Things You Can Tell Just by Looking at Her
Rating: * * * 1/2 Director: Rodrigo Garcia Running time: 110 minutes Language: EnglishNow playing as the late show at Bunkamura Le Cinema in Shibuya

"Things You Can Tell Just by Looking at Her" is a sleek omnibus film, with five separate but loosely interwoven vignettes set in the San Fernando Valley. First-time director Rodrigo Garcia -- son of Nobel-prize winning author Gabriel Garcia Marquez -- ties these disparate strands into one overarching fugue of loneliness and pent-up desire.

This approach has been taken before, notably by directors Robert Altman and Paul Thomas Anderson, in their symphonic, apocalyptic films of L.A., "Short Cuts" and "Magnolia." Like those auteurs, Garcia's smart script has attracted an all-star cast that would make other indie filmmakers green with envy: Glenn Close, Holly Hunter, Cameron Diaz and Calista Flockhart.

Unlike those directors, however, Garcia brings a far cooler, emotionally subdued feel to "Things You Can Tell" Where Altman and Anderson let their films unravel like a wild and wired Coltrane solo, building to an intense emotional catharsis, Garcia's style is more Chet Baker, muted blue tones that just roll with life's punches.