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Martha K. Baker

If you were lucky enough to watch "Hung" on HBO a year or so ago, then you've already seen a good take on the concept that women will buy sex from clean and sober gentlemen. You will also have seen a better version of this theme than you get in John Turturro's "Fading Gigolo."

If you don't follow baseball, you might not have known about the advent of Indian players in the major league. You might not have known about an agent named Jamie Bernstein, who needed an influx of money to keep going. After losing a client who would have been worth millions, JB plops on his bachelor couch, flipping through channels.

That's God's Pocket as in Hell's Kitchen and the Tenderloin area -- they're all neighborhoods within larger cities, and they are not the most attractive real estate. They are seedy and sordid, populated by generations of drifters and grafters. They are often fiercely championed by the natives, who look down on anyone not from there. 

So it's directed and written by Jim Jarmusch. So it's witty and pretty -- and dark. "The Only Lovers Left Alive" is still, at base, a bloody zombie movie. So if you love those blood-sucking franchises, you might like "Only Lovers." If you like decadence, you'll eat up "Only Lovers."

It is rare that a film addresses so many -isms so well, but "Belle" does this and more. "Belle" considers not only the damage of racism but of sexism in a country so classist as to be, well, classic. "Belle" does that, too, and in so doing, it raises the whole issue of color as related to gender.

Four-time world champion ballroom dancer Pierre Dulaine is nothing if not debonair. His movements are graceful; his air, elegant. His every step has purpose. So when he decides to do something, he puts his foot down. "Dancing in Jaffa" proves it's not that simple to pursue a dream.
 

Landing on the beaches of Normandy on June 6, 1944, the largest Allied operation of World War II, was choreographed and orchestrated and designed to a T -- with a few unpredictable contingencies, the weather for one. Who knew what it would do nor what the enemy, the Nazis and its Axis forces, would do.
 

Solving this mystery is amazing in itself. Even a clumsy filmmaker could have captured interest in this story of a young man who bought 100,000 negatives that turned out to be art. But John Maloof is not a ham-handed filmmaker, nor was he an ordinary bidder at the auction that netted all those negatives.

"Nymphomaniac Vol. 1" had something to say and a clever way to say it, what with all the graphics and flashbacks and analyses. But "Vol. 2" demands much and grants little. It will make even the least prudish person turn away to cover your eyes or roll them. 

He is large and rather furry. She is small, tiny even. He is brown and she is grey. Ernest is a bear and Celestine, a mouse. Each has heard how the other is unbearable. The enemy. But they don't see it that way, this mousie who draws and this bear who makes music.

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