Instant Gratification: “Blue Ruin” and four other good movies to watch on Netflix and Amazon Prime

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Pick of the week: “Blue Ruin (Netflix) — My full review is here. This fantastic thriller reminded me of the Coen Brothers’ first film, “Blood Simple” in its mix of gritty thrills, spiritual weight and a dash of surreal humor. A homeless man tries to exact revenge for the murder of his parents years later and finds himself spectacularly unsuited for the job, eventually drawn into an escalating cycle of vengeance he can’t extract himself from. Plus it has Eve Plumb with a machine gun.

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The five movies you have to see in Madison: May 2-8, 2014

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The Amazing Spider-Man 2” (all week, Point, Eastgate, Star Cinema, Sundance) — It’s a rainy Friday with a high of 57 degrees, which can only mean one thing — it’s summer movie season in Wisconsin! After months of promos (and some not very kind early reviews), the sequel to the reboot of the film version of the comic book is here. For Madisonians, the big draw is that hometown by Marc Webb returns as director — the first “Amazing” was most notable for its sweet and funny relationship between Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy. In the sequel, which has at least three villains and all sorts of connections to the larger Marvelverse, I hope that doesn’t get lost in the CGI shuffle.

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“Blue Ruin”: Blood isn’t so simple in a fantastic thriller

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“Blue Ruin” opens Friday at Sundance Cinemas. R, 1:32, four stars out of four.

Dwight is nobody’s idea of an assassin. A vagrant with a dirty, sweaty beard, scared-puppy eyes, and a slight frame, Dwight (Macon Blair) looks like he would have to work hard to make it as an innocent bystander, let alone a killer.

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