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Directed by James Ward Byrkit

      A group of friends, namely, Emily (Emily Baldoni), Kevin (Maury Sterling), Mike (Nicholas Brendon), Beth (Elizabeth Gracen), Amir (Alex Manugian), Laurie (Lauren Maher), Hugh (Hugo Armstrong) and Lee (Lorene Scafaria), gather together for a dinner party. A comet happens to be passing by Earth which might have something to do with why cellphone screens mysteriously shatter and electricity goes out. Other strange, inexplicable occurrences also transpire, but none of them will be spoiled here.

      Those of you expecting an action-packed, shallow sci-fi thriller should look elsewhere because Coherence is one of those rare sci-fi films with a brain, and it becomes increasingly profound while remaining character-driven. Leave it to the talents of Writer/director James Ward Byrkit who takes risks by combining the elements of sci-fi, horror, suspense/mystery, thriller and drama effectively, for the most part. Yes, the film is complex, but it's not complicated or exhausting for that matter. You might find yourself asking "What's going on?" or "Why is this happening? What's the point of all of this?", but you'll see what's happening from a different perspective and, perhaps, a somewhere clearer understanding the more the characters talk---and they do converse quite a lot to the extent that Coherence dips its toes melodrama at times making you forget that you're watching a sci-fi movie. The acting is convincingly natural all across the board and it helps that none of the actors are big stars because that adds to the realism.

      Unlike many directors, Byrkit leaves a lot to your imagination, a very powerful, underused tool nowadays. He presents you with provocative topics that are quite significant, such as the classic experiment of Schrodinger's cat, but he leaves it up to you to interpret it on your own. Your imagination will run wild and you'll find yourself somewhat confused more often than not because much of the film is unpredictable and bizarre, although not in a pretentious, over-the-top way. Wondering precisely in what direction the plot is going to go is a large part of what makes it's so effectively suspenseful. You'll want to see it again just to process all of the profound messages and to discover new layers of meaning.

Number of times I checked my watch: 1
Released by Oscilloscope Laboratories.
Opens at Village East Cinema.

The Last Sentence

Directed by Jan Troell


Number of times I checked my watch: 2
Released by Music Box Films.
Opens at Lincoln Plaza Cinemas.

Le Chef

Directed by Daniel Cohen


Number of times I checked my watch: 1
Released by Cohen Media Group.
Opens at The Paris Theatre.

Miss Lovely

Directed by Ashim Ahluwalia


Number of times I checked my watch: 4
Released by FilmBuff and Dada Films.
Opens at Cinema Village.

No Tears for the Dead

Directed by Jeong-beom Lee


Number of times I checked my watch: 2
Released by CJ Entertainment.
Opens at AMC Empire 25.

A Picture of You

Directed by J.P. Chan


Number of times I checked my watch: 1
Released by First Pond Entertainment.
Opens at AMC/Loews Village 7.

A Summer's Tale

Directed by Eric Rohmer

      Gaspard (Melvil Poupaud), a recent graduate student and aspiring musician, spends three weeks in the French seaside of Bretagne for summer vacation where he awaits the arrival of his girlfriend, Lena (Aurelia Nolin). At a local restaurant, he flirts with a waitress, Margot (Amanda Langlet), and soon the two of them form a platonic relationship as they walk along the beach. Margot sets him up with one of her friends, Solene (GwenaŽlle Simon), whom she think he'll like. Gaspard, however, doesn't really know which of the women in his life he truly wants as his girlfriend.

    Writer/director Eric Rohmer takes a simple plot and weaves it into a complex, deeply human romantic drama. he fact that Rohmer blends witty comic relief so naturally and effectively reflects Rohmer's skills as a writer and as a human being---he knows just how much humor to include and what kind without catering to the lowest common denominator. There's nothing physically explicit per se, in other word, but there is plenty of emotional explicitness because the characters talk a lot about life, love and everything in between as they share their thoughts and feelings. Rohmer is clearly a filmmaker who grasps human emotion which can be sensed during the many organic conversations. He also grasps how human beings change, or, in some cases, they don't change. He wisely doesn't judge the characters, but rather lets you do the judging for yourself and to figure out whether you think they've learned anything by the end of the summer vacation.

    Gaspard, convincingly played by the well-cast Melvil Poupaud, is far from perfect---he has narcissistic qualities and lacks maturity---but he's fallible like every human being. It's those flaws that makes him an interesting character, and you'll find it compelling as you watch him decide with whom he wants to end up with. How refreshing it is to watch a film where there's more than just pretty scenery: there are conversations and debates where people not only talk a lot, but also say a lot to boot. Yes, it was made nearly 20 years ago, but there's a universality and depth to the film that makes it timeless and relatable even two decades later. Concurrently wise, honest, breezy, witty and profound, A Summer's Tale is an intellectually and emotionally rewarding date movie for sophisticated couples.

Number of times I checked my watch: 1
Released by Big World Pictures.
Opens at IFC Center and Lincoln Plaza Cinemas.

Think Like a Man Too

Directed by Tim Story


Number of times I checked my watch: 4
Released by Screen Gems.
Opens nationwide.

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