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Ferdinand

A mostly pleasant surprise in a year that has produced a lack of stellar animated outings.

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Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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Newlyweeds

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This indie drama about a couple of Brooklyn stoners is less a story than a bunch of ideas or sketches on a theme, but writer-director Shaka King and his cast hold the viewer's attention through a combination of high spirits (pun intended) and phenomenal visual confidence. As a movie, it's iffy, but as a promise of things to come, it's worth seeing.

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Blue Caprice

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"Blue Caprice" gives serial killers the Sundance-style artfilm treatment. Directed by Alexandre Moors, it's a muted thriller based loosely on the so-called Beltway snipers, who terrorized the Washington, D.C. area and parts of Virginia for weeks in 2002. This is an intelligent and ambitious feature, but if Netflix had an "overthinking" it section, "Blue Caprice" would definitely qualify.

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Our Nixon

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Treating never-before seen home movies by Nixon White House insiders as a visual spine for its tale, "Our Nixon" is an impressionistic account of the first American presidential administration to collapse in scandal.

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Getaway

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The plot is nonsensical, the dialogue atrocious, the filmmaking mostly of-the-moment flashy, but the car chase thriller "Getaway" has a few great moments, and if there were an Oscar for wrecking police cars, it would definitely win.

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Prince Avalanche

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In this quiet, gentle drama from director David Gordon Green, a man and his brother-in-law (Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsche) repair stretches of highway damaged by wildfire, avoiding and then confronting family secrets and their own deepest fears.

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Frankenstein's Army

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"Frankenstein's Army" is no perfect beast. This horror feature from director Richard Raaphorst and writer Chris Mitchell has all the hallmarks of what I call a "reel" film. By that I mean it's a feature length production demo with sets, characters and a story of sorts.

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Stranded

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Christian Slater stars in the fourteen millionth low-budget cousin of the original "Alien." Impressive atmosphere on a low budget, but some characterization would have been nice.

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