Instant Gratification: “Wild Canaries” and four other good movies new to Netflix and Amazon Prime

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Wild Canaries” (Netflix) — My full review is here. It’s like Woody Allen’s “Manhattan Murder Mystery” set among the artisanal cupcake set, as a Brooklyn couple try to figure out who killed the elderly lady in their building. It’s lightweight, fizzy fun, an homage to screwball comedies of the days of yore.

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“Minions”: Little. Yellow. Not that different.

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“Minions” opens Friday at Point, Palace, Star Cinema and Sundance Cinemas. PG, 1:31, two and a half stars out of four.

The first “Despicable Me” was a surprisingly clever animated film that reveled in its naughtiness, as a supervillain and his adorable minions were tamed by the love of three adorable tykes. But “Despicable Me 2” fell flat, because now that Gru and his little yellow cohorts had been tamed, they just weren’t that interesting to watch.

So credit the inevitable “Minions” with going back to the good old bad old days, making this spinoff a prequel to the first two movies. Yes, it’s a pretty cynical enterprise altogether, as if Pixar made a “Bing Bong” feature to cash in on “Inside Out.” But for a cash grab (and placeholder until the third “Despicable” in 2017) it’s pretty funny in spots, surprisingly lushly animated, and gets about as much mileage out of three incomprehensible goggle-eyed pill-creatures as one might reasonably expect to get.

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“Tangerine”: Want to make a great comedy about trans prostitutes? There’s an app for that

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“Tangerine” opens Friday in major cities (no Madison date has been announced yet). R, 1:28, three and a half stars out of four.

Don’t judge an L.A. trans prostitute unless you’ve walked a mile (or 50 yards) in her high heels. That’s the message of writer-director Sean Baker’s enormously entertaining and empathetic feature “Tangerine” which gives a collection of marginalized figures some wit, passion and even some dignity.

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Instant Gratification: “The Terminator” and four other good movies to watch on Netflix

 

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The Terminator” — Whatever you thought of “Terminator: Genisys,” the summer blockbuster heavily references the first two films, and should have given you a taste to revisit James Cameron’s lean, mean 1984 original. It’s the best John Carpenter film John Carpenter never made.

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“The Overnight”: Getting into the swing of things

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“The Overnight” opens Friday at Star Cinemas. R, 1:20, three stars out of four.

Making friends with another couple is hard. Even if you like one of them, you might not like the other half as much, and then your spouse has to like both of them. And then each of them, of course, have to like both of you. And then you have to make sure that the other couple isn’t secretly luring you into some sort of “Eyes Wide Shut”-style sexcapade. Because that can get awkward.

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