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  • Dante's Peak

    Dante's Peak

    ★★★★

    A true late-analog extravaganza: beautiful illustrated backdrops, miniature buildings and trees, tactile atmospheric effects. Pierce Bronson and Linda Hamilton are also fantastic.

  • Smooth Talk

    Smooth Talk

    ★★★★½

    For much of its runtime, this is a richly detailed, unhurried portrait of a girl and her family, but it curdles into something darker as a maniacally charming sexual predator played by Treat Williams sets his sights on Dern. However that sounds on the surface, somehow it’s neither a straightforward Bildungsroman or a thriller. The scope is too limited for the former, and the plot mechanics aren’t there for the later. It sort of revolves around itself, cycling through the days and nights of a restless young woman, until the moment this dark other breaks the pattern, and throws everything that came before into relief.

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  • Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters

    Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters

    ★★★★★

    Words, abstraction, preceded the body for Yukio Mishima, as he confesses early on in what is undeniably Paul Schrader’s masterpiece. The lasting chasm between the two haunts him all his life, until at last he decides that violent self-actualization is the only way to close the gap. However ridiculous this may seem in practice or in theory — the difference itself a point of tension —  the film sympathizes with his desire. And so absent a more complete picture of Mishima’s politics, or the social context in which they existed in Japan, we are left with only a searing portrait of one man’s singular longing.

  • Juice

    Juice

    ★★★½

    Loved the period details and the music. It fluctuated between feeling utterly effortless and painfully strained.