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  • Call Me by Your Name

    Call Me by Your Name

    ★★★★★

    To tell a love story without the expected words, phrases, and gestures meant to communicate specific thoughts, feelings, and private longings is particularly challenging to pull off, awkward and off-putting when executed even with the slightest hint of self-consciousness, but Luca Guadagnino’s surprisingly disarming “Call Me by Your Name,” based on the novel by André Aciman, makes it look like most graceful dance, so natural, delicate, and free of chains that prevent so many coming-of-age pictures from reaching their maximum…

  • Zodiac

    Zodiac

    ★★★★½

    A deliberate sidestepping of overt action is the strategy director David Fincher employs in “Zodiac,” a true crime thriller surrounding the hunt for the Zodiac killer who terrorized the San Francisco Bay Area from 1969 to 1971. Highly intelligent, meticulous, and efficient, at times the picture embodies the texture of a documentary in the way it dares to break away from the expected plot and dramatic parabola. What matters is information, how it is presented, and what conclusions, if any,…

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  • The Power

    The Power

    Corinna Faith’s supernatural horror film “The Power” is yet another project to add to the growing collection of movies where the message they wish to impart takes precedence over telling a good, old-fashioned, spine-tingling story. This is becoming a worrisome trend. Should it continue, “message filmmakers” might as well just put up PowerPoint slides to explain or express their anger or frustration about a certain topic and chuck out moving pictures altogether for ninety minutes straight. Because what is the…

  • Our Friend

    Our Friend

    ★½

    Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s “Our Friend” provides a Hollywood portrait of cancer. And so when Nicole (Dakota Johnson), two years into her terminal diagnosis, looks in the mirror and claims, “I’m so ugly now,” we don’t believe the words or the emotions behind them. We are simply watching a performer portraying sadness while looking absolutely luminous underneath the pale makeup; her face is pallid but her arms and legs are well-moisturized, spotless.

    If you know somebody who is, has been fighting, or…

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  • Godzilla vs. Kong

    Godzilla vs. Kong

    ★★

    Here is yet another example of what is wrong with blockbusters these days: characters having more in common with stick figures than breathing, thinking, caring people; dialogue so dead that halfway through it comes across as though the picture has given up on words and so poorly executed reaction shots are allowed to run rampant; and there is no intrigue to be had or cherished. What it offers is flashing lights and a barrage of senseless noise; go to a…

  • Ravenous

    Ravenous

    Here is a zombie picture that focuses not on gore but on survival. Written and directed by Robin Aubert, “The Hungry” achieves an intimate feel despite using the template of a zombie apocalypse. It takes its time to build, to move the camera from left to right, to follow its characters as they search for a safe place to live out the rest of their lives. There is no hunt for the cure. Nor is there an explanation of what…