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Diane Carson

The very title "Good Kill" signals inherent tension, and this film concentrates that tension on Major Tom Egan. An F-16 fighter pilot with six tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, Egan now sits in an air-conditioned cubicle on an Air Force base outside Las Vegas where he pilots drones, often at the direction of a disembodied CIA voice from Langley.

Based on an astonishing true story, "In the Name of My Daughter" begins in 1976 with the fashionable Renée expertly managing the Palais de la Mediterranée casino in Nice. Trouble arrives as divorcee daughter Agnès, back from Africa, succumbs to a passionate obsession with Maurice, Renée's womanizing legal assistant. He's conspiring with the Mafia's devious scheme to control Renée's casino.

"Mad Max: Fury Road" immediately gears up with a stunningly staged chase scene featuring armored tractor trailers and elaborately outfitted dune buggies resembling would-be porcupines outfitted with ferocious flame throwers. After a roughly 25-minute chase and a brief pause, another incredible pursuit follows with wildly destructive, fierce motorcyclists added. One more relatively quiet scene quickly yields to another mind-boggling chase.

Director Thomas Vinterberg's adaptation of Thomas Hardy's 1874 novel "Far from the Madding Crowd" mines that story with unabashed, joyful indulgence. Because of that earnest emotional embrace, the solid acting of Carey Mulligan as Bathsheba Everdene, and Charlotte Bruus Christensen's dazzling cinematography, the period piece successfully flaunts its 19th century elegance and melodramatic appeal.

In the first scene of  "Clouds of Sils Maria," Maria Enders and her personal assistant Valentine are in transit, on a train to Zurich, Switzerland, jostling along tied to technology, irritated with intermittent cell phone service. This opening establishes the film's central relationship and, within minutes, the tragedy that will shape subsequent decisions.

As dazzling for the brain as for the eyes, the science fiction film "Ex Machina" challenges assumptions about human emotion and behavior. Wealthy entrepreneur Nathan (first names used only) has his firm's top programmer, Caleb, flown to his remote, ultramodern research facility. He's selected Caleb for a Turing test, that is, can Caleb differentiate between A.I. and human intelligence, responsiveness.

Inspired by true events, "The Water Diviner" thrusts the viewer into the December 1915 Battle of Gallipoli, pitting Turkish troops against the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) trying vainly to control supply routes. Both sides would suffer a quarter million casualties. ANZAC's dead would reach almost 50,000; the Turks' dead an estimated 65,000. This story focuses on three brothers.

Cinema St. Louis' Q-Fest 2015 runs Sunday, April 19 through Thursday, April 23 with 12 different programs. They include five feature-length documentaries, six narrative fictional features, a shorts program of seven films, plus five other short films that precede feature screenings. Impressively diverse, high quality selections represent the U.S., Canada, Brazil, Venezuela, The Dominican Republic, and Israel.

Kumiko's Office Lady life consists of taking orders from an insufferable boss--get me tea, steep it longer, take these suits to the cleaners. Fancying herself a Spanish conquistador, following a map to a cave near a beach, Kumiko finds a damaged VHS tape of "Fargo," watches Carl (Steve Buscemi) bury ransom money in the snow, and becomes entranced.

The title of writer/director Noah Baumbach's latest film, "While We're Young," is as much a plaintive assertion as a description of Josh and Cornelia's status. In their mid-forties, on the cusp of having to reconcile themselves to their personal and professional choices, Josh and Cornelia encounter a nagging challenge to any complacency through Jamie and Darby, hip twenty-somethings.

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