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Red White & Blue (NR)


You know those bumper stickers, "Keep (insert city name) Weird"? This is a movie based on that slogan. Not directly, but definitely in spirit. It's a disturbing, engrossing series of shocking twists and turns that form a dark journey. Erica (Amanda Fuller) is a walking Tori Amos record, passed around from man to man, and continually used as a broken sexual object. Her new neighbor, Nate (Noah Taylor), is a calm, cool and collected discharged Iraqi vet (with possible ties to the CIA) who befriends her and becomes the first person in her life to really want to know her. This happiness is short-lived, however, when a secret from her past rears its head with insanely shocking results, most of which many viewers won't be able to stomach. Those who can will be rewarded with one of the most original, moving and dangerous films to come along in a while. — Louis Fowler

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The Universe: The Mega Collection (NR)

History Channel/New Video

The universe, as a tangible idea, is infinite. No beginning and no end, it just goes on and on and we'll never explore 1 percent of it. It's a freaky thought that'll keep you up in the middle of the night pondering mysteries to which there may never be answers. Fuel that fire with The Universe: The Mega Collection, the entire epic History Channel series, more than 50 hours on 16 Blu-ray discs (around $180) or 19 DVDs (around $150). Everything about the cosmos that we know, or think we know, is covered with astounding detail, a visual textbook to study from. From the birth of a solar system to the death of a star, the creation of life to destruction of a planet, celestial bodies collide, suns collapse and the order of things continues. It is an investment of money, time and knowledge, but one that, in a perfect world, we'd all try to make. — Louis Fowler

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Lucky (NR)

Big Beach Films

Jeffrey Blitz made one of the most entertaining films of the century with the spelling bee documentary Spellbound, and while this effort boasts lower stakes and less drama, it has the same easygoing charm and sly observational wit. Lucky explores our obsession with the lottery by following the fortunes of past jackpot winners and "unlucky" lotto addicts. Some winners were saved by their good fortune (literally, in the case of a suicidal Illinois man), some were destroyed ("It's like throwing Miracle-Gro on your worst personality traits," says the friend of one bankrupt ex-winner), but all were irreparably displaced from their old lives. Blitz's documentary works better as a series of character vignettes than as a serious meditation on blind optimism, but the characters are interesting and diverse enough to make it work. — Daniel Barnes


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