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  • Dayveon

    Dayveon

    ★★★★

    This debut feature from composer-turned-director Abbasi boasts an executive producer credit for David Gordon Green, which makes sense; Dayveon has the found beauty and quiet, lived-in naturalism of Green’s own first film, 'George Washington.' Set in small-town Arkansas over a scorching summer, it’s a street gang story in an atypically rural environment, so the jumpings and robberies are interspersed with crickets and sunsets. But Abbas doesn’t soft-soap the storytelling; the film unfolds with a kind of tense inevitability, even when interrupted by searching moments of sensitivity and self-doubt. Moody, evocative, and tough, with a penultimate sequence that packs a real emotional wallop.

  • Ex Libris – New York Public Library

    Ex Libris – New York Public Library

    ★★★★½

    The legendary documentarian Frederick Wiseman has spent the better part of a half-century exploring the ins and outs of worthy institutions, so he’s a natural fit for a peek behind the scenes of the NYPL. But the ideal match of reporter and subject goes beyond that – he seems to be interested in literally everything, and that’s what this library offers. It’s not just a repository for books; it houses art and information, hosts public talks and private events, and…

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  • Mistress America

    Mistress America

    ★★★★½

    “In one instant, her behaviors turned from charming to borderline psychotic.” So notes Tracy (Kirke) of Brooke (Gerwig), the title character of Noah Baumbach’s latest chronicle of the bohemian facades and generational navigation in New York City. Free of much of the cynicism but none of the bite of last spring’s 'While We’re Young,' Baumbach and co-writer Gerwig’s screwball treat beautifully captures the way a slightly older, seemingly together mentor-type figure can first seem to be everything you hope to…

  • Under the Skin

    Under the Skin

    ★★★★

    A beautiful, bizarre, and occasionally troubling bit of abstract art-house sci-fi in the Beyond the Black Rainbow vein from director Jonathan Glazer (Sexy Beast, Birth). Scarlett Johansson (who appears in just about every frame) plays a well-disguised alien creature who picks up men and devours them; some have dismissed the picture as an indie riff on Species, but if the narrative is derivative and a tad monotonous, there’s something intoxicating about the fluidity of Glazer’s striking images and the mood he manages to sustain throughout the peculiar tale.

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