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Yelling to the Sky, The Kid With a Bike, The Duellists 

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click to enlarge Yelling to the Sky

Yelling to the Sky (NR)

MPI Media Group

While many films about teens take great pains to fulfill the always-necessary plot point of not fitting in with the expectations of every possible social stratum, very rarely do they take on a racial angle. That is what makes this uncompromising drama so remarkable. Zoë Kravitz (X-Men: First Class) delivers a powerful performance as a mixed-race teenager who struggles to find herself, feeling out of place in a world of drugs and gangs in one of the roughest Queens neighborhoods. Her extremely volatile home life is not any better, as she's left dealing with an alcoholic dad and an unstable mom. When her situation gets worse, it becomes one constantly tense situation after another as she begins her inevitable downward turn. This is a teen movie that totally breaks free of the typical rich kid, suburban trappings, making it one of the best to come along in a long time. — Louis Fowler

click to enlarge The Kid With a Bike

The Kid With a Bike (PG-13)

Criterion

We tell ourselves that kids are resilient, usually because we have to believe it. The world is otherwise too unjust to bear for kids like Cyril (Thomas Doret), the 11-year-old in the Dardenne brothers' latest instant classic, which took home the grand jury prize at 2011's Cannes Film Festival. Cyril's been given up on by just about every authority figure — no one claims grownups are all that resilient — including his father, who casts the kid away following Cyril's relentless pursuit of the absentee dad. He's taken in by Samantha, a salon owner whose motivation isn't clear but whose fierce maternal instinct is entirely evident. As she wards off drug dealers looking to recruit Cyril and an ultimatum-issuing boyfriend opposed to Cyril's presence, the Dardennes, still operating at cinema's highest level, show how even the strongest children need a champion. — Justin Strout

click to enlarge The Duellists

The Duellists (PG) (Blu-ray)

Shout! Factory

Before Ridley Scott directed ground-breaking science-fiction epics like Alien and Blade Runner, he made his debut in 1977 with this subtle film, an interesting study of obsessive honor and the importance that violence adds to upholding it. It's like nothing that Scott's done since, and one wonders, with all of his experience and notoriety behind him, what it would look like today. Keith Carradine and an unrecognizable Harvey Keitel are two Napoleonic officers with chips on their shoulders that, after a seemingly minor incident, force them to continually challenge each other to one escalating duel after another for over 30 years. Based on the story by Joseph Conrad, this is no swashbuckling tale of derring-do, but instead a real journey into the bitter hearts of bitter men who give up everything in an attempt to return honor to their tarnished names and egos. — Louis Fowler

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