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  • A Tale of Love and Darkness

    A Tale of Love and Darkness

    ★★★½

    Natalie Portman’s labor of love is a delicate drama that tells the birth of the Israeli state through the eyes of a child in late 1940s Jerusalem, of young Amos Oz who went on to become one of the country’s most influential writers as well as a proponent of the two-state solution. This is a very impressive and self-assured directorial outing by the actress, demonstrating a keen eye on detail and knowledge of history. She also shows a high degree…

  • Night's Tightrope

    Night's Tightrope

    ★★★

    The mystery of Tsubasa Honda's sudden turn from high school kawaii princess to tsundere ice queen. How fascinating. Yup, this film's alright. Here's another strong screen adaptation of a novel by Kanae Minato, one of Japan's masters of the iyamisu genre, or sordid crime thrillers (that's "eww mystery" if you want a closer translation). Expect the usual: deliciously low schoolgirls, horribly dirty secrets, and of course some swank cinematography. Small traces of pretension here kinda rub me the wrong way, but overall this movie is definitely worth a peek, especially to viewers who enjoyed past Minato adaptations like Penance, The Snow White Murder Case, and Confessions.

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  • Upstream Color

    Upstream Color

    ★★★★★

    Shane Carruth’s alluring Upstream Color is Invasion of the Body Snatchers for the art house crowd, with hogs replacing pods and identity crisis substituting for McCarthyism. That may be an awfully crude comparison but it’s the overall gist I got as I watched this beguiling, beautiful film. One thing’s for sure, the plot’s mind-control science fiction aspect plays only second fiddle to the transcendent yet universal overarching theme of emotional resonance in people in the vein of Henry David Thoreau’s…

  • Post Tenebras Lux

    Post Tenebras Lux

    ★★★★½

    Contemplative cinema can be a bitch. This most elusive of art house varieties has repeatedly rendered me awestruck, but at the same time hopelessly nonplussed all at once. With that said, the sensory experience waiting in store for viewers in Post Tenebras Lux, perhaps the most idiosyncratic and abstract work to date from Mexican, transcendental filmmaker Carlos Reygadas, can be quite overwhelming and intimidating. If one is unfamiliar with the director’s influences—namely Robert Bresson, Carl Theodore Dreyer, Roberto Rossellini, and…