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Jackboots on Whitehall (NR)

New Video Group

When Trey Parker and Matt Stone's Team America: World Police came out, I hoped it would usher in a renaissance of meta-marionette movies (as sad as that sounds). Team didn't really take off, so we were woefully spared. No puppet movies, until now. Leave it to the U.K. to deliver the riotously funny Jackboots on Whitehall, best described as a cross between Team and Inglourious Basterds. In an alternate World War II scenario, Nazi Germany marches on England, destroying everything in its path. It's up to a cigar-chomping Winston Churchill and his cadre of English caricatures — led by Ewan McGregor, or the voice of Ewan McGregor — at his side. Seriously funny and original, it never veers into outright parody until Braveheart appears, and even then Jackboots manages to hold up quite smashingly. — Louis Fowler

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The Killing (NR)

The Criterion Collection

When an influential classic hasn't aged well, there is no more revealing backhanded compliment than relating to the film's "importance," often synonymous with "unwatchability" in critic circles. That's why, though Quentin Tarantino and the Coen Brothers might not be making movies without Stanley Kubrick's "important" 1956 potboiler The Killing, I focus on its still-vital cinematic merits. Chief among them: Sterling Hayden doing career-best work as Johnny Clay, the desperate leader of a motley heist crew attempting to shake down a racetrack counting room. To give away more would be cruel; suffice to say the serrated-edge dialogue is courtesy of Jim Thompson, with character vets like Elisha Cook Jr. and Timothy Carey providing sublime support. At 83 minutes, The Killing doesn't waste a single word or frame. — Daniel Barnes

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Super (R) (Blu-ray)

IFC Films

While I enjoyed the recent superhero satire Kick-Ass, it got too silly and became another version of what it was making fun of. James Gunn's latest flick, Super, is what Kick-Ass should have been: a wholly realistic and sharp take on the costumed crime-fighter tropes. Rainn Wilson delivers a devastating performance as milquetoast loser Frank, whose drug-addict wife (Liv Tyler) leaves him for a sleazy dope-pusher (Kevin Bacon). He dons a stitched-together red suit, carries a skull-cracking pipe-wrench, and gains a psychotic kid sidekick (Ellen Page). Every heroic action has real-world consequences, which too many comic-book movies refuse to acknowledge. A neo-cult classic like Gunn's previous effort Slither, Super is a subversive, amazingly anti-glamorous look at what it mentally takes to run around in tights. — Louis Fowler

  • Jackboots on Whitehall, The Killing, Super

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