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  • Shirley

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- On its surface a suspense drama, "Shirley" (Neon) also carries with it the full discomfiting feeling of a class assignment. That's because the main character, author Shirley Jackson (Elisabeth Moss), wrote "The Lottery," the instantly classic horror story about murderous villagers that's been a staple of high school literature anthologies since it was first published in 1948 in The New Yorker magazine. She was the master of that literary form long before Stephen King arrived on the scene.

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  • The High Note

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- Glossy and generally upbeat, "The High Note" (Focus), a blend of comedy and drama from director Nisha Ganatra, is a pleasant tune rather than an aria for the ages. Still, the film's positive view of human nature offsets those elements of talk and behavior that flag it as grown-up fare so that viewers will likely be inclined to hum along with it readily enough.

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  • Scoob!

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- Baby boomers may remember whiling away their Saturday mornings, beginning in 1969, by watching the Hanna-Barbera cartoon series "Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!" Beyond the fact that its ensemble of teen sleuths always discovered a perfectly reasonable explanation for apparently occult events, however, their memories of the show may be blurry.

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  • Capone

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- Scarface goes bugsy in "Capone" (Vertical). This biographical drama tracks the last year in the life of legendary Chicago kingpin Al Capone (1899-1947) -- played with intensity by Tom Hardy -- as his mind disintegrates from the effects of neurosyphilis. It makes for queasy viewing.

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  • How to Build a Girl

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- A coming-of-age comedy focused on a precocious 16-year-old with a generally upbeat personality ought to have considerable appeal. But, when set in tension with the seaminess of some of the mistakes to which the protagonist of "How to Build a Girl" (IFC) falls prey on her path to maturity, the film's initial attractiveness is irredeemably marred.

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  • The Wretched

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- What's a red-blooded American lad to do when a witch who preys on little children moves in next door? For the answer, grown movie fans can consult "The Wretched" (IFC Midnight). Writers, directors and brothers Brett and Drew T. Pierce blend nostalgic notes from 1980s adolescent-aimed comedies into their middling horror tale.

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  • True History of the Kelly Gang

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- While the real-life legacy of Australia's famous 19th-century outlaw Ned Kelly may be disputed, the cinematic appeal of his career can hardly be doubted. When it premiered in 1906, "The Story of the Kelly Gang" was the longest movie ever made and is now widely regarded as the world's first feature film.

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  • Selah and the Spades

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- "The Godfather" comes to the groves of academe in the curious psychological drama "Selah and the Spades" (Amazon). In her feature debut, writer-director Tayarisha Poe turns an elite private high school into the unlikely setting for a study of criminality that echoes many familiar tropes of the underworld genre.

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