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  • Beirut

    Beirut

    ★★★

    A movie's name just being its location doesn't always mean that the filmmakers had a sense of that but not the story, but it's the way to bet. Certainly, it's not a theory that BEIRUT seems keen to debunk; much of the film's first half is explainingto the audience that Lebanon in general and its capital in particular were nervously cosmopolitan melting pots before the civil war, and then touring the blasted remains afterward. It takes a while for the…

  • Claire's Camera

    Claire's Camera

    ★★★★

    Cannes has become so associated with its film festival that just setting a movie there seems to warp perception of it and the people involved; it becomes part of this insular world that means something to filmmakers and influential critics who perhaps don't realize how many people it can leave on the outside. "Claire's Camera" mostly avoids that - it's set in that world and in many ways about it, but not so much so that it loses its basic…

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  • Killing Ground

    Killing Ground

    ★½

    When people who don't like horror movies in general ask those who do how they can enjoy that sort of garbage, they're talking about movies like "Killing Ground". With the good stuff, you can talk about nightmare imagery, stories which allow you to confront fears directly or metaphorically, or just admiring the staging and choreography of a suspenseful scene and the catharsis that comes afterward with the good ones, but sometimes, even with good intentions, a movie is just serving…

  • Napping Princess

    Napping Princess

    ★★★★

    I judge animated movies based in part on niece-appropriateness these days, and roughly five minutes into this, I was seeing a fantasy about an awesome little girl whose magic power is basically knowing how to code, so, heck yes. The movie's got kind of a big problem toward the end, but it's not really a deal-killer, even if it tries.

    Mostly, though, it alternates between two related stories, one with a teenager and her auto-mechanic father, another with a princess…