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  • Smooth Talk

    Smooth Talk

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    "If your broken heart should need repair, then I am the man to see. I whisper sweet things, you tell all your friends, they'll come running to me."

    - James Taylor

    Innocence on trial in the forest of cubs and wolves. About as close to a time capsule of the 1980s as I've ever seen, Joyce Chopra's Smooth Talk paints a hazy yet acute likeness of teenage angst and sexual awakening. The rebellious sore thumb of an archetypal working class…

  • The Call

    The Call

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    The pleasures of the land line, revisited.

    If you have the same experience I did, you'll infer the mechanics of where The Call is going fairly early on. What I did not count on, however, was how far director Chung-Hyun Lee was going to push his science fiction / thriller / serial killer horror mashup. You'll either laugh yourself out of the scenario quickly, or be unable to slap the giddy grin off your face (like me) because you're having…

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  • The Rider

    The Rider

    β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…Β½

    I've been deliberating whether or not to give ChloΓ© Zhao's The Rider the perfect 5 star rating, as I can't yet find any faults in it after sitting on it for a day. I'll leave it at 4.5 for now, give it some more daylight and return to it.

    There are countless superlatives I could toss this picture's way, you name it, but the master descriptor I zero in on is honest. The Rider is at bedrock a very simple…

  • One Night in Miami...

    One Night in Miami...

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    Fictionalized or not, the arguments for civil rights bathed in star wattage put forth in Regina King's One Night in Miami... make you believe something like this happened, and if not, it damn well should have. I found Jim Brown's (Aldis Hodge) depiction the most impressive, exuding a quiet, gravitational strength and realism. That opening scene with Brown - a greater punch in the gut than anything Clay could have summoned. Malcolm X (Kingsley Ben-Adir) and Sam Cookes' (Leslie Odom…