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Gradiva (C'est Gradiva qui vous appelle) (NR)

Mondo Macabro

In French filmmaker Alain Robbe-Grillet's final surreal fever dream, he goes all out and delivers an erotic, S&M-tinged take on Alice in Wonderland by way of William Burroughs. A professor in Morocco, compiling research on a book about artist Eugène Delacroix, gets tangled in a search for an elusive blonde woman whom he may or may not have murdered, and who may or may not have been murdered a hundred years ago as well. Confused? Good — that's the way Robbe-Grillet liked it, daring you to move forward in an increasingly disconnected, otherworldly story that could be a dream, a memory or a total act of meta-fiction. The incoherency is only heightened by the dark sexual underpinnings that give David Lynch a run for his garmonbozia. Pretentious artists and closet perverts should join hands and roundly embrace this film. — Louis Fowler

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Earth (G)

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment

It's not that this lovely-to-look-at nature documentary is bad: It's just completely redundant. Adapted from the 11-episode BBC nature series Planet Earth — which has been available on DVD for eons — this version is cut down from the grand, sweeping story of our planet told in the much-longer series to something staccato and disjointed. No matter how riveting individual moments may feel — and the sequence featuring lions and elephants battling for supremacy at an African watering hole at night is, in itself, astonishing — it feels very much like bits and pieces from a larger whole. And if the polar bear stuff isn't the same exact footage that Arctic Tale used to tell a truly cohesive story about our planet and the necessity of being diligent in our stewardship of it, it's so similar as to make no difference. — MaryAnn Johanson

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Sick Girl (NR)

Synapse Films

The ultra-shocking drama Sick Girl could not live up to its title better: Yes, it is about a girl, and, yes, she is sick. Really sick. She's abnormally attracted to her older Marine brother and, after their parents' death, wants him to help raise their little brother as husband and wife. This doesn't set too well with bro, so after he is supposedly sent to fight in Iraq, sis gets really crazy and starts torturing and killing — without feeling or reason — anyone she doesn't like. She's able to hide the truth from her little sibling until the brutal, wholly unexpected ending. Director Eben McGarr has crafted a well-paced, thought-provoking movie that draws you in, almost lulls you to sleep, and then proceeds to bash your head in when your back is turned and you have no idea what to expect. Powerful, compelling moviemaking that sticks with you. — Louis Fowler


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