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  • The Life of Chikuzan

    The Life of Chikuzan

    ★★★

    Picaresque biopic of blind shamisen player Chikuzan Takahashi and his travails through pre-WWII Japan. He makes for a fairly static protagonist, and his brief bursts of agency cause him nothing but grief. The film gains real poignancy by having Chikuzan himself introduce and conclude it.

  • Cameraperson

    Cameraperson

    ★★★★½

    Some visual metaphors to draw upon: tapestry, palimpsest, mosaic. Shifts from the heartbreaking to the suspenseful, from the personal to the objective, from the political to the natural, all without judgment or prejudice. A feat of editing and empathy.

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  • Jodorowsky's Dune

    Jodorowsky's Dune

    ★★½

    Could this have been a game-changing psychedelic, philosophical sci-fi epic of gargantuan proportions, somehow bankrolled by a Hollywood studio? I guess, but I sure as hell wouldn't have ponied up the money for a project like this, with only a weighty scrapbook and a surrealistic supergroup helmed by an excitable madman to recommend it.

    The movie itself is badly-shot auteur-stroking of the highest order, as indulgent of its subject as Jodorowsky is of himself, but the art and imagery do…

  • In the Cut

    In the Cut

    ★★★★

    A drifting intellectual late-bloomer's sexual awakening in the guise of an erotic thriller, unfairly if understandably maligned by viewers hoodwinked by advertising and unaccustomed to whodunits slathered in atmosphere and psychology at the expense of rollercoaster theatrics, put off by a reckless and glistening camera too busy charting the headspace of isolated and sexually paranoid Meg Ryan (fearless and vulnerable and as willing to shed her on-screen past as her character is to shed her depressed, idealistic innocence) faced with…