Rectify, Admissions, The Happy Poet 


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Rectify: The Complete First Season (NR)

Anchor Bay Home Entertainment

From the producers of Breaking Bad comes Rectify, a thought-provoking, deeply moving drama that feels more important socially than the entertaining show about making meth in the desert. Daniel Holden has spent the past 20 years on death row, in total isolation, for the rape and murder of his teenage girlfriend. However, newly discovered DNA evidence exonerates him, and he is freed. And while this should be a cause for celebration, Holden is released back into a world that he doesn't know or understand, which creates a new, different kind of prison for him. Even worse, his small-town community is still ready to convict him. Rectify is a show unlike any I have ever seen, making viewers not only question their own moral stances on the death penalty, but also the psyche of someone who was damned because of it. You don't get that on network TV. — Louis Fowler

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Admission (PG-13)


Like Tina Fey's impressively head-spun heroine at the heart of director Paul Weitz's academic character drama, Admission falls victim to its admirable intentions. Fey gives a solid performance as Portia, a Princeton University admissions rep who, in the span of a few days, has her entire world tipped 180 degrees: Her longtime live-in "companion" leaves her, announcing he's expecting twins with his mistress at the same time the founder of a progressive school with a gifted Princeton hopeful pursues her romantically and ... well, there's more. It all sends her reeling, and by the time she gets physically sick in public, it's believable. Creatively, the film thinks through every emotional and social nook and cranny, yet too often conveniently forgets that people in these high-stakes positions lack the same emotional intelligence. Still, the film's heart and its spot-on casting go a long way. — Justin Strout

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The Happy Poet (NR)

Cinema Libre Studio

The Happy Poet, from the outset, looks like a darkly whimsical comedy, with a sharp pointed stick aimed directly into the eyes of the politically correct crowd. But as you delve deeper, it's actually a complicated comedy that inspires more deep thought than laughs. Consequently, when the movie's over, you're left with very conflicting feelings. Bill, a struggling poet, opens a vegetarian food stand, offering healthy alternatives to hot dog eaters. But before long, Bill has to question his ideals in the face of survival. Does he give in, or does he continue to try to change the world from behind his mobile food cart? As satirical and tongue-in-cheek as the movie is, it surprisingly never veers off into cynicism, maintaining a real sincerity. It's up to viewers to decide whether this sincerity is worthy of the characters and their motivations. Multiple viewings may be required. — Louis Fowler


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