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  • 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,…

  • Oslo, August 31st

    Oslo, August 31st

    ★★★★★

    Once an addict, always an addict. This is the mentality that many people hold toward current and recovering drug addicts. Although an insensitive generalization, perhaps there is a grain of truth in this attitude. After all, the National Institute on Drug Abuse cites that about 60% of those recovering from a drug addiction tend to relapse.

    I watched “Oslo, 31. august,” directed by Joachim Trier, with intense fascination. The picture opens in a dark room where a young man is…

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  • Jaws

    Jaws

    ★★★★★

    Many of today’s horror movies, especially those with bloated budgets, have proven one too many times that there is nothing particularly scary about people being killed on screen. They may be gruesome, ugly, bloody, or especially violent—perhaps all of the above—but real scares, those that crawl their way into the mind and attach themselves there, are often confused with evanescent jolts or shocks. They can learn a thing or ten from Steven Spielberg’s “Jaws,” based upon Peter Benchley’s 1974 novel…

  • Stay Out Stay Alive

    Stay Out Stay Alive

    ★½

    “Stay Out Stay Alive,” written and directed by Dean Yurke, attempts to be a morality tale of greed, but once all the pieces are in place to get its rather standard and uninspired messages across, the work gets mired in one horror cliché after another: screaming at walkie talkies, falling over while on the run in a forest, shadowy figures blending in the background, personal revelations meant to inspire sympathy. It’s all so tired. From the moment the characters find…

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  • A Hidden Life

    A Hidden Life

    ★★★½

    I walked away from Terrence Malick’s “A Hidden Life” thinking there is a better movie yet to be made about Franz Jägerstätter (August Diehl), a farmer who refuses to pledge loyalty to Adolf Hitler and fight for Nazi Germany. Based on his religion and morality, which the material treats, quite astutely, as two separate ideas, Hitler’s actions are evil and the war is occurring for all the wrong reasons. I admired its intention to tell Jägerstätter’s story and I do…

  • The Silence of the Lambs

    The Silence of the Lambs

    ★★★★★

    It seems everywhere she goes Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster), one of the top students at the FBI training academy, feels the male gaze caressing her: the local cops who find a corpse that had been underwater for days; her fellow trainees and superiors; the director of the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane (Anthony Health); even the serial killer Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins), dubbed Hannibal the Cannibal by the media, the former psychiatrist Clarice has been assigned to…