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  • Lady Sings the Blues

    Lady Sings the Blues

    ★★★½

    Diana Ross may not be anyone's idea of an actress, but in this particular project, loosely based on the life of Billie Holiday, and produced by Motown (the record label run by Ross's boyfriend of the time, Berry Gordy), she shows both strength and vulnerability, and to me, has more of the essence of Holiday than Audra McDonald displayed in Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill.

  • A Tale of Two Cities

    A Tale of Two Cities

    ★★★½

    A Fox film by Frank Lloyd, and a primitive Dickens adaptation, with the dual leading role played by William Farnum (1876-1953), a personable if slightly doltish heroic who was a fairly major star from the mid-teens to the mid-twenties.

    Lucie is played by Jewel Carmen, who had already gained an element of notoriety by falsely claiming she had been abducted by white slavery traders; around the time of this film she was trying to break her contract at Fox, and…

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  • A Single Man

    A Single Man

    ★★★★

    This bittersweet film gets another star on a rewatch. It's Colin Firth's best performance in years as stuffy professor George Falconer ('it takes a long time to become George'), who suddenly finds himself bereaved by the sudden death of his partner Jim in a car accident, and finds it difficult to cope until he decides he needs to make a momentous decision.

    This being the 1960s he cannot talk openly about it, or even grieve, nor can he seek a…

  • Licence to Kill

    Licence to Kill

    ★★★★½

    One of my favourite Bond films, this one shook off the Moore-era humour and instead had something far more violent and realistic.

    Carey Lowell is a wonderfully sparky girl associate for 007, even if Talisa Soto is a bit of a drip. The basic premise of this one is that Bond goes solo and rogue after witnessing the murder of his friend Felix Leiter's bride on her wedding day, and the mutilation of Leiter.

    The bad guys are an international…