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  • At First Light

    At First Light

    ★★

    This tepid but sincere attempt to remake Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind is a solid failure but it does feature a couple good performances, particularly a star-turn by young, gawky but sexy Québécois actor Théodore Pellerin as the dreamy, moonstruck wannabe-boyfriend of the female alien-human hybrid, and to a much lesser degree, Percy Hynes White as his younger skatepunk brother, whose facial expressions at discovering Pop Tarts in a grocery bag are priceless.

    There are some pretty special…

  • Madeline's Madeline

    Madeline's Madeline

    I'm not sure which is more tedious — watching this interminable, pomo-mannerist atrocity or reading someone like David Ehrlich, who seems to have never graduated film school, write about it.

    At least director Josephine Decker shows some awareness of how pretentious her "characters" are and so a lot of what happens or doesn't happen could pass as satire or auto-critique (the ostensible subject of the performance art that spills over into the occasional realist passages within the movie, its best…

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  • Her

    Her

    I can't imagine anyone who reads sci-fi more than casually, or even someone who's seen a decent number of Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes, and especially anyone who's read Richard Powers' prescient and emotionally rich Galatea 2.2, or perhaps a reasonably informed average user of modern computers, to do anything but scoff and laugh at Spike Jonez's superficial attempt to speculate about artificially intelligent agents in, what? The near future? An alternate universe? Inside his head? Every time someone…

  • La Ciénaga

    La Ciénaga

    ★★★★★

    I can't think of a more accomplished, incisive and illuminating director of actors than Lucrecia Martel, particularly in the naturalistic style she's fond of, and there's no better observer and skewerer of a particular set of social mores. This is my Argentina, every frame of this movie says, and instead of being off-putting or condescending, as the tone of most American directors out of Hollywood would take of their societies, the feel here is intimate and painful — the terror of true self-awareness. That this was her first feature still astonishes me. The Chekhov comparisons are not hyperbole.