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Evil Woman

The Last Seduction *** (A must-see) Directed by John Dahl Written by Steve Barancik With Linda Fiorentino, Peter Berg, Bill Pullman, Bill Nunn, and J.T. Walsh. Director John Dahl may be carving out a lonely niche for himself as an auteur filmmaker specializing in film noir. Hot on the heels of Red Rock West, his […]

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Incest Without Guilt

** SPANKING THE MONKEY (Worth seeing) Directed and written by David O. Russell With Jeremy Davies, Alberta Watson, Benjamin Hendrickson, and Carla Gallo. In Spanking the Monkey, writer-director David O. Russell has pulled off no small feat–he’s made a film about incest that shifts nimbly back and forth between comedy and drama. Raymond Aibelli (Jeremy […]

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90s Noir

*** RED ROCK WEST (A must-see) Directed by John Dahl With Nicolas Cage, Dennis Hopper, J.T. Walsh, and Lara Flynn Boyle Like poor relations, films noirs have never gotten much respect. Eyed with suspicion by the studios that produced them and dismissed as a guilty pleasure by the public that viewed them, the films were […]

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The Stroll

Veteran documentarian Alexey Uchitel directed this frenetically paced feature about a day in the life of three Saint Petersburg youths with true guerrilla aplomb, shooting it all in the streets with a handheld camera. Out walking, the beautiful Olya (Irina Pegova) is brazenly approached by Alyosha (Pavel Barshak), who tries to convince her of love […]

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Buchachi

The Israeli TV series Voices From the Heartland, which depicts the nation’s regional life, broadcast this 52-minute film about a timid and unassuming cook on an air force base (Moshe Folkenflik). Leader of the kitchen staff by virtue of seniority, Buchachi has always accepted the pecking order on the base and tolerated the taunts of […]

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Skin Deep

Anthony (Mailon Rivera), a black businessman, is in a pickle, torn between his gorgeous but icy white wife and his sexy but psychotic black mistress, who’s impatient for him to commit. To make matters worse, he must contend with difficult dinner guests: his best friend, Michael (Steve White), who’s brooding over bad investments, and his […]

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The Happy Cricket From the Amazon

Self-taught Brazilian animator Walbercy Ribas Camargo has been making films for over 40 years, and since 1966 his studio, START Desenhos Animados, has been turning out shorts and features that rival anything Disney has produced recently. Interweaving folk story, political allegory, and environmentalism, this seamless 2000 narrative tells of a cricket and his insect buddies […]

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Taxi, an Encounter

The fragmented narrative of this 2001 Argentinean feature is highly derivative of the French New Wave, but director Gabriela David has studied her sources well. A young carjacker (Diego Peretti) steals a cab and drives around town, killing time until he can turn the vehicle over to a chop shop the next morning. Fate leads […]

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Move!

Niki List’s 2003 documentary follows a trio of young female video makers trying to establish a production company in the Viennese studio space they share with a quartet of aspiring male hip-hop artists. List manages to impart a sense of both groups’ drive and ambition, but she lingers too long on garden-variety acts of youthful […]

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Small Cuts

Daniel Auteuil stars as Paul, a dyspeptic journalist and halfhearted communist with an unraveling marriage. When his disgruntled wife takes a trip to Lyon to see her mother, Paul and his mistress drive to see his uncle, the communist mayor of a town near Grenoble, who is suicidal over his wife’s infidelity and the prospect […]

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First a Girl

Victor Saville’s gender-bending 1935 musical comedy—about an actress who becomes famous posing as a man impersonating a woman—was based on a 1933 German film, Viktor und Viktoria; Blake Edwards recycled the same premise in 1982 with Victor/Victoria. Obviously Edwards was freer to riff on sexual themes, but Saville demonstrates definite comedic flair. Jessie Matthews, a […]

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It Kinda Scares Me

Youth counselor Tomer Heymann wrote, coproduced, and directed this 2001 documentary about his work with disenfranchised street kids from Azur, a Tel Aviv housing project. His organization, Youth Promotion, aims to steer adolescents away from the usual cycle of drugs, crime, and violence. Heymann attempts to create a play based on the group’s real-life experiences […]