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Exit Through the Gift Shop (R)

Oscilloscope Laboratories

Also known as "the Banksy doc," Gift Shop begins with a breathless first half in which merry Frenchman Thierry Guetta lucks into a role as the street art movement's de facto documentarian. Guetta's camera follows artists like Banksy and Shepard Fairey as they invent and commercialize an entirely new way of graffiti expression. During the fascinating second half, in which Banksy hijacks Guetta's directorial role following a disastrous rough cut of Guetta's years of footage, Banksy turns the camera right back on Guetta. (Guetta's original cut, chopped to about 15 minutes, is included on the DVD.) The videographer-turned-megalomaniac then turns his loose association with the movement into a sort of career in derivation, eliciting hisses from his former subjects along the way. It raises provocative questions about the purpose of art, but still manages to remain completely engrossing and bizarrely uplifting. — Justin Strout

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LennoNYC (NR)

A&E Home Video

Timed to coincide with the current John Lennon media blitz — mostly for the 30th anniversaries of the Double Fantasy LP and, more importantly, I guess, his murder — LennoNYC is a fantastic documentary with a needlessly complicated title. The focus starts off with the "idea" of Lennon, the New York City immigrant who's trying to get his citizenship (covered in greater detail in The U.S. vs. John Lennon), but it rather quickly changes gears and becomes a music-nerd overview of Lennon's solo career and the ups and downs of being a former Beatle. Nice stops along the way include Lennon's tumultuous time in Los Angeles, his stint as a house-husband, and his ultimate comeback as a proud MOR artist. While it could have been a bit more objective — the sycophantic wankery gets a bit grating over time — the performances, archival clips and home videos are absolutely priceless, making this a must for Lennon obsessives. — Louis Fowler

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Barry Munday (R)

Magnolia Home Entertainment

In the hands of a major studio, Barry Munday would have ended up just another meet-cute rom-com starring just another vapidly photogenic couple like Josh Duhamel and Katherine Heigl. Any semblance of growth or maturity would be tossed out the window in an effort to appease the audience who came to see romance and pratfalls. Luckily, Munday didn't end up at a major studio, enabling it to maintain a refreshingly original, comically realistic look at male emotional maturity after a lifetime of crippling arrested development. Ladies man Munday (Patrick Wilson) loses his testicles after being assaulted, but learns that one of the last women he made it with (Judy Greer) is pregnant. She has nothing but disdain for him, but he sees it as a second chance. Very funny and very honest, Barry Munday is an unexpectedly offbeat romantic comedy that no man should be afraid to watch, with or without a special friend. — Louis Fowler

  • Exit Through the Gift Shop, LennoNYC, Barry Munday

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