondell as Mackaill’s …

[3.0] Dorothy Mackaill headlines as a newly-engaged Broadway song and dance star who’s confronted with a ghost from the past on the eve of her retirement. Noah Beery plays the bad guy — a man who tried to rape Mackaill’s character several years ago, and who shows up at the theater to (we assume) try again. Bright Lights (also known bizarrely as Adventures in Africa) …

[8.0] If someone is going to pick up Louisa May Alcott’s much-loved literary classic, dust it off, and serve up a retelling, let it be the Oscar-nominated writer/director of Lady Bird. Greta Gerwig is respectably faithful to the material, but bold in her decision to dice the story up and deliver it in non-linear fashion. In Gerwig’s adaptation, we experience the aftermath of the March …

[8.0] Warren Beatty co-wrote, directed, and stars in this dark comedy about a suicidal politician who puts a hit out on his own life before ending his political campaign with a blunt truth-telling tour that enrages his donors but thrills the general public. When he changes his mind about dying, he spends the weekend evading his anonymous assassin by hiding out in dangerous neighborhoods, all …

[6.5] A nice young dude with an obsession for Mad Max and the Apocalypse falls in love with a cool young chick. But when he catches her with another dude, he and his best bud consider going medieval on some people’s asses. Bellflower is a genuine love story that takes some dark turns, supported by an unknown cast who give surprisingly good performances. Writer/director Evan …

[5.0] Richard Gere plays a Chicago detective out for justice in New Orleans, where he hopes to find a woman, played by Kim Basinger, who witnessed his partner’s murder. Turns out Kim has a sad story and needs some rescuing of her own, so she and Richard fall in love while they hide from the bad guy (The 4th Man‘s Jeroen Krabbe) who killed Gere’s …

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